Why Starbound


Starbound Educational Consulting provides guidance and support for applicants to undergraduate colleges, universities, and MBA programs primarily in the United States. Susan’s commitment to each client is to identify the best-fit educational institutions for his or her profile and interests, and then to help develop a compelling application package that truly differentiates the applicant.

Working with clients around the globe via Skype, FaceTime, phone, and email, Starbound’s services include:

  • Selection of colleges or programs tailored to applicant profile and preferences
  • Strategy and presentation of the overall application package
  • Drafting, editing, and polishing the student resume
  • Application guidance on the Common Application and the various proprietary platforms used by universities and MBA programs
  • Brainstorming and editing essays, including personal statement and all supplements
  • Interview preparation and training, including mock interviews

A strong application must present an individual’s accomplishments, experiences, and aspirations in an engaging way, with all application components contributing to a balanced and consistent portrait. The goal is to highlight how and why an applicant would make a strong addition to college or university campus life, and that can only be accomplished with a dedicated investment of personal time and attention.


Susan has knowledge about a variety of educational systems around the world, including AP, IB, A-Levels, CBSE, ISCE, and more.


Based on the East Coast of the US, Susan has worked with clients from all over North America, Europe, Asia, and South America with the help of Skype, FaceTime, and phone calls.


Unlike at many large firms, you’ll work one-on-one with Susan, rather than an associate. Click here for more testimonials of past clients and families.


Susan’s clients have gained admission to over 150 top-ranked universities and MBA programs. Click here to see the full list.

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Miles Traveled
University Visits

What Starbound Does


Starbound Educational Consulting offers a suite of services designed to help clients develop and deliver the most compelling and persuasive application package possible, whether for undergraduate colleges and universities college or to graduate MBA programs.


College Selection

Understanding a student’s personality, academic interests, and possible career directions is the first step in building a college list. Following a detailed personal assessment, Susan develops a comprehensive list of institutions and then refines it through further investigation and discussion. The end product is a balanced list of colleges that fit a student’s learning profile, temperament, and aspirations.

Starbound will:

  • Assess student’s personality, preferences, and interests
  • Identify broad list of best-fit institutions
  • Guide students through list refinement

Resume Creation

Serving as the backbone of the application package, the resume highlights the student’s accomplishments and sets the tone for the student’s goals and aspirations.

Starbound will:

  • Brainstorm resume contents and highlights
  • Draft initial resume
  • Edit and polish final resume

Application and Extracurriculars

The online Common Application is used by a majority of US undergraduate institutions, and in addition, many universities have their own individual platforms and/or supplements.

Starbound will:

  • Review each application with the student to strategize on key areas
  • Assess student’s extracurricular activities to determine those with highest impact & relevance
  • Ensure that all components of the application work together to present a strong portrait of the student


The essays are a critical component of the applications, offering the student a powerful opportunity for personal expression and differentiation.

Starbound will:

  • Brainstorm topics that balance the content of the overall application, highlighting aspects not reflected elsewhere
  • Discuss essay approaches that best enable the student’s voice to be heard
  • Review initial essay drafts and offer detailed feedback to student
  • Edit and polish final essays for clarity, strength, and resonance

Interview Preparation

Interviews are a component of the application process for many institutions, and it is always advisable to take advantage of an interview opportunity, whether on campus or with a local alumnus/a.

Starbound will:

  • Assist student with interview preparation by reviewing common questions and developing a strategy around what to highlight during an interview
  • Conduct mock interview with student in person, via Skype/FaceTime, or by telephone
  • Critique mock interview and offer tips and techniques on interviewing


Program Selection

Understanding a candidate’s background, learning style, and career goals is key to identifying suitable MBA programs. Following an in-depth review of a candidate’s credentials, career trajectory, and aspirations, Susan develops and/or helps refine a list of programs that offer the academic quality, learning, and diverse camaraderie that will ensure success.

Starbound will:

  • Assess candidate’s personality, preferences, and career goals
  • Research appropriate MBA programs to match candidate preferences
  • Develop application strategy and timeline based on program selectivity and potential fit

Resume Editing

The resume forms the core of the application package for the aspiring MBA candidate. At this stage, most applicants will have an existing resume; this will serve as the starting point for the MBA application process.

Starbound will:

  • Brainstorm potential resume rework and revisions
  • Redraft resume to present academics, employment, and accomplishments effectively
  • Edit and polish final resume

Application Recommendations

Many MBA programs have added often overlooked short-answer questions and other elements to their portals, and strong recommendation letters are vital to any MBA application package.

Starbound will:

  • Help determine from whom candidates should request letters of recommendation to best enhance application
  • Suggest areas of focus for recommenders to consider including in their letters
  • Review application with candidate and help edit and trim short-answer elements


The essays are a critical component of the MBA process, offering candidates the opportunity to share their career aspirations and to convey why a particular MBA program is the right next step.

Starbound will:

  • Help develop a storyline around a candidate’s experiences, strengths, and future contributions to the world
  • Brainstorm creative approaches to each essay that highlight the candidate’s unique profile
  • Work with candidate to edit, refine, and polish essays

Mock Interviews

An interview invite is a major milestone in the MBA process, and preparation is key to securing a spot in that program.

Starbound will:

  • Provide candidate with common MBA questions and work together to develop strong answers
  • Conduct mock interview with candidate in person, via Skype/FaceTime, or by telephone
  • Critique mock interview and offer tips and techniques on interviewing

Who She is

Meet Susan

Susan Smith

Owner & Principal

Susan Smith is the founder and principal of Starbound Educational Consulting LLC. She is a graduate of Harvard College (A.B. 1988) and of the Harvard Business School (M.B.A. 1993).

With over 20 years of experience in management consulting and marketing, Susan has worked across multiple industries, including high technology, financial services, education, and executive recruiting. She has experience in interviewing and candidate screening, as well as extensive writing and editing expertise, producing website content, marketing collateral, research reports, essays, and resumes. Her practice includes students living all over the world.

She is a Professional Member of the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association), of HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association), and of IACAC (International Association for College Admission Counseling). Susan lives in Wilmington, DE with her husband; her daughter is an undergraduate at Harvard College and her son attends Tower Hill School.