What People are Saying


What an honor it is when you get to meet a superstar professional like Katherine O’Brien,  She is the consummate professional and always originates from a position of love with each and every strategically planned and masterfully placed utterance in her speaking and coaching.  I am so humbled that this incredible lady of power had the time to take from her otherwise congested life to familiarize herself with mine.  I witness several attendees in her audience create solutions for themselves with her leadership and professional guidance.  I have never seen her in front of an audience where she die NOT earn a standing ovation for the incredible work that created through her speaking.  There are speakers who speak and then there are speakers who know how to move people to action.  Katheirne is definitely the latter.  Thank you for all of the good work you do to inspire and help others, Katherine.  You truly are a blessing to many.

Robert Parkerson, professional speaker, success coach, and author of Stop Selling  Start Listening


“As our family prepared to send our first child to college, Katherine helped us to unravel the mysteries of college entry. Like any valued professional services provider, she defines duties and timelines for both herself and her client from the outset, making sure that the student, her parents, and Katherine all have a time-sensitive list of action items toward meeting a successful outcome. Our child ended up at a great school and field of study that she feels are made for her. If your family needs a college advisor who is well-informed and who calls it as she sees it, then I recommend you hire Katherine O’Brien.”

Tom Hanson, Marketing and Sales Channel Leadership, Hanson Marketing


“Katherine is incredibly dedicated to the success of her clients. She fully invests her personal integrity into her business, and is trustworthy and committed to the students and families with whom she works. She has demonstrated a commitment to staying on top of the nuances of her field in ways that most of her competitors don’t seem to do, and as a result offers a much broader range of services, all backed by solid knowledge, than I’ve seen elsewhere in the market. I have an 11 year old daughter and in the next couple of years plan on having Katherine work with her and us to make sure our daughter is headed in the right direction to turn her dreams into reality.”

Valerie Gieseke, Senior Consultant, TRI-AD


I have had the pleasure of working with Katherine and Celtic College Consultants. I conduct numerous alumni interviews for prospective students for university and therefore I am afforded a lot of access to the college admissions process first hand. I have to say I have not met a college planner as knowledgeable and holistic in her planning as Katherine. She routinely conducts free informational webinars that are full of priceless information and insights. She is an honest, intelligent, and ethical professional who has my highest endorsement.”

William A. Angus IV, MBA, Associate and Director of Western Region Business Development, Green Line Consulting


“Katherine is extremely knowledgable regarding the politics of getting into college and getting the most “bang for your buck”. I am so relieved to have her working with my daughters! She is managing everything for us – financial aid, deadlines, test preparation. She know how the system works and now we don’t have to stress. I am so grateful to have found her!”

Sue Loach, former client


“Katherine’s enthusiasm for helping young people navigate their college plan is unparalleled. Because she cares deeply about each student, she is able to accomplish more than just a college plan. She helps them find scholarships and matches their particular strengths with a program that will make their talents shine. I have used Kathrine’s services for my daughter. Each time I presented a challenge, Kathrine found a solution. I can’t say enough about her and the service she offers. I highly recommend her for all of your college needs.”

Dr. Nikki Goldman, former client


“You must help a lot of people!  You enlightened my heart and my brain as to how unprepared I am.  And I thought I was well informed!” – Carol S.,  FL

“Thank you so much for your help with M….. She is so happy to have your guidance in this entire process. Just the other day she told me that she really appreciates you to push her to do things. She would probably have waited with her research until school started in September… ”

GF, mother of M, from a note sent July, the summer before M’s senior year
Seattle area, WA


“Thanks for keeping us on track.
I thank God for you!”



“…it seems like senior year has been a dash from one deadline to the next!

I feel I should encourage middle income families to start early in sophomore or junior year with the college search….Though we proudly saved $40,000 for her college account, it was not enough when we looked at the FAFSA report….”

San Diego, CA


“As our family prepared to send our first child to college, Katherine helped us to unravel the mysteries of college entry. Like any valued professional services provider, she defines duties and timelines for both herself and her client from the outset, making sure that the student, her parents, and Katherine all have a time-sensitive list of action items toward meeting a successful outcome. Our child ended up at a great school and field of study that she feels are made for her. If your family needs a college advisor who is well-informed and who calls it as she sees it, then I recommend you hire Katherine O’Brien.”

T.H., Rancho Bernardo, CA


To interested parents and students:

Our family has been using Celtic College Consultants’ services… and are quite happy with the service and care we’ve received. Katherine has helped us stay focused on the process of finding the right school, meeting the entrance requirements, and beginning to pull together the financial aid package we will need.

We have really been getting our money’s worth.

B. E.
El Cajon, CA


It is priceless to have someone other than me advising the girls – my kids hear the parent’s voice from Peanuts (wha wha wha) when I speak. The other week I had a meltdown worrying about one of my daughters and the possibility of her EVER being successful. Katherine’s response was “how soon can you get her here?”. After Aimee met with her she was a different person.

The school counselors are not in touch with how things have changed… The budget crisis and other things have turned the world upside down. My girls could go to SDSU and take 6 years to get through, or they could go to a private college with deep pockets and get a better education for less money out of pocket and sooner. My twins are very different and she gets that – she is putting together completely different paths for each of them, so she doesn’t have just one way of approaching college. She is very adept at sensing the differences in what they need to be successful.

San Diego, CA


We use Katherine as a consultant for several reasons. The first is I don’t have the time to manage all the details of college admissions – what tests to take, when to take them; what programs to look at that match my son’s interests; how to proceed with financial aid applications. She knows all the deadlines and timetables and will research which colleges are worth looking at. She will also research programs at schools we want her to look at. She meets with my son routinely to review his admissions process, which motivates him to get the admissions work done….In my world as a physician, I have learned to leave the specialty work to those who know it best and let them do their jobs. …I am pleased Katherine takes the initiative and is very proactive with my son. She is a go getter.

Dr. N.L.,
Rancho Bernardo, CA


I appreciate all your guidance and advice. You really have helped us in this. You have benefited us and will benefit many others. There are so many nooks and crannies that we didn’t even know about. It is a minefield out there and Katherine knows the ropes. I wanted someone who knew the ropes to go to bat for me. Some of us cannot see what to look for or is available. It has changed so much since we went to college.

The high school counselors are outdated. The notes from your workshops helped me more than anything I heard from all the school workshops we attended!

San Diego, CA


Katherine has some excellent insights and was very good about keeping our toes to the fire, assuring that we got things done in a timely manner. There are so many ways that parents can stumble…;she’s an excellent trail guide….This is not for the faint of heart, however. If you want someone by your side, I would recommend her to help with every child. I would wholeheartedly recommend Katherine’s services.

Mrs. H.,
San Diego, CA


“Katherine is doing a great job! We hope others latch onto this. Having struggled with various high school counselors (for our four oldest daughters) who knew little or nothing, it is so refreshing to deal with someone who is plugged in and knows the strategies. We sing your praises whenever we can.”

Poway, CA


We really appreciate what you’ve done for our girls. I know that A’s ultimate choice to attend Community College rather than a University isn’t what we’d had in mind for her, but you allowed/forced her to take stock of what she realistically was prepared to do and we think it’s the right thing for A. Some kids just need a little more ‘seasoning’ before entering college.

Likewise, you have been invaluable to C by focusing her on what she really needed to do to get into the right college for her. It seems that her initial “first choice” wasn’t really the best for her and we have you to thank for getting her to be open to other possibilities. As a result, C will be interviewing next Monday at N. University for a full scholarship. As for S, she would never have had the confidence to believe that she could go to college at all without your support and guidance.

CL, San Diego, CA


Katherine O’Brien’s assistance has been invaluable – that is…impossible to put a price tag – as she has opened up a world of possibilities for my son, Christopher, a high school senior looking to enter college in 2015. Ms. O’Brien was able to do more for Christopher in three months than I was ever able to do in years working with his three older siblings researching the best colleges for just the right fit. There is absolutely no way for even the most involved parent to do anywhere near what Ms. O’Brien has done in narrowing down the colleges which best fit my son after considering all factors: academics, athletics, financial aid, majors of interest, post-graduate ambitions, career ambitions. I cannot say enough about the value which Ms. Katherine O’Brien brings to this extremely complicated process and pressure-filled task of college (and scholarship) searching. She has removed a huge load from my shoulders. She is worth her weight in gold!

Thank you, Katherine!

Mike Chavarria


When my daughter was a junior and my son was in community college, I met with Katherine to talk through her services and process. I was very lucky that, at the time, my kids both knew what fields they wanted to pursue, so that part of the process was already taken care of. I figured “I’m a professional project manager. I can do this myself.”

For almost a year now, I have had a second job. That second job has been researching school options, doing campus tours, narrowing the list to 3 for my son (a transfer student) and 5 for my daughter, overseeing the application process (state schools, common app, common app supplements, custom apps – all of them!), financial aid applications, scholarship research and applications, and more. It has entailed developing special spreadsheets to track it all, incessant hounding of two kids at the same time to keep them on track with the deadlines, ridiculous numbers of hours on nights and weekends to gather together information, review essays, upload, download and upload some more. It has been exhausting. The invasion of Normandy comes to mind.

My kids are both accepted into colleges now, with good financial aid packages. However, the process of getting here while managing my job responsibilities, and general daily life has been exhausting. One of my son’s top schools doesn’t make its transfer decisions until the end of June, so we’re still not done!

I will admit at this point that I was penny-wise and pound foolish in not engaging Katherine to do more of this for our family. Her services are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. If you decide to take on the college research and admissions process yourself, you need to be unfailingly organized, ready to nag your kids regularly, and ready to spend hours and hours…and hours of your free time over months. It’s no fun to do this yourself, so if you can find the money, save yourself the grief. If I knew then what I know now, I would have happily signed on the dotted line.

Valerie Gieseke, May 18, 2016

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