I am Kara Neary, founder of Educated Choices, and I am passionate about education and serving our community. I combine these values to take the stress out of college planning for students and their families.
When I was in high school I remember leaving to meet friends on a Friday night and my mother saying “Don’t be too late! You have your SAT in the morning.” I took the test once and applied to an in-state school. It’s not quite that simple anymore!
I panicked when my daughter decided to go east. She was in the process of earning her International Baccalaureate® diploma and she wanted to go to a highly selective school. At the time, I knew very little about how it worked, but I decided to immerse myself in the application process and help her make an educated decision. The results were outstanding — and the seed for Educated Choices had been firmly planted.
University of Washington BA: Art History / English
UCLA Extension Program: Certificate in College Counseling
HECA, IECA associate, PNACAC, WACAC
So much of college application stress comes from not understanding how the process works. That is where Educated Choices makes a significant difference.
I work with students to create a more fulfilling high school experience. Educating incoming high school students about their curriculum, extracurricular activities, volunteer options and summer enrichment ideas will help them take advantage of opportunities available to them. As students enter their junior year I provide testing advice and support with college search and visits. When students have completed their college lists, I guide them through the application process. Oftentimes, students find writing college essays to be the most challenging part of the application. I have a creative process that helps them identify essay topics and a strategy for organizing their ideas.
Every child has unique qualities and finding a school and major that is right for them takes time and exploration on the family’s part. By choosing a qualified and experienced college and career counselor, your child has an expert resource at their fingertips to guide them every step of the way.
Before launching Educated Choices, I had the pleasure of working as a College and Career Counselor with Pacific Learning Academy for 3½ years and working with students in Seattle through the College Success Foundation.
After graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Art History, I had a lengthy career in sales, management, human resources, training and development and motivational speaking. I left my career when I decided to stay at home with my children. Over the past 20 years, I have volunteered in the Issaquah School district at seven different schools and served as PTSA president for two years at a local high school. I am a member of the Grants committee with the Issaquah Schools Foundation and have worked as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) with Family Law CASA for over six years. I have worked with students of all ages as a Girl Scout leader, Soccer Coach and tutor for students with special needs.
I have three children whom I helped through the college application process. My oldest daughter earned an IB diploma and went to a medium size college on the east coast where she studied International Relations and pre medicine. My other daughter attended a large in state university where she earned a BFA in photography and a BA in Spanish. My son went through the football recruiting process and is attending a small liberal arts college in Southern California where he is studying economics. Working with each of my children to help them find the school that has been right for their unique personalities has been my joy.
Although I work with students on an hourly basis, my specialty is working with students throughout high school and college. My goal is to build relationships with your families and your student so I can help you make the right choices that when preparing for college and beyond.
I believe the best college and career counseling happens when you work with someone who is experienced and also cares about your child and their future. That’s why you’ll see that everything we do at Educated Choices is rooted in a foundation of experience and personal attention.
The choices we help our children make today will shape their future. I work with families who want to take the confusion, stress and overwhelm out of college and career planning.
Kara's experience and background is so extensive that I felt like we were in great hands. Highly recommend her services! - Pia Larson, parent of Mt. Si Student class of 2019