learn about our history
Family plays a key role in selecting a college and career. It’s personal. This is why our founder, Mary Harkins, named the firm after her children: Elizabeth, Francis, and Matthew. But, like many acronyms, they can have a much deeper meaning. We understand the needs of students and recognize the challenges every student faces in selecting a college and a career. For this reason, it made sense to create a name that represents more than our family alone. Our goal is to EMPOWER, FOCUS, and MOTIVATE every student throughout their experience.
EFM College and Career Consulting offers personalized educational consulting for families with students in 9th through 12th grade. EFM is committed to having EVERY student client prepare for, identify, apply to and attend the best college or university for them. Located in Ambler, PA, we have been in the business of helping students maximize college choices since 2007 with clients spanning the US, Latin America and Asia.
EFM initially began under the name of Avery Education Consultants and was located in Abington, PA. The practice moved to Ambler, PA in the fall of 2012, and with the location change, the name was changed to Prescott College Consulting. In January 2020 we changed to EFM to avoid any misconceptions regarding affiliation with higher education institutions. This time, the name is family. It should be noted that EFM is a private college consulting practice and has never been affiliated with, or endorsed by, a specific college.
Today, EFM consultants on average have more than twenty years of experience in education and are members in good standing of recognized professional college admissions organizations like NACAC, PACAC, IECA, HECA and AICEP. When working with our students, we focus on the academic, social and financial needs of our client families.
Mary Harkins is Founder and President of EFM College and Career Consulting. She is a dedicated and credentialed educational consultant that enjoys helping students find the college that fits them academically, socially and financially. She earned her undergraduate degree from Temple University in Risk Management and her Master’s in Education from Arcadia University. Prior to starting EFM, Mary worked in the private and public school arena for nearly 20 years. With three children of her own, she understands how confusing and anxiety provoking the application process can be for parents. Mary is a Certified Education Planner and a professional member of IECA. She abides by their code of ethics and commitment to professional development.
Mara Fiarman Jacobs has been an Independent College Admissions Consultant since 2011 and is currently enrolled in the UC Irvine Certificate program. She is involved in student recruitment efforts nationally and regionally and has served to foster awareness and support for the Art Community at the University of Pennsylvania. Mara graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been an avid participant in the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Interview Program for close to two decades and has served in the leadership position as South Jersey Interview Coordinator for the past 10 years. Mara has been involved in many educational initiatives serving as a Board President for the Moorestown Library, committee chair for the Township of Moorestown, and in various Board positions for the Moorestown Education Foundation and Moorestown Home and School Association.
Families hire an independent college counselor for multiple reasons. For some families it is because they feel their student needs more direction than the school counselor can provide. Others have special circumstances such as learning differences, a special academic interest, or financial concerns that require additional expertise. Families that have worked with EFM College and Career Consulting have experienced reduced stress at home and have been able to enjoy the college search process with their child.
Most students join EFM during their 10th grade year. It is ideal for EFM to begin working with students prior to 11th grade, not only to build a positive relationship with the family, but to guide students in the development of their college list, to review curriculum choices, to assist students in researching summer options, and to create a blue print for the college testing and application process.
To ensure personalized attention, EFM takes a limited number of students per graduating class. If space permits, we will accept upper classmen into the practice.
Absolutely! Independent college counselors do not replace students’ high school college consultants. EFM recognizes that school based counselors play a vital role in the school setting and guiding students. Unfortunately, school based counselors sometimes have larger caseloads or other responsibilities other than just college counseling. EFM consultants spend approximately 25% of their professional time traveling to visit colleges across the country to tour campuses, and to meet with admissions officers, faculty and existing students to gain an understanding the type of student that may be a good fit for the college. EFM consultants also attend several professional conferences a year and are professional members of counseling organizations. School counselors rarely are able to commit that much time traveling the country.
We do not make admission guarantees. Ethical independent college counselors are unable to guarantee admission to any certain college or programs. EFM guarantees that we will work to make the admissions process smooth. Since our consultants have years of experience and have visited many different colleges, we have the knowledge to create a solid college list that is fashioned for the student and guide them through the application process.
We do not write any student’s college essays. EFM College and Career Consultants will discuss ideas or review their work, but all writing is completed by the student. It is EFM’s experience that students who own the process and produce their own work are more satisfied with their college decision.
Yes. EFM consultants work with students of many levels of achievement. Our focus is to find a college environment where students can be successful academically, socially and financially.
No. We work with students all across the country. EFM consultants utilize Skype, email, virtual meeting platforms and phone conferencing to communicate effectively with long-distant families. In fact, some local families prefer to work remotely as well.
EFM offers hourly services as well as various levels of comprehensive packages. Please contact EFM College and Career Consulting to set up a 10-minute phone conference to discuss the possible options for your student and how a EFM consultant would be able to assist your family.