About Virginia McKniff
Virginia McKniff is an experienced, international educational consultant and specializes in helping students with university admissions in the UK, the US, Canada and Europe.
She has 40 plus years in international education as a teacher, university / college counsellor and administrator which has given her a solid knowledge of the international, US and UK educational systems and allowed her develop strong contacts with admissions personnel at US and UK universities. She continues to visit top US and UK universities on a regular basis.
Virginia’s primary goal is to assist students in making university choices that will be realistic, will reflect their talents and skills and will lead to a successful university experience.
Virginia will provide a bespoke program for each student and will provide extensive support and assistance to students and their families throughout the application process. She can advise on all aspects of the university admissions process from choosing schools, completing applications, writing essays and personal statements, meeting deadlines and selecting courses.
Why choose a counsellor?
Indeed, why hire an independent, University or College counsellor?
Welcome to McKniff University Solutions, your university and college consulting resource. You may ask why it is a good idea to use the services of a college / university consulting service.
Admission to university can be a very anxious time for students and their parents. Students must juggle a full academic load at school in addition to meeting university application deadlines, preparing for standardized tests and writing the application essays. These obligations often can often overwhelm students and leave parents confused as to how they can support their children at this time.
A college / university counsellor can impose order and organization onto this process and will take the mystery and stress out of the experience by offering information, support, advice and a sense of perspective to the family. The student will receive admissions information on schools and areas of study which will best reflect his/ her particular interests and abilities. In addition, the counsellor will assist with application deadlines and submission, standardized test preparation and revision of the essays, personal statement and supplements.
These resources will help the student be a competitive candidate for schools that are realistic choices with good prospects for admission.
Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, Kings, UCL, Warwick, York, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Royal Holloway, Queen Mary, Sussex, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Glasgow
Princeton, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, George Washington, Brown University, Harvard University, American University, NYU, Northeastern, Boston College
University College, Utrecht; Rotterdam School of Management , Leiden University, ;IE, Segovia , Spain; American University of Paris, Brocconi University’, Italy
McGill, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, Queens University, Uni-versity of Calgary, University of Western Ontario, Carelton, Guelp
How Virginia works with students
Virginia works with students from 14-18 years of age who wish to apply to schools in the UK, the US, Canada or Europe and many of her students apply to more than one country. Her role is to support the student and the parent in finding the schools that will be a good “fit” for the student.
She meets with students in person, by Skype / Face Time or phone . Virginia will provide information, support and guidance on schools and opportunities that are designed to provide the student with the ability to make successful university selections.
Virginia’s approach with students is highly individual and personalised. The counselling process will begin with an assessment of the student’s grades, school courses, extra curricular activities, interests and talents . She will also have an extensive conversation with the student about the type of university environment and atmosphere that the student is looking for in a school.
Following this, Virginia will formulate an individual plan, timetable and list of schools that directly addresses the academic and social needs of the student .
Virginia has considerable experience working with athletes, international students and those with different learning needs. ( see resume for further services)
Services we provide
Bespoke personalised plan
Structured plan to meet your goals
Finding the best fit for the student
Setting realistic expectations
Helping students to plan open days, campus visits, information sessions
Providing instruction and personalised feedback on all essays and personal statements
Special learning needs
Helping to find realistic and successful placements
Scholarship & financial aid
For placements abroad
Providing information on all testing requirements and deadlines
What past students have said
“I would recommend Virginia McKniff because she helps you to work through your frustrations and develop strategies/plans to deal with them – with positive outcomes.”Brian
“Thank you for your help and all the information. You were very encouraging and I think my daughter was uplifted when you left , which I’m very grateful and happy about!”Carrie
“Thanks so much for your help, including making yourself available to read essays and comment on various matters at short notice. We’re all very grateful for your support throughout the process.”Debra
“Without your help, I could never have written those essays and for that I am extremely grateful. I would like to thank you so much for all the help you provided me. I will never forget everything you did for me!”Saed
“The stress of the application process disappeared once we had your help. Thank you..”Marta Ryall
Skype on Virginia.McKniff
Available for home visits.
My resume for further reading
Frequently asked questions
Can I book one session with you?
I am available to do one session only or several sessions to review the college essay and /or personal statement.
When is the best time to begin the application process?
The ideal time is at the end of grade 10 , beginning of grade 11 or at the end of the GCSE year or the beginning of the lower sixth form. I will use this time to help the student research schools and courses, set up school visits and open days and prepare the US essays and personal statement.
This time frame also allows me to help the student schedule and prepare for the IELTS, UK CAT, BMAT, SAT, ACT and other entrance tests required by U.K., US or other universities.
Do you schedule university visits and tours?
I am happy to schedule university visits, tours, open days and arrange a visit of one day , several days or a week in duration. I will make all appointments for campus tours, information sessions and interviews as well as providing a list of questions to ask on a school visit. However, travel arrangements to and from the school are the responsibility of the family.
How do you provide help for the US college essays, UK personal statement or the European letter of motivation?
While I will never write the essay for the students I will help with the clarification and expansion of their thoughts and ideas. I provide a booklet on the US essay or the U.K. personal statement which gives the student guidelines for and examples of what is expected. My aim is to help the students develop a clarity that will allow colleges and universities to understand their interests, experiences and values – information that is not found on an application.
I also provide the student a perspective of what the school is looking for in the essay. In addition, I assist the student with editing the essay to conform to the required word count as well as coaching on issues of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.
This process is usually conducted by email for the first two to three drafts. After that, I meet or Skype with the student to review the essay and to give further feedback. At the end of the process, I meet or Skype with the student to do a final edit and evaluation of the essay.
How many sessions will my student require?
The number of sessions depends on the student : are they applying to several countries; are they proficient in writing, are they settled on a course choice, are they applying to more than five schools. Depending on these variables, the number of visits can range from three to ten. The average student usually has three to four personal or Skype visits with another three to four hours of email correspondence for the essay or personal statement.
I also provide the student a perspective of what the school is looking for in the essay. In addition, I assist the student with editing the essay to conform to the required word count as well as coaching on issues of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. This process is usually conducted by email for the first two to three drafts. After that, I meet or Skype with the student to review the essay and to give further feedback. At the end of the process, I meet or Skype with the student to do a final edit and evaluation of the essay.