About College Admissions Strategies

Empowering students for college admissions success.

Lee BiererLee Bierer

Lee is an Independent College Admissions Counselor and the author of the weekly Countdown to College column in the Charlotte Observer that is syndicated across the country. She has been a guest on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins, appeared on television and been interviewed for national publications. Lee is a sought-after workshop facilitator and her most popular topic is “The Most Common Mistakes Applicants Make”. Workshop participants have said “This workshop should be required for all parents of high school-aged children.”Lee has effectively married her background in education with her strong marketing skills. She has created a very approachable strategy that helps students succeed in the college admissions process.

Lee received her Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA in 2008 and her M.Ed from Antioch College. She was a Bilingual Career Education Curriculum Developer for Boston Public Schools. En route to receiving her BA in Spanish from Colgate University, Lee attended the University of Granada in Spain. She also served as the Director of Boston’s cross-cultural program ‘Proyecto Amistad” (Friendship Project) with Boston’s sister-city Arequipa, Peru.

Since moving to Charlotte just over 20 years ago, Lee has been involved in an exciting array of education consulting, marketing, public relations and management projects. Lee’s extensive marketing, writing and research background offers students and families the competitive edge they are looking for. Her fresh approach and her easy style with teens motivates them and frequently enhances the parent/child relationship. Lee served as Vice President of the Board of International House in Charlotte and has been involved in a variety of community service projects.

Lee and her husband Jeff are the parents of two college graduates, so she knows first hand how overwhelming and sometimes challenging the college admissions process can be.


Kelly Barnhardt

Kelly joined College Admissions Strategies in February 2020. She is currently receiving training to obtain her membership in the Independent Educational Consultants Association. Over the course of the next few months she will travel to many college campuses, attend seminars and workshops learning the most up-to-date and best tools to help your child succeed with the college admissions process.

Kelly’s past work experiences range from time spent in the private sector, the public sector and the nonprofit sector. Up until recently she was the Executive Director of the Matthews (NC) Chamber of Commerce and was previously the Director of Community and Economic Development in Union County (NC).

Honors and achievements include: Charlotte Business Journal (CBJ) “40 Under 40” honoree in 2015; Union County Weekly Top 100 Business People of 2016; CBJ Top 50 Mentor for National Bizwomen Mentoring Event 2016-2018; Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly Top 50 Women Leaders 2017-2019; The Mecklenburg Times Top 50 Most Influential Women of Charlotte 2017; ATHENA Charlotte Leadership Honoree for Service 2018; and Mecklenburg Times 2019 Icon’s and Phenoms Honoree of Charlotte.

She is a passionate advocate of community service and has been involved in Rotary International, served as a Board member for the Union County Chamber of Commerce and RedBrick Partnership, a merchant association in Matthews. She sat on the Human Services Council of Matthews, the Economic Development Advisory Boards of Matthews and Indian Trail; and the Quad Alliance of South Charlotte.

A native of upstate New York, she has lived in Charlotte for over 20 years with her husband and two sons. She is a graduate of State University of New York at Oswego with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and she recently completed her Master’s Degree in Management from Louisiana State University.

Affiliations & Credentials

Lee received her Certificate in College Counseling from University of California, Los Angeles Extension in  2008. The renowned program entails a seven course curriculum and a 65-hour practicum all focused on college counseling.

The Independent Educational Consultants Association

Lee is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association

The Princeton Review National College Counselor Advisory Board

Lee currently sits on the Princeton Review’s National College Counselor Advisory Board.

University of Georgia’s High School Advisory Council

Lee served for two years on the University of Georgia’s High School Advisory Council.