College Right | ABOUT US
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Jennifer Mandel, M.A. President and Counselor


Jennifer always knew she wanted to work with teenagers. They are, after all, her favorite age group and, admittedly, she watches the same television shows they watch and listens to the same music they listen to.


In addition to working with her own caseload of students each year, Jennifer is a faculty member in both UC Irvine and UCLA’s College Counseling Certificate Programs.   In 2007, she was selected as one of a small numberof high school counselors nationwide to become a Director of College Counseling for College Summit, a non-profit organization that assists low-income high school students with the college application process. She also works with the teen literacy organization Get Lit Words Ignite as the director of their Next Step college access program.


For the last 15 years, Jennifer has worked one-on-one with hundreds of students guiding them through the college application process while at UCLA and then as Director of College Counseling Programs at a leading national college counseling firm. She has placed students at over 300 colleges and universities, and is frequently invited to speak at Southern California area high schools and organizations about the college admission process.


Jennifer is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC). Jennifer holds a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. While she’s never visited a college she didn’t like, she proudly claims both the Anteater and the Bruin among her favorite college mascots.


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Gail Nichols, Head Counselor, Orange County


Gail first thought about becoming a college counselor and joining College Right in 2010 after she looked through her closets and noticed just how many college tee shirts and sweatshirts she amassed over the last ten years of touring roughly 30 to 40 colleges with her daughters, Courtney and Rebecca. Then she realized just what a huge college junkie she was and gave Jennifer a call about putting this self-proclaimed college nerdiness to use.


Since joining the company and opening the Orange County office, Gail continues her lovable yet nerdy hobby of visiting college campuses just for fun whenever she travels anywhere with her family.Gail, her husband David, and both of their daughters graduated from Vanderbilt University. You won’t find a more supportive group of alumni anywhere in the state of California. Jennifer and Gail first met when Jennifer was the girls’ college counselor many years ago. While the girls went through their own college research and application process, Gail found herself just as interested in the various colleges that they researched as they were. During that time, Gail attended as many college information sessions as she could and helped her daughters’ friends with their own application process. Now, her favorite part of the job is being able to tour colleges when she attends the various annual college admissions conferences each year.


Gail holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and she loves making new memories with her family on the Vanderbilt campus. Most recently, she and her husband have decided that they want to try to visit every NCAA Division I football stadium to see a game and, of course, buy more college tee shirts.
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Contact Gail at:


Meghann Murphy, Managing Editor


Growing up in rural New Hampshire, Meghann always knew she was a city girl. That’s why, after graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, Meghann moved to New York City to attend NYU. She earned two degrees there – a BA in journalism and a BFA in drama – before finally landing out west. Though she misses the seafood in New England, Meghann loves living and working in Los Angeles, and is a big Clippers fan.


Since she began working with College Right ten years ago, Meghann has assisted over 400 seniors with their college essays. Her favorite part of the job is finding new and original ways for high schoolers to tell their unique stories. In addition to working with students, Meghann developed the College Right essay curriculum, and hires and trains new essay editors.


Contact Meghann at:


Dima Alzayat, Senior Essay Editor


Dima is a fiction writer and associate college lecturer. Her writing has been published in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. Her debut short story collection, Alligator and Other Stories, is set to be published in 2020.


She holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and a dual B.A. in Film and Economics from UC Santa Barbara. Her happy place is on a college campus, and she is currently pursuing a PhD degree at Lancaster University.


Dima’s favorite thing about working with teenagers is their curiosity and excitability. Having developed a devoted following of high school students over her years as an editor at College Right, she prides herself on helping her students write original essays that reflect their particular perspectives and identities.


Contact Dima at:

Anne Kruse, Essay Editor, Orange County


Anne Kruse considers herself a counselor by nature. Initially, she used her Master’s degree in Counseling from CSU Long Beach and her counseling gifts to guide high school students through choosing, pursuing, and achieving meaningful careers.


A delayed high school dream of making movies lead to her ultimately graduating from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television’s nationally recognized screenwriting program. This lead to writing award-winning screenplays and non-fiction books, children’s books and over 25 other types of paid writing gigs.


Anne’s mission is to help every College Right student tap into what makes them unique and craft essays that jump off the page capturing the attention of the audience at their college of choice.


Contact Anne at:

Alexa Loftus, Essay Editor


Alexa joins College Right as an established comedy writer and performer based in Los Angeles. Originally from the Midwest, she received her B.F.A. in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago and is a graduate of The Conservatory Program at The Second City Chicago.


Once she had her fill of hot dogs, she moved to L.A. and graduated from the improv and sketch programs at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. She has written for TV Land’s Throwing Shade, E! Live Red Carpet, Funny or Die, and McSweeney’s.


Contact Alexa at:

Nicole Conlan, Essay Editor


Nicole came to Los Angeles from Denver by way of New York. She has a bachelor’s degree form NYU and a master’s degree from USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy.

Nicole spent most of her professional career writing and editing for large media corporations such as Sports Illustrated, Gawker Media, and SB Nation. Her work has also been commissioned by Audible, Snapchat, A Prairie Home Companion, and others. She likes burritos, pop-punk, the NBA, and Charlie Kaufman.

Nicole is excited to work with teenagers so she can liberate them from the restrictions of the formal English essay and help them discover that writing personal stories can be – gasp – fun. Also, she’s extremely interested in their opinions on Riverdale.


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Varsha Dixit
Varsha is a best-selling fiction author. She has over ten published books and fourteen year’s worth of writing experience. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as a video editor before she moved to the US in 2001. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. In Orange County, Varsha holds creative fiction writing classes for children.  Nothing is as fulfilling to her as helping kids and teens be the best writers that they can.


At College Right, Varsha looks forward to helping teens find their voice. She is humbled to be a part of their lives as they take this very crucial step toward achieving their college aspirations.


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