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Preschool-Kindergarten
It is important for us, as experts in the field of early childhood education, to take the time to get to know who your child is as a learner by beginning the process with an extensive family interview and playdate/assessment. This allows us to create a list of schools that will best meet your child’s needs and your expectations as a family. We then work with your family every step of the way throughout the admission and enrollment process.
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Middle School
As friendships become even more critical for your child’s development during the middle school
years, finding the best community for them is top priority. We look forward to helping you
discover the strongest balance of academics, extracurriculars and social life that best fits your
child’s strengths, values and interests.
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HIGH SCHOOL
At this age, your child’s voice is critical throughout the admission process. Our deep experience working with teens allows us to support yours as they are just beginning to discover their own interests, learning styles and values. With our guidance, they will complete the application process in such a way that allows them to discover and demonstrate their strengths while finding the school community where they will thrive over the next four years.
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College

College Counseling at School First can begin as early as the freshman or sophomore year of high school. We support academic planning, creation of a strong college list, assess best admission test options, provide guidance around writing personal essays and supplementals, oversee completion of applications, demystify the financial aid process (FAFSA) as well as suggest opportunities for extracurricular development, all leading to a more competitive application.

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Linda and Wendy are education consultants, each with over 30 years of admitting and placing thousands of students in preschool through college. We are passionate about helping each student, family and school thrive!

We focus on building the kind of genuine and long-lasting relationships with our clients that allow each child, family, and school to reach their own meaningful success. Our suite of service options provides a personalized process for each client.

We look forward to working with you!

EDUCATION CONSULTING

We are the experts. We know that the “best school” differs for each child.

Uniquely, our Co-Presidents, Linda and Wendy, each have over 30 years of experience admitting and placing thousands of students in preschool through college. Building a community of learners that thrive in each individual school is an art. Our insight, relationships with the schools and expertise will help your family join that just right school.

You can trust that every consultant on the School First team has led admission committees, processed hundreds of applications and knows what schools look for as they build each new class.

We look forward to working with you!

OUR SERVICES

Families

Through our deep relationships, we commit to connecting your child to the best school for them, preschool through college. We will focus on the schools so you can focus on your family!

Schools

We look forward to bringing our 30 years of experience, expertise, and connections to help your school meet its mission to its fullest. We specialize in admissions, financial aid, hiring and retention – all through the diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

OUR TEAM

Linda K. Talton, M.Ed.

Founding President

Linda K. Talton

Wendy D. Wilkinson, M.Ed.

Co-President

Jessie Royce Hill, M.S.

College Consultant

Melissa Bamberg, M.S. Ed.

Education Consultant

Melissa

OUR EXPERIENCE

Testimonials

Nadia C.

Parent

I was so anxious about applying to college, but Jessie always had a calming effect on me and my parents! She helped me figure out that I had real stories to tell and that a lot of the activities I’d done had connections to each other I hadn’t thought of. She doesn’t just know how to get into college but also teaches college students. I felt like I was working with my favorite teacher.

Yaakov H.

Transfer Student

Working with Jessie was a fantastic experience, one that helped me transfer to the school of my dreams. Her help on brainstorming, writing, and proofreading my essays was critical, and I know that I wouldn’t have been as successful without her help. I can confidently say that her influence was not only noticeable in my results, but transformative, for me as both an applicant, and a student.

Virginia D.

Student

Jessie has been much more than a college admissions counselor and has helped make the application process much more manageable and achievable. Her expertise and experience is unmatched and Jessie truly has a passion for helping her students succeed!

Erica T.

Parent

Linda was such a delight to work with. Her desire to get to know our children and her intuition really stood out. Linda was able to understand the unique priorities for each of our children and help us determine a realistic list of schools. We appreciated Linda’s knowledge and experience regarding the schools. Her support and responsiveness in every aspect of the process was invaluable to our family. Linda’s candor, kindness and strategic thinking was incredibly helpful from start to acceptance; We can’t recommend Linda enough!

Stephanie A.

Parent

When we realized we needed to move from DC to the Bay Area, we were so relieved when our head of school recommended we call Wendy. We had no idea how different the school cultures would be on the two coasts. Wendy was fluent in both! Our daughter ended up in just the right school for her and our family in Silicon Valley!

Monte M.

Parent

Wendy was a godsend. Her reputable experience as an admissions officer helped us to decode the mystery of what each school is really looking for. She helped us to match schools based on what we were looking for as a family and most importantly for our neurodivergent son. The journey was honest and not once did we feel like we were being guided to her best connections. She was our advocate and after seven rejections in one year on our own, we secured two acceptances with her expert consultancy. She is THE BEST! Our son is finally in the right learning environment where he will thrive academically and socially.

Catherine B.

Parent

Wendy is a skillful, experienced educational consultant. With her deep knowledge of local schools Wendy was a huge help in our daughter’s transition from a boarding school back to a local day school after the admission season was already over. Wendy’s contributions were extensive, from patiently interviewing our daughter to learn her needs and interests, researching the schools that had space available (and whether my child would be a good fit), and offering valuable and balanced feedback on the application essays. Throughout the process, Wendy communicated clearly and thoughtfully with both my daughter and with me, and I would recommend her without reservation. Our daughter had her top two choices as options in the end!

Yvonne Y.

Guardian

When I walk my niece to National Cathedral School, I can’t believe our good fortune to have encountered Wendy during the application process. She was thoughtful, wise, and incredibly kind. Wendy was confident NCS would be a good fit, and she was right. Our motto is Trust Wendy.

Melissa B.

Parent

I couldn’t imagine anyone better to help guide me and my kids through the private school application maze than Wendy. Her experience and knowledge of that world is unparalleled, and she gave me great candid and helpful advice every step of the way. We ended up enrolling in our top choice schools! I can’t recommend Wendy more highly to anyone who is applying to schools in the DMV

Ann-Janette T.

Parent

Working with School First was an absolute pleasure. We were trying to find the right fit for our children and Linda was patient, kind, and an advocate for our family. She took time to get to know each of our kids and checked in regularly as we were going through the process. In what can often be a stressful experience, Linda made us feel like she really knew our family and I know she provided this same level of attention to the other families she worked with. Thank you Linda!

Elizabeth C.

Parent

We are so lucky to have had Linda to guide us through our admissions experience. Linda stood apart from her peers with her ability to help us and our son feel comfortable so that we could turn our attention to the important work of understanding him and his educational needs. Linda went above and beyond what was expected to make sure our son was seen and appreciated.