Unraveled Futures came about because my life felt like it was starting to unravel.

My husband and I were both working 40 hours or more a week. I was working in a school as the only counselor and we had no assistant principal. Our son was a high school senior taking several AP classes and with numerous extra-curricular commitments. Extra time was in short supply at our house. 

Being a school counselor myself, I knew the college application process could be daunting and was fraught with deadlines. We had a long road ahead of us. But, I also knew that we were at a bit of an advantage because of my background. After all, I had formal training in career guidance and college admissions.

September through February became a full-on sprint for our family. We completed five college applications for Early Action deadlines, wrote and edited about twenty essays, and located and applied for about fifteen scholarships at the local, state, and national levels.

It was a monumental task that required work and commitment from each family member. There was no way our son, who, as a high school senior, had no experience applying to college, could have done this without help. Thankfully, my educational background helped us clear a few hurdles that might have tripped us early in the process.

When we reached the end of February, we were exhausted. The college application process had become a full-time job consuming our nights and weekends. As I watched our family and the families around us become overwhelmed with college admissions, I kept telling myself, “There has to be an easier way.”

However, in the struggles, I also saw glimmers of hope and excitement as my son and his friends looked ahead to their futures, saw themselves on college campuses meeting new people, and learning new things. They could taste independence. Our son was awarded a full scholarship to a prestigious school. His excitement made those long days worthwhile.

His excitement, coupled with my exhaustion and nagging thoughts of, “Why is this so hard?” and “How do families who have no background in college admissions do this?” led to the creation of Unraveled Futures.

My path forward became obvious: help students and families with the college application process. Charge a fee so that I can continue to pay my bills, but not so much that I add more stress for the families I hope to serve.

The goal of Unraveled Futures is to help students and families unravel the future- to easily navigate the next step toward higher education and do it in a way that reduces stress and anxiety.

My process is student-centered. What does the student want? What is he/she good at? What are his/her values, and how do those fit with his/her personal goals? What’s the right college for this student, given his/her interests, academic ability, values, financial need, and career goals?

Two-way communication is also an essential part of my process. I send email updates to parents after each session. Students (and parents) get reminder emails from me about upcoming deadlines. During each session, students and I update the Master Timeline and review upcoming due dates. I want to hear from parents and students as they have conversations at home about the pros and cons of a particular college, financial aid needs, possible essay topics, etc. It is essential that we all keep each other in the loop.

The college admissions process does not have to be a frustrating, overwhelming mystery. Unraveled Futures already has it unraveled for you! We make the process of taking the next step toward your future exciting and empowering.

Let’s work together!

Susan Ray

Education Consultant
M.A. ED in School Counseling

“My path forward became obvious: help students and families with the college application process.“


Susan Ray