Learn what counts, so that you can focus on what matters most!
This free PDF download outlines what matters most to colleges as they consider applicants. It will help you:
Learn whether grades or standardized test scores matter more
Consider whether you should take more challenging courses, or focus on maintaining a higher GPA
Know how much ACT and SAT scores matter (or don’t)
Discover how essays factor into college admissions
Know how much athletics and other activities count in college admissions decisions
Meet the OnCampus College Planning Team
Tom Kleese, College Planner & ACT Test Prep Coach
Tom helps students see and realize their potential. He aims to make the college planning process fun, exciting and healthy for students and families.
Tom started OnCampus College Planning more than ten years ago. Since then, he has helped high-school students earn better ACT Test scores, find better college options and follow a better process and path to the University of You™.
Tom Kleese is a career educator and coach. He taught high school students and coached football for five years, and he taught with the University of Wisconsin System for more than ten years. He was awarded the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award.
Tom’s a huge fan of the movie Miracle. His favorite quote is from Herb Brooks: “Great moment are born from great opportunity.” If he could give one piece of advice to his 17-year-old self, Tom would say, “You’re going to regret not trying harder at the things that matter, so don’t let fear of embarrassment hold you back. Go all in, and then deal with the outcomes.”
Stephanie Barth, ACT Test Prep Coach & Coach for College-Bound Athletes
Stephanie approaches ACT Test Prep with the same philosophy that has served her well as a volleyball coach: “I start by understanding the goals and the learning style of the person I am working with. We then build out a plan to support and achieve success.”
Stephanie has coached youth, club and collegiate athletes for 25 years. She’s also a seasoned educator of youth and adult audiences on a range of health and wellness topics. She taught in the Kinesiology Department at Augustana University and in the Physical Education Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later served as the Athletic Director for High Point Christian School. She now owns Balance Volleyball Club in Madison, Wisconsin where she helps multi-sport athletes with high quality volleyball instruction while developing each player to be a well rounded student athlete.
As a coach, former college athlete and now parent of two Big Ten college athletes, Stephanie is adept at helping students find their best-fit team and school. She is able to guide high-school athletes toward great options with insights on recruiting and merit aid related to college athletics.
Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband Scott and their three teenagers, coaching and watching volleyball at every level. She also loves volunteering, exercising with friends and attending Badger sporting events.
Hilary Kleese, ACT Test Prep & College Applications Coach
Hilary Kleese loves working with students for ACT Test Prep, as well as college applications and college essays.
Prior to her current role, Hilary spent more than 25 years as a marketing professional and writer. She also spent time guiding and mentoring teens and young adults in church ministry and school organizations, as well as the Goodman Community Center.
Hilary graduated from the University of Iowa and roots for the Hawkeyes, even when they play the Wisconsin Badgers. She loves word games, 1980s pop songs, reading, gardening and running. Her favorite quote is from her Grandma Grayce: “Life’s a cinch by the inch, but it’s hard by the yard.”
If Hilary were to offer one piece of advice to her 17-year-old self, it would be to “take more risks and be fearless.” She believes that, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” Don’t worry what others think about you, because the truth is, they’re NOT thinking about you. Stay on your path!