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955 Benecia Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
USA

(408) 479-4742

Testimonials

A few words from our students and families:


Elton's guidance has been invaluable to me during my high school career. In the past two years, Elton challenged me to explore my potential and make my high school experience both successful and enjoyable. From our first meeting, I knew Elton would be more than a consultant. Like a close friend, Elton understood my strengths and weaknesses, and I felt truly comfortable sharing my experiences, beliefs and convictions with him. Our time together was also beneficial to me because it helped me understand myself better, a very important component in writing colleges essays. Last but not least, Elton himself was an inspiration to me and a major influence in my quest for success.

- Student Accepted to Stanford University
 

Both my family and I really appreciate the incredible effort and support John provided me throughout high school and my college application. My relationship with him is more of a mentor and big brother rather than just a consultant. He not only gave me excellent feedback and advice on how to make my essay personal yet powerful, but he also made sure I never felt lost throughout the complicated process. 

I can definitely say that without John, I would not be as confident and or as mature as I am today. 

- Student Accepted to Duke University


Azure helped my daughter prepare her college essays. She had the right intermix of rigor and freedom, made the authentic voice of my daughter come out in the essays, when we as parents were aiming for a too mature and probably somewhat mundane style. She was always willing to listen when I had thoughts on essays, and also convinced us why a certain way of presenting the student was better than another. She took great pains to go through several iterations of the college essays, and her initial briefings were also very useful to put my daughter in the proper writing mindset and suitable essay themes to start with. Overall, I was very happy with the college counselor experience she provided.

- Parents of Student Accepted to UC Berkeley
 

I can not express enough gratitude to you after knowing our son made into the 20% percent of highly qualified and highly motivated ED applicants! You played a critical role in helping him shape his application - without your help, he would not been able to get in. Thank you for patiently reading his essays again and again, especially during the stressful hours before the ED deadline. You are probably sick of reading of all those essays! THANK YOU!

- Parents of Student Accepted to Duke University
 

I got into my dream school with thanks to Yii-Shyun! Northwestern has always been my first choice and I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without your help. Thank you so much!

- Student Accepted to Northwestern University


Elton is almost overqualified in what he does, as is the rest of the team at ILUMIN, but as that was clear to me even before I had my first meeting with him, I won't bother explaining what's already a given. What sets him apart from others, or rather, puts him a step above others, is the genuine relationship he forged with me and no doubt forges with his other students. Elton never sugarcoats anything, is honest and straightforward, and truly prioritizes students' goals and needs (often more than I prioritized them, in fact), ever the encourager.

I learned a little more about myself each time I talked with Elton or Azure, and Laura never pulled her punches when it came to reading my college application essays. I persevered through some rough situations with their help, not only with college, but also with the way I view the world and other people. (Let me tell you, brainstorming college essays will really make you take a long, hard look at yourself, but I wouldn't have traded those tough conversations with Elton for anything else.)

Elton was more than my counselor for college; he was my counselor for life, and someone I'm grateful to call a friend.

- Student Accepted to University of Chicago


First of all, John definitely cares about each one of us a lot shown by the amount of time he spends with us and on our essays (over 14 drafts for me!). He believes in my abilities, which helps me believe in myself throughout this challenging and long application process. I was able to talk to him about anything, and I felt comfortable sharing the intricate details of my life with him, whether it was for the essays or advice for life. Last, but not least, John gave wonderful insight and helped organize my ideas clearly to write an unique essay that strengthened my application. I could not have gotten into USC without his support.

- Current USC Student
 

As someone who dislikes writing, I feel that Azure was the perfect college admissions counselor for me. When I say dislike, I’m serious - it took me an hour just to write that first sentence. And if one sentence takes that long, you can imagine how frustrating it was to write draft after draft of essay after essay...

Azure made that arduous process as painless as possible. By setting reasonable and prudent deadlines, she allowed me to complete my essays with time to spare. Furthermore, the constructive criticism she provided helped me refine the language of my essays without sacrificing my writing style. Most importantly, our conversations always inspired me to discover something – whether it be an experience or an idea – that I would enjoy writing about. College applications were stressful and difficult, but with Azure’s guidance, they became manageable. Plus, she made writing fun. To me, that’s amazing.

- Student Accepted to MIT and Caltech
 

First of all, I want to thank Yii-Shyun for everything she has done for me during my application process. Yii-Shyun is definitely one of the major reasons why I got into my first choice school. I was never good at writing personal essays, alway struggling. But Yii-Shyun was able to help me discover my positive attributes that made me stood out. Before we started writing, we spent a long time brainstorming, and she patiently helped me evaluate each topic. Yii-Shyun is a very accommodating person, even during our non-scheduled time, she answered my questions whenever she was free. I really enjoyed my experience with her, and I am glad that I had worked with her.

- Student Accepted to Hamilton College
 

I honestly cannot imagine having a better college counselor than Elton. He is so knowledgeable about the college process and from day one he was super invested in me and my interests. He helped me develop my extracurriculars and expanded them to be more unique and fulfilling. Through hours of incredibly hard work on college essays, Elton pushed me to reflect and draw from my past experiences to create a powerful college essay. Elton is so easy to talk to, connect with, and is an amazing mentor.

- Student Accepted to Johns Hopkins University (BME)
 

I'd definitely recommend ILUMIN to anyone who is about to go through the college application process. All of the advisors are very knowledgeable about what colleges are looking for and are great at helping you implement those elements into your application. They take you through the process of application step by step and refine every inch of your application so that it's the best it can be.

Besides all that, all the advisors are also great people who care about what's going on in your life. John pushed me to write truly reflective essays and made sure that colleges really understood who I was through my essays. He also set deadlines so that the writing was paced out and very manageable, even though my applications required 21 essays in total. He was willing to answer every single one of my many questions any time I contacted him. Without his advice and ILUMIN’s expertise, I doubt I would have gotten into as many schools as I did. Having a counselor for the college application is invaluable, and this is the best there is!

- Student Accepted to Emory University and Scripps College ($80k scholarship)


I had no idea how to organize myself for my college applications. However, my stress was diminished when Azure gave me a clear schedule. In terms of my writing, Azure was able to pinpoint what was unique about me, which helped me write an amazing personal statement around an event in my life I never would have thought would yield success. She told me what each school was looking for in terms of essay style and guided me in the right direction with progressive and constructive feedback. Thanks to Azure I was able to get admitted to my dream school.

- Student Accepted to Rice University


Getting help from Yii-Shyun was one of the best choices I've ever made! She helped me so much for getting ready for college! Not only did she help me with the essay editing, but she recommended different colleges, helped me get a clearer vision of what I really want to study in the future, and made the college application process less stressful! Because of her help, I got accepted to all the colleges that I applied to, which is a miracle!

- Student Accepted to UCSD
 

Elton has been an integral part of my high school career. His knowledge regarding the in's and out's of the entire college application process, from extracurricular activities to the essay writing portion, is astonishing. I connected extremely well with Elton and see him more as a life mentor than just a college coach. His entrepreneurial, start-things-yourself, approach to everything has been very insightful and not only helped me stand out as a student but also greatly improved my leadership abilities. Whether it’s helping me turn a community service idea into a small company, guiding me through the personal statement essays, or simply helping me discover my true passion in entrepreneurship and business, Elton’s patient yet proactive style of coaching helped improve not only my college application but also my character.  

- University of Michigan, Ross School of Business freshman
 

John is a knowledgeable and friendly consultant who was an extremely valuable asset in my college application process. He was able to answer all my questions about colleges, majors, resumes, and extracurricular activities. John also provided clear and important feedback on my essays.

Yet what makes John a counselor I would highly recommend is his dedication to understanding every student on a personal level. He made a genuine effort to know everything about me, including my experiences, family life, and interests in order to better portray my strengths in the application. This is something I feel not a lot of counselors try to do, or are even able to. By having a better understanding of the student, John created an application that represented me well and resonated with me personally.

Also he brought snacks to our work sessions, and snacks are essential for any growing teenager.

- Student Accepted to UCSD, USC, and NYU
 

Azure was truly the best college counselor I could ask for. She fully supported me in my choice to pursue a number of selective colleges and made sure I had constructed a college list that best suited me.

She especially guided me through the difficult process of writing college essays. Doors at the office were always open for me to come in, write, and receive immediate feedback on my essays. Azure encouraged me to tell my stories in their truest form and maintain a writing style I was most comfortable with. Most importantly, she helped me tailor my writing of the UC essays to fit what the UC schools were specifically looking for—a style completely different from what most private schools seek. I would not have known to do this without her help!

And, because I was always a bit concerned with making small errors in the actual application portals, Azure would go over every single step of the application with me, whether it be over the phone or in person, to make sure I submitted perfect work. I’m so grateful for her help not only as a college counselor, but also as a genuinely kind, honest, and helpful mentor in writing and in exploring my options for the future!

- Student Accepted to UC Berkeley and Michigan
 

I can list many people who have played a part in shaping the person that I am today and giving me the opportunities I have now. Without a doubt, Elton is on the top of this list. As a consultant, Elton’s responsive communication, attentiveness to students’ needs, and professional expertise are all unquestionable. There is very little I need to elaborate on: he is simply one of the best. If you are looking for a professional yet personable college counselor, look no further. But besides his capability, insight, and experience, there are other aspects of a consultant that people often overlook. So I will be honest and direct: Elton did not push me to work only at things that would strengthen my resume. He has never once told me to do join a club or do an extracurricular simply because “it would look good on my application.” Instead, he challenged me to excel at the things I enjoyed – to work towards my own goals. Academic and personal achievements soon followed. Elton truly cares about his students’ well-being and growth, on top of their academic achievements. He not only took it upon himself to help me into my dream schools, but challenged me to grow as a student and as a person, each step along the way. I can surely and confidently recommend Elton as a consultant for anyone wanting a truly exceptional mentor. And he truly is a mentor, in every sense of the word.

- Current UCLA Student
 

John impressed me in so many ways. I experienced these great qualities by interacting with him, rather than him telling me.

First, John is very professional. He has a lot of experience regarding the college application process. He helps every student develop his or her unique essays, regardless of how many drafts (over 12 drafts for me, and I’m certainly not the only one).

Secondly, John has a long view. He not only helps his students apply to college, but aims at helping them succeed in the future. He always mentions how when I apply for jobs in the future, the skills he taught me will be useful.

Thirdly, Not only is John my college counselor, he’s also a friend. When I was stressing out during senior year, he would call me up, comfort me and encourage me to keep going.

Lastly, he cares about his students like they are his younger brothers and sisters. I’ve had a couple of mentors that helped pave my way to college, and John is definitely a very important one. Looking back, I’m very glad that I decided to work with him on my college applications. I could not have gotten into any of my schools without him!

- Student Accepted UC Berkeley, Michigan and Boston College
 

I met Azure the summer before my senior year, and I am so thankful for her guidance and support throughout the college application process. Azure and I had a very strong relationship, and whenever I felt like I was stuck, talking with her always gave me new ideas and new perspectives to approach the idea from. What I am most thankful to her for is the emotional support–when I was conflicted or stressed, she calmed me down and made sure I was still on track for my deadlines. The college application process really helps you learn a lot about yourself, and without her help, I would not be as mature as I am today.

Throughout the months until my last deadline, Azure met with me weekly to review drafts, and during our meetings I would update her with what was going on in my life, which helped us grow closer and also was a resource for potential essay topics. Towards the few days before essays were due, she always made sure we could get a phone call in to ensure I was feeling 100% about my essays before submitting them. She definitely made college essays fun to write and the entire process much more relaxed and organized. Thank you so much, Azure!

- Student Accepted to Duke University
 

ILUMIN gave me a step-by-step breakdown of the college application process. Right from making a college list to reviewing essays, Elton and his team have always been hands-on. What really stood out to me was how tailored and personalized his work was, especially in the essay writing process. Elton took the time to learn about my passions, hobbies and activities before so much as mentioning essays!

As an applicant from India, Elton demonstrated beyond convincingly his ability to cater his work to an international market. Elton’s work was miles beyond the other options India offers in terms of college counseling and guidance.

Elton’s individual commitment to the job is something that truly distinguishes his services from others. From him working ridiculous hours with me over Christmas break to him actually visiting me personally all the way from California, his sheer dedication shined through over our time together.  

All in all, with admissions becoming ever more cutthroat in top schools, Elton’s services help set my application apart. ILUMIN delivers results.

Student Accepted to the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
 

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire college application process with John.  He helped transform my ideas into excellent essays that were powerful and persuasive, yet still stayed true to who I was. John was extremely easy to work with and made the essay writing process smooth, manageable and even fun.

His structured application process was extremely helpful because it allowed me to stay on track even with over 30 essays to write.  He also took the time to really teach me how to write better and present myself more clearly on paper—skills that I will definitely use in college and beyond.  I can’t express how thankful I am to John for taking the time to make sure this process was not only rewarding, but also for teaching me a valuable skill for the future! 

- Current University of Michigan Engineering Student
 

Azure is a hard worker who cares about her students. This is definitely reflected in the essays she helps students produce, since she takes the time and effort to connect with her students. Azure was extremely helpful in crafting personal and colorful essays. The time and effort she made to connect with me helped me feel comfortable in sharing personal  details of my life, which definitely helped my essay be unique. She is also respectful of students' opinions and is extremely willing to meet in person or talk on the phone. Overall, Azure not only helped me write better essays, she also helped me develop my writing skills and my writing tone. It was fun working with her!

-Current UCLA student


Before I met Elton, I was a cynical student with no plans of what to do to get into college. However, after all his sage wisdom, moral support, and planning of extracurriculars and logistics, I am now less cynical and accepted into Carnegie Mellon. Hanging out in his office with him on occasion for a consecutive 8 hours certainly improved both my writing focus and skill for a variety of essays. Joining the camps and programs he recommended netted me extra items to throw on my previously bare resume, and more importantly, extra happiness to my life. Elton would say that all students have value, regardless of what others or colleges would say; I would say Elton is the man to go to unearth that value.

- Student Accepted to Carnegie Mellon
 

John was instrumental to our daughter’s admission to UC Berkeley. He met with her every week to develop her essay ideas, review her drafts in detail, and most importantly of all emotionally support her through this major life step.  John developed a genuine friendship with her where he was not only able to encourage her during tough times, but also gently yet effectively challenge her to write outstanding essays.  He was completely invested in her success, personal growth and college application from day one.

We now consider John not just as a counselor, but as a family friend that we can go to for anything.  

- Parents of Student Accepted to UC Berkeley
 

College applications are definitely one of the most challenging parts of high school, especially for me as an international student, but I made it through with valuable guidance from Azure. Instead of a counselor, she made me feel like she’s a friend of mine by trying to understand my personality and life experience. She helped me find the stories that I were unique to me and exciting to write about. I remember being overwhelmed by the SAT, personal statement and all the school work on my shoulders. Although I wasn’t able to finish my essays early because I was so stressed out, Azure was willing to sacrifice her weekends and even Christmas break to help me refine my essays. Her assistance not only gave me college offers that I only dreamed of, but more importantly, a deep understanding of my major and getting the most of my college years.

- Student Accepted to Boston University and Northeastern

 

有愛心的大學申請顧問 Elton

當我的家人第一次和Elton見面,他給了我們一個溫暖的微笑,和非常有力的握手, 從此展開了他跟我兩個青少年之間,良師益友的關係。

每一個青少年,都有他們自己的特質和潛力。當他們在申請大學的時侯,如何能夠讓他們的申請書,在眾多的申請書中,讓審查官能夠看出他們的特質和潛力,而願意在眾多的申請人當中提供他們入學機會。

大學申請方案是非常複雜和冗長的,必需要有一套完整的完整的方案,而這就是Elton 所提供的專業服務. Elton, 幫助我的兩個十幾歲的青少年,找到自己的長處,補強他們的弱點,幫助他們選取對的的高中課程,找課外活動參與,找合適的學校名單,獎學金的機會。,但是,Elton 除了提供專業服務之外,他還教會我最重要的一件事. “尊重我們的孩子,尊重他們的選擇和決定。“ 讓他們能夠自動自發來和 Elton一起來做他們自己的大學申請書,參與整個過程,因為這是他們將來的人生,他們應該做出他們的決定。父母要能學會尊重這一點。我們的孩子才會長大成熟.

我的兩位青少年,他們放榜結果, 學校和主修都是他們想要的。如果沒有Elton的幫助,他們將無法有這麼棒的結果和這麼愉快的大學申請過程。

謝謝Elton 帶他們走過人生最重要的一段過程,並幫助他們成長!

- Parent of Student Accepted to UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and University of San Diego

 

四年多来,John担任我两个儿子的大学申请指导。他竭尽全力地关心帮助他的学生。他经常同他们进行娱乐,促膝谈心,打成一片。孩子们在高中期间,每当遇到学习上的挑战,待人处事的挫折或青春期的烦恼,总是向John倾诉,请他指点迷津。我两个儿子不仅认他为良师。更视他为兄长。

他无论多忙,总能及时回应我的电话,短信,或电子邮件。我感谢他一直同家长密切联系。使我们随时了解掌握孩子们的状况和进展。

更令人满意的是他出色地指导孩子们成功完成了申请大学的艰巨重任。他叮嘱他们争取优良高中学习和标准考试成绩。鼓励他们各尽其能地参加多项课外活动。他深夜阅读修改他们的写作。为他们准备多种面试。他为他们制定大学申请计划和策略,同他们一起回顾成长经历,辅助他们写出个性鲜明激情洋溢的大学申请作文。并遂字遂句地校阅他们每一所大学的每一份申请表格和文件。在他地全程指导下,孩子们非常高兴地收到了他们指望的大学录取通知。

我极力推荐所有的家长为了他们孩子的成功同John合作。

- Parent of Student Accepted to Carnegie Mellon

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