A Message From Dr. Antonoff

Educational planning is not a matter of absolutes and easy answers. It requires good judgment and the thoughtful weighing of alternatives. I don’t make decisions for my students. I do share insights and perspective gained from my experience and familiarity with the process so that students and their families can move beyond misperceptions and make choices based on fact, logic, and reason.

Years ago, I served as dean of admission and dean of students at the University of Denver. I enjoyed my work tremendously, but the higher I rose as a college administrator, the less time I spent with students. I left the university to become an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) and have a direct impact on the lives of young people. As an IEC, I can share knowledge that I have accumulated over years of visiting schools and meeting with administrators, faculty, and students. I am able to connect what I know about institutions and the admission process with the needs of my clients and their families.

I believe there are fine colleges for everyone. I like providing clients with options that they may have overlooked or never considered. I enjoy solving the puzzle of what will best fit an individual student’s abilities, talents, and interests. Where can she be admitted? Where can he shine? What can I say that will give the student the confidence to move forward with enthusiasm?

The process of planning for college and applying for admission can sometimes seem arduous and even stressful for students and their families. But as I know from experience, it’s worth every effort when young people find themselves at a “good-fit” school—enthusiastic about learning, excited about relating to new peers, professors, and environments, and reaching their true potential intellectually, socially, and emotionally.


For over 35 years, Steven R. Antonoff has built his knowledge of colleges and universities. As an independent educational consultant, Dr. Antonoff has worked with more than 3,800 students and has visited (and revisited) hundreds of colleges. He has also played a key role in shaping the profession of independent educational consulting, developing certification standards, and creating and teaching a curriculum for the field.

Dr. Antonoff is the author of two popular and long-standing college planning books: College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You and The College Finder: Choosing the School That’s Right for You. College Match has been in print for over 25 years, and in 2019 was released in its 14th edition. College Finder, published by Wintergreen Orchard House, is now in its fourth edition. Since 1993, College Finder has been a go-to source for helping students and college counselors build college lists. Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges has included Dr. Antonoff’s article, “Know Yourself,” for almost 20 years.

A popular speaker and webinar presenter, Dr. Antonoff has covered a wide range of topics, including the following session titles:

  • The Best Resources for the Independent Educational Consultant
  • Ranking the Academic Quality of Colleges
  • Parents and College Planning
  • Solving the College Admission Puzzle
  • College Shopping: Getting in and Fitting in
  • The World Is Flat and Only Ivy League Colleges Are Good: Myth, Reality and Wisdom in College Planning
  • College Admission—Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Lifelong Learning Opportunities
  • The High-Maintenance Parent
  • College Planning: De-stressing or Distressing?
  • A Career in Independent Educational Consulting

Dr. Antonoff is a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association and has been a frequent conference speaker. He consults with the International Baccalaureate Latino Association at a Denver high school. He has also served on the by-laws revision task force for the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

As part of his commitment to advancing the field of educational consulting, Dr. Antonoff is an instructor and member of the advisory board for the certificate program in independent educational consulting through the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He previously taught educational consulting courses through the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) college counseling program. His former students are independent educational consultants and college counselors, practicing both nationally and abroad. Dr. Antonoff also chaired the first five-year evaluation of the UCI certificate program.

Dr. Antonoff is the founding chair of the commission on credentialing of the American Institute for Certified Educational Planners (AICEP). The commission grants the CEP designation to those who demonstrate advanced consulting skills and pass a board-certified assessment.

Instrumental in the founding of the Independent Educational Consulting Association (IECA) Summer Training Institute, Dr. Antonoff has served on the faculty for nearly two decades. He is past chair of the board of trustees of the IECA Foundation, the charitable arm of the professional consulting association. Previous positions in IECA include president, board of directors; nominating committee chair; long-range planning committee; and strategic planning committee. In addition, Dr. Antonoff chaired the search committee to hire the association’s chief executive.

Dr. Antonoff was the first recipient of the IECA Professional Achievement Award, created to recognize the member who has contributed the most to developing the profession of independent educational consulting. Presented annually, the award is now known as the Steven R. Antonoff Award for Professional Achievement.

In 2019, Dr. Antonoff published A Student of Colleges: Fundamentals of Independent Educational Consulting. A text intended for the more than 5,000 professional educational consultants, A Student of Colleges draws on the author’s years of teaching and focuses on procedures, ethical conduct, and best practices in the field.

Before becoming an independent educational consultant, Dr. Antonoff spent 11 years in college administration, serving as dean of admissions and financial aid, executive director of admissions and student affairs, and dean of students at the University of Denver. He earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Colorado State University, as well as a master’s degree in education and a PhD in human communication studies from the University of Denver.

Charitable Interest

Dr. Antonoff is past chair of the Independent Educational Consultants Association Foundation. The Foundation leverages knowledge, professional skills and funds to help underserved students map pathways to success. Each year the Foundation provides grants to small programs and projects that are often off the radar of larger grant-making entities but still manage to produce pragmatic, measurable results for young people whose needs often go unmet. For more information or to support the Foundation’s efforts, please visit https://www.iecafoundation.org/