CEO and Founder
CEO and Founder
Brian Safdari is the founder of College Planning Experts. He is the leading authority on getting your child into his/her dream school and on finding ways to pay for your child’s college costs without going broke.
Raised in the San Fernando Valley, Brian was a four-year varsity soccer player. As Chatsworth High School’s soccer captain and center midfielder, he was one of the highest ranked soccer players in the West. He was a player for the Valley League, he was on the Olympic Development Program for the California State Team, and he was on the U.S. Junior Tournament Team at the France ’98 World Cup. Brian thought he’d have a full ride to play NCAA Division I Soccer in college, but during his senior year of high school he had a career ending injury. It changed everything. Instead of going to his dream school, Duke University, Brian ended up settling on a local state school simply because of cost. What Brian didn’t know was that he could have gone to his dream school for less money than the sticker price indicated. Then, after procrastinating and making multiple mistakes on his financial aid forms, Brian took on over $50,000 in student loans to attend his local state school. He graduated college in debt and without a targeted passion for a specific career. It was only after attending debt consolidation conferences that Brian learned the insider strategies he missed out on during his college planning process.
After his personal experience, he decided to devote his life and career to helping parents and children learn the truth about the college planning process. He now directs families on what it takes to get accepted to a dream college, how to receive thousands of dollars in financial aid, regardless of income or assets, and how to properly fund for the cost of college without going broke.
Today, Brian has helped over 25,000 families in helping them achieve their college dreams. His clients come from afar and attend educationally diverse schools. Brian has also published his own book, College Planning Made Easy.
Genessy is a graduate of Alemany High School and is a former student of Pierce College. Genessy, like Brian, didn’t understand the college planning process. She assumed she’d attend Pierce College after high school because she wasn’t aware of any other options. She didn’t know in what she wanted to major, and she didn’t take any of the admission exams required for four year colleges while she was in high school. After trying to navigate the transfer process alone she made a tough decision and decided to enter the workforce. Needing to support herself financially she turned to real estate.
She made the switch to college planning in 2006 when she found a deep seeded passion for helping students. She enjoys being a part of a team that ensures families are educated on the options available to them.
In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, 2 kids, and 2 dogs.
Heather serves exclusively as the Diamond Membership College Counselor for College Planning Experts. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with both a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Educational Leadership, Heather’s education in writing and higher education policies makes her an exceptional advisor and essay guide. She also has unparalleled experience to share with her students.
Heather has held various roles in higher education for the last decade. She spent four years working for an international test preparation company, becoming an expert on standardized tests and college entrance exams. She knows how to best approach admissions tests. She then worked as a college counselor, both for a boutique college consulting firm and for a large public school. Working with hundreds of students, she has expertise in all types of personalities and goals. Her students have been accepted to schools ranging from Stanford, to USC, to UCLA, to Cal Poly SLO, UT Austin, Michigan, etc. She also worked closely with admissions reps from various colleges and universities, bringing presentations with new information to her families. During the course of her career, she also obtained her teaching credential in Career Technical Education, so she is an expert on creating curriculum to showcase various career opportunities to her students.
Before coming to work with our Diamond clients, Heather founded her own college admissions firm, giving her an in-depth understanding of college consulting. Her prowess in this industry is unparalleled. She understands how to a create custom college plan for each student and how to successfully team with schools for your child’s success. But more than that, college is an exciting experience, and she wants to make the application process fun! She wants her students to succeed and be happy with their journey and goals. When she is not working, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids, and two dogs. She loves hiking and is a country music enthusiast.
Dr. Jerry Daniels graduated from East Texas State (Texas A&M Commerce) with a Bachelors of Science Degree in 1983. He completed a Masters of Science Degree from East Texas State the following year. He completed his PhD at Texas A&M University in 1994.
Dr. Daniels taught agriculture science in Fort Bend ISD Sugar Land, Texas for 10 years. He was privileged to also teach at Houston Community College Northwest campus for a period of time. In 1996 Dr. Daniels was selected as Fort Bend ISD secondary teacher of the year.
He later spent one year in the field of computers when he assumed the role of Director of Technology for Buffalo ISD in Buffalo, Texas. The following year he was offered the position of Student Advisor and Lecturer at Texas A&M University.
This position allowed him to develop a detailed understanding of what is expected of the student at the secondary level of education as well as from institutions of higher learning. The years of working with high school and college youth in Fort Bend ISD and at Texas A&M revealed a need for intensive and individual advising for anyone seeking a college degree. Counselors at the high school and college level do an excellent job but may have several hundred students assigned to their care. The focus of the educational consultant is to concentrate on the needs of the individual student. We provide guidance in academic areas that bridge the gap between what was learned in high school and understanding the complexities of higher education.
Dr. Jerry Daniels is a former educator from the secondary and college level. He became an Independent College Advisor in 2006 and has continued to work with teens and their families to get the most from their college experience.
Makou was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended California State University, Long Beach, and earned both a B.A in Spanish and an M.S in Counseling with a PPS Credential. In addition, she also earned a College and Career Counseling Certificate from California State University, Los Angeles.
She has worked with high school students for the past 10 years in preparing them for college. She has had a lot of success with students getting into their dream college with the intensive workshops that she has conducted.
She became a College Counselor because she felt that when she was in high school her counselor never helped her reach her full potential as a student. In fact, she only saw her counselor once a year and that was to get her class schedule. When she went to college she was not prepared. She had to teach herself everything. She did not know what was financial aid and what support services she had on campus. Her first-year experience in college was a bit scary and she knew that she did not want anyone to go through the same struggles as she did as a first-time freshman.
Fast forward, she now has been a College Counselor for 10 years and can say that she has helped students be successful through the entire college-going process at ease. She has worked closely with high school students in the Los Angeles area. She is currently a UCLA reader which allows her to be able to help students understand what is needed to have a competitive and comprehensive application. When she became a College Counselor 10 years ago she knew that this was the best and most rewarding decision she have ever made. She truly enjoys working with each and every one of her students and she wouldn’t change this career for anything. When Makou is not doing College Counseling, some of the things she likes to do for fun are hiking, lifting weights at the gym and she is part of a Salsa team.
Corinne (Coco) Lee has been a college admissions counselor for more than six years. She considers herself to be a cheerleader for students’ higher education dreams and especially enjoys helping clients to discover and celebrate their strengths. Her clients have received millions of dollars in merit and talent scholarships.
Ms. Lee has been certified by Columbia University in college advising, and she has been certified by Harvard University in editing/publishing. She received her Master’s in writing from the University of Texas-Austin on a fellowship and also studied at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop on a fellowship. Her undergraduate degree is from U.S.C., where she majored in English, was a Thematic Option honors scholar, and studied, through an exchange program, at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Ms. Lee is an award-winning author; she won the National Poetry Series and has had two books published by Viking Penguin. Six of her poems have been included in Best American Poetry. She also has won numerous teaching awards, including honors from the University of Texas-Austin’s alumni association. She is a proud mother of two seniors at Columbia University (Columbia College, Barnard College) and enjoys sculpting, gardening, and parenting several quirky rescue animals.
Ben has over a decade of experience as a teacher, researcher, and college advisor. He received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley and his M.A. in philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a graduate student, in addition to philosophy, he studied French, ancient Greek, took courses at the UCLA School of Law, and served as a Teaching Associate for a variety of undergraduate classes.
He’s worked as a full-time college advisor for the past 9 years and is especially passionate about helping students navigate the many labyrinths of the college admissions process. Essays, whether it be brainstorming, outlining, or polishing, are by far his favorite part of the job. He’s also passionate about working with younger students, helping them identify subjects and activities they’re passionate about and find colleges they love.
Summary of Background
• Former Head Counselor of one of the Bay Area’s largest college consulting firms. He’s worked with 1,000+ students from 8th-12th grade, helping them build their resumes, find their passions, and of course, apply to college.
• 3+ years working as a high school college counselor.
• 10+ years of experience teaching philosophy and English to over 500 students.
• Experience in all types of applications and essays: everything from University of California system to B.S./M.D. programs to United Kingdom schools such as Oxford and Cambridge.
• Helped students gain acceptances into schools such as UC Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Emory, Brown, Swarthmore, Cornell, California Institute of Technology, Northwestern, UCLA, and many more.
• Member of National Association for College Admissions Counseling
Laura received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She majored in Anthropology and minored in Education. Laura’s passion for education, led her in pursuing her Master of Science in School Counseling from California State University, Long Beach as well as a Certificate in Higher Education and College Counseling from California State University, Los Angeles.
Laura has worked in education since 2011. At that time, she facilitated various educational workshops on the college application process. In 2014, she started providing comprehensive college counseling services to students in grades 9th-12th. She’s guided hundreds of students through the college application process. Laura is passionate about helping students apply and prepare for college. She loves college application season. She strongly believes the college application is a great place for students to reflect on their accomplishments and highlight the various qualities that make them unique.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature. She enjoys camping, gardening and spending time with her dog and husband.