About - Cathy Zales

For nearly a decade, Cathy Barton Zales has delighted in helping students find and successfully apply to colleges that will provide the best fit for them in the next chapter of their lives.

Cathy graduated with distinction from UCLA’s College Counseling program and successfully completed the Summer Training Institute of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), the nation’s leading professional organization for educational consultants working in private practice. She is a Professional Member of IECA, currently on the Executive Committee of its regional group in Connecticut, and has repeatedly been selected to mentor other members of the organization. Cathy is also a member of both the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). She adheres to the strict ethical guidelines for practice and professionalism developed by each of these organizations. 

Since beginning her work as an independent educational consultant, Cathy has visited close to 250 colleges and universities across the country. She continues to visit between 20-35 colleges each year, where she gains firsthand knowledge of each institution’s programs, culture, and approach to admissions, and develops relationships with college admissions officers. She attends conferences across the U.S., takes advantage of numerous professional development opportunities, and reads avidly to stay abreast of current trends and developments in the field. 

Prior to founding Next Chapter College Consulting, Cathy worked in marketing for Unilever, a major international consumer products company, and in advertising for Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world’s leading advertising agencies. She greatly enjoys applying the skills she developed over years in the business world to her one-on-one work with students. Her marketing and communications background serves her well in helping students identify and then effectively communicate their unique strengths. 

As a parent of two children who have gone through the college process, Cathy is sensitive to the challenges students face during this time and is aware of the guidance and support they need to help make their experience both manageable and successful. She understands the needs of individual students and takes a thoughtful and thorough approach with each.

Cathy holds an MBA in marketing and finance from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in psychology, magna cum laude, from Bucknell University. She is proud to say that she has yet to be stumped by a KenKen puzzle in The New York Times


"I'm going exactly where I want to be next year!  I really couldn't be more thrilled...."

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"You are amazing and I am recommending you to others..."

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One of Cathy's favorite mascots is Artie the Artichoke.  Can you guess which college is proud to call Artie its mascot?