Unedited Testimonials (always under development)

Laird Durley is an excellent college advisor. I came to Laird with little knowledge of what university or college I wanted to attend, but with my budding goals and interests in mind. Laird (or Mr. Durley) proposed precisely the right institutions in which I could develop into the person I am today. He took into consideration my study habits, hobbies, and even personality when selecting possible colleges. I absolutely love my school and credit Laird for discovering it for me. Thanks Laird!

Kasey Burden, Bullard HS
Whitman College
Class of 2013



I first came to know Mr. Durley in the fall of 2001 while taking his introductory philosophy course at the Reedley College campus.  Drawn to his passion for education, I audited his critical thinking course the following semester.   His lectures were engaging and provocative and I can still say to this day that his courses were among the most challenging and informative that I have taken in my college career.  It is tragedy that he is no longer in the classroom, but I am a better student, a better thinker, for having had Mr. Durley as an instructor.  Mr. Durley was readily available during office hours and he was always willing to continue the discussion outside of the classroom.  His commitment to student achievement was demonstrated to me time and again.  His guidance and mentorship put me on track for academic and professional success.    After I transferred to UC Berkeley I maintained contact with Mr. Durley.  He has written me letters of recommendation that I have no doubt contributed my graduate school educational opportunities.  His professionalism and knowledge have benefited me greatly and I would recommend his expertise to anyone that wants to make an informed decision when picking the right college.

Josh Ochoa Reedley HS
Cal, B.A. 2006
Chapman University, MAT 2013


Laird guided me on the personal statement portion of my medical school application.  I was looking for a way to craft my medical passion into a narrative.  Laird and I set out our goals, worked through multiple drafts, and achieved what I wanted.  I would highly recommend his services to my family and friends.

Max Stephenson, SJMHS

Grinnell 2011

UCD med 2016



It can be a scary thought...an ambiguous, curious cloud of questions and doubt hanging over your head as you await that first SAT test, schedule your first college visit, or receive your first senior year semester report card.  All of a sudden, a student can feel the tremendous pressure of things that need to be done in such a short span of time!

 Laird really helped me in this stressful process- I was that pressured senior, confused and terrified because I just didn't know how to correctly begin the puzzling process.  But Laird helped me find my right direction. The best advice I was given was to keep my options open, and to be open to suggestions! He gave me the right literature to read, unique insight into colleges (amazing colleges that I had never even known existed!), and the right advice on the little things that made all the difference in the admissions process.

 Laird has the connections and collegiate awareness that helped turn the enigmatic concept of “college” into a welcomed subsequent step in my academic future.

~ Larisa DCE UHS
 St. Mary's of California, 2017


Applying to college is a scary and daunting thing and it is easy to spend hours lost in the Common App not knowing where to start. Being the oldest child in my family I had no clue what I was doing and my parents were equally ignorant. I am so so glad that I decided to see Laird and not just blindly wander around on my own. Not only was he a much needed guide to all of the little twists and turns in the application process but he made it fun. I looked forward to our meetings because of our interesting discussions fueled by Laird’s encyclopedic knowledge on seemingly every college in the country. Whether you are a high school junior in search of what types of colleges you should put on your radar or … you are a senior in need of some guidance on essays and someone to help you “just push the button,” Laird is the person to go to. Having a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide to help navigate the college process takes out a ton of the stress and pain and will surely benefit the emotional state of both the applicant and (his or her) entire family!


Annabelle Beecher SJMHS

Stanford, 2017


How I wish I had known about Laird when I began my college application process! By the time I got to him, I was done with the Common App and had just begun work on University of Chicago’s infamous Uncommon Application. U of C was my number one choice, and I wanted to do really well, but I felt like my essay ideas were a bit of a train wreck. Laird helped me organize my thoughts, and with his guidance, I was able to put together what I believe to be a truly well written, entertaining essay. I believe there is no one better in the valley to help students write a really impressive essay.

Claire Baradat, University High School

UChicago 2017


I have been so fortunate to have had Laird Durley as my college advisor. I came to him with an idea of what kind of college I wanted to go to, but with no specific school in mind. With his guidance and knowledge, I was introduced to universities I would have never known about, and discovered what schools would benefit my goals and me. In my experience with Mr. Durley I have come to know him as an intelligent, dependable, and extremely well organized individual that truly cares about finding the right college for you. As we all know, applying for schools is an incredibly stressful time, but with his assistance I felt prepared and turned in personal essays that I was proud of. I am also happy to say that I got into most of the colleges I applied to and credit much of that success to the direction of Mr. Durley.  I am so happy with the school I ultimately chose. Thanks Mr. Durley.

Paige Saito, Clovis North
UC Davis '17


Applying to college is extremely daunting.  With all of the essays, transcripts, creative résumés, and sample work, a high school senior feels overwhelmed.  When I told my dad about how complicated the college application process is compared to how it was ‘back in his day,’ he asked me if I would like to meet Laird Durley, a tennis friend.  After sitting down for an hour with Laird, the college finder and essay extraordinaire, I was sold.  Over the last two years he suggested I check out several colleges I never imagined applying to, colleges that soon became my top seven colleges.  Laird helped me develop my own point of view in writing essays, a point of view that most high school English teachers don’t allow students to use… first person.  There were some pretty tough essay topics out there, and without Laird’s guiding hand I would have spent more time figuring the prompts out, instead of writing them.  The best part of my experience with Laird was learning to write and edit essays like a college student, on my own.  Thank you, Laird, for all of your help and wisdom.


Jana Price, University High School – Class of 2014

Loyola Marymount University (University Honors Program) – Class of 2018