Hourly Service Reviews

If you are seeking targeted assistance and want to set the agenda, or you have a limited budget and need us to help you decide how to best use it on your applications, partner with us in this capacity. We help clients on many objectives in this manner and can help you too.
4.9 /5 Average Rating
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Based on 39 reviews
December 19, 2018

Joined: Sep 10, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:

Could not have done it without SOP!


When I first started the application process, I have no idea where to start. Coming from what felt like a slightly nontraditional background (non-business undergraduate major and startup experience), I struggled with how to tell my story in a compelling way. That's where Square One Prep came in. Everything from choosing schools, to defining career goals, brainstorming essay topics, structuring my resume and interview prep, the time I put in working with Square One Prep has more than paid off. Crystal helped me to make my application a unique package that detailed who I was a candidate and my goals for attending business school, as well as how I would thrive and contribute to the programs. Working with Crystal and Kathryn on my applications gave me the confidence I needed to be successful in my interviews. They believed in me and pushed me to put my best self forward in my application. It was an incredible feeling getting the acceptance phone calls from Fuqua and Darden. I could not have done it without Square One Prep, and I am THRILLED to be admitted to two of my top choice schools!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
December 05, 2018

Joined: Nov 22, 2016

Posts: 1

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
640 Q44 V34

Square One Prep - Johnson 1YR MBA


After my 30 minute phone consultation with Kathryn, I immediately knew her experience and knowledge would be invaluable in my MBA application. She was direct, straight to the point and understood the importance of application process.

Following my call with Kathryn, we would only have 4.5 days left until the application for Johnson was due. She connected me with Lee Kaplan and we developed detailed a game plan. Creating a strong application is difficult regardless of the individual and it was especially difficult with my below average GPA and GMAT score. To overcome this, Lee and Kathryn did an amazing job tailoring my resume and essays to reflect my personal character and work experiences. They were diligently over this short time period and were responsive at all times of the day.

I could not be more excited to be attending Cornell Johnson next year.

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August 29, 2018

Joined: Apr 09, 2013

Posts: 39

Kudos: 88

Self-reported Score:
750 Q50 V41

Full-ride after a dozen rejections


After two failed attempts (12 submissions over 2 years) at getting into a top-10 business school working with another admissions consulting firm, I almost gave up on my business school aspirations. Every time I spoke with an admissions consultant about my candidacy, I was given the same diagnosis… Your story is compelling! Your scores are incredible! Any business school would be lucky to have you! But, no one could give me a concrete reason I was rejected without interview at every single school I applied to - only that the top schools are all extremely competitive and it is sometimes just luck. When I came to Square One for their thoughts on my previous applications, I expected the same response. And then I spoke to Kathryn.

My initial 30-minute consultation turned into an almost 2-hour long conversation about every part of my application. She gave me 3 specific areas where my previous applications went wrong, and unlike the other consultants, Kathryn said she could see why I was rejected. She was direct and didn’t sugar-coat any of her thoughts. Everything she said was spot-on and I appreciated her candor about how I needed to improve my applications. I was sold. Kathryn paired me with one of her consultants, Julia, to rush out round 2 schools after my round 1 rejections. Julia was supportive, creative, and pushed me to dig deeper on every aspect of my applications. She helped me finish 5 school applications in less than a month (even through the holidays), and I received 4 interview invitations out of the 5 top-10 schools I applied to in round 2.

This September, I will be starting at Michigan Ross with a full-tuition merit scholarship! After 17 applications over 3 attempts, I almost lost hope, and certainly never expected to have the life-changing opportunity to go to an amazing business school debt-free. If you are looking for an admissions consultant, I highly suggest you work with Square One. I cannot recommend them highly enough!

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April 22, 2018

Joined: Apr 22, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Verified score:
730 Q49 V40

Go with Square One Prep and Kathryn Lucas!!!


Navigating the MBA application process can be very intimidating but Kathryn provided exactly what I needed to get through it. Helping to craft my application strategy, to answering my numerous questions, she was always extremely responsive. In a process that requires you to uncover your personal weaknesses, goals, strengths, and dreams, Kathryn was incredibly easy to talk to and knew exactly what to do with the information that I was telling her, which was incredibly important. There were bumps along the road, and weaknesses that we had to
address, but she was insightful and intuitive to help me develop a strategy that made my strengths as strong as possible. With her help, I applied to 5 schools (including 1 of the 2 top schools) and got accepted to ALL including my top choice program and was offered bursaries/scholarships for 3!

She has bolstered my confidence and provided a larger sense of context regarding the applicant pool, giving me a sense of where I stood; tailored for each school and constantly reinforced my goals and helped me focus on telling my story in a way that best represented my true voice. Together we brainstormed a few options and jointly developed very strong points on how I should write my essays. Thanks to the mock interviews with Kathryn, I felt extremely confident at the interviews and I was able to put my best foot forward. I have no doubt that without her dedication, hard work, and commitment, the entire application process would have been far
more difficult and challenging.

Her initial assessment of my case provided me invaluable advice that gave me a clear direction on how to work toward completing the requirements. She reviewed my essays and gave me great pointers throughout the process and as a result, the essays clearly defined my goal and the reason for pursuing an MBA.

As someone who initially spent a great deal of time contemplating the benefits of investing in an admissions
consultant, I am now completely satisfied with that investment; additionally, I believe that working with SquareOnePrep and especially Kathryn, albeit a pretty rigorous experience - yielded incredible results.

I appreciate the strategic, consistent, detail-oriented approach Kathryn took throughout the process. I highly recommend SquareOnePrep.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
January 09, 2018

Joined: Jan 09, 2018

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Interview Prep for HBS

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I contacted Square One Prep a few days before the application deadlines. I was really stressed and confused on whether I should be giving the GMAT again, what part of my story should I highlight, how should I best convey my post-MBA goals. I had a first one-hour chat with Kathryn and she really helped me clear out most of my queries. Unlike a lot of other firms, she critically analyzed each aspect of my profile, even though this was a free consultation. When I (unexpectedly) got a call from HBS, I decided to take their services to prepare for an interview. I approached them just 3 days before the interview, but Kathryn was kind enough to quickly set up a session for me. More than help with answers, I was looking to get comfortable with the format and stay confident. Amalia did just that. She gave me really valuable insights into how I could convey more in a short span of time. Being an HBS alum herself, she helped me understand what the school focuses on. While she talked about her experience there, I got even more motivated to make sure I ace my preparation for the D-day.

I cannot thank Square One Prep enough for their prompt help, insightful suggestions and friendly attitude. I would highly recommend them for interview prep!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
July 11, 2017

Joined: Jun 11, 2015

Posts: 5

Kudos: 4

Self-reported Score:
730 Q49 V41

Hourly review very helpful!

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I worked with Melissa from the Square One Prep team for hourly services on 3 applications in Round 2 (Booth, HBS, Kellogg). She was meticulous in her work and gave guided inputs. I enjoyed working with her. She exceeded my expectations. We did most of communication through e-mails which was very effective. I got interview calls from Booth and Kellogg. I also did practice interview sessions with her. The whole process was a learning experience for me as well. She was helpful and at the same time pointed out my mistakes and kept correcting me.

I would surely recommend her and services of Square One Prep.

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June 23, 2017

Joined: May 26, 2015

Posts: 22

Kudos: 5

Self-reported Score:
750 Q58 V53

Great Support


Square One Prep has been phenomenal in helping me understand how to structure my supplemental material to get off the waitlist for Haas and Anderson. I reached out to them after being rejected from 3 schools, and waitlisted for 3. After hearing about my situation, Kathryn quickly jumped into the tactical questions about where I would want to attend between the schools I was waitlisted at. We eliminated one school to focus on the schools that were higher priority. After listening to me share my story, she talked with me in detail about what I should address in my letters and what else I could do to compel the adcoms to take another serious look at my applications. After this, she suggested that Julia would be a great mentor to help me through the process - and she was not wrong.

Julia quickly got up to speed about my status and understanding which parts of my application were lacking and helped me brainstorm of ideas to make them my strengths or address them in an appropriate way. Within 2 weeks we had an action plan, supplemental letters completed, and submitted. With Julia's and Kathryn's help and contributions, I will be attending Haas.

Square One Prep helps tailor the application based on the individual and his/her circumstances - and that is what makes them unique and you - the applicant - successful. I would highly recommend SOP to anyone - preferably starting at the beginning of the application cycle rather than when you're on the waitlist/rejected.

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June 21, 2017

Joined: Jun 21, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Success with Square One Prep

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

Square One Prep was the only firm I wanted to partner with through the MBA application process. Their personal and tailored approach to working with candidates was exactly what I needed.

I knew I wanted to work with Square One even before the end of the free 30-minute consultation. Kathryn, the founder, asked me thoughtful and prodding questions about my work experience and post-MBA goals. She had an incredible ability to immediately identify gaps or weaknesses in my story/progression that I hadn't even considered. On our call alone, she pushed me to explore the "why's" and the "how's" and wasn't satisfied with canned answers. It was the wake up call I needed before sitting down to put together a thoughtful application.

Once I started the process, I felt like I was Square One's only client. My Square One partner answered every question I had -- from the broad strokes ones to the most minutely detailed ones, the anticipated ones to the emergency-late-night-pre- submission-button-click ones. She kept me centered, motivated, and on target. She was always incredibly responsive and proactive, ensuring I was staying on schedule. Even when I realized I had overlooked something on one application and made a last minute decision to apply to an additional program, she continuously delivered the highest quality of service.

Applying to MBA programs is a mentally grueling, exhausting, and often painful process. Square One's infrastructure made the process as seamless and user-friendly as it could be. I felt prepared and supported every step of the way with a personalized schedule. From the resume, to the LORs, to the essays, it was like I had a whole "team" behind me. I write "team" because it's all of the on-demand information, expertise, and infrastructure you could ever need to support you as an applicant -- but the end product is 100% you and your voice. Square One Prep's value is ensuring that your application shines the best light on who you are, what you've done, and what you want to do. Because of my partnership with Square One, I know that my application showcased the best version of me.

I was hoping to be the last pick of each school I applied to -- the one who snuck into the accepted class. With Square One, I got a full ride to one top five MBA program and an $80,000 scholarship to another!

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
May 15, 2017

Joined: May 15, 2017

Posts: 0

Kudos: 0

Very helpful

REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by school email address [?]

I was impressed by the passion and immense help provided by Kathryn and John. Right after the initial consultation, Kathryn immediately sent strong samples of resume so I could work on my application with a strong base. And even though it was only a few weeks before the application deadlines, Kathryn and John were still very responsive to all my questions and requests, providing invaluable suggestions to my essays that definitely made a difference. I was amazed at their professionalism, experience, and thoroughness that helped me tie my stories together so vividly and fluently I otherwise wouldn't be able to. I have no doubt that every aspect of my application was as strong as it could have been. In addition, Kathryn took the time to counsel and coach me on school selection and ease any of my concerns through the process of choosing my path forward, and she did it without expecting anything in return. She has been a tremendous help and I am thrilled that I will be starting at Anderson in the fall.

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This reviewer has not participated on GMAT Club but it is a REAL person and a REAL review. GMAT Club has verified this test-taker's identity through GMAC/Pearson Vue Score Reporting system or .edu email address and confirmed that this reviewer indeed took the GMAT, is unique, and has not submitted multiple reviews.
April 01, 2017

Joined: Dec 06, 2016

Posts: 2

Kudos: 1



When I first began my search for a consultant, I interviewed several companies including Square One Prep. While most consultants I spoke with kept our conversations brief and mainly told me to improve my GMAT/GRE scores, Kathryn spent nearly 45 minutes on our introductory call to provide an in-depth analysis on my candidacy and strongly encouraged me to apply to schools that were ambitious yet achievable. After our conversation, I felt that Square One genuinely cared about my success and saw much more than just a test score in my application. Despite my budget constraints, Kathryn worked with me to find a flexible option that best fit my needs and worked for me financially. She also provided a number of additional helpful resources to ensure I was set up for success.

I moved forward with the hourly option to focus on essay reviews and was paired with my consultant, John. While I had a general idea of how I wanted to share my story, John was able to help me narrow down the main points and tell it in a succinct and compelling way. He was efficient with our time and I was happy with his quick feedback and response. Thanks to John's numerous edits and reviews, I felt confident submitting my application.

I was accepted at USC (w/ scholarship), Emory (w/ scholarship), UT Austin, Foster, and waitlisted at Duke. I am thrilled to share I will be attending USC's Marshall School of Business this fall as a Consortium Fellow and with a full scholarship!

I am so grateful for Square One Prep's support throughout the application process and would recommend it to anyone looking for an admissions consultant. It was absolutely worth the investment!

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6 Older and Non-Verified Reviews for Square One Prep