ABOUT

UniVarsity, LLC is a college admissions consulting company that helps students find a college match. Unlike most companies, UniVarsity focuses on both academics and athletic recruiting.

UniVarsity works with students through the whole admissions process. We work one-on-one with our clients to develop a list of schools and direct the application process.  Our goal is to match students with schools that are a great fit in all areas including: academic, athletic, social, location, size, and financial. We help families make college affordable by guiding them through the financial aid process and directing them toward resources for scholarships, grants, and merit aid.

At UniVarsity, we strongly believe that every student and family situation is unique with different needs and requirements, so we customize our approach to working with students and families to create a positive and productive experience for each student. We help students contact coaches, plan unofficial and official campus visits, create a strategy for standardized tests, manage the timeline for college applications, and provide essay brainstorming and guidance. If the whole process seems intimidating and stressful, let us help you make it fun!

TEAM

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Karen Leonard

President, UniVarsity

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Karen became president of UniVarsity after a nearly decade-long involvement with the company. UniVarsity guided both of her children through the college application process. Karen was impressed to see her children take responsibility for their college search and transform into emerging adults forging their own paths. Now, she loves helping other students prepare for the transition to college while reducing the stress of the admissions process for families.

 

Karen graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.A. in English and a minor in philosophy. Her background includes teaching English in Japan and working one-on-one with students with special needs as a behavioral assistant with LBUSD. When Nicole asked Karen to join UniVarsity in 2019, she was excited to work with college-bound high school students, similarly helping them envision and create a path for their futures.

 

Karen has a certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from UC Irvine. She is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC), and the WOW college essay community. She enjoys staying current with the ever-changing college landscape through involvement in these professional associations, engaging with college admissions counselors, and visiting a wide variety of campuses.  

 

Following Nicole’s retirement in April of 2022, Karen is honored to carry on UniVarsity’s tradition of helping students showcase their personalities and talents on their college applications so they can reap the rewards of their hard work in high school.

 

Karen lives in Long Beach with her husband and dog Polo (who also loves touring college campuses). Their daughter graduated from Amherst College in 2019 with a degree in physics and computer science and is enjoying a career as a software developer. Their son is a senior at UC Santa Barbara where he is studying political science and German and is his fraternity’s president and an avid skydiver.

Hayley Thompson

Student Liason & Application Specialist

Hayley would be a forever student if given the chance. Her college education began with her Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth where she continued to get her Masters in Education. During that time she worked for the First Year Experience office helping with freshman orientation and campus tours, along with working for the Kirby Program Board bringing events to campus. Working to create a fun and helpful atmosphere for her fellow students has been one of the highlights of Hayley’s college experience and is what inspired her to pursue her Masters in Education. Hayley calls herself a “Cheerleader for Education” because helping students pursue an education that fits their goals and personalities is so rewarding for her.

Hayley loves to travel, be outdoors with her dogs, family, and to learn new things. Sports are a favorite topic, especially if you get her going on her home state (Minnesota) teams.

As an Application Specialist, Hayley works closely with students to help them discover their goals and interests. Her experience and friendly personality help provide an environment that is both productive and fun.

Nicole Gracie

Founder, UniVarsity, LLC

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Nicole began her career in college sports as a NCAA Division I athlete at the University of California, Berkeley on the women's gymnastics team.  

 

After a successful career in consultative sales and marketing for high tech companies, Nicole started UniVarsity in 2010 working with students to understand their academic and athletic goals, and I help them achieve those goals.

 

Nicole is an active member of the Long Beach community and has been active in both Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA). Nicole completed the College Counseling Certificate program at UCLA in 2010. 

Nicole lives with her husband in Long Beach. They have one daughter who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College in MA and was named as an All-American Scholar for Women’s Golf. She is pursuing her PhD in Economics at Harvard University.