UniVarsity, LLC is a college admissions consulting company that helps students and student-athletes find a college match. Unlike most companies, UniVarsity focuses on both academics and athletics.

UniVarsity works with students and student-athletes through the whole recruiting and admissions process. We work one-on-one with our clients to develop a list of schools, manage the recruiting timeline, 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, and size. We help families make college affordable by guiding them through the financial aid process and directing them toward resources for scholarships, grants, merit aid, and loans.

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!


Nicole Gracie

Founder, UniVarsity, LLC


Nicole began her career in college sports as a NCAA Division I athlete at the University of California, Berkeley. She credits her parents with “figuring it out” and helping her land a walk-on spot on the women’s gymnastics team at a school that was also a great academic fit. Being a collegiate athlete has been one of the high points of Nicole’s life, and she loves helping and inspiring high school athletes to realize their own dreams of playing college sports.


After a successful career in consultative sales and marketing for high tech companies, Nicole decided to pursue her passion and become a college admissions & recruiting coach. As she says, “basically I had a successful career understanding people’s needs and then finding solutions to fit those needs. That’s what I do now: I work 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, holding many leadership and volunteer positions in various schools, competitive sports clubs, booster clubs, and community organizations. A professional member of the Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA), Nicole completed the College Counseling Certificate program at UCLA in 2010. She has volunteered in the counseling office at a local high school and worked with the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams. In addition to being active in these organizations, Nicole invests a lot of her time visiting college campuses, attending workshops and meeting with admissions officers.


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.

Karen Leonard

Educational Consultant


Karen knows first-hand how daunting the college search can be for both students and parents. She has two children who were high school athletes in Long Beach and aspired to compete at a college level. While she and her husband felt confident about guiding their children through the application process, they noticed their kids weren’t excited about taking their advice. They turned to Nicole at UniVarsity. They felt her approach to helping students take responsibility for finding a college that fit them best would create a more peaceful atmosphere in their busy household. Watching as Nicole helped navigate the maze of coach emails, standardized testing and essays, Karen was impressed to see her children transform into emerging adults forging their own paths. With Nicole’s help, Clare and Sam were both recruited to swim for Amherst College in Massachusetts. During her children’s college search, Karen loved learning about the admissions process, especially visiting schools across the country and experiencing the unique academic environments they offer. She completed the Independent Educational Consulting certificate program at UC Irvine in November, 2020 and is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). Her background includes a B.A. in English with a minor in philosophy from Santa Clara University, where she worked as a peer composition tutor in the school’s writing center. After college, she went to Japan for three years to teach English in junior high schools. After returning to the States, she spent 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, often acting as her husband’s first-line editor as he worked through his M.A. and started his career in journalism. Karen then worked 12 years for the Long Beach Unified School District as a behavioral assistant to students with special needs. At the district, she found her passion for helping students one-on-one, developing plans for their educational success based on their individual needs and goals.


As an educational consultant with UniVarsity, Karen is excited to be helping students showcase their personalities and talents so they can reap the rewards of their hard work in high school.

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 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. She is excited to call Long Beach her new home and is happy to watch her favorite sports teams (Minnesota Wild and the Vikings) in the California sun!

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.

Hayley Thompson

Student Liason & Application Specialist