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With dedication to hundreds of students and parents over the years, Merit has encouraged young minds to learn while guiding teens into college and careers.

Here is what some of them have to say:

I was visiting my son last weekend and he wanted me to tell you hello. He is a PhD student in American Politics at U. C. Santa Barbara and has almost completed his 1st year. As he and I were reminiscing about his journey these past 12 years we were talking about how much help you were.

I cannot thank you enough for all the help you gave him and will always be grateful.
--Kerri M, Corralitos

Susan has helped me greatly organize my life and business over the years. She has also helped me with the education and preparation of my kids for life. Susan is very through and easy to work with. I would recommend her anytime.
--Tim N, Bellingham

My son was having a very difficult time in middle school, couldn't turn in his assignments on time (even though they were complete), couldn't stay focused and was extremely disorganized. We were referred to Merit by his school counselor in the hope that Susan could help him identify the issues that were holding him back. It was clear after our first meeting at Merit that Susan respected my son as a person who just needed the tools to succeed. She showed him how to manage his time by using a planner, chunking out large assignments into manageable portions so that the tasks didn't seem so overwhelming, and how to organize his work so that assignments were turned in on time. Merit gave my son the tools to be successful and not feel like a failure. The staff is extremely supportive and genuinely interested in your child's success.

Most recently, Susan generously donated several college planning sessions to the non-profit agency I work for to be auctioned off during our annual food drive. The college planning sessions were extremely popular - we can't thank her enough for her generousity. I recommend Merit to everyone!
--Susan G, Scotts Valley

Merit definitely helped get me on the right track to where I want to be. Susan is incredibly organized, understanding and she'll work hard to find a plan of action that best suits you. She helped me choose the schools that were right for me to apply to, made sure my application essays were excellent, prepared me for college life and workload, but most importantly, she helped me figure out who I am and where I want to be in the long term.
--Arielle Vakni, Boston

To say that Merit was an answer to our prayers would honestly be an understatement. Merit came into our lives at a time of educational crisis for my son who was a junior in high school at the time. My son's was having great difficulties understanding and keeping up with the pace of his high school math class. He was in great danger of failing junior year math which would have meant that he would be behind credits and might possibly not graduate.

We found Merit through a friend who was in a similar situation and she told me of the way Merit was working for her son and thought that it could be an answer to our "math" problems also. I contacted Merit by phone and spoke with Susan. I immediately felt that we had finally found a school that had belief in their abilities to teach and belief in my son. Merit worked out a creative schedule and math curriculum working with the school standards that finally made sense to my son. He flourished with Merit and finally understood what was being taught to him. He was able to not only pass the Math classes required for graduation but raised his overall GPA. He graduated high school and went on to college. At his college placement test he tested into a Math level that we could have never expected.

We truly believe that his success was due to our prayers being answered a few years back when we made the phone call to Merit!
--Ruth Revallier, San Jose

I have known Susan for six years. My son is now enjoying his fourth year in college and well on his way to a successful career. We could not have done this without Susan. She helps students manage their time, focus and use their full potential. She guides students both scholastically and personally on their career trajectory. There is an excellent support staff and impressive resources at Merit. The students have fun and gain self respect and the thrill of self competence. She continues her guidance and support all through the college years!

Susan is very talented, incredibly good at whatever she does and encourages that in others. I have referred several friends to Merit and all agree this is an outstanding service.
--Claudia Livingston, Berkeley

As a mother of two, I was concerned about my children's future. I knew that college admissions were becoming more and more competitive and frankly I was overwhelmed. Susan Tatsui-D'Arcy, and all the professionals at Merit Academy proved to be the lifeline in navigating the stressful process of researching and applying to colleges. She helped my children to identify their strengths in order to assess what schools might be a good fit. She helped my kids write strong admissions applications and required essays. She focused on who they are as individuals and their vision for their life and values. Susan continues to be a valuable resource for my son who attends The University of Portland and intends to go on to Medical school. I have peace of mind knowing that she is always there for me and my children.
--Polly Hormel, Santa Cruz

As a current senior at Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, I have found Susan D'Arcy to be an exceptional college counselor and advisor. She is possibly the most organized and punctual woman I know, and has assisted me in becoming just as organized as she. Under her watch, I have been able to create my very own non-profit organization. Susan provides excellent service that goes far beyond that of any other college counselor, she is extremely knowledgable about all aspects of high school, homework, college applications, essays, interviews, and the colleges themselves. If you need anything, Susan is there.

I recommend Susan to every high school student who wishes to consider a college education or anyone who would like academic assistance as well.

I owe my success entirely to Susan - if it were not for her, I would not have progressed as far as I have, with a job at NASA and Lockheed Martin as well.

Her interests are for the student themselves, and she has a vast selection of resources including tutors, counselors, and more. When with Susan, I feel as if she is trying to assist me in the best way that she possibly can, and that her focus is entirely on me and my success. I know that Susan gets to know her students extremely well and works very hard to help them become the greatest they can in a variety of areas.

When it comes to college counselors, Susan D'Arcy at Meritworld is truly the best of the best.
--Chloe Blanchard, Palo Alto

Merit Academy came to our rescue! Our son was failing high school math, we did not know what to do. We found Merit and with the help of Kimberly my son's teacher he turned his grade into a B plus. We are forever grateful and my son is thriving. Can't say enough about the personalized attention my son has received.

Before we decided to attend Merit Academy my daughter was overwhelmed with pressure and hours of homework. My child is now thriving and extremely happy. I am grateful for the flexibility and nurturing of the wonderful and professional staff at Merit Academy.

It is really incredible, Susan, not only did the project get him into the college of his choice, but he is meeting so many amazing people. He tells them his dream and when he adds that he has already manifested some part of it, they immediately take him seriously, want to know him, meet with him. He is loving UCLA and the WAC program. Thank you for your vision and your passion.
-- Marian Oliker

With Susan's help, my daughter's four-year college plan ensures she will graduate on time – rather than in five or six years like many other students. Susan's flexibility and resourcefulness allows her to customize learning experiences for each student; if one approach isn't working, she has the creativity to find one that will!
-- Rick Gilbert, MD

With Susan's advising help on everything from keeping track of details to writing essays, I have been admitted to my first-choice college. She is the perfect advisor, and my sister will be attending Merit's College Advisory program soon!
-- Gaby Asmus

After high school, my son spent four years at a community college – but after only a few meetings with Susan, he became empowered to attend a four-year university to pursue a degree in journalism. He even has a plan to jumpstart his career when he graduates!
-- Lori Colman

What people are saying about

Beat the College Admissions Game: Do a Project!


An Essential to the College-Bound Student: Without this book, and without the inspiration of Susan Tatsui-D'Arcy, I would not be where I am today! After being deferred from my top college, I took action by finding a project that would perfectly display my talents to the college I wanted to attend. About a month after I had sent in my project to the college, I was accepted!!

The advice and knowledge I received from this book taught me more than how to get into the college of my choice, but it taught me how to be successful at anything I want to accomplish. If you are a perspective college student, this book is an essential!
-- Ryan Pawlak

A Must Read: This is exactly the kind of book every aspiring student should read. If college is in the future for you, you should really consider a project. Susan writes in a way that makes a such a feat seem do-able, and she knows exactly what kind of project fits for each person.

I myself took advice from Susan in pursuing a project during my high-school years, and I was surprised not only by how captivating it became, but by how well Susan showed me how to mold my work and make it grow into something that could really make a difference in an area I truly cared about.

Now I still have the same dedication to the project I began years ago, which made it onto various news stations such as NBC, and even caught the attention of my mayor, vice mayor, fire and police departments! I found that a project is a win-win situation.

As a result of my project, I was accepted into almost every institution to which I applied, and had to choose between amazing merit scholarships and opportunities at many schools, eventually choosing to study at Columbia University in the City of New York as a C. Prescott Davis Scholar.

Again, if college has a role in your future, pick up this book and read it. Don't miss out on the chance to engage yourself in something meaningful while getting ahead of the game.
-- C.B.

We are so grateful for Susan's expertise, guidance, and encouragement towards John. At first, he balked at the thought of doing a "project" but, Susan guided him to find the "right" project that would set him apart from the college app pool. It worked! He created his own production company, producing a music festival for 11 bands under a single record label. Needless to say, he did incredibly well with his college acceptances -- 5 of the 6 schools he applied to wanted him! And, each were excellent fits for his major interest. Today, John could not be happier! I do believe that Susan played a large part in finding the "right fit" for him.
-- Susan Condit

Beat the College Admissions Game: Do A Project! taught me how to get into my first-choice college while working on a project I really care about and involving me in my community. It's a win-win situation!
-- Rebecca Kassel (daughter of David Kassel, MD)

With the help of Beat the College Admissions Game: Do A Project!, my son overcame the pitfall of teenage procrastination by becoming passionate and committed to a project that not only has touched hundreds of lives but has also allowed him to consider top-ranked universities.
-- Scott Tucker, Esquire

After 35 years of handling college admissions, I can assuredly say that Beat the College Admissions Game: Do A Project! is a tool that not only sets the average student apart, but teaches organizational skills that make a leader's life manageable.
-- Marianne H. Mitchell, Indiana University

Merit Books: The Working Mother's Guide to FREE Childcare in your home!

What people have to say about

The Working Mother's Guide to Free Childcare


The Working Mother's Guide to Free Childcare in Your Home designs age-appropriate curriculum that integrates learning directly into my child's life, and is a financially feasible alternative to traditional preschool options.
-- Damon Adalo, Santa Cruz

Clear, organized, with attention to detail, The Working Mother's Guide to Free Childcare in Your Home outlines every step necessary to create a program that will give your child the best possible start in life, without compromising your goals, family time, or pocketbook!
-- Jessica Bettancourt, Santa Cruz

My work schedule is unpredictable and finding satisfying childcare was impossible – until I found Susan Tatsui-D'Arcy's book, The Working Mother's Guide to Free Childcare in Your Home, which explains how to create enriching in-home childcare.
-- Cheryl Witteman, Technology Consultant

Planner 2009-2010

What people are saying about

The Merit Planner


Jessica WHitten, student at Stanford UniversityMy life is so much more organized now that I take my Merit Planner with me everywhere. I can't imagine keeping track of classes, meetings, and long-term projects without it!
-- Jessica Whitten, Stanford University Student

Susan gave my son the ability to see studying as something he can do – and do well. He knows how to study consistently, and can put the pedal to the metal when he needs to.
-- Richard Fontana, Ledyard President



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