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Billy Downing


UC Berkeley


University of San Francisco


College Counseling

Billy Downing is an education expert and author focused on the college admissions process, having coached and guided thousands of families around the globe for over a decade.

A seasoned pro in the ever-changing world of college admissions, Billy offers assured guidance through the sometimes bewildering maze of acceptance rates, “yield rates” and early versus regular admissions. By monitoring the latest trends and data, he empowers students and their parents with strategies, resolve and peace of mind as they tackle the challenge of finding the right-fit college or university and securing admission. Billy is the Founder of ESM Prep, a leading educational services firm in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He pioneered the student-specific “academic mentorship” model, which is used by his team of coaches and mentors for academic tutoring, college admissions consulting, and standardized test preparation. His reputation as a straight-talking, caring, and insightful mentor has fueled the growth of his company. Downing’s ability to inspire others and build consensus makes him a natural leader and has contributed to his success in building organizations and networks.

Downing’s most recent book, Million Dollar Degree, focuses on the evolution of higher education and the societal conversation around the true value of college, examines what these means for families navigating the process, and offers practical, actionable information for readers to make informed decisions on the strategies that will work best for them. His first book, College Greatness: A Family’s Guide to the Admissions Process, takes an insider’s look at college admissions and guides families through the process, step-by-step, from discovering the right school to crafting a unique student narrative that results in an acceptance letter.

Along with his responsibilities at ESM, Downing is a trustee at Sacramento Country Day School. He has a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. He lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.

Lisa Schultz


Graduate certificate in College Counseling

Colgate University

B.A. Colgate University

Services Offered

Independent & Boarding School

Joined ESM in


Catherine Dugoni

University of California, Berkeley

B.A. English Literature & B.A. Media Studies

Services Offered

Essay Coaching

Joined ESM in

Lynn Dowdell

CSU, Sacramento

B.A. Liberal Arts

National University

Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

Services Offered

Academic Mentorship

Essay Coaching

Joined ESM in

Sean Towers

U.C. Santa Barbara

B.A. Anthropology

Services Offered

Academic Mentorship

Test Prep

Joined ESM in


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