Nina Marks is the founder and principal of Marks Education, which opened its doors in 2004. The following year, Nina founded her non-profit organization, Collegiate Directions, Inc., to raise awareness about college access, financial aid, and college readiness for low-income students.

Prior to her career as a successful educational consultant, Nina worked as an independent school teacher and administrator for more than 30 years. After serving many years as an English teacher at the National Cathedral School, Nina became NCS’s Director of College Guidance in 1992. During her tenure, she created and directed a nationally recognized college guidance program and wrote the National Cathedral School College Handbook, which was copyrighted and sold. In 2002, she assumed additional responsibilities as Assistant Head.

Before becoming NCS’s Director of College Guidance, Nina served for 10 years as a member of Harvard University’s Schools and Scholarships Committee. She also participated in Brown University’s Alumni College Advising Program. Nina was educated in India, the United Kingdom, and at Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude in English.

Nina is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and for several years served as co-director of NACAC’s program on Counseling for Selective College Admission, an annual workshop to facilitate communication between experienced high school counselors and college deans and directors of admission. She is also a member of the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling. She has spoken on issues relating to U.S. and international college admissions at national conferences, including NACAC, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the National Association of Independent Schools. Nina also has participated in regional and local events sponsored by such organizations as the Association of Independent Maryland Schools, the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, and the Parents Council of Washington.

Nina devotes considerable time to non-profit work, focusing especially on support for Collegiate Directions, Inc. (CDI). She also enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction, walking outdoors, and spending time with all three generations of her family, including everyone’s dogs.

Nina’s availability is limited, but she does meet with students and families on an hourly basis, both virtually and in-person at the Bethesda, MD, Washington, DC, and McLean, VA offices of Marks Education.


  • Cathedral and John Connon School, India
  • Sherborne School for Girls, U.K.
  • Harvard University, BA magna cum laude in English

Nina in the News

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We were introduced to Nina Marks by a mutual friend and, by virtue of our being so far apart geographically, communicated only by long distance. Geography is no problem for Nina—her commitment extended to responding to voicemail while on a holiday in India. We thought the guidance counselor at our son’s private school was helpful, but Nina’s professional guidance raised the bar to levels we never imagined. Her probing questions, her coaching and her positioning our son for application completion, school tours, interviews and follow-up were brilliant. Every parent should consult with Nina before sending their child to college.

— Gilbert & Suzanne Matthews, San Antonio, Texas

As if the college admission process were insufficiently confusing and stressful, there is an additional burden on the secondary school athlete. In the interest of equality and to avoid discrimination, the NCAA must treat coveted, revenue-sport stars who can add millions of dollars to the income of an athletic department the same as bench warmers in sports that attract only the interest of scattered friends and family. Of necessity, the rules are complex and the penalties for non-compliance are draconian. Just imagine the conversation with your child if a well-intentioned effort causes either loss of eligibility or the end of a coach’s interest — particularly given a coach’s power in the admission decision.

In 2000, we worked with Nina to navigate these shoals with our daughter who was being recruited in three sports. In addition to the confusing requirements of the NCAA, the management of expectations of the various coaches was important to avoid loss of flexibility until the final decision was made.

Nina’s guidance was invaluable and helped our daughter’s admission to Harvard where she earned eight letters in field hockey and ice hockey and participated in five NCAA tournaments.

— Haven & Simmy Pell, Washington DC

Guiding our three, very different daughters through the college admissions process was not easy, but Nina mastered the challenge with exceptional skill, dedication and grace. She got to know each child well. Nina then skillfully helped (and at times guided) each of our daughters to consider schools that were right for her, and coached them through the process. In so doing, Nina drew on her encyclopedic knowledge of colleges throughout the U.S. and Europe, including not only the strengths and weaknesses of each school, but also the priorities and goals of each admissions office. Nina knows hundreds of admissions officers personally, and has invaluable insight into how they make their decisions.

Nina also worked tirelessly with us as parents — which is yet another challenge. She was always available to answer our questions, to consider alternatives and to soothe our anxieties. Throughout three very stressful admissions processes, Nina was a wise and steadfast friend and counselor. And in the end, each of our daughters was accepted at her first choice school.

— Mark & Fern Mazo, Chevy Chase, Maryland