About Us


Cigus Vanni
[email protected]
Wynnewood, PA
“I know stuff”

January 11, 2020 — the time has come…


I regret to announce this restriction, but I have reached my limits and I must save time for those students and families to whom I have been promised.  Last year I overdid it and was forced to scramble to make time for each student for whom I worked.  If I continue to stretch myself too far, I will not be any good for anyone.  Thank you for your understanding!

There are several exceptions I will make for certain new clients:

— any transgendered or transitioning students are welcome at any time.  I don’t care what your front looks like–I will always have your back;

— students who are seeking asylum or part of the DACA cohort are also welcome at any time, with no fee;

— younger siblings of students I have assisted in the past–or offspring of parents that I assisted in the past–are welcome at any time.  As much as I loathe the preference given to legacies in college admission, loyalty to a family is important to me.  You are not allowed to create fake older siblings and try to convince me that I worked with them

I will begin meeting with present sophomores (Class of 2022) sometime around spring break

“Cigus the College Fairy” is Cigus Vanni, a man with forty-four years of experience in college search and selection.  Details can be found on Cigus’s resume posted below–but for openers, here are some things to know about your College Fairy:

—  Cigus was born in north Jersey but escaped after high school;

— Cigus attended Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr College for his formal education (yes, Bryn Mawr–Cigus is a cisgender male and Bryn Mawr’s grad school has always been co-ed);

— Cigus was the first member of his family to attend college, to attend graduate school and to eat Swedish fish;

— Cigus refuses to add to the stress of college search and selection–when one has 2464 four-year colleges and universities in the US alone from which to choose, one can find myriad possibilities to enrich and inspire (and Cigus knows that myriad is an adjective, not a noun);

—  Cigus serves as a College Fairy on a part-time but alert and aware basis.  He’s not looking for a full time slate and so it’s possible that there may be some wait time–or possibly no room–for your request.  If the latter Cigus will certainly offer suggestions for other college consultants;

—  Cigus will NOT “get (your) kid into Stanford,” nor will he be part of any process that violates the ethics and standards laid out in the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Code of Ethics and Professional Practices. Cigus will also refuse to be put on retainer or be available 24/7 to respond to questions/concerns about college admission–nothing in this process is that critical.  If you are looking for someone to assume full responsibility for this process, please do not hire Cigus–he is a collaborator and an empowerer (say that fast five times), working together with students and families and teaching them to control their emotions and this process;

— Cigus enjoys spending time with young people but he makes them pay (literally) for this.  Cigus does not want his fees paid by parents/guardians but rather by the students he serves.  You can find his fee schedule and slate of services on the Fee Schedules page on this website;

—  Cigus welcomes and accepts students and families regardless of sex, religion, ethnic/national origin, race, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status.  Cigus will even forgive you if you are a New England Patriots fan or if you say “Taylor ham” instead of pork roll;

—  and really–who cares if Cigus knows anything about college admissions?  He was a five-time winner and undefeated champion on the quiz show Jeopardy! in 1988 and returned for the 1989 Tournament of Champions for this program.  That alone makes him way cool



 Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, NJ, 1964-68 – high school diploma

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, 1968-72 – BA, English Literature BA, Psychology

Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, 1974-79 – certification, school psychology
graduate course work in Education and Child Development

Villanova University, Villanova, PA, summer 1975 –  two graduate courses

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney, PA, spring 1978 – one graduate course

The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, summer 2002 – one graduate course


Cigus The College Fairy LLC, Wynnewood, PA — academic advising and college search/selection assistance; present workshops on college admissions in local libraries (since 1999); offer presentations to professional associations on various aspects of college admissions, 2016–present

Project 440, Philadelphia, PA — college coach and individual college advisor to the Instruments for Success program at 440, a non-profit organization designed to assist students from underrepresented populations who desire to continue their involvement in music while also developing community service outreach; fall 2016–present

Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA — volunteer adjunct counselor at various sites of school; provide presentations on college admissions; serve as individual counselor for students and families on college search and selection, spring 2016–present

Cherry Hill High School West, Cherry Hill, NJ—school counselor, Sept 2002-June 2016; lead counselor, 2002-03; Coordinator, Advanced Placement program, 2002-2012; individual and group counseling; college and career advising of students

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ—residential director, pre-college program for high school students; director, college admissions seminars, June-July 2008

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA—residential director, Pre-College Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program, July 2007

Academic Study Associates, White Plains, NY—program director for two-week college admissions preparatory series at Tufts University, Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley, summers, 2005-2007

Howell High School, Farmingdale, NJ—school counselor, September 2001-June 2002; individual and group counseling, college and career advising for caseload of 387 students; Coordinator, Advanced Placement program; member, Superintendent’s Advisory Council

Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Pennsauken, NJ – Director, Student Personnel Services. July 1996-June 2001; individual and group counseling, college advising, career guidance; Coordinator, Advanced Placement Program; supervisor of standardized testing; primary architect and initial chairperson, Camden County Regional College Fair, 1998-2001

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA – various and diverse roles: 1976-78, dormitory counselor; 1978-81, instructor, Psychology/Education; 1981-88, Assistant Dean of the College, liaison to Admissions Office; 1991-96, admissions counselor–Saturday office manager, covered local region

Camden County Educational Services Commission, Clementon, NJ – Child Study Team 1976-88, part time school psychologist for non-public school services – consultant and evaluator for eleven secondary and elementary schools; 1988-91, full time Director of Child Study Team for above cluster

Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Bryn Mawr, PA – Counselor, 1991-93; general  counselor for school N-12, college advisor to upper school; teacher, AP Psychology and Psychology, 1992-1993

Norristown Public School District, Norristown, PA; Camden City Public School District, Camden, NJ; Philadelphia Public School District, Philadelphia, PAper diem school psychologist, 1980-1993, part-time

Child Abuse Prevention Effort, Philadelphia, PA – caseworker and volunteer, speaking engagements and outreach, 1976-1980

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA –volunteer reproductive health counselor, 1980-84

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Newark, NJ – teacher of Social Studies; four sections grade nine, one section grade ten, 1973-74

Certified in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in school psychology;

Certified in New Jersey in student personnel services


National Association for College Admission Counseling: member since 1984; (elected) Assembly Delegate, 2003-06 and 2016-2018; (appointed) Member, Professional Development Committee, 2007-2010; (appointed) Member, Ad Hoc Steering Committee for Admissions Practices, 2016-2018

New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling: member since 1996; (elected) Executive Board Member, 1999-2006; (appointed) Chair, By-Laws Committee, 2005-2009; (appointed) Co-Chair, Atlantic City National College Fair, 2007-present; (appointed) Interim Co-Chair, New Jersey Meadowlands National College Fair, 2016-2018

Associate Member, Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling, 2008-present