Providing Expert Knowledge for the Journey to College Since 2004

Celtic College Consultants is currently based in Dubuque, IA, after being founded and based in San Diego for 11 years. While our services include college planning and providing support to a growing number of students, we treat every student and family with respect and adopt them into the Celtic College Consultants family. Our individualized holistic approach is something we take pride in and gives us an edge when compared to similar services.  

It is our mission to provide educational support and guidance for students by communicating with them and motivating them as they transition from high school to college. Katherine is proud to help them successfully overcome high school’s hurdles and progress to college. Students discover what they love and are good at doing, then craft dreams and goals, all in a safe and secure environment.

Our Founder

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Blessed with six children, her hands (and her heart!) are full! Growing up in the Chicago suburb of Oak Forest, Katherine was the oldest of her family and an excellent student, graduating in the top 1% of her high school class. She went off to Northwestern where she dutifully earned an engineering degree, which made her parents proud. However, it wasn’t what she loved; it was far from it. After working for a couple of years she headed off to pursue her interests and earned an MA in Catholic theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. In time, children came and she found herself homeschooling. Friends with older children began to ask about college admissions and financial aid so she started sharing her experience. She then found a mentor and began her college consulting practice. Wanting to better serve families who made too much to get need-based aid but not enough to be able to afford the high costs of college, she earned a certification as a College Planning Specialist.


Since starting Celtic College Consultants in 2004, Katherine has spoken to thousands of college-bound families, helping them navigate the three pillars of college success: student preparation, college selection, and funding. A devout Catholic, Katherine believes that every single person was made on purpose and for a purpose. Consequently, her college consulting is completely student-focused. Katherine is dedicated to helping each student flourish as a human being.


Katherine has delivered dozens of college prep presentations to parents, conference attendees, and groups of various kinds. She is highly valued by her peers as an expert on homeschooling and as an advocate for Catholic students. She has been interviewed on Relevant Radio, Financial Fridays, and other radio shows.

“I look for the special qualities in each student and help them showcase them!”

– Katherine O’Brien, MA CCPS​

Making College Success a Reality Since 2004


Katherine has authored numerous articles, available on the College Prep Answers blog. She wrote The Ultimate Guide to Top Quality College Planning to educate parents considering working with a college or educational consultant about the various options available and what to look for, and watch out for, when looking for a consultant for their student.

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Additionally, Katherine has produced four editions of Every Catholic’s Guide to College: The Best Colleges & Universities for Practicing Catholics. The 2021 edition was released in June 2020. These comprehensive college guides feature an index by major, as well as admissions, costs, aid, and campus ministry information and the name and contact information for the chaplain and/or director of the campus ministry on campus ministry.

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Katherine is available to speak on college admissions, financial aid, student preparation, and related subjects. If you are interested, kindly complete this form and Katherine will respond directly to discuss the possibility. Fees are negotiable.

Conference Meeting