Now Introducing... The Collegiate Group
A girl who fell in love with a pair of shoes.
Reflecting upon the 5000+ college entrance and scholarship essays I’ve been privileged to review over the past fifteen years, the submission that sticks out most in my memory was a simple tale of a girl who fell in love with a pair of shoes. The essay stands alone for its eloquence, authenticity, complexity, and uniqueness.
The brilliance of any memorable essay lies in the author’s ability to intricately weave their personal values and future goals into a first-person narrative while also illustrating their unique personality, rather than the more common practice of telling the reader why his or her personal values and goals are important and why.
One of my key tenets in transforming good essays to great and great essays to elite: SHOW DON’T TELL.
INTRODUCING THE COLLEGIATE GROUP
When I was a recent college graduate, I never expected my first job as an admission counselor at my alma mater to transform into my career. Yet that transformation was exactly what occurred. As I reviewed essays about promising futures, engaged with enthusiastic students excited for the opportunities that lie ahead, and jumped into the world of higher education analytics, enrollment management became and remains a passion.
I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with three varied yet fantastic institutions; a small liberal arts college, a midsized comprehensive university, and a ‘Public Ivy.’ Through my experiences at Coe College, Creighton University, and The College of William & Mary, I developed keen insights into what colleges and universities look for in an applicant and how important fit can be in a student’s overall success.
After much reflection on how I can use my background and experience to best serve collegebound students in the future, I am excited to announce the launch of The Collegiate Group, an Independent Educational Consulting Company. I look forward with hope and excitement as I prepare to shepherd students and their families through the college admission process.
Those of you that know me know this venture has been a long time coming. In fact, I recently discovered my first business plan dating back to 2009. While much has shifted from my initial draft, the central mission remains unchanged: maximize a family’s return on their college investment both financially and through personal enrichment.
As the cost of college continues to soar, I would argue that selecting a college may now be the single most important investment decision a person will make in their lifetime. My approach to simplify the college search process and position a family to maximize their college investment is two-fold:
1. Develop a data-driven tool to provide focus at the onset of a college search.
As I’ve assisted family and friends in their college searches over the years, existing college search tools have always left me underwhelmed. The majority either failed to deliver a list of schools that consistently aligned with a student’s academic aptitude or eliminated schools that may have been a great fit, because a particular school did not meet the selected criteria perfectly. While these tools may introduce a novice to some new schools, relying solely on the existing tools does not typically provide a comprehensive overview.
Conversely, a more personal approach of listening to a student’s interests and requirements before recommending a list of colleges to consider is certainly noble and would likely yield a more concise and accurate list than available search tools. Yet, with nearly 4,000 four-year colleges and universities in the United States, even a seasoned professional is likely to focus the majority of their recommendations from among 100-200 schools in which they are most familiar. This approach may also narrow the field too much.
Introducing Portico! My customized college search tool that uses advanced algorithms to score search parameters instead of simply including/excluding schools based upon the search criteria selected. In addition, this unique tool allows candidates to weight college search factors according to their preferences, giving Portico the information needed to focus on fit, while avoiding omissions. Portico will then use a student's academic achievements to deliver students a list of compatible institutions categorized into one of three groups: Safety, Target and Aspirational.
2. Offer personal support and insight from finalizing an application list through decision day.
Once a student’s initial list has been pared down to 60+ schools by Portico, the focus will shift to the remaining schools with a goal to further refine the list. This process will be completed personally through additional research and culminate with a frank discussion balancing a student’s preferences with my personal insight and experience.
Upon finalizing a list of schools that the student has designated for application, The Collegiate Group will continue to provide individualized support as clients complete the remainder of the admission process; navigating application deadlines, essay writing, interviews, scholarship deadlines, and financial aid package comparisons.
My ultimate goal is for both parents and student to feel confident in their enrollment decision with a the student having found an institution in which they are set up to flourish and succeed.
FOLLOW THE COLLEGIATE CADDIE BLOG
While The Collegiate Group will focus on delivering personalized one-on-one services to assist families in navigating the college admission process and maximizing their college investment, I am also excited to announce the launch of my blog, The Collegiate Caddie.
This monthly blog will use data and analysis to provide commentary on industry trends, unpack important elements relating to college fit, and provide helpful tips in presenting the best version of yourself in an admission application, whether you have simply fallen in love with a pair of shoes or spent your high school summers in Africa building an aqueduct for an impoverished village.
Next month, The Collegiate Caddie will begin a three-part analytic deep dive on The Economic Impact of College Fit. The series will focus on the three college fit factors that contribute directly to a student’s return on investment: Retention, 4-Year Graduation Rate and Default Rate.
Don't miss our next blog drop! Register for our mailing list or follow us on social media to stay connected with The Collegiate Group and The Collegiate Caddie blog. I look forward to engaging with readers through the blog and on social media and encourage you to share your thoughts and provide recommendations for future topics you’d like The Collegiate Caddie to explore.