About this Blog
Surviving the College Application Process
I am the author of Surviving the College Application Process: Case Studies to Help You Find Your Unique Angle for Success (Morgan James). It is available in bookstores and online now. You can order a copy at Amazon.com.
In our blog Surviving the College Application Process, my colleagues and I hope to help students and families with the process in real time. We will cover issues relating to higher education and the college application process such as high school class and activity planning, testing strategies, college visits, summer ideas, and parent/child dynamics. We will also write about issues facing current college students and in particular, ways college students can use this same approach while in college, applying to graduate school, seeking internships, and applying for a job.
We will try to post 1-2 days per week and keep you up to date so that you can survive the college application process. We welcome your feedback, questions, and topics of interest. Each week, we will choose 1-3 questions from readers to answer in more depth, so please write us with your questions or concerns.
Our Top Posts
If you are just getting started on the college application process or new to our blog, we have organized the blogs by categories, to help you find what you are looking for.
High School Planning
Positioning Yourself for the Right College
College Application Process
Visual and Performing Arts
Students with Special Needs
Testing for College
Success in College
I love learning about what drives people and helping them uncover their strengths. I started my career as the founder of Luscious Licks Frozen Yogurt in Harvard Square right out of college. I always had an interest in business, and in particular marketing, so as a native Californian going to school in Boston, I couldn’t understand why there was no frozen yogurt available in such an ice cream heavy town. I did not let the fact that I had no restaurant experience stop me. I naively followed my passion and thankfully created a successful mini chain of three yogurt stores. My early experience as an entrepreneur taught me a lot about people and myself. Part of our success was getting to know our customers and what flavors they liked best, what toppings they each preferred and how to create a fun, yet efficient work environment.
I left Luscious Licks to attend Harvard Business School where I honed my marketing and strategic business skills. Yet as I continued my post business school career in marketing, consulting and recruiting, I was always fascinated with people’s career paths and how they made decisions. I also enjoyed teaching and eventually became a visiting assistant professor of marketing at Whittier College. It was at Whittier that I fell in love with higher education and mentoring young people on their path to success.
When I moved to New Jersey from California in 2004, one of the first things I noticed was how stressed out most parents were about the college application process. I couldn’t help thinking that my previous experience in marketing (as a visiting assistant professor of marketing at Whittier College, director of recruiting for Ticketmaster Online/CitySearch, and a developer of strategic marketing plans for various companies) might lend some much-needed perspective to the challenge these parents and their teens faced. Since I had learned how to position products and services to appeal to customers, I figured I could also position students to be appealing to colleges.
This led to the founding of my company, College Bound Mentor, LLC. I discovered, during hundreds of individual consultations, that every student has innate talents, but the ability to identify those talents and communicate them effectively to colleges is the key to a successful application process. I used these strategies with my two older daughters who both found the best-fit college and I hope they can help you too.
I like to tell and listen to stories. My unlikely choice of major (math) led me to a first career in investment management. A big part of my job was helping to craft the story of our results each month/quarter/year to our corporate and private clients. What did the results mean? How could you put them in context? Was a negative return really that bad if the market had done worse?
I left investment management to attend Harvard Business School with the desire to transition to the healthcare field. After a summer experience at Massachusetts General Hospital, I knew that I wanted to combine my healthcare and business experiences and joined the Wilkerson Group, a boutique management consulting firm that specialized in solving problems within the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic industries. Analyzing markets, devising strategies and communicating stories were again at the core of the work I did.
As an elected member of the Westfield Board of Education, my passion for education was fueled. This really wasn’t a surprise to me as both of my parents were public school teachers and “school talk” was a large part of my upbringing. I shifted gears professionally and re-entered the workforce in a human resource capacity. Reviewing countless resumes and interviewing numerous college and graduate students opened my eyes to the need to craft a well-articulated personal story. To get past the initial resume and cover letter review, students needed to stand out in a unique way. Successful candidates could tell their story both on paper and in an interview.
I looked for ways to combine my recruiting insights with my knowledge of the school system and college consulting was the perfect match. Lisa and I had been classmates at Harvard Business School and had crossed paths as involved community members in Westfield. I joined College Bound Mentor to help high school students find and articulate their own personal stories.
So, what’s your story? I’d love to find out.
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