Success Stories

Sam: We Helped Him Find his Voice

Sam came to us as a junior in high school. He was shy and not too interested in being a student. He had lost his mother several years prior and was living with his dad who seemed to work long hours.
His love for basketball and music definitely overshadowed any interest in academic studies. We counseled him on time management skills and how to improve his focus in school.

By the summer before his senior year, he had developed a vision for his future and realized how much his choices in high school would impact his college attendance opportunities. Thanks to his commitment and focus, Sam was able to identify a strong list of college prospects―including scholarship possibilities, and he finished his applications early in the fall of his senior year. He was accepted to all but one of his schools – the University of Texas, because he was not even in the top 20% of his class. He had many great options. Sam is thriving at a wonderful school in a well-known music town in the south. He is majoring in sound engineering and pursuing his love of music by playing in a band.

Cassidy: She Faced Reality and Flourished

Cassidy came to us in December of her senior year. She had done nothing about planning for her next step in her education. Her parents had divorced when she was young. Her mom had not set aside much money for her college education, and her dad had not been involved in her life until she was 15. Tragically, he had passed away the summer before her junior year in high school, and Cassidy did not have a stellar junior year as a result of his passing. Cassidy had what we call a “disconnect” between reality and her expectations. She thought she could go anywhere she applied, because she was Cassidy. After several meetings, she began to realize that some of her choices were not realistic, some because the deadlines had passed. She became much more open to listening to our suggestions about some fabulous schools not as well known in Texas that offered programs in her areas of interest and possibilities for scholarships/financial aid.

We helped her submit her applications in a short period of time, worked with her mother on the financial aid forms, and visited with some of the schools to convince them to consider her application― even though the deadline had passed. She was accepted at five out of her eight schools. She attended Denison University in Ohio, and graduated with a degree in political science and a minor in film. She had minimal debt due to the grants and scholarships she received, as well as the work-study package she secured. In addition, she spent a full year studying abroad in the Czech Republic. Thanks to her love for the region, she returned to take a ten-month course to study the language and hopes to seek employment there.

Ginny: Valuable Lessons Learned for College

Ginny lived in Malaysia and came to us as a rising senior. Her grandparents lived in Dallas and wanted her to have the opportunity to receive a U.S. high school education. She was an American citizen attending an International School with an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. We did not meet in person until she was a second-semester freshman attending college in Michigan, and I was visiting her campus. But, we met regularly via Skype throughout the summer before college and the fall of her senior year. We prepared her list of schools and compiled all of the necessary documents for her applications. Though her procrastination seemed to be limiting her progress, she eventually began to realize our sense of urgency was legitimate. She completed all of her applications well before the college application deadlines. She was accepted to seven of her eight schools―giving her range of choices.

The final decision came down to money. She was offered a generous merit scholarship at Kalamazoo College, but her first choice school was Sarah Lawrence College. After many conversations about the amount her parents would save on her undergraduate education to put towards her graduate school education, she decided on Kalamazoo. She ended up running the campus! She worked on the newspaper and got involved in many organizations and activities.

Katie, Sarah and Trevor: Pulling Off the Hat Trick

A couple of years ago, the parents of triplets Katie, Sarah and Trevor came to us looking for some focused help. They had three children heading to college at the same time. One entering college can be challenging enough, but three simultaneously can tax all of a parent’s resources―in more ways than one.

We met with them for the first time in August of their senior year. Though they were triplets, all three had unique approaches to the concept of post-secondary study. Plus, they possessed different temperaments, gifts and experience profiles.

Katie was a stronger student than her siblings and wanted to purse her studies far away in a city like Chicago or New York; however, she also wanted to stay close to her sister. Sarah envisioned a campus by the beach and a career in anthropology similar to Jane Goodall, her idol. As we worked with both sisters, we introduced them to schools that offered programs that aligned with both their interests, and the closer proximity to home was beneficial.

Though Trevor’s first love was really baseball and he decided to put his college planning on hold after considering some community college options, Sarah embraced the process with vigor and pursued several different possibilities around Texas. During the course of Sarah’s college search, we were able to connect her with a lecture by her lifelong heroine Jane Goodall at the University of Arkansas. Sarah attended the speech and even had the opportunity to meet Ms. Goodall.

Confirming their mutual interest to attend the same school, Katie and Sarah conducted their college search in tandem, and they were thrilled when they both received acceptance letters to Texas State University―studying accounting and nutrition, respectively.

Early in the spring semester of his senior year, Trevor returned to us. He showed us a music video he had directed and produced for his high school. What a transformation! He was a completely new student―jazzed and excited about his interest in photojournalism and college applications. Baseball programs were no longer his primary college criteria, and we introduced him to colleges that had strong photojournalism programs and where he could possibly walk on to a team. In consultation with Marrs, Trevor identified St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas as his school of choice. He visited, connected with admissions reps, and shared his story through his essay. And, he got in― just down the road from his sisters in San Marcos.