And the college trivia contest winners are…

Trophy_3Not too many people get really, really excited about college trivia like we do.  But those who do certainly fared well in our college trivia contest in which we promised one month’s worth of free groceries to the person who fed us the tastiest morsel of college trivia.  And the winner is:

Grand Prize

Tim Templeton doesn’t even work in education; maybe he should.  He sure does know an awful lot about his alma mater, Cornell University.  And Tim edged out the competition in our contest with his submission, "The Brain of Edward Rulloff."  Rulloff was a 19th century criminal dubbed the "learned murder" who had a dual personality.  A self-taught doctor and lawyer who spoke 28 (no, that’s not a typo) languages, Rulloff was also a thief and a vicious murderer whose victims reportedly included several members of his own family.  Today, Rulloff’s unusually large brain, one of the largest ever recorded, is preserved in the psychology department of Cornell University.  Now, that’s some good trivia.

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February News for Friends and Family

Lunch_group_16February Retreat

We had our first retreat in February (and by "retreat," we don’t mean a military operation in which we withdrew our forces). Our Orange County, Los Angeles and New York offices retreated to a classroom in Irvine for two days to discuss some of the finer points of college counseling.  What are some of the finer points?  Things like financial aid, crafting appropriate college lists, and improving our process for getting our seniors through applications.  And a scavenger hunt. 

This photo was taken during the "lunch" portion of day #1, lunch being an especially finer point of college counseling. 

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January News for Friends and Family

Table_7 The 2007 Collegewise Holiday Party

We don’t need much to have a good time at Collegewise.  Just good friends, good food, and of course, Snoop Dogg* (doesn’t everybody need a little more Snoop in their lives).

The Collegewise 2007 Holiday Party at The House of Blues on the Sunset Strip was a rousing success.   A total of 22 Collegewise employees and significant others attended which, as Kevin pointed out, may not seem like a lot of people if you work at Google who, at last count, had roughly 6,845 more employees and who-knows-how-many-more significant others than we have.  But Collegewise has experienced our own Google-like meteoric rise since the first holiday party which took place in 2001 with two employees in Kevin’s living room.  So our little holiday party was pretty exciting for us.

*Yes, Snoop spells "Dogg" with two Gs. 

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December News for Friends and Family

Slo2 College Tours

The Irvine counseling quartet of Jennifer, Margot, Allison and Kyle recently returned from a tour of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara and UWT (the University of Wine Tasting, which was their favorite of the three, by the way).

UCSB alumn Kyle proved to be an adept tour guide for her alma mater, as the counselors are now able to point out the best chili dog stand, the most ideal spot for beach tanning, and of course, the best field for weekend mud football. 

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November News for Friends and Family

Suite_240_3 The New-and-Improved Collegewise Los Angeles is Open for Business

In spite of a lack of significant photographic evidence to substantiate this claim, we really do have a new office space in Los Angeles. It’s big and beautiful with windows and offices and we can’t wait to show it off on our blog and in person.

space

We’re still working on more photographs.  Arun has spent quite a bit of time agonizing over where to hang each individual college pennant and poster, if they should be arranged by color or college conference, and whether or not posters should be framed (and if so, with or without backing?–so many decisions!). In the interim, he didn’t want us taking pictures until those decorations are hung in the office with care.

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October News for Friends and Family

Parke Back from NACAC

Kevin, Arun and Alex enjoyed our stay at the annual NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling Conference).  Some people get excited about seeing Angelina Jolie or Leonardo DiCaprio on the street, but NACAC lets us meet and learn from people like Parke Muth (at left), an admissions officer from University of Virginia and the inventor of the McEssay analogy we’ve cited hundreds of times in our Collegewise essay seminars.  His session for counselors about writing letters of recommendation was standing room only.  We caught up with Lloyd Thacker from the Education Conservancy (at right) whom we’ve really come to like and admire for his organization’s efforts to remove Lloyd_5 commercial interference in college admissions.  And most importantly, we were able to spend time with admissions officers and counselors who over the years have become friends as well as colleagues.

spaxce

The best part about NACAC is that we’re annually reminded just how many smart, good people there are  working in the world of college admissions, and how sincerely they all want to do the right thing for kids.

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September News for Friends and Family

Erikscake20032 Happy Birthday to Us

Collegewise celebrated our 8th birthday on August 16, as it was exactly eight years ago that Kevin officially submitted the "Doing Business As" paperwork to County Clerk’s office in Orange County.  Since that day back in 1999, we’ve helped over 2,000 kids apply to college, and Collegewise students have attended over 500 colleges in nearly 40 states.      

We celebrated with a dinner out together and were joined by Arun and Jessica from the LA office.  We know that might seem like a fairly reserved celebration, but the birthday event took place on a Thursday night.  And when you work with high school kids, Thursdsay nights are school nights, no matter how old we get. 

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News for Friends and Family…

Img_0191
New faces in the Collegewise crowd

There was a time not that long ago when we used to imagine what it would be like to have admissions officers leave their posts and come to work with us.  Then Arun joined us in 2004 from Caltech and Christina from the SUNY system in 2005.  And this week, we were lucky enough to add the most recent additions to our Southern California offices–college counselors Allison Cummings from the University of Redlands and Jessica Schattgen from Whittier College.

Allison will join Collegewise – Irvine while Jessica will work with Arun in our Los Angeles office.   

And Collegewise – NY’s Alex Weiner has added a few more desks to his offices to accommodate his most recent additions–college counselors Carly Amodio and Breda Malfesi.

They’re all smart, funny, and frankly, quite pleasant to be around.  We’re really excited to have them with us.

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August News for Friends and Family…

Img_0210 Happy Graduation
Collegewise counselors Jessica Schattgen (Los Angeles) and Allison Cummings (Irvine) recently completed our five-week college counselor training that culminates in a two-day final exam, an exam on which they both earned the highest scores ever recorded since we began our training program in nearly five years ago.   

To celebrate, the Irvine crew traveled north to Los Angeles for a congratulatory dinner. We’re looking forward to seeing them put their admissions experience (and their curve setting final performance) to work helping kids get into college.

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Standing Room(s) Only

Img_0189_2We’re in day #2 of our visit to the annual WACAC (Western Association for College Admissions Counseling) conference being held at the University of San Diego this year.  As of the penning of this blog, Arun and Kevin have finished their presentations ("College Admissions 101 for New High School Counselors" and "Solutions for the College Counseling Workplace") and did so to standing room only crowds.  Whether or not those standing room only crowds enjoyed the sessions remains to be seen for sure until the conference evaluations are submitted, but Kevin and Arun are telling themselves that they were funny, charming, and even informative.  Arun actually had an admissions officer from USC tell him after his session that his information was "right on point," so that was a nice piece of feedback.   

This picture at the left is Arun commanding the room during his session.  Kevin will be asking the rest of the Collegewisers why nobody bothered to photograph him and will reveal their answer in a blog entry to come.