Leading by Example

Step Up Women's Network Volunteer Event 014
Jessica (left) and Gabby, one of her
Step Up students

As you undoubtedly noticed, Collegewise was inexplicably omitted from the Oscars and Emmys this year.  But the pain of those losses was immediately overshadowed by our pride when we recently learned that Collegewise Counselor Jessica Schattgen was named the 2008 National Volunteer of the Year for the Step Up Women’s Network

Jessica has been volunteering many of her Saturdays to help a group of high school girls from under-resourced high schools with the entire college application process.  She runs workshops for them, mentors them, and has even individually assisted all of the students with their college essays.  What we’re most proud of, however, is that Jessica never told any of us she was doing this.  We’re always reminding our Collegewise students that the best reason to do community service is not to count up how many hours you’ve completed, but to do it because you sincerely want to help.  Jessica is certainly leading by example for us, and for her Collegewise students.  Congratulations, Jessica!

August News for Friends and Family

Panel_3 "Don’t get your heart set on one school when you’re applying.  You might think there’s only one school for you, but wherever you end up, that’s probably where you should be."

"(Californian students) Stop worrying so much about the cold weather back east.  It’s just snow. People deal with it.  Geez!"

"When you tour colleges, ask the students on campus questions.  You might feel lame doing it but, trust me, it makes us feel important when you ask."

These were just a few of the nuggets of wisdom our former Collegewise–now happy college–students shared at our first student panel which we held last week.

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July News for Friends and Family

Brochure_photo_2
Never to be sold on Ebay

I always wonder if the celebrities actually visited the stores where I see their signed photos; I mean, did Jerry Seinfeld really bring his clothes to my dry cleaner in Irvine, CA? 

But you don’t have to wonder if the signature on the front of this Collegewise brochure is legit.  Kim Burnell is something of a legend at Collegewise.  As a high school student, she single-handedly referred about a dozen of her friends to us.  After high school, she worked for us during the summers as our Collegewise Intern Extraordinaire.  Now a junior at UCLA, Kim is training our new interns how to do the job Kim-style.  She still appears in a few places on our website, and she just landed on the cover of our brand new brochure. 

Download Newbrochure.pdf

So to anyone who wonders if this UCLA-clad student on our brochure actually came through the Collegewise program (or if she actually goes to UCLA), she did…and she does!

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15 seconds of social entrepreneurial fame

College_summit
For the last four years, we’ve spent some portion of our summers volunteering at College Summit, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping under-resourced students get into college.  And nobody here has spent more time and energy helping College Summit kids than Jennifer.   So we were exchanging some group high-fives when College Summit was featured in a PBS special on social entrepreneurship and Jennifer’s interview was included.  You can find the article, watch the video, and even sign up to volunteer with College Summit here. 

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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