I stood at the Hudson News Kiosk at JFK deciding between People Magazine with the stars of “Twilight” on the cover and the Harvard Business Review with a chameleon imploring me to “Change Faster.” Eventually, I made a silent bargain that would disrupt my life and lead to the birth of AdmissionsCheckup. If I was going to buy People, I would also buy (and READ) the Harvard Business Review.
Once an Admissions Officer…
While I am sure the articles on the “Twilight” sequel were great, unsurprisingly it was reading an HBR article that led me to found AdmissionsCheckup. I had been an admissions officer for a couple of years and was now — after graduating from Wharton with an MBA and 5 years on Wall Street — a college consultant and mother of four. The HBR article challenged me to think about my customers in a new way. From their perspective, how could I raise the bar on myself and do a better job?
Birth of the Idea
The words literally and involuntarily burst forth. “I could have former admissions officers act as a dry-run admissions committee that would give application feedback to students before they applied to college.” Whether students worked alone, or with a college counselor or college consultant, the students would be lucky to have admissions officers who had actually worked at their top choice colleges give them insight into their applications’ strengths and weaknesses BEFORE they submitted. I turned the idea over and over in my head trying to find a downside and eventually shared it with another Wharton alum — my husband.
Four years later, prospective college and graduate students all over the world are using AdmissionsCheckup.com. With admissions officers from over 50 schools, we have helped students not only get into Ivy League, small liberal arts and Big Ten schools for undergraduate study, but we have also helped prospective graduate students get into medical, business and law schools with generous grants and scholarships.
One of the best parts of this business is having the ability to be part of the greater good. A number of our students have received full scholarships to their first-choice colleges (including Princeton and MIT). We cannot take any credit, but we’re happy to have been a part of their success.
I know from personal experience what it means to struggle to get an education. Despite growing up in Chicago’s housing projects, I’m grateful to my family for emphasizing education, which led me to graduate from Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
AdmissionsCheckup.com wants to support students who are striving. We have, therefore, decided to give a portion of our earnings to students each year. This year we threw our support behind Zach Standen. In the future, we will continue to work to help students pursue all kinds of quests including getting honest and holistic admissions officer feedback BEFORE submitting their applications to the admissions committee.