As soon as I set down the phone, I began to cry. A young woman I had been guiding through the college admissions process had just called to tell me that she had been accepted to college. “I guess I’m not as stupid as I thought after all,” she said. You see, this young scholar suffers from a neurological disorder which had kept her from succeeding academically, and had made her feel, as she so harshly put it, “stupid.” My heart broke for her, and yet at the same time, I was elated that I had done something for this girl that no one ever had before: I made her feel smart.
A living, breathing human being cannot be reduced to the bulleted list of facts and figures that most colleges demand, nor can he or she fit neatly into a tiny box of requirements. Not every student is that oh-so-desirable natural born “leader,” but those who aren’t were born with some other talent just waiting to be coaxed into the right environment. Even grades, while important, aren’t always an accurate reflection or prediction of success. Kingston College Consulting’s approach to the college admissions process has always been different. Every student holds a unique story and set of assets close to his or her heart, valuable to institutions of higher education and the “real world” beyond.
Yet, getting into college is never easy. It takes work and determination for all of those involved in the process, often for years in advance. I help create foundations for strong college candidates, setting up volunteer opportunities, work experience, and internships, and encouraging participation in clubs and other activities. I believe in fostering relationships whether with my students, their parents or admission counselors. I love spending hours simply talking to my students, learning who they are, and unearthing where their strengths lie. I recently called an admissions counselor to plead that money be set aside for an incoming freshman girl in desperate need of financial aid. She didn’t qualify initially, because she hadn’t yet taken her ACT exam. A half hour later, however, I had told her “dramatic” story and secured the necessary aid. If I hadn’t called – if I hadn’t built a relationship with the counselor, and the girl I was mentoring – I never would have had the tools to help secure a future.
Not all of my students have a dramatic story. Many of them just need help navigating the intricately wending pathways of college admissions, be it the essays, all the different applications, or finding philanthropic extracurriculars. Regardless of grades, standardized test scores, upbringing, financial background, or disabilities, every student deserves the chance to go to college. At Kingston College Consulting, it’s my goal not only to forge well-rounded applicants, but to create confident individuals who realize their own academic worth, perhaps for the first time. I always look forward to that text, phone call, or email telling me that I’ve done what I set out to do in the beginning: I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.
Michelle Brinnon (925-209-6340)
To learn more about how Michelle Brinnon and Kingston College Consulting go to