meet an admissions counselor

Educational Consultant Christine KenyonWe’re bringing back our popular series, Meet an Admissions Counselor, where we introduce students and families to a different member of the College Coach admissions team. Drop in to see what we’re reading, where we went to school, and our strategies for beginning the college essay. As you work with us to find an educational consultant who best fits your needs or the needs of your child, we will help you consider the personality and working styles that will bring out the best in you or your student. Today we introduce Christine Kenyon.

Where are you from?
Christine:
Miami Beach, FL.

Where did you go to school?
Christine:
Boston College.

What did you study?
Christine:
History & secondary education as an undergrad; applied developmental & educational psychology in graduate school.

Where did you work?
Christine:
I started my work in admission as a Graduate Assistant within the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Boston College, while I was getting my master’s degree. From there, I worked at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, the Morehead Cain Foundation at UNC Chapel Hill, and the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program at Duke University.

What are you reading right now for fun?
Christine:
The Martian by Andy Weir. I’m a little late to the party but vowed to read the book before seeing the movie. I am infinitely happy about this decision because the book is awesome!

You have a free weekend and carte blanche to go anywhere and do anything. What do you do?
Christine:
Hop on a plane and discover somewhere new. As much as people complain about air travel, I still find it the most extraordinary opportunity – how amazing is it to be in a totally different climate and/or culture within a matter of hours?

What was your favorite thing about college?
Christine:
Finding people who made me feel like it was ok to be me. I found my voice in college and learned the value of surrounding myself with friends who could help me laugh through the ups and downs.

What about your college experience was different from what you expected?
Christine:
It was hard work! For so long college seemed like this prize at the end of so many years of hard work at school in FL, and as much fun as it was, college was demanding! It was humbling (and necessary) to learn that college should be an academic experience first and foremost, and I learned a lot about myself in being challenged in ways I didn’t anticipate.

What’s your philosophy on college admission?
Christine:
College is all about finding the right fit. Too often students make the mistake of “falling in love” with one institution and thinking that they could only be happy at that one place. That simply isn’t true! The college process should be a realistic look at a number of institutions that the student would be happy to attend, not a prize to be won or a judgement on your self-worth. There are many wonderful fits out there for each student.

What aspect of the college admissions process do you most enjoy working on?
Christine:
I like essay brainstorming. The college personal statement is different than most other essays students have written before. As such, it’s fun to work through potential topics with students and learn what makes them who they are!

What is the most common mistake you see from students that can easily be fixed?
Christine:
Don’t compare yourself to your peers. It’s very easy to be swept up by social media or the rumor mill and to compare yourself to your friends but at the end of the day, this process is about you. You never truly know what went into another student’s application so trust me when I say that you will feel saner by trying to ignore others and focus solely on what’s right for you!

How do you encourage students to look beyond the schools they know to find hidden gems?
Christine:
Research, research, research! Visiting a college can do wonders for allowing students to get a good feel for different types of institutions. You might be surprised by how the schools you are most drawn to are different than what you originally thought you wanted on paper.

What in your mind makes a good college essay?
Christine:
Being true to yourself and letting your voice shine through. Authenticity is the key in writing your college essay, and some of my favorite essays weren’t the most perfectly written prose, but were stories that allowed me to glean some insight into that particular student’s life.

What are some important things you’ve learned during your time as a College Coach educator?
Christine:
I learn something new every single day! The biggest take-away I give to the families I work with however, is that it is all going to be OK. Each student will end up at the place they are meant to be.

What would you say to your high school self if you could coach him/her through the process?
Christine:
Start your essays earlier!!! Also, don’t take rejection personally. You will land exactly where you should so try to enjoy your final year of high school and embrace the changes to come.

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Written by Christine Kenyon
Christine Kenyon is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Prior to joining College Coach, Christine was a senior admissions officer at Babson College and a scholarship reviewer and interviewer at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University.