meet an admissions counselor

Kimberly AsseltaWe’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 Kimberly Asselta, who works with students both remotely in our Rye, NY office.

Where are you from?
Kimberly: I was born in New York, but grew up in Stratford, CT. After college I settled in Massachusetts. Now I live in northern New Jersey.

Where did you go to school?
Kimberly: Stonehill College

What did you study?
Kimberly: I was a communication major and a business minor drop out – I couldn’t get through the first statistics course.  The classes I enjoyed most were in religion and Irish studies.

Where did you work?
Kimberly: In high school I worked at Little Caesars, taking phone orders and slicing pizza. I was removed from pizza preparation because I added too much cheese and cost the franchise way too much money by not following the recommended serving sizes.  My career in admissions began when I became an admissions counselor at College of the Holy Cross and later at Babson College.

What are you reading right now for fun?
Kimberly: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. When I was expecting my first son, one of my best friends (and Stonehill roommate), gave me 12 of her favorite children’s books. My boys are now 7 and 5 and we just started reading the books together.  They are really enjoying this one.

You have a free weekend and carte blanche to go anywhere and do anything. What do you do?
Kimberly: I’d pack up my family and head to the beach. I’d love a weekend with no agenda and lots of sun, sand, and ice cream.

What was your favorite thing about college?
Kimberly: Just one? I can’t narrow it down. Here are my top three:

  1. Living on campus- I LOVED living in the dorms, being surrounded by friends, never knowing who you were going to run into at the dining hall, late night pizza deliveries, practical jokes. I could go on and on. I met two of my best friends the first night of freshman year while brushing my teeth in the bathroom in O’Hara Hall. And I met my husband first semester in Introduction to Communication.
  2. Study abroad – I spent second semester junior year at the National University of Ireland Galway.  My first time on a plane was the flight from Newark to Dublin. I learned so much about myself, my ancestors, and the world in those six months.
  3. Becoming a tour guide – I don’t think I would be where I am today if I wasn’t a tour guide for four years at Stonehill.

What about your college experience was different from what you expected?
Kimberly: I was a first generation student and it has taken me a long time to realize the impact that had on my college experience. I had NO expectations going in. I just knew I was going there because that was the next step, and it was something my parents worked really had to make sure I achieved. I didn’t know what was there, and I really didn’t understand the value of those four years. I wish I spent more time exploring things outside my comfort zone.

What’s your philosophy on college admission?
Kimberly: You don’t have to know who you will be in the future, but you do need to know who you are now. You can’t do this process well if you don’t know your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.

What aspect of the college admissions process do you most enjoy working on?
Kimberly: Brainstorming essay topics.  If a student opens up and isn’t afraid of the process we can come up with some great ideas.

What is the most common mistake you see from students that can easily be fixed?
Kimberly: Some students spend all their time focusing on what they (admission officers) want to hear, instead of focusing on what they (the students) have to say.

What in your mind makes a good college essay?
Kimberly: Authenticity.  The best essays are about a topic the student truly cares about and are written in the student’s voice.

What are some important things you’ve learned during your time as a College Coach educator?
Kimberly: It all works out in the end. It really does. The work gets done and students always end up at the place they are supposed to be.

What would you say to your high school self if you could coach him/her through the process?

  1. Be patient with mom, she’s just trying to help.
  2. Take some time to think about why you are going to college. What do you hope to achieve beyond a degree?
  3. Be a history major.
  4. I don’t care if it’s the style, long flannel shirts and baggy jeans are not flattering. You will look back at your college photos and wonder what you were thinking.

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Written by Kimberly Asselta
Kimberly Asselta is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Kimberly was a senior admissions officer at Babson College and College of the Holy Cross. Visit our website to learn more about Kimberly Asselta.