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College Admissions Process Opens Student’s Mind

Mark Montgomery, expert educational consultant, turned Keita’s search for the right college into a journey of self-discovery. Mark asked tough questions to help him discover exactly who he is and reveal himself in his admissions essays.


The time that we started the personality test at the beginning, I was consistently asked tough questions that I had to really think about that I never really had to think about, which was an interesting experience for me. But it was definitely worth it in that I was able to find something within myself that I never really realized. And as the process went on, it was consistent, his support would always be there, and even though we’re in different time zones he would always try to contact me and check on me and see where I was in the process. And even until the end, when I had to choose between the colleges that I got accepted to, we would still ask me where I was in the process, if I had turned in all my things that I had to, and look at the options and say which ones were the most beneficial for my situation.

And it’s not just the consistent helpfulness, but also the quality of his help. There’s two examples: one, when I was deciding between safety schools he really enlightened me in that a safety school really has to be a school that I want to go to, not just a school that I’d probably get into. And this helped me in a way because I never actually realized it, and I never actually thought about it that way. So what ended up happening was that I got into the safety school that I wanted to, and I ended up saving a lot of time because I wasn’t applying to those school that I wasn’t really interested in. And the second example is the essays. I spend six to seven weeks with them, correcting and fine-tuning just one essay with him, and that was the main essay for my Common App. And it was really worth it because throughout the process, I wasn’t appealing just to the college admission officers but also appealing to myself, trying to find who I am and what makes me the person I am today. And he asks these tough questions that I’d never really thought about. And his help really helped me project who I am to the college admissions, as well as finding who I am within myself.

In the long run, it actually benefited me more because I was invited to talk at a TED event, and the majority of my speech was an essay that Mark and I worked on, so it wasn’t just the college process that it helped, it was also in other aspects that Mark’s help contributed to it, which was incredible because when I originally consulted Mark I didn’t really think about all the benefits that could come with consulting him, so I really owe a lot to him and I don’t think I would be in the place that I am right now without him.