Educational Consultant Colleen Ganjian

Colleen Paparella Ganjian, DC College Counseling

Featured Professional Series: The second Monday of every month, we feature one of our favorite educational consultants, psychologists, or professionals in a related field. We ask everybody the same five questions, designed to show you why we like them and to help you decide whether they’re a good fit for your needs.

Families get in touch with me for all sorts of reasons, but when they get in touch with me because they want to kick more butt, I assume that Colleen Paparella Ganjian of DC College Counseling sent them.

How did you get into this field?

I actually first began my interest in admissions as a high school student! I was a tour guide at my boarding school, Choate Rosemary Hall, and loved every minute. Fast-forwarding a few years, I worked in college admissions at two different universities before moving to “the other side of the desk,” independent school college counseling. I then worked at two independent schools, one as a college counselor for two years and one as the Director of College Counseling for six years. My current role as an independent counselor is my favorite of all!

What do you love about the work?

I am the kind of person that really enjoys a challenge and thrives in a problem-solving capacity. I especially love finding unique strategies – or more colloquially, “hacks” – to reach a successful outcome. As we all know, the college admissions process becomes more challenging and confusing by the year, but it also becomes more gratifying each year when I am able to achieve successful outcomes in the midst of that kind of landscape. I love finding out-of-the-box ways to make the impossible happen!

Why do people hire you?

Almost all of my clients find me on a referral basis; I do no marketing or advertising. Instead, my past clients tell their friends about their experiences working with me, and my services sell themselves. At the end of the day, families love that I approach the process with strategy at the forefront while also trying to make things as easy as possible for them. This does not have to be painful or even difficult – it can be fun!

How do you feel about study skills?

The high school transcript (both in terms of grades and rigor) is the most important factor in the college admissions process, and excellent study skills typically lead to an excellent transcript. Study skills are essential!

What’s your favorite piece of advice to give students?

If I had to pick one piece of advice, it would be to pay very close attention to data (I absolutely adore Common Data Sets) and use it to drive goals and strategy.

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