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Meet Stacy Hernandez of The Best U College Admissions Consulting in Boulder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacy Hernandez.

Stacy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started in college admissions in 1999, a year after I graduated from undergrad. From 1999 – 2011, I worked in undergraduate admissions at Johns Hopkins University and Northeastern University with short breaks during these years to have a family, work at Maryland Institute College of Art, and start a yoga business. In admissions, I read thousands of college applications, made admissions decisions, managed a variety of recruitment territories, oversaw the recruitment process and the tour guide program, and developed recruitment programming for underrepresented multicultural students. I switched sides of the desk and served as the Director of College Counseling at Dawson School in Lafayette, CO, from 2011 – 2015. At Dawson, I worked with all types of students to support their college admissions process and developed admissions programming for middle and high school students and parents. From 2016 – 2019, I worked part-time as a college counselor at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder. In 2015, I founded The Best U College Admissions Consulting and transitioned into working with families independently to support their college admissions process.

Has it been a smooth road?
I took many detours over the last 20 years. I took breaks from college admissions to try to be a stay at home mom and open a yoga studio two years prior to the recession. I did not see them as breaks at the time, but rather lifestyle changes. However, I kept on going back into admissions.

Some of the challenges came with the exhausting travel and recruitment schedules on the college side to being the only college counselor managing the college counseling program of a K-12 private school of over 500 students. Also, the ups and downs of starting and owning a business have been quite challenging.

However, the biggest struggles have come with watching the drastic changes in the college admissions process. The biggest change has been the dramatic increase in selectivity and competitiveness of many US colleges and universities over the years. There are many reasons for this including fewer students applying to more schools which have created lower acceptance rates and less predictability in applying to colleges. Another challenge has been teaching students and parents about the changes in this process and the importance of having a well-balanced college list. It has become about showing students and their parents how to adjust their expectations and also encouraging parents to loosen the reigns and allow their students to grow and come into their interests and choices.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Best U College Admissions Consulting – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I help guide students and parents through the college admissions process. They hire me to take the over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States and help them find the best-fit schools along with determining what is a well-balanced college list for them. Also, I help students determine which college entrance exams are best for them to take and when to take them, which high school classes to take based on what colleges want to see, and which activities to focus that best reflect their interests and will help them be a more competitive college applicant. I walk them through the college application process and teach them the best strategies to use. Also, I walk through academic interests and how they may apply to interesting majors for students. My main role is to be an advisor to families and help them through this important life transition to adulthood.

What I am most proud of is how the students that I work with take one step closer to understanding more about who they are and what they want in life. I am proud of them understanding their own wants and needs more and setting forth the next steps that are right for them towards their future. I am proud of the choices they made to take steps towards their own happiness and interests. Where they got in and decide to go for college is cool, but watching them grow and change is the most rewarding part of my job!!

What sets me apart from others is that I have been on all sides of the desk. I have worked at two universities as an admissions counselor and read thousands of applications, I have worked at two high schools and ran college counseling programs for middle school through high school students with diverse backgrounds. I have been the multicultural coordinator of two universities where I developed recruitment programs for underrepresented students of color and understand the needs of students of diverse backgrounds. I have been a business owner and have worked independently families of all different walks of life and expectations. I have 20 years of real college admissions industry experience, so my perspective is focused on how colleges see students and applicants. Also, I provide hourly services to support families of varying financial backgrounds rather than offering expensive comprehensive college counseling packages. I do this to provide more accessibility to more families as well as to allow students to manage and own their own admissions process.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Coming from the East Coast and working in the field of college admissions, the competition and intensity are so much greater there. What I love about here is that more parents and students are about making the quality of life choices rather than trying to be something they are not. More students are making choices on their futures based on who they are rather than what their parents and others want. More parents are allowing their children to make these choices. The biggest challenge for Colorado students applying to colleges out of state is they want the Colorado lifestyle but in a different state. They want to try a new region, but they want to pieces we value so much here. However, there are not many other places in the US that offer so many sunny days, the outdoor lifestyle, healthy foods, a more laid back life, and so many other pieces we value in Colorado.

Personally, I love the green living, the wellness culture, and how people tend of value quality of life more. What I like least about our area is the lack of cultural and ethnic diversity. I wish it was a more diverse place.

Contact Info:

  • Website: thebestu.net
  • Email: hello@thebestu.net
  • Facebook: @TheBestUCollegeAdmissionsConsulting
  • Twitter: StacyHe90038845


Image Credit:
Caltech, Dartmouth College, Hamilton College, University of Colorado-Boulder

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