Our Vision

A college admissions experience that not only yields desired results, but also inspires the best in students.

Our Vision

A college admissions experience that not only yields desired results, but also inspires the best in students.

How It All Began
  • Kevin McMullin founded Collegewise in Irvine, California, in 1999. For too many families, the college admissions process was overwhelming, stressful, and ultimately unsuccessful.

  • Collegewise was built on the belief that students can get admitted to their dream college and still have some fun in their college admissions journey. More than 20 years after Kevin met with his first student, Collegewise is the nation’s largest college admissions organization.

What We Care About
  • Our most important work is sharing quality information with each of our families, combating fear with facts, empowering students to take ownership of this important step in their education, and making sure that wherever they land, they can articulate why they’re there, what they will contribute, and what they want to get out of the experience. 

  • Whether you hire one of our counselors or tutors, read our book, use our proprietary platform, or browse our free resources, we’re here to inject sanity and perspective into the process that allows you to achieve strong admissions outcomes.

In Our Communities
  • As leading experts in college admissions, we are woven into the very fabric of the communities we serve.

  • We speak at hundreds of high schools and local events each year. Hundreds of thousands of people read our newsletters, blog, book, and watch our videos.

  • We are proud to partner with organizations like Reach Higher, Michelle Obama's education initiative, and do our best to give back through our scholarship program.

25,000+

  • students

  • admitted

$134K

  • average merit aid

  • per family

4x

  • higher than average

  • admission rates

9 of 10

  • families recommend

  • us to their friends

Our People

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Chelsea Block

Chief Operating Officer

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Chelsea got her master’s degree in education from USC and a certificate in college admissions counseling from UCLA. Chelsea spent many years at Collegewise as a counselor, and now oversees the day-to-day operations of the company. She also utilizes her operational expertise managing her household including her three young daughters. When she’s not spending time with her girls, she tries to fit in a workout or spin class.

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Kevin McMullin

Chief Education Officer

Kevin founded Collegewise in 1999 and did all the counseling himself for the first 18 months. He is the author of If the U Fits: Expert Advice on Finding the Right College and Getting Accepted, and pens at least one entry every day on the Collegewise blog. A graduate of UC Irvine with majors in English and history where he answered, “What will you do with THOSE majors?” approximately 783 times, Kevin also has a college counseling certificate from UCLA.

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Arun Ponnusamy

Chief Academic Officer

Arun is regarded as one of America’s foremost admissions experts. He evaluated the files of over 7,500 seniors through nine application cycles for three highly selective colleges: the University of Chicago (his alma mater), Caltech, and UCLA. Since joining Collegewise, Arun has guided hundreds of students into their dream colleges. He also conducts professional development sessions and speaks at seminars attended by thousands of families annually.

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Heather Erickson

Chief Growth Officer

Heather graduated from University of Northwestern (St. Paul) with a degree in communications. Since then, she has spent 20+ years across sales, marketing, PR, and strategic growth, starting at the Sleep Number Corporation and expanding to executive roles at Ancestry and Instructure, the maker of the Canvas LMS. She made Utah Business Magazine’s 2013 “30 Women to Watch” and 2018 “40 Under Forty” lists. In her spare time, Heather enjoys mentoring other women, hiking, and playing baseball with her kids.  

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Paul Kanarek

Chief of Staff

Given Paul’s academic record in high school, his mother would be the first to tell you that there wasn’t the remotest chance of his launching a career in education. Paul proved her wrong when he co-founded the California branch of The Princeton Review in 1983. He has since become a globally recognized expert in the fields of both standardized testing and college admissions. He joined Collegewise in 2015, and he is practically giddy at the opportunity to help families genuinely enjoy finding a great college fit.

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Allison Lopour

Chief People Officer

After graduating from the University of Redlands, Allison worked as an admissions officer there before joining Collegewise in 2007. Since then, she has helped more than 500 students find and apply to the right colleges, and she has been hiring, training, and supporting new Collegewisers for the last 5 years. In her spare time, Allison enjoys watching bad TV, listening to Taylor Swift, and telling her daughters that she’s not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom.

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Ashley Nieblas

Dean of Counseling

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Casey Near

Dean of Counselor Development

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Mamie Cosentino

Dean of Affiliates & Managing Editor

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Niki LeBlanc

Program Advisor

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Patti Winkel

Program Advisor

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Cortney Flint

Program Advisor

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Jaclyn Muralla

Program Advisor

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Andrea Johnson

Program Advisor

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Jennifer Douglas

Program Advisor

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David Martinsen

Program Advisor

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Morgan Dance

Program Advisor

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Vanessa Daves-Poarch

Marketing Associate

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Andy Nazem

Director of Financial Planning & Analysis

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Olivia Vail

Bookkeeper

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Leticia Rossin

Accountant

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Carol Chimento

Director of Operations

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Stefanie Toye

Interim Dean of CAS

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Michal Goldstein

Director of Tutoring

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Andrea Tannenbaum

Bookkeeper

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