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Arun Ponnusamy

Chief Academic Officer


Meet Arun Ponnusamy

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Arun Ponnusamy is based out of Los Angeles as the Chief Academic Officer of Collegewise, America’s largest educational consulting company. Since 1999, Collegewise has helped more than 24,000 high school students through the college admissions journey. With his admissions experience at three highly selective universities (UCLA, Caltech, UChicago—also his alma mater), he has personally guided hundreds of students on their journey to college and spoken to thousands more students, parents, and educators at high schools, conferences, and community organizations around the United States and world. As an admissions officer, he evaluated the files of over 7,500 high school seniors and read approximately 20,000 college essays. Arun is also a frequent media contributor, including USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as local and national television—though his mom is definitely most proud of his NPR appearances.

He firmly believes the college admissions process should be one that is filled with thorough self-reflection and thoughtful strategy. As a public speaker, Arun often presents on the social-emotional aspects of the admissions process as well as the power of data in making decisions. He is a member of and adheres to the highest ethical standards of both the Independent Educational Consultants Association and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The fervor of Arun’s belief that there is no such thing as bad pizza is matched only by his love of Ohio State football, all things space, and an invigorating hike to the top of a mountain.

Education & Experience

  • Former Assistant Director of Admissions, University of Chicago
  • Former Assistant Director of Admissions, Caltech
  • Former Application Reader, UCLA

Professional Organization Memberships

Contact Arun Ponnusamy

What are people saying about Collegewise?

Arun is AWESOME!!! We’ve invited him (and he’s kindly agreed) to speak at the ACTS College Summit, geared toward minority/underserved high school students in LA, for the past two years. He has been absolutely incredible. His talk is always one of the most well-attended and well-rated among the students.


ACTS College Summit

It was the college application season, and I needed help. I wanted the faculty to hear another voice, an expert on college admissions, so I asked Arun to present regarding letters of recommendation. The faculty at my school were extremely impressed with Arun’s presentation. It was informative, engaging and entertaining.


Providence High School

Arun has inspired me beyond the scope of high school and college. Not only did he help me find the perfect place to spend the next four years of my life, but he also taught me so many lessons and skills that I will continue to use in building my future. His advice will stay with me forever.


Dartmouth College

Arun Ponnusamy is an amazing college advisor! As a former admissions officer, he was able to quickly read my son’s application and provide insightful comments. The end result? AdMITted in December and comMITted in April to his top choice school. Our family gives him our highest recommendation!



CollegeWISE’s name fits. Arun guided us like a pro on the emotional roller coaster. He left both of our girls in awe. They started off early and in a panic. By the end they were headed to their dream schools. Challenging and kind, funny and honest, Arun is equal parts pragmatist, cheerleader, linguist, and philosopher.

Katy, Parent of Kathryn and Olivia

Kathryn-Johns Hopkins University, Olivia-Dartmouth

We could not be more satisfied with our experience at Collegewise and will be signing up our younger daughter. Shifting the college application process from a parental “chore” to a peer coaching experience was priceless and allowed us to be advisors and fans of Hannah’s adventure and ultimate achievement.

Gordon, Parent of Hannah

Middlebury College