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Arun Ponnusamy

Chief Academic Officer


Meet Arun Ponnusamy

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Arun is widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable college counselors and admissions experts in the United States. As an admissions officer, he evaluated the files of over 7,500 high school seniors and read approximately 20,000 college essays. Here’s how it worked: he was an assistant director of admissions for five years at the University of Chicago (his alma mater). Arun then held the same post for two years at Caltech and spent another two reading for UCLA. That’s nine application cycles for three highly selective colleges—experiences that have given Arun a level of deep expertise matched by few in the world.

Since joining Collegewise, Arun has guided hundreds of students into their dream colleges through thoughtful one-on-one work. He also conducts professional development for high school teachers and counselors in addition to speaking at seminars that are attended by thousands of students and parents annually. In recent years, Arun has also presented at the National Association of College Admission Counseling Conference and the College Board’s Forum, as well as at events throughout Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. His love of frequent flyer miles is matched only by his love of Ohio State football, astronomy, 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.

Zayneb Shaikley

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.

Clara Bird

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.

Olivia Champ

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 Champ, Parent of Kathryn and Olivia Champ

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 Seabury, Parent of Hannah Seabury

Middlebury College