Ever since she earned the nickname “Colleen the Question Queen” on a fourth grade field trip, Colleen has loved asking questions and finding answers. In college, she majored in Classics, which gave her the chance to read The Iliad five times (and learn how to pronounce Aristophanes). After graduating magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Colleen went on to earn her master’s degree in English from Boston University, spending many snowy afternoons reading Chaucer, and learning the grown-up version of asking questions: critical thinking.
Colleen returned to the Bay Area in 2010 and started teaching SAT and ACT prep classes for local students. While she relished correcting grammar for a living, Colleen always preferred conversations about college to Critical Reading passages. She joined Collegewise in 2014 and gets to put her questioning skills to good use every day, helping students discover and articulate who they are and what they’re looking for in their college experience. Colleen also writes a blog called When I Was 17, and you can check it out here.
Education & Experience
- M.A. in English Language and Literature, Boston University
- Magna cum laude graduate, Loyola University Chicago
- Outside application reader, University of San Francisco
- Co-author, The 2019-20 Collegewise Guide to the Common App
- Co-author, The Collegewise Guide to Summer Planning
What are people saying about Collegewise?
Colleen provided guidance in finding programs that are a good fit for my daughter’s interests, and she took time to fully understand what is important to my child. Having Colleen as a counselor is like having a map in the labyrinth that is the college search process. It really helped to know what was coming up ahead.
Alice Chang, Parent of Heather Baker
Carnegie Mellon University
Colleen was fantastic to work with. She guided my daughter through every step of the process, setting an achievable pace that ensured all crucial admissions steps were completed successfully and ahead of schedule. She kept my daughter focused, calm, and empowered to determine her college path. Highly recommended!
Robin McClarren, Parent of Ruby Noto
University of Oregon
Our experience working with Colleen was great. Having someone with experience to guide us was invaluable. For every family, the process is long and daunting, and for most of us, the admissions process is a bit of a black box, so having someone to help you keep perspective during the journey is important.
Annette Finsterbusch, Parent of Chris Finsterbusch
Colleen was able to communicate with Matt in such a way that he would listen to her advice. She has in-depth knowledge about the college admissions process and was an invaluable help to Matt with his essay writing. She also gave us summer options that Matt truly enjoyed. Hiring a Collegewise counselor is the way to go!
Gina Lim, Parent of Matthew Schultz
UC Santa Cruz
Colleen kept my sons motivated and gave them the right amount and type of feedback on the applications and essays. Colleen was able to maintain a balance between being their friend and being a teacher. Through all of this, I appreciated how Colleen kept me informed and addressed my concerns as they arose.
Elizabeth Powers, Parent of Spencer and Connor Powers
I honestly believe that without the help and support of my Collegewise counselor, Colleen, I would not have been as prepared or as confident as I was when applying to college. I was nervous, yes, but what eased my anxiety was the frequent check-ins and continuous support. I owe a lot of my success to Collegewise.