I started my business after gaining a global perspective on college during my own university years. I knew the strategies I had learned through my business education had a practical application when it came to getting into school, not only when it came to HOW to apply, but WHERE.
I became the first admissions strategist in the United States when I created College Match in 2001. Prior to this I worked with noted admissions expert Loren Pope. All told, I have 22 years of experience helping students select and get into the colleges of their dreams.
In 2023, for the 22nd year in a row, 97% of my students secured places at their first-choice college or university. Furthermore, my clients won merit scholarships averaging $83,314 per student—the largest amount among students whose awards are being measured.
When I first began, I was termed a “new breed” of college admissions consultant by The Washington Post/Newsweek for my use of business strategy techniques in positioning students for admissions success. Since then, I have evolved this unique technique into the Montesano method, focusing on 4 stages of preparing for college admissions: SPARKS, FIRE, VISION, BRAND.
I have always remained committed to my decision to offer a calming, supportive presence in what can often be a harsh business. I have heard time and again from clients how easy my team is to work with. While applying to college is always serious business, I also believe it can be enjoyable. Part of my role is to provide some much-needed stress relief to busy parents.
I have contributed to articles in The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” publication, CBS Moneywatch, Forbes, Seattle Magazine and Newsweek/Daily Beast. Appearances include CBS-TV in San Francisco, Fox TV in Sacramento, and on radio shows and webcasts, including Maggie Linton’s SiriusXM show in Washington D.C. and Boston’s College Week Live. In addition, I have spoken about my approach to admissions at Beijing’s Western Academy, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
A little more about me –
I received an A.B. with honors from Occidental College in Los Angeles and attended Trinity College, Dublin on a Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship. Later, I attended Amsterdam Law School where I studied international law. I taught at Trinity College, Dublin and California College of the Arts before working as a strategy consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton in San Francisco after which I specialized in brand strategy, counseling clients on marketing and identity development.
I’m a huge film buff and love attending film festivals.
I also believe in the value of giving back to the community and volunteer with SummerBridge and Boys Hope/Girls Hope.