A+ Test Prep and Tutoring is excited to welcome Amanda Reilly, who will join us as our new College Admissions Coach! Amanda has been a school counselor for the past 13 years in a very competitive and academic public school in Great Neck, NY on Long Island. She describes her role as a counselor as focusing on “the college process from start to finish.” Amanda is not only “passionate about helping students discover where they are a good fit in college and planning for the next four years of their lives,” but it also brings her “great joy to be able to put families and students at ease during this stressful time.”
In the last three years, her students have been accepted to a wide range of schools such as: University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Stanford, Rice University, Washington University of St. Louis, Davidson College, Colgate, Vanderbilt, Tufts, Wake Forest, University of Texas at Austin, McGill University, and many more.
Recently, we interviewed Amanda to find out more about her background, her outlook on the college admissions process, including recent changes, and her new role as our College Admission Coach.
A+: How did you get interested in counseling and college admissions? What drew you to this field?
Reilly: Ironically, I knew from a young age I wanted to be a counselor and help children in one form or another. My high school counselor assisted me in navigating the path towards becoming a counselor as well. He was my first true role model in the field and I followed in his footsteps! Once I began interning in high schools, I quickly gravitated towards the college process aspect of the job as I really enjoyed the exploration of life after high school, wherever it may take a student! I feel the college admissions field is constantly changing and that is something I enjoy learning about on a regular basis.
A+: How has the college application process changed since you’ve been working with students or what recent changes will have the biggest impact on students?
Reilly: The biggest impact recently has been the effects of test-optional admissions on the admissions world. That is, the option to apply to colleges without providing SAT or ACT scores. Prior to Covid, test-optional schools existed, but not at this magnitude. Now, competitive colleges are seeing an increase in applications because students can apply without test scores. It has made the competition and admissions process much more difficult for students. Additionally, this summer with the Supreme Court’s decision on eliminating the use of affirmative action many colleges have since revised their supplemental essay questions to reflect on ways diversity impacts a student. The admissions decisions this year may change again significantly as a result – but, we will have to wait and see what the data shows.
A+: What benefits/advantages does college admission counseling or coaching have over and above what the average school college counselor can do?
Reilly: Applying to college is arguably the most stressful experience in a student’s high school career. Having someone to go to weekly, be your advocate, and support, and who has experience with the process, helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. The biggest advantage is the individualized attention that a college counselor can provide to a student with organization, essay writing, and planning. Unfortunately, in many cases, the average school counselor has an excessive caseload of students and is not able to give the personalized attention they wish they could to each student.
A+: What is your approach to college admissions counseling?
Reilly: I believe that there is a college for everyone and that finding the right fit – academically, socially, physically and emotionally is the best approach to college admissions. I strongly believe being organized and thoughtful (in essays, in resume building, in research of colleges) will allow for a successful and smooth college application process. By collaborating with the student and their family, we ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals – getting our student into their dream school!
A+: What will your role be at A+ Test Prep and Tutoring? What services will College Admissions Coaching offer students?
Reilly: I will be the College Admissions Counselor and College Essay Editor. We will offer a variety of packages to suit juniors and seniors in their college application process. Each package consists of one-to-one coaching sessions to help each student become organized, develop individual smart college lists, develop a resume, and edit essays. Most importantly, I will be the student’s advocate, confidant, and goto person with any question or concern regarding the entire process.
A+: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?
Reilly: Going through the college process does not have to be a difficult and anxiety ridden experience for a student or their family. When properly supported and organized, it can be a very exciting time – discovering your strengths, planning for the next four years of life, and exploring new places! I am here to help in any way possible and look forward to helping you on the next step in your college journey!
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing with us more about who you are and your perspective on the college admissions process, and ultimately what you will be offering to students and families as a college admissions coach at A+!
At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. In addition to college admissions coaching, we have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you want to find out more about our services, we can be reached at 215-886-9188 or email us at email@example.com.