Our Work Together

Sam contacted me a little later than normal in the college planning process, but I had an open spot, so I was able to work with him in the very beginning of his senior year.

Sam had participated in the CloseUp program where he and some classmates visited Washington DC. This program was life-changing for Sam, as he heard from an inspiring ex-CIA officer. From that point forward, Sam knew he wanted to do the same.

Sam’s grades were a little hit-and-miss early in his high school years, but he had gotten serious and involved in school as the years progressed. He could point out an upward grade trend in his application, which is a big plus when the transcript shows a lower than ideal GPA.

Our work together involved identifying the strongest feeder schools to the CIA, but we also agreed that he should be at a place that is broad enough to facilitate changing interests and majors.

Sam worked through the YOU | FIT | APP tasks with me in record time. In fact, we needed to slow down a bit, just to make sure that he was giving the exercises and conversations their due. After all, especially in the YOU phase, the process is a more important than the product. For the other phases, Sam kept up his blistering pace, and was able to generate a strong application, with a compelling essay about his inspiration. At his fast pace, proof reading and editorial reviews were critical for all of his essays. He used the Additional Information section of the application to discuss his grades and point out the upward trajectory that accompanied his determination. He did all of this in time to apply by the early November 1 deadline at his top choice schools.

He was accepted, and then opted to commit right away – well before the national May 1 commitment deadline. Sam was completely done with his college application process by mid-January of his senior year.

Student Facts

Interests and Extracurriculars

CIA, Career, History, Politics, National Security

Academics and Tests

Decent and Ascending grades.

College Characteristics

Sam shared the following statements, among many others, in our FIT work together:

  • I want opportunities to intern or work for intelligence-related groups.
  • I would prefer schools in the DC area, or at least on the East Coast.
  • Religious make-up doesn’t matter to me.
  • I would like classes that actively enhance and advance my career plans.
  • I want different languages to be offered.
  • A school that challenges me would be preferred.
  • I’d like to be in a city.
  • I’d like opportunities to study abroad.

Perfect-Fit College List

Sam’s list was small and targeted. George Mason, American, George Washington, Northeastern, and others.


By the time he applied, Sam’s top choice was American University. He loved the location and the internship opportunities.  He was admitted during the early round and he committed to going there right away.

He also was accepted at George Mason and George Washington.

Note: This is a description of an actual student-client of Bell College Consulting. All aspects are real and accurate; however, the name and photo have been changed to protect the student’s privacy. The photo is used by permission from Philip Wang’s page at and uses the underlying algorithm created by Nvidia.