Circle of Giving
Cullan S. - parent of Yale and Brown students
When Reed S. was starting to think about college, one thing was clear: he knew he wanted to play football. “But we had no idea if he’d actually be able to play in college,” says his mother, Cullan S. Reed was a standout athlete and a strong student. “But once the recruiting started, it was a nightmare,” says Cullan S., recalling the deluge of mail that poured in. “We’re a blue-collar family, and we were getting all this interest from lots of schools, including Ivy Leagues we thought we shouldn’t even consider financially. We didn’t know how the process worked. All of us were overwhelmed. Thank goodness for Alison.”
After signing on to work with Forbes Educational Consulting, the family tension vanished. “Alison got us organized and on track,” says Cullan S. “It was a godsend to have her watching deadlines and advising us on the financial end of things. I loved that she could play the part of the bad guy, getting Reed to follow through on his essays and applications.”
Not that it was always easy. “Alison is blatantly honest, and parents don’t always like that she might disagree with them,” notes Cullan S., who was thinking Brown might be the best fit for her son. As it turns out, he wound up at Yale, where he played football for four years. It was, in fact, the perfect fit. “That’s Alison’s job,” says Cullan S., “to make sure each student finds the best place. And Yale was perfect for him.”
When it was her daughter’s turn to apply to college, Cullan S. turned to Forbes Educational Consulting again - and this time, Brown did turn out to be the right place. “We honestly never would have wound up at either of these schools if it weren’t for Alison,” says Cullan S. “I can’t say enough about the guidance she provides during one of the most stressful times in a kid’s life. To have someone who’s so loving and supportive and knowledgeable about every aspect of this process is worth all the money in the world.”
For this family, the story doesn’t end with successful admission to two outstanding schools. “The process with Alison helped them so much,” says Cullan S., “that they wanted to give back.” Both children have spent time volunteering with ReadySetLaunch, a nonprofit organization committed to making college advising available to high school students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. These kids have loved the chance to mentor others, providing encouragement, advice, and even, when necessary, playing the bad guy - a skill they picked up from working with Alison. After all, they’ve seen for themselves that it works: sticking with a difficult process and getting into the right school is an achievable goal. And it can change your life. That’s something else they learned from Alison Forbes, M.Ed.