Defining ROOT's Founding Soil

Defining ROOT's Founding Soil

By Eva Dodds

We don’t know what we don’t know.

When I started American College Consulting LLC in the early 2000s I was inspired by what I did not know. I hustled to learn from professional associations, affiliations, workshops, college admission programs, networks developed as a school based college advisor and from families I worked with as well.

We all learn from each other—if we are open to it.

Often, when a family is deciding to work with us, they say something like "We just don’t want to miss anything we don’t know about.”

I don’t want to miss out on what I don’t know either.

As the four of us decided to move forward with creating a unique college advising experience, I have had to be baseline honest about what we know and what we need to know.

Who are we?

Digging down through the decades of our careers exposed common roots. We share the same career goals. We work to ensure that anyone seeking a four year college degree understands every opportunity available. This requires knowing about thousands of colleges, testing, financial aid, scholarships, high school coursework, access to supplemental learning, teen activities and more. How can we ever know what we do not know?

How do we work?

Although we work as independent LLC’s advising individual families, we are each networked in unique ways allowing our office to be like a well established root system. An overlapping infrastructure which has evolved over decades to be connected with and respected by the college admission profession. We worked hard to get here and depend on our networks to provide continued inspiration and resources to best cultivate our students’ goals.

What is our purpose?

We are grounded in ROOT's mission to help each of our students thrive and enjoy their college admission process. We realize what they need to know. We offer specific structure and do not allow the unnecessary noise that surrounds the process influence our students' ROOT paths. 

Founding ROOT challenged me to think about why I am dedicated to our profession. To ask if I know enough to call myself an expert in college admission. To think about if I wanted to share stats and college lists displaying where our students were admitted and how much scholarship money is awarded each year. Families ask (and I answer) about how I know what I know, where my students are admitted and how much money they receive. They are trying to define the value of working with me.

I evaluate my practice by if students stayed balanced during the process. Did they resist the urges to question themselves as colleges attempted to define them?  Did they push themselves to consider new options and to follow up on interests? Were they curious?  Were they proud of their applications? Were they at peace with the whys of their path as they applied and received decisions? Did they stay grounded in themselves and logical when making their growth decisions?

It's personal.

My students get into highly selective schools and non selective schools. Literally, they have been admitted to all the highly selective schools and hundreds of less selective campuses. They receive amazing scholarships. All kinds of awards. They are sometimes disappointed with college decisions. They are sometimes elated with college decisions. Actually, they have all kinds of emotions! And that is why I am dedicated to making sure that my students remain rooted in the reality that they did all that they could to reach for their goals. 

Ever-growth mindset

As I set up ROOT, I realized so much about what I did not know.  Although I had created a similar LLC in the past, the how-tos of running such a business evolved and I needed counsel from Dave. Despite being proud of building two college advising websites, I quickly realized that I had no idea how to make my branding vision happen. Katie knew what I did not know, and her expertise brought ROOT to life.

ROOT will continue to grow as we each individually update our advising based on changes in college admission. We are aware that we do not know what we do not know and we realize that we are connected to any answers our families could ever need through a well-tended network of professional resources. 

This is us. This is each of us.

As ROOT College Advising joins the world this month, I am both excited and full of wonder. What can we do better? What changes will we need to adapt to? How can we contribute to making college admissions more accessible and less stressful? We are ready for challenges and energized to serve students.

The four of us have each been through similar feelings before. I am proud of the discerning nature of my ROOT colleagues when they are called on by the press as experts, by the college admission profession to share professional development, and by advocates to lobby at state and national levels. We are united in our primary purpose of helping each ROOT student reach their goals with a complete understanding of the process.  ~ I am super proud of this. Of us. 

Rooted in reality.

ROOT College Advising is grounded in our collective commitment to offer complete college admission advising to each unique student who chooses us. This, I know for sure.