We are Independent Educational Consultants (IEC) dedicated to helping families navigate the rigors of the college application process. We offer objective advice, access to reliable information, and the kind of individual attention necessary to make an informed decision.
Gigi M. Frye, M.A. - President / CEO
After her realization that valuable information on how to fund her daughter's college education was not readily available, Gigi sought out to personally demystify the stressful process of obtaining adequate financial aid. In short time, Gigi had diligently researched various sources of financing, and through that daunting experience learned firsthand the tools of the trade.
As a result of her extensive research and the professional guidance of several college financial aid administrators, she gleaned valuable insight that enabled her to develop a proven methodology for obtaining the maximum amount of financial aid possible. All of her hard work came to fruition when her daughter was fortunate to graduate from Loyola Marymount University without any student debt.
Empowered by her success, Gigi founded College Connect 101 in 2010 with the mission of helping families overcome the challenges of college affordability for their children. After a few years of working exclusively with financial aid, Gigi realized that if she could work with students to help them navigate through the rigors of the application process, enabling them to submit their best overall application, they would receive more merit aid which will inevitably help to offset the total cost of tuition. To learn more about the college application process, she joined professional organizations such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) to learn best practices which she uses to continuously place her students into prestigious schools.
Gigi received her Master of Arts in Behavioral Sciences from California State University, Dominquez Hills and enjoys attending college admissions workshops and visiting colleges and universities across the country.
Terrence L. Watkins, M.B.A. - Chief Financial Officer / COO
Terrence currently oversees College Connect 101's financial management and business development, including overall operations. He joined College Connect 101 in 2014 shortly after he was retained as a business consultant to advise in growing the business. After learning more about the IEC industry and directly seeing the positive impact of helping high school students matriculate to college, he decided to leave the field of management consulting to focus his efforts full time to our students and has been personally fulfilled ever since.
Prior to College Connect 101 Terrence served in various managerial positions in the areas of Corporate Finance and Strategy. He has assisted both public and private companies, applying a diverse set of skills to improve performance, such as creating multi-national budgets and forecasts, developing complex business models and leveraging six sigma methodologies to evaluate and monitor business performance and efficiency.
Terrence began his career working as a financial analyst with Motorola at their corporate headquarters based in Schaumburg, IL. From there, he went on to work in management consulting with Marsh & McLennan, and transitioned into fixed income securities working at Payden & Rygel and later with IndyMac Bank (now OneWest Bank). where he managed the bank's interest rate risk and liquidity. Soon after earning his M.B.A., Terrence founded his own consulting firm and worked with clients from startups to multinational enterprises, including Disney, CBRE, Toyota Motor Credit, Nestle, Allergen and eRecyclingcorps to name a few.
Terrence received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Howard University and his MBA in Finance from the Graziadio School at Pepperdine University.
Janet Baker - Essay Coach
Janet is the consummate writer and is an expert in helping our students reveal the best version of themselves through their essays.
Janet received her education at Boston University School of Public Communications. Janet's background is in advertising where she worked in various facets of the industry for major advertisers such as American Airlines, Pepsi, Budweiser, and many Proctor and Gamble products. When her son became school age, Janet left the world of advertising to raise her son and study writing. During that time, Janet has written three screenplays and is at this time unproduced. (But getting great feedback). When her son was preparing for college, she found her passion in helping him, along with several friends and acquaintances with their essays. Her son was accepted at eight schools and just graduated from UC Berkeley.
In her spare time, Janet enjoys writing her own humorous personal essays, reading, live theater, cooking and hanging out with her friends and two dogs.
Tim Burke - Standardized Test Tutor
A graduate from Dartmouth College, i have been happily married for a gazillion -no, make that 28 - years. We have two awesome rescue mutts. My free time is spent playing ice hockey (what can I say? I'm from Buffalo) and playing in various bands as a professional guitarist/guitar synthesist most weekends.
I've been a full-time professional tutor in this area since 1985 and taught English in the classroom to ninth and tenth graders before that. I tutor in all subjects including up through PreCalculus, and college admissions essay writing.
My specialty is tutoring for most standardized tests, including: ISEE, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, CBEST, HSPT, and COOP to name a few.
Donielle Mitchell - Academic Tutor
Donielle Mitchell has always had a passion for learning. At an early age she was exposed to a rigorous STEM curriculum in the Science, Math and Student-Conducted Research Magnet Program at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, MD. There she was inspired by world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, to pursue a career in STEM. Donielle would go on to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where she would obtain a double degree in Chemical Engineering and
Pre-Medical Studies with a minor in biology. Upon graduating Donielle began a lucrative career in the petroleum industry. During this time, while pursuing a Masters in Chemical Engineering, she had the opportunity to teach. This moment would change her life forever. For the first time Donielle realized that the acquisition of knowledge without a sense of responsibility or moral compass was dangerous. As she progressed through her own studies, she also became aware of the ever-growing achievement gap that exist between minorities, women, and Americans as a whole in our global society. Armed with this alarming fact and determined to make a difference, Donielle decided to enter the field of education. She obtained a double credential in foundation mathematics and science from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and began to fight the good fight.
Fifteen years later and Ms. Mitchell continues to work in the trenches, as a classroom teacher, while expanding her knowledge of curriculum and instruction in an effort to positively impact others. She obtained a Masters in Education, received certifications in Common Core Mathematics Coaching and Instructional Leadership from the Center for Math and Science Studies, and completed the Blended Learning Academy in the iDEAL Institute at LMU. Donielle also served as a guest presenter and completed workshops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic School System. She has also also served on visiting teams for the Western Association and of Colleges and Schools (WASC), for schools wishing to maintain their accreditation.
Donielle tutors all academic subjects, with a specialty in all AP sciences and mathematics.
What Clients are Saying About Us
As a result, I am thrilled to say that my daughter was accepted into her Top 2 choices and had so many other options to choose!
My oldest son just graduated from NYU and Gigi was able to secure a $20,000 grant four years in a row. In addition to that she expertly crafted our appeal letters which lead to more grants & scholarships. Our youngest son was originally awarded $5,000 in grants this year, but with Gigi's amazing guidance, that $5,000 turned into over $40,000 in grants and scholarships! We haven't taken out any loans so far! I would DEFINITELY recommend using Gigi's services to guide you throughout your entire college process."
I cannot sing the praises of College Connect 101 loudly enough. The professionalism and expertise of this phenomenal service is unmatched. They were able to guide us step by step through the testing, application and admission process with years of experience and industry knowledge through programs I had no idea even existed.