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.
Finding the right school, college or program can be a rewarding process, but for some families, the experience is challenging, overwhelming and at times frustrating. Few decisions have as great an impact on a student. Families may find themselves at a loss to properly evaluate their options and make appropriate choices. Seeking the services of an independent educational consultant can be the wisest investment a family can make.
For families considering college, the main reason to hire an IEC is our individualized attention and firsthand knowledge of hundreds of educational opportunities. Most high school guidance counselors would like to assist students individually with the college application process, but they have too many students to manage. And, they often have many more responsibilities other than college counseling like scheduling as well as other social and emotional issues that face high school students today.
We can take much of the stress out of the college admission process and be an objective, third-party, helping you through the process of transitioning from high school and the comforts of living at home to going off to college and experiencing living in a dorm. We are experts at finding the "Best Fit" school, one that will help foster both the student's academic and social growth.
The College Connect 101 Process
Standardized Test Prep
We first give you access to a SAT and/or ACT practice test given in an actual test environment by a proctor. After we receive the results of your testing, we prep on either the ACT OR SAT test which includes (5) individualized sessions (1hr each) instructing on proven test-taking strategies for your optimal score.
Build the College List
We create a best-fit college list based on our years of industry knowledge, using data points obtained from the result of our personality profile survey, combined with your academic and extracurricular profile.
Over 95% of our students are accepted into one of their top three schools, because of our guidance in matching them with the most appropriate schools.
Craft Essays and Complete Applications
Our expert essay coaches will assist you with brainstorming and topic selection. We will also teach you how to develop and craft your personal statement in addition to all of your individual school supplemental essays.
Also, our coaches will walk you through the entire process of completing all of your college applications, including preparing your student resume.
Financial Aid Advisory*
Lastly, we will work one-on-one with your family to provide assistance with your school-specific financial aid forms, FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC documents, Verification Forms, Parent Plus Loans, and also advise on special circumstances such as professional judgments.
Most of our clients are successful in securing additional financial aid based on our industry expertise and knowledge of award package negotiating.
* Not Applicable with all packages
Basic College Planning
College Planning w/
Financial Aid Processing
College Planning w/ Financial Aid Processing & Planning and Standardized Test Prep
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, Dominguez Hills and enjoys attending college admissions workshops and visiting colleges and universities across the country.
Terrence L. Watkins, MBA
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 developing complex business models and leveraging six sigma methodologies to evaluate and monitor business performance and efficiency.
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 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.
Standardized Test Tutor
A graduate from Dartmouth College, Tim has been a full-time professional tutor 1985 and had taught high school English before that. His specialty is tutoring for most standardized tests, including: ISEE, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, CBEST, HSPT, and COOP to name a few. He also tutors in all subjects including PreCalculus and college admissions essay writing. In his free time he enjoys playing ice hockey (Buffalo native) and playing in various bands as a professional guitarist/guitar synthesist most weekends.
What our clients are saying about us