Case Study
Nolan Connolly

From Washing Dishes to Rice University

Student Profile
Dewey Smart Counselor: Stella - Vanderbilt University
Working part-time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, Nolan knew he wanted to make the most of his college admissions opportunities. Working with the Dewey Smart team, he gained Early Decision acceptance into Rice University!
Challenges Faced
Early Decision Strategy
School Lists

Navigating the college application process presented G12 student Nolan with several daunting challenges. One of the foremost difficulties he faced was knowing where he stood among his peers. In a highly competitive academic environment, it was hard for Nolan to accurately gauge his own achievements and qualifications relative to others. This uncertainty made it challenging for him to confidently assess his readiness and competitiveness for various colleges, adding an extra layer of stress and self-doubt to an already intense process.

Another significant hurdle for Nolan was creating a realistic but ambitious school list. He struggled to balance his aspirations of attending prestigious universities with the pragmatic need to include schools where his acceptance was more likely. This required extensive research and careful consideration of each institution's acceptance rates, programs, and campus culture. Finally, completing compelling application essays proved to be a major challenge. Crafting essays that were both personal and impactful demanded deep introspection and the ability to effectively communicate his unique experiences and goals. Nolan found it difficult to strike the right balance between authenticity and strategic storytelling, making this aspect of his application process particularly strenuous.

Consultation Process

Recognizing the challenges Nolan faced, his college counselor Stella implemented several effective strategies to guide him through the process. To address Nolan's difficulty in knowing where he stood among his peers, Stella conducted a series of personalized assessments, including GPA comparisons, standardized test score evaluations, and extracurricular activity reviews. She provided Nolan with detailed feedback, highlighting his strengths and areas for improvement. This not only gave Nolan a clearer understanding of his academic standing but also boosted his confidence in his achievements. Stella also organized peer workshops and one-on-one sessions where Nolan could discuss his concerns and gain insights from classmates in similar situations, fostering a supportive environment.

To help Nolan create a realistic yet ambitious school list, Stella encouraged a structured research approach. She guided Nolan in identifying key criteria for his college choices, such as program offerings, campus culture, location, and financial aid opportunities. Together, they categorized schools into reach, match, and safety tiers based on Nolan's qualifications and preferences. Stella also connected Nolan with alumni from various universities to provide firsthand insights and perspectives. For the essay component, Stella emphasized the importance of authenticity and personal voice. She worked closely with Nolan to brainstorm ideas, draft outlines, and refine his essays through multiple revisions. Stella's constructive feedback focused on making Nolan's narratives compelling and reflective of his true self, ensuring that his essays stood out to admissions committees. This comprehensive and personalized approach by Stella significantly alleviated the stress and challenges Nolan faced during his college application process.

Key Results
We’re proud to share
Nolan Connolly
's results:
Early Decision - Rice University
Reflections & Testimonials
Nolan's Experience with Dewey Smart

Before I worked with Dewey Smart, I had no idea of the best course of action regarding what schools to apply to and during what round of applications. I really wanted to make it into some reach schools. Rice University seemed like it was out of reach, but Stella pushed me to apply for Early Decision, and it paid off! 

Stella also helped me polish and perfect my essays and helped guide me to making a decision on my application plan. She was very helpful keeping me on track with my admissions and perfecting my essays down to the exact perfect words.

Testimonial from Nolan's Dad Joe: Our son had a dream of attending a top 20 university. We hadn’t a clue where to start. We didn’t know the first thing about college applications and essays and SAT scores and deadlines. All we knew was that our son had worked his butt off to achieve many great things in high school, and we needed to see him complete his dream of going to a prestigious university. We found Dewey Smart. They connected us with a wonderful consultant, Stella, who spent time (virtually) with our son to help craft his story for perspective universities. She guided us towards universities that fit his personality and academic goals. She helped draft his essays and provided advice and assistance with scholarships. With her help, our son was admitted to Rice University, one of the nation’s top universities. Thank you Dewey Smart!
Thorin Thomason
’s Case
Thorin's UT-Austin Dream Come True

Entering the College Application process, Thorin had no idea where to begin and felt overwhelmed by managing his time and maximizing his potential.

View Case Study
Shrila Esturi
’s Case
How to Enter Caltech, Georgia Tech, and UC Berkeley

Shrila came to Dewey Smart with dreams of entering some of the most competitive universities for STEM in the entire country, and those dreams came true!

View Case Study
Nolan Connolly
’s Case
From Washing Dishes to Rice University

Working part-time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, Nolan knew he wanted to make the most of his college admissions opportunities. Working with the Dewey Smart team, he gained Early Decision acceptance into Rice University!

View Case Study
Finn Hazen
’s Case
How Finn Entered His Top 3 Engineering Schools

Finn knew he wanted to enter some of the best Engineering programs in the country, but he wasn't certain how. He had heard a lot of vague advice about college applications on social media, and he needed help discerning fact from fiction.

View Case Study
Teen Getting Help with College Admissions
Parents can get their teen connected with tutors at top, Ivy League colleges.

Ready for Your Success Story?

We offer FREE 30-Minute Consultations for students and parents, offering step-by-step advice on how to achieve your admissions dreams!