What led me to admissions consulting?
My parents have always been staunch advocates of my education. They met in the Navy as teenagers, neither one of them having the opportunity to go to college directly after high school. My mother immigrated to New York from Jamaica at fourteen, and my father grew up on the South Side of Chicago before moving to a small town in Michigan for high school. As a military family, we planted roots in Maryland to give me the best chance at a stable education and weathered my father’s deployments as a family.
Unfortunately, my college application process coincided with my parents’ separation and I found myself suddenly lost. Without access to adequate college counseling, I was left to my own devices to devise my college application list. I thought back to years of sitting with my mom in her bed in the master bedroom, eating a fistful of popcorn from an old Tupperware container that had long-ago lost its cover, watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls. There was something comforting about the idea of small-town Connecticut where everybody knows your name. This need for familiarity at a time when my world was becoming increasingly unfamiliar led me not only to apply to Yale to follow in Rory’s footsteps, but also to University of Connecticut, Wesleyan, and Princeton. My principal encouraged me to apply to Cornell and his alma mater, William and Mary. No further thought was given to academic, financial, or social fit. With application money lent to me from my godparents, I dutifully applied in October of my senior year and hoped for the best.
Despite my lack of guidance, I became one of the first students from my high school to matriculate to an Ivy League university; Princeton changed my life in more ways than I can count. When students at Clarksburg High School asked me to come back and speak to them about the college admissions process, I jumped at the opportunity. I realized that there was so much misinformation about the college admissions process and not enough resources to help students find their best fit colleges. Year after year, I would help students from my school and church navigate the college admissions process while listening to their hopes and dreams and helping them determine their values. I attended workshops and courses on the college admissions process, completed the University of California, Irvine certificate program in Independent Educational Consulting and joined professional organizations such as the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling and the Independent Educational Consultants Association to increase my knowledge and professionalism and stay up to date on current trends in college and graduate school admissions. S. Montgomery Admissions Consulting was born out of a desire to increase access to college counseling resources for students of all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.
While not a religious company, my values and methodologies are driven by my faith. As a first-generation, low-income student, I know I would not be where I am without the grace of God. I simultaneously feel a sense of responsibility to give back and I believe that God’s calling on my life is to help students through this time, regardless of their religious beliefs. My students are Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheist and everything in between. I treat each of my students as the unique and special gift that they are because I believe adolescence is one of the most important times in a person’s life as they are beginning to develop their sense of self, their desires, and their views on the world. I want to empower my students, for as the Bible says we do not have a spirit of “fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” I encourage my students to find their voice with confidence and I aim to provide both my students and families compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
I absolutely love what I do; I love my students and feel so privileged to share this special and sacred time in their life with them. My desire to help children is what originally spurred my quest to go to Harvard Law School. While I enjoy being a lawyer, there is something unique in experiencing the joy of watching a student have a breakthrough with her essay or an ‘Aha!’ moment about his potential major. I feel privileged when students feel comfortable enough to disclose their personal struggles to me through their essay topics and I live for the moments when I can be their cheerleader, celebrating every small victory, every deadline met, scholarship won, and school acceptance letter. As their college consultant I have the honor of watching them grow sometimes over the span of many years into mature, capable, and admirable young adults. As a law school consultant, I am passionate about helping my students break down generational barriers and step confidently into their future. Only 2% of lawyers in America are Black women and I am committed to increasing that number every day. I love speaking life into my students’ dreams. Helping students with their higher educational journey is without a doubt the best job I could ever have, and the greatest gift God has given me.