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Web Copy: Student Profiles

Client: Forbes Educational Consulting, Fall 2012

Alison Forbes runs a successful college consulting business, but she had an outdated website that didn’t reflect her dynamic and engaging approach. Along with developing fresh copy for existing pages, we added new copy—short profiles of college students and their parents. These “In Their Own Words” stories offer prospective clients more substance than the typical stand-alone testimonial quotes—and help to explain “the Forbes difference.”


The best way to get to know Forbes Educational Consulting is to listen to our clients. Their stories are what matter most to us—because they help us tell our own story. They help us measure our success. We hope their stories will help you, too, to better understand our mission and approach—and why we love working with students and their families.


First-year student, Wooster College

“If it weren’t for Alison, I really don’t know what I would have done.” —Ellie Bell

It was the list that overwhelmed her. “My high school guidance counselor handed me this huge list of colleges,” says first-year college student Ellie Bell, “and told me to start narrowing it down, picking the ones I was interested in.” Bell was completely stumped. “I had no idea where to start, no idea what kind of college I wanted to go to.”

Then her father handed her the phone. “Even after just talking to Alison a couple of times, I felt like, ‘Okay, I can do this—I can figure out where I’m going to college.’ Alison was so full of energy. She was awesome.”

With Alison at her side, Ellie learned to research the schools that interested her, reviewing student commentaries and looking beyond institutional materials. Thoughtful discussions helped her discover more about her own vision for her college experience. “Alison really knows how to ask the right questions,” says Ellie. Perhaps most important of all, Alison loved Ellie’s car—her old Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“My car—I named him ‘Jimmy’—he always stood out in the parking lot when I was in high school,” says Ellie, who attended a prestigious private school. “He didn’t fit in with the BMWs and Audis and other expensive cars.” Jimmy was always breaking down. He was, well, different. And so was Ellie. “I never felt like I quite fit in,” she says. “I was proud of who I was, but I was different from my peers.”

Talking with Alison helped Ellie realize that her passion for her car was just the idea she needed to power her college essay. Her Jeep was a metaphor for her own experience—and writing about it was one of Ellie’s favorite parts of the college application process. “I’m so happy with it,” she says. “It was funny and clever and it had a moral—it was about character.”

In the end, thanks to guidance from Forbes Educational Consulting, Ellie found more than the right college. She found her own voice—and a path toward the future.

TEAM WORK: Kristin Posternak

Parent of five

“We wanted to give our kids the best opportunity to do what they wanted to do, but we felt in over our heads.” —Kristin Posternak

Kristin Posternak and her husband Dan, who are in the restaurant business, know a thing or two about hard work. And their five children, who have all pitched in on the family venture, have learned more than a few important life lessons from their experiences: how to keep your eye on a long-term goal, how to build a strong team, how to stay with it until the job gets done.

“So it was a no-brainer when it came to working with Alison,” says Kristin. It was like having the ultimate new team member—a coach, really, who helped her two college-aged boys tackle the application process and put those life lessons to work. “It was so nice to have someone else make sure they were accountable,” says Kristin, who notes that both boys connected immediately with Alison.

Focused and hard-working, Matthew, the oldest, knew he wanted a city school. Jake, her second son, was an economics guy and very laid back. Both wanted to stay close to home. Forbes Educational Consulting helped each of them refine their choices and find their way to schools designed to get them off to a strong start. Each one wound up in the Boston area, just a couple of hours from their family home in Maine—Matthew at Northeastern, Jake at Bentley.

“We really believe they got where they wanted to go thanks to working with Alison,” says Kristin, who especially appreciates what she calls the scope of Alison’s vision. “It’s a big world out there,” she says. “We didn’t want our children to feel any pressure to follow a particular path. What we most wanted was for them to be happy and to feel successful.”

The goal, in short, was not a particular school with a particular reputation. It was about creating possibility. It was about finding an environment where each boy’s skills could translate into success. “We wanted to give our kids the best opportunity to do what they wanted to do,” says Kristin. “But times have changed since Dan and I applied to college, and we felt in over our heads.” So the family called in an expert—Forbes Educational Consulting—and, working together, created a winning team.

A PRICELESS GIFT: Isaac Borenstein

Parent of a Princeton student

“Working with Alison was an investment of immeasurable value in our daughter’s life.” —Isaac Borenstein

Isaac Borenstein knows the value of a good education. The retired superior court judge, who immigrated to the United States from Cuba, built his own career squarely on the foundation of a first-rate college education. “As a judge and law professor, and also as an immigrant who became successful, I am particularly and keenly aware of what a college education can mean,” says Borenstein. “The choice of where one gets an education is absolutely critical to personal fulfillment and professional success. And I don’t think there’s anything more important than good advice from a solid professional one trusts. That’s what Alison has meant to us.”

Working with Forbes Educational Consulting wasn’t so much a need as a choice, Borenstein explains. His daughter Hannah was already at the top of her class in a prestigious, highly competitive private school. She had perfect SAT scores and a high average in all her AP courses. She was, in short, an ideal college candidate. “But we knew,” he says, “that Alison’s impact on Hannah’s life, both personally and professionally, was one of most important things she would ever experience.”

Borenstein and his family chose to work with Alison partly because she is a seasoned professional who knows the field. “She’s clearly at the top of her game,” says Borenstein. “But she also brings a critical human dimension to her relationship with her clients. That relationship really helped Hannah understand the process and get things done. It helped her make her choices intelligently and with confidence, as she did all the things she needed to do to get ready for this next big step in her life.”

The rest of the family benefitted, too, according to Borenstein. “Having Alison on the team greatly eased the family dynamic, helping us go through this process in a healthier more supportive way.” Borenstein notes that Hannah was eager to work directly with Alison, who has a special gift for connecting with her young clients. “Hannah trusted and respected her judgment and they developed a genuine friendship.”

Borenstein knows from experience that his investment will pay off in the future, that the gift of a fine education is, in fact, priceless. But already he has seen the benefits of enlisting professional guidance. Already he has seen the richness it has brought to his daughter’s life, the independence she has gained. Forbes Educational Consulting has helped his daughter embark on the journey ahead with confidence and vision, her parents standing proudly behind her.


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