Girl Boss breaking the Status Quo with the CollegeQuo

ISHEBA CORNWALL

Saturday, August 03, 2019

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Getting into college is hard. Some of us have dreams of studying all over the world, embracing the vibrancy of new cultures. Sadly, not many of us have the means or the expertise to achieve their goals. The Jamaican status quo seems to treat college with scant regard, but Amanda Rickman is breaking the status quo with her company CollegeQuo. You know teenAGE always has your back and so we decided to catch up with Amanda Rickman to find out more about her company, and how you can benefit from something as amazing as CollegeQuo. 

CollegeQuo is a boutique college consulting company primarily for international students who want to apply to universities abroad and gain scholarships. This amazing company guides students through the entire application process for Universities all over the world.When teenAGE asked the question why CollegeQuo was started, Amanda told us that she saw a need in Jamaica for a more affordable alternative in the educational consulting realm. “I created options that students and parents can utilize without breaking the bank and have a wide range of prices so that no matter your budget, there are options available for you.”

It was an accident! 

The Campion College and Hillel Academy past student disclosed to teenAGE that it was by accident that she got into the college consultancy business. She was simply just scrolling through Snapchat where she saw a student expressing his frustration with the college application process. As she was in her first year of University and had already gone through the process, she offered to help him for a small fee. He agreed and BAM! CollegeQuo was born after Rickman realized she was passionate about college consultancy, it was a perfect fit because she was good at it too! 

The same young man got into all the schools he had applied for and currently studies at a University in the UK. 

Is getting an Education abroad even worth it?

After being asked this question, Rickman told teenAGE that an education abroad helps Jamaican students in a number of ways, “I could write a whole book on this!” 

She went on to explain how she failed to realize how limited her perspective was until she went to University abroad. “It gives you a chance to expand your horizons beyond anything imaginable, network and make connections with different people from an array of backgrounds and learn how to find comfort within discomfort.”

Amanda explained how she was able to travel to places like Vietnam and stressed how attending University abroad opens the door to incredible opportunities. “It also gives you a backbone and teaches you to create opportunities for yourself!” 

Having access to a wealth of job and internship opportunities is another advantage to studying abroad. She expresses to us that these experiences will significantly boost students' résumés and employability. 

How the Scholarship ting' guh? 

“For non-US citizens who need financial aid/ scholarships, it is difficult but definitely not impossible.” The young consultant revealed that in order to achieve scholarships ,students need to be strategic with where they choose to apply as “some schools are significantly more generous to international students than others.” She helped us (teenAGE) understand how her company helps students to select the right schools based on the perfect fit and affordability. In addition to this, she curates their applications to present their strongest selves to maximize scholarship opportunities. 

“You should also be thinking of things like merit-based versus need-based aid, need-blind policies versus need-aware policies, early decision versus early action versus regular decision and how that all impacts your aid eligibility (I know it's confusing, but do a simple google search and you will find tons of definitions for all these terms).”


Services offered by College Quo

CollegeQuo helps students with all aspects of the application process with the exception of SAT/ACT classes (due to the online based nature of the company). Rickman and her team helps students to select the right Universities for them, guide them through the essay writing process along with helping them to plan their summer opportunities and curate their extra curricular involvements for applications. 

In addition to this, CollegeQuo guides students through the process of applying for financial aid and scholarships as well as help them to navigate through the applications. 

“We are also just there as resources whenever a question about any aspect of the process arises, and they are definitely bound to come up!” 


What are some Jamaican success stories of CollegeQuo students?

Amanda: “This year three students received full-ride scholarships, and many others received scholarship/ financial aid awards north of $40,000 USD per year. Having three full-rides for such a small company (last year we only took on around 20 students) was a huge accomplishment. One of our students got a full-ride scholarship to New York University - Abu Dhabi which has an acceptance rate of around 3% (it's more competitive to get into than any Ivy League school)l. His entire educational expenses will be covered, including his flights home which is just about as good as it gets!”

Finally we asked: Why CollegeQuo?

“One of our students, who received a full-ride to the University of Miami, summarized it pretty well: 'I was looking for a personalized service. I chose College Quo immediately after my first consultation because for the first time, I didn't feel like another random person paying money. I felt like there was a genuine interest in me. It was really such a me-focused atmosphere where all the interactions I had with the team centered around my best interest. It was never anything generic that could fit just about anyone.'”

Now a rising senior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She is studying anthropology and history (yes, she's a student too!). Outside of running CollegeQuo, She's a co-leader of Bowdoin Women in Business, a Senior Interviewer in Bowdoin Admissions and an intern in Bowdoin Career Planning. Amanda is a perfect example of a girl boss embracing her passions! We stan.

-- Isheba Cornwall


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