that students have choices
Why OUR STUDENTS SUCCEED
While many college admissions advisors will start by asking students where they want to go to college, our approach is different.
We start by asking your children who they are today, who they want to be when they get to college, and how they hope college will help them become their best future selves.
Our guiding philosophy is to give students confidence in their "who." We support students in understanding their core values and interests, as together we discover the colleges that will provide the best environment for them.
Our goal is to not simply have a list of acceptances that students can hang on their wall, but a list of acceptances to schools that truly match who they are (and who they want to become). Even more so, we aim to develop the intangible skills to set them up for success once they get to college and beyond.
Who We Are
Eydie and Bonnie met as moms over 15 years ago when their eldest daughters were in pre-school together. However, it wasn’t until years later, while working together within a non-profit organization, where Eydie and Bonnie discovered that they had the makings of a great team! With over 20 years of experience, together they offer support and solutions to other parents and their children to help reduce the stress involved in the college admissions process.
Eydie Balsam, MSW, EdM
CEO - Chief Educational OfficerREAD BIO
Graduating from Syracuse University, Eydie holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University. She is the former Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs at Bentley University and Director of Student Affairs at Willow Hill High School. Prior to starting Beantown Admissions Advisors in 2010, she founded and ran Successful Strategies, a strategy based tutoring and standardized test preparation company. Her experiences working with both students and their families, traveling across the country to visit schools and meet with admissions officers have helped her hone her approach to empowering students to be their best selves. Eydie is a member of Higher Education Consultants Association, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling and the New England Association for College Admission Counseling. However, it is her role as a mom to three teenagers that have honed her ability to relate to both students and their parents as they travel down the path of college admissions.
Bonnie Brodowski, MBA
CEO - Chief Executive OfficerREAD BIO
Bonnie Brodowski is a Co-Founder of Head Toward College. Prior to her role in helping to make the college admissions process less stressful for students and their families, Bonnie spent her professional career within Harvard Medical School’s scientific and academic medical institutions (Children’s Hospital Boston and Mass. Eye and Ear) as a senior administrator. Bonnie is experienced at building internal and external partnerships as well as working closely with key decision-makers to develop and operationalize strategic programs and initiatives. Bonnie believes in creating a culture of success based on accountability, integrity, and commitment to excellence. Bonnie has a Master’s in Business Administration in Finance from Boston College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Certificate in Management Studies from the University of Rochester.
Bonnie is also a parent that has navigated this stressful experience with her family as well as with other teens who she has mentored in the community. She has keenly felt the need for a program like ours and is thrilled to share her expertise and commitment to this work through an organization that can bring the necessary tools and services to other students and their families.
Essay SpecialistREAD BIO
Hillary Kessler has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, crafting copy that has resulted in stories in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. Her skillful editing and writing for numerous organizations have helped them develop leading voices in their fields, while her coaching of students has resulted in college admissions essays that stand apart from the crowd.
Hillary has a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and a M.S. from the Columbia University School of Journalism. She is the mother of three, and specializes in pushing her children to write to their potential and use a thesaurus.
Director of Student EngagementREAD BIO
After following her passion for learning at Brown University with a Bachelors of Arts in both Anthropology and Economics, Shweta spent six years as a financial consultant at Ernst and Young, building her skills for numbers and patterns as she spoke with CFOs and analysts alike. Through her time in the corporate world, she learned that the most important skill one has is the person they know themselves to be. Having guided herself through her own self-inquiry since childhood, she began to meet high schoolers where they needed to be met and served as a mentor for them to highlight their inner gifts. With the tools of writing and storytelling and a pop-culture flare, Shweta encourages students to find the power in being unique. Her experience is that of one that many students will face, one that invites them to learn just how much they have to offer. Her role is to stand beside each student as they gain the confidence to navigate their own journey.