With an international scope of experience in the college admissions process, Empowerly counselor Ronnie M. brings valuable context to every student’s journey. What’s more, by paying attention to each student’s voice, Ronnie helps students find their best futures in education and beyond. A passionate and world-class educator, Ronnie is an excellent example of what kind of dedication helps Empowerly students shine above and beyond the rest. We can’t wait to introduce Ronnie and discuss his perspectives on counseling!
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Currently located in New York City, Empowerly Counselor Ronnie M. went to Brown University for his undergraduate degree, where he majored in East Asian Studies. He later received an offer from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University but pivoted to a career in education during his gap year.
For the past 10 years, Ronnie has been working as a college consultant helping over 400 students achieve their college dreams, including acceptances from Top 10 universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UPenn, JHU, and Northwestern.
How did you hear about Empowerly? How did you get started as a counselor in the first place?
“At Brown University, I completed the Pre-Med track and was accepted into their medical school to fulfill my dream of being a doctor. During my gap year, however, I realized that my calling was in education and not medicine. Then I got my master’s in education from USC and have been helping students get into their dream universities ever since,” Ronnie said.
“I take such pride in working with each of my students and live vicariously through them as they check their online portals, screaming and crying when they realize they have been accepted from their dream university which boasts a 5% acceptance rate. I was drawn to Empowerly as they have the same philosophy of counseling as I do: help each individual student shine in a way that is genuine to themselves.”
What’s your experience level with college admissions?
What experiences make Ronnie a great counselor?
“For the past ten years, I have helped over 400 students through the college admissions process as a remote college counselor, school counselor, and in my own company based out of Beijing, China. My students have received offers from every Ivy League and top university, and 95% of my students have received a Top 30 offer or better,” Ronnie shared. “Throughout the past decade, I have worked with students of all majors, programs, interests, and backgrounds. I pride myself on making great relationships with my students and allowing them to put their best selves in their essays and interviews. I am also fluent in Chinese and have counseled many students and families using that language.”
How would you describe your approach to counseling?
“I really enjoy the relationships I build with each of my students throughout the college application journey. I have had students remark that I know their activities better than they do and even refer to me as their “best friend.” Since this process can be stressful at times, it is so important to be navigating it with someone you trust,” Ronnie said.
“My students appreciate that I always make myself available for meetings, even past 12 AM EST, especially for my California students. In getting to know each and every one of my student’s passions and their true selves, we are able to work together to craft an extremely compelling narrative for admissions officers. This approach elevates my students and allows them to reach heights they previously thought were unimaginable.”
Do you have a particular student success story to share?
“This past year, I had a student, Helen*, find me on December 20th, just ten days before the second early decision round and regular decision deadline. She was sobbing after receiving a rejection letter from Emory after previously working with another agency, and said that she only trusted me to help her. This student had only taken three APs, did not have an SAT or ACT score, and came from a high school that had not sent a student to a Top 15 university in the past six years.
Over the ten days we had together, I met with her for two hours each day—including Christmas—to completely rewrite her personal statement, activity list, and college supplements, and prepare for interviews. The trust she had in me, as a counselor, allowed her to gain her own confidence and create incredibly introspective essays.
Upon being deferred from her WUSTL (Washington University in St. Louis), I told her to trust the process and helped her craft a LOCI (letter of continued interest) for them. In early April, Helen called me, sobbing again. She had received offers from NYU, UNC, USC, and, most importantly, WUSTL (ranked #14). Now, she is the happiest freshman on WUSTL’s campus as she begins her psychology degree.”
What is something you’ve learned from your students?
“I love learning about all of my students’ quirky traits and interests. Talking to my computer science majors who love debating, chemistry majors starting non-profits that help stray cats, or art majors who are fascinated with dentistry bring a lot of added joy to the process. I am a people person and thoroughly enjoy getting to know each of my students on a deep level in order to present their best selves in the application process.”
One piece of advice you would tell students now?
“You are going to be okay. I work with many competitive students who put a lot of undue pressure on themselves, especially if they receive negative news during the early decision round. Panic often strikes as they wonder if they will receive any offers or they question whether they have what it takes to get into an elite university. I tell them, “you are going to be okay.” I have had students get rejected from Cornell, but accepted into Yale or students who don’t get into a particular UC school but get accepted into a Top 10 university.
It is important to remember that this process is a subjective one. You are unlikely to get accepted into every single university you apply to, just as you will not get rejected from every university you apply to. I find students who understand this manage anxiety or stress during this process a lot better. Over the past ten years, I never lost a student, and through crafting great college lists, my students have always achieved a result they could be proud of.”
What is a piece of life advice that has stuck with you?
“The path to success is not crowded. I challenge my students to work with passion and intentionality whether it be for a class, research, internship, school club, volunteering, or a hobby. Not everyone is willing to put in the necessary effort, and students who dedicate themselves to this process during high school are rewarded greatly in the college admissions process.”
The dedicated, high-caliber counselor community at Empowerly understands the importance of each unique student’s journey. With global context and an eye toward the future, our team is here to support your growth. All you have to do is ask. Book a free consultation below to receive a customized recommendation for your college application plan.