college advice; Isabella Alcantara Success Stories

Overview: Client Success Stories

Let’s dive into another chapter of our Client Success Stories. In this series, we feature CollegeAdvisor students who took our college advice as they applied to top schools. We’re excited to share how our college help allowed these incredible students to achieve their college dreams. 

In our Client Success Stories, we’ll interview these students to learn more about how our Admissions Experts helped them reach their goals.  We’ll talk about how they used our college application help services and university advice to build their college lists and prepare their college essays. We’ll also share their personal college advice for other students. 

Our CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories and the positive feedback in our reviews remind us of the importance of our work. Our mission is to empower students from all backgrounds to achieve their college dreams. The reviews we receive from former clients show the impact of our efforts. As these Success Stories show, we’re here to give you the university advice you need to start your college lists, craft your personal essays, and more. 

Introducing Isabella Alcantara

In this Success Story, we spoke to one of our beloved students: Isabella Alcantara. Isabella joined to get one-on-one university advice as she began applying to college. 

This article shares Isabella’s experiences with our team as she navigated the college application process. It highlights her background and the college advice she found most helpful as she learned how to stand out in college applications. 

This article also shows how Isabella crafted her college essay and QuestBridge application with college help from her university advisor. It details Isabella’s admissions results, future college plans, and personal university advice for other high school students. 

So, why did Isabella choose to work with our college help services? 

Isabella understood the importance of getting expert college advice as she began her college applications. She chose’s college application help services to access more support, specifically as she began her college essays. 

Meet Isabella – Background, interests, and more

Before we discuss Isabella’s experiences with us and the college advice she used, let’s learn more about her background and interests. 

“I’ve been in New York for all my life,” Isabella shared. “I was born in Washington Heights, then moved to Queens for a little bit, then moved to Westchester where I’m at right now.” 

Growing up, Isabella’s parents taught her about the values of hard work and education. “My parents are both the first people to go to college in our family,” Isabella told us. “They’ve instilled education and that hard work ethic in me. And I really carry that, what they instilled in me, in everything I do,” she said.  

Isabella’s family background influenced both her academic interests and extracurricular activities. “My dad’s a math teacher, and he always loved teaching me high school math back when I was in elementary school,” Isabella said. “And from there I really loved math. So, I created the math club in my school and actually was the President for about two years.” 

Isabella’s cultural background

Isabella’s culture also had an impact on her extracurriculars and leadership roles. “My dad’s Dominican, my mom’s Ecuadorian,” Isabella explained. “I made my own club in my school, the first ethnic club in my high school’s history, and it was a Latino Student Union. And that was a really big leadership role for me in high school.” 

college advice; Isabella Alcantara

Her mom’s fascination with history and museums led Isabella to develop an interest in power dynamics and law after several visits to a Holocaust Museum.  

“It really interested me, and I wanted to see how I could change my community in an impactful way. So, I got an interest in law and in [the] summer of my freshman year I actually joined a law internship under Legal Outreach,” Isabella told us. “And then the next year, I did Columbia University’s Summer Immersion Program for the Supreme Court and U.S. Constitution. It further fueled my interest in law…and the foundations of law in our country,” Isabella said. 

Isabella also participated in art club and ethics bowl club in high school. Even with such an impressive background and résumé, Isabella needed university advice. So, as admissions season drew near, she sought support from a professional university advisor. 

Seeking college advice: Why was Isabella attracted to CollegeAdvisor? 

Like many students, Isabella’s senior year was demanding. When it came time to write her college essay, she felt overwhelmed. Like many students, she knew she needed expert college advice from a university advisor to get through the college application process. 

“With so many things going on in school and trying to build that perfect résumé, perfect extracurricular list,” Isabella shared, “I got too caught up in college and in high school events and high school responsibilities. I waited ‘til the last minute to really write my college essay, and I also didn’t know what to put exactly ‘cause there was so much that had shaped who I am,” Isabella told us. 

That’s when Isabella found CollegeAdvisor. She set up a free consultation to get tips on how to write her college essay before she began working with a university advisor. 

When did Isabella get started with her university advisors? 

Isabella got college help from her university advisors in October of her senior year. Because Isabella started college applications as deadlines were fast approaching, she got straight to work with her university advisors.  

Isabella appreciated the college help and university advice she received from our team. She was matched with Admissions Expert Jessica, who provided invaluable support throughout Isabella’s admissions journey.  “I believe we had 45-minute sessions,” Isabella mentioned, “and she was very flexible in her scheduling. That was really comforting to me.”

Isabella used the college advice she received from our Admissions Experts throughout the application process, especially with her college essays. We’ll learn more about the college application help services Isabella got in the next section. 

College application help: Isabella tackles the college essay

Like many students, Isabella knew she needed extra college help on her college essays. That’s where our university advisors came in, helping her brainstorm, draft, and edit her essays so that her story shone. “Our main thing was the college essay, and that took so many different turns,” Isabella shared. 

Isabella worked extensively with her college advisor to ensure her essay would stand out at top schools. “We started at one place, and then…maybe like two or three times a week, she would actually make corrections in it, give me some suggestions in wording and suggestions in topics to include [and] some topics to not include,” Isabella said. 

Finally, to make sure that Isabella’s college essay was ready, Jessica sent it to’s essay editing team for one more read-through. This team is made up of many university advisors who give targeted feedback on students’ college essays within 24 hours. 

Once her college essay was finished, Isabella and her university advisor turned their attention to the supplemental essays. “And then the second thing we did were the many college essays that were like, ‘Why choose this school?’ ‘What are you interested in career wise?’ And [Jessica] helped me produce the Columbia essays…the Fordham essay, Cornell essay, Tufts and Vassar essays,” Isabella told us. 

Isabella also tackled the QuestBridge application with Jessica’s guidance.  

College advice for applying to QuestBridge

Isabella’s university advisors also helped her apply to QuestBridge, which allows students to access scholarship funding at top schools. 

We asked Isabella what college advice she would give to other students completing the QuestBridge application. 

“The best piece of advice I would give is to start early,” Isabella advised. Isabella started using our college application help services in October of her senior year. For this reason, she only had about a month to complete all her college applications and the QuestBridge application. 

“Once you see that the applications are open,” Isabella continued, “start looking at the questions and you can always save and edit for later… I would work on them bit by bit each day.”

Since Jessica’s college advice for essays had been so effective, Isabella also asked for support with the QuestBridge short response questions. Jessica gave her the college help she needed—breaking the application questions down into more manageable pieces. 

Isabella’s final piece of college advice for the QuestBridge application is to tackle the short answer questions first while keeping the longer responses in mind. “Try to answer the short response questions first,” Isabella recommended, “and then don’t leave the long response ‘til later. Just do it piece by piece and then always come back to that.”

What is QuestBridge? 

QuestBridge is an application platform that matches outstanding low-income high school seniors with the nation’s best colleges. The QuestBridge Match Scholarship grants recipients early admission to one of QuestBridge’s college partners, as well as a full four-year scholarship totaling over $200,000. 

QuestBridge looks for applicants that have a record of exceptional academic achievement who come from a low-income background. 

How do you apply? 

Students interested in a full four-year scholarship to one of QuestBridge’s college partners must fill out a free online application

The 2022 National College Match application opens in late summer. Visit the QuestBridge website for more information on how to apply. 

How can your university advisor help? 

Throughout Isabella’s Questbridge application process, Jessica provided useful support. We asked Isabella to describe what university advice she received as she completed the QuestBridge essays. 

Some of the best college advice Jessica offered related to Isabella’s essays. “She tried to kind of overlap the essay so that I wouldn’t have to be doing as much work as I would’ve been doing if I hadn’t worked with her,” Isabella shared. 

Isabella’s university advisor also helped her showcase her extracurricular activities in the QuestBridge application. “We also used the information that I put on my extracurriculars to create a résumé,” Isabella told us. “That was actually helpful for QuestBridge and also outside of college.” 

For Isabella, working with a college application help service was incredibly beneficial. “Everything was very useful,” Isabella said. “Every session that we had, even offline, which was maybe 40% of the work that I did with her…she was very quick with her responses, which I loved.” 

For Isabella, the most challenging part of the application process is…

Even with all the college advice Isabella’s university advisors gave her, parts of the college application process were still challenging. For Isabella, the hardest part was the personal essay

“I would say the most challenging part was the personal essay and trying to make it what I thought each college would want or what each college was looking for in the student that would attend their school. Instead of pertaining it more towards who I am and really accepting the fact that I am who I am,” Isabella said.

How did Isabella’s university advisor help? 

Jessica’s college help made a huge difference as Isabella wrote her college essay. We asked her to describe the university advice that helped her the most as she crafted her essays. 

“So, I think once I started with the Columbia [supplements], they had like 300-word responses,” Isabella says. “Once I had those and my first drafts were like 700 words long…my college advisor took out a bunch of pieces. But once she did that and I heard her reasoning for why she would delete those things…[it] really helped a lot.” 

Jessica worked with Isabella to prune her college essays, leaving only the most important information. With Jessica’s college advice, Isabella made her essays the best they could be and aced her Common App

With her university advisor’s support, Isabella crafted the rest of her essays

“Then, I saw more of what type of responses I should be giving and really sticking to the point,” Isabella said. “Not over explaining, not trying to make it seem over[ly] extravagant, but really keeping it brief, keeping it truthful.”

This piece of college advice stayed with Isabella throughout the college application process. “From there, I kept that mentality with everything I wrote. And it was hard at first, but gradually I understood that so many things were not necessary to show what I mean and convey my story,” Isabella told us. 

College help resources: What did Isabella use? 

Besides the college help Isabella’s university advisor gave her, CollegeAdvisor’s webinars also helped her refine her college essays. “I definitely watched a bunch of webinars from CollegeAdvisor,” Isabella said, “especially [about] different approaches on how you would write your essays.”

One webinar particularly stands out to Isabella. In this webinar, students sent in their essays and got instant college help and feedback. “They allowed for some of the people on the webinars to actually send in their essays and they would look at them and then review it, kind of like a class,” Isabella described. “I saw a bunch of those, and they were very helpful to me.”

Find webinars with college help and college advice for every stage of your application here!

Isabella’s Admissions Results! 

college advice; Isabella Alcantara admission results

So, after using our college help services, what happened? We asked Isabella to share where she applied and who accepted her. 

“So, I applied to Columbia University,” Isabella told us. “I applied to Tufts University, Fordham University, Cornell University, Binghamton UniversityVassar [College], Stony Brook University, and St. John’s University.” 

“And I got into St. John’s, I got into Binghamton. I got into Stony Brook, Fordham, Tufts…Vassar as well. And then I decided on going to Fordham University,” Isabella shared. 

Why Isabella chose Fordham and the road ahead?

Isabella had lots to consider when her admissions decisions rolled in. We asked her to explain the university advice she considered as she solidified her future plans. 

Firstly, she thought about the university advice on financial aid. Many students look for additional college help as they navigate the financial aid process. With Jessica at her side, Isabella learned how to read her financial aid packages and compare them. “I saw that a majority of the colleges gave substantial financial aid,” Isabella explained. “But compared to the entire tuition, I saw that it wasn’t actually that much.” 

Jessica’s university advice was particularly helpful as Isabella navigated the financial aid process. “I actually went through this with my college advisor on what to look for in the scholarships and also what to look for in the entire financial aid package,” Isabella said. 

Isabella’s scholarship results

With this in mind, Isabella read her financial aid package from Fordham. They offered her a full-tuition scholarship!  

After seeking Jessica’s college advice and reviewing her financial aid packages, Isabella focused on location and opportunities. “[Fordham] was in my top three. It’s close to home, and I want to work and intern in the city,” Isabella shared, “I saw that Fordham was really close and opportunities were great. I chose Fordham because I really loved it.” 

Isabella plans to major in political science at Fordham. It is the perfect major for her based on her background and interest in law. Once she completes undergrad, Isabella hopes to remain in New York and attend Fordham University’s law school. 

For more college advice and college help when applying to political science programs, check out this webinar

Isabella’s college advice for future applicants

Now that Isabella is on the other side of the college application process, she has some college advice for other high school seniors. 

Her first piece of college advice is to start early. “Don’t underestimate how fast this process goes by,” Isabella says. 

Her second piece of college advice? Keep doing your extracurricular activities in senior year. “Don’t let go of your extracurriculars once you’re in senior year,” Isabella said, “just because you’re applying really early on, I’d say still keep strong in your extracurriculars all the way through high school.” 

Furthermore, for those high school students who aren’t yet involved in extracurriculars, Isabella’s next bit of college advice is for you. “Start getting involved and especially go for leadership roles and things that pertain to careers and to identity,” Isabella advises.

“Stay consistent and get involved”

Overall, Isabella recommends that students stay consistent and get involved. “I’d also say be consistent with the college applications, and try to find opportunities where you can be involved in the colleges that you’re interested in early on,” Isabella suggests. 

When choosing the right college, Isabella suggests students research the colleges that interest them and focus on fit. “I’d recommend watching many videos that the colleges offer and many of the pre-recorded webinars that they might have, to be most informed and most excited about which colleges you’re applying to,” Isabella shared. 

Isabella also suggests that students approach their college lists with intention. “Don’t apply to so many colleges just to have the big ones on your list. I’d say really apply to the colleges that you think you would most fit,” Isabella said. 

Finally, Isabella’s last piece of college advice is to do well academically, so that top merit scholarships will consider you in the running. “If you’re doing really well academically,” Isabella said, “another incentive…is that you can get merit scholarships, and those…take out big chunks of your tuition.” 

Advice for working with a university advisor 

Isabella has specific college advice for working with a university advisor. Her first piece of college advice is to put in the work. “I’d say when working with a college advisor,” Isabella said, “be putting in just as much effort as they are into your application process. You need to put in the work and they will be there every step of the way.” 

In terms of building a working relationship with your university advisor, Isabella’s college advice is to focus on the connection. “Feel confident and comfortable with your advisor,” Isabella shared. 

“I know they ask questions beforehand to make sure that you are matched with someone who would really fit what you need. And if you’re someone who was…slacking off like me at first, they put me with someone who was really honest, blunt, and was ready to get to work,” Isabella said. 

Choosing college application help services – Why CollegeAdvisor? 

For Isabella, CollegeAdvisor’s college help services were invaluable. “They were very helpful, very supportive of making sure that I had the chance to produce an amazing college essay,” she says. “And that really relieved me.” 

The college admissions process is more competitive than ever, which means many students are working with expert advisors for additional college help and support. If you are wondering how to get into Fordham or any other top school, we can help. When you register with, you’ll receive personalized college help and university advice on every aspect of the college application process. This includes access to our webinars, college search engine, and so much more. 

Wondering if is right for you? Our reviews speak for themselves. As our reviews show, our students benefit from our expert college advice and regularly earn admission to Ivy League and Top 50 colleges and universities. To read more reviews from previous clients, please visit our website

college admission advice

This Success Story was written by Claire Babbs, and based on an interview with Isabella Alcantara. Isabella reached out to CollegeAdvisor for guidance on how to navigate the college application process. If you are looking for assistance with your college applications and working with a Admissions Expert interests you, register with today.