Today we’d like to introduce you to Juan-Camilo Tamayo.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Juan-Camilo. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Medellin, Colombia. My early school years showed, that I was very self-disciplined and task-driven. I liked to organize events – I enjoyed leadership at school. My last two years of high school, I was the class president. My skills include making deals — getting people to work together – and forming partnerships. I think I am a very positive person and people have told me, I am likable and engaging, maybe a bit funny. I know that I am very goal oriented; I’ve been running marathons for nine years and have always enjoyed horseback riding.
I was fortunate to be able to come to the US as a young man, early in my higher education career. After studying near home, I moved to New York City in 1991 to study English and then transferred to Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, where I earned my BA in Communications. I worked for Clarke in the office of admissions for several years, then pursued an additional degree in business there. The following year, I began working for Lynn University’s office of admissions in Boca Raton, Florida and completed a Master’s degree in International Business. I’ve recruited in over 85 countries and organized many recruiting tours around the world, including tours in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, visiting high schools, universities and Education USA Centers worldwide. Today, I continue to travel to visit colleges and universities worldwide so that I can be well informed when I talk with students. I know that success requires preparation and planning. I live my life that way and want to teach the same to the students I guide.
I worked at Lynn University in Enrollment Management for several years and I loved interacting with students and families. About seven years ago, I felt that I hit a career peak there and wanted to find a way to do something entrepreneurial in education. After researching the possibilities for working directly with students who were seeking educational opportunities, I found that they have great anxiety about the entire process of preparing for college and, as a practical matter, they are most available for one-on-one meetings from the end of the school day until about 10:00 pm. Additionally, I learned that the family dynamic is very important in this process. I needed to go to the students’ homes and meet families on their turf. It’s more convenient for a busy family with other children in the home – and I get a sense of the student’s environment. We also provide Spanish-speaking counselors since many parents feel more comfortable speaking their first language. This is the model we use whenever possible and we are helping students in 19 countries.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I had a lot to learn about students and families. I was formerly an Admission Director and really saw mostly one side of the admission cycle. You don’t really see the struggle and anxiety of students – especially the fears about standardized tests. Right now, there are about 1000 colleges and universities that are test-optional, but many still require tests to evaluate their application. Even test-optional institutions may have scholarship competitions that rely solely on test scores. Students still face testing challenges. It took three years to figure out the right approach and a successful formula. I visited many secondary schools and researched academic summer camps. I wanted to understand how tutors work – who they are, where they are and when they work. After three years, I found some of the best tutors in the US and I make a great effort to keep them in our organization. We do SAT “boot camps” where students have 25 hours of intense SAT tutoring; we teach strategies and quell fears. Our unique approach combines SAT study with strong community service projects during the boot camp programs. Students develop great confidence in their personal and academic skills.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about JCT4Education – what should we know?
JCT4Education is an independent educational counseling and planning service working with individuals and families to promote sound educational choices and assistance with secondary school placement, academic summer programs, undergraduate and graduate university applications. Planning services include high school curriculum planning, referrals for psychological testing, guided research on careers and majors, building college lists and campus visit advice. Application services include help with managing forms and deadlines, preparation for interviews, and assistance with scholarship applications. Our international specialization includes comprehensive guidance for international and US students applying worldwide, arranging tests of English skills and planning for international financial requirements.
My philosophy is one of partnership. Students and parents must work together to find the best path to higher education— one that fosters growth for the student as well as satisfaction for the family. We are a college planning concierge service – we carefully assess each student and help him or her set appropriate goals. We give intentionally strategic and personalized attention to the families who seek our services. We are different because we visit them in their homes rather than require them to come to an office. We accommodate them by working in the evenings when it is most convenient for them. This is our distinctive partnership with families.
We have helped hundreds of students from the Americas, Canada and Europe attain college degrees and often, they come back to us for help with graduate school, career development and interview techniques. As they expressed their needs, we expanded our service to accommodate them. Our attention and methods have led to an impeccable reputation across the world. Even schools contact us for help and information when guiding their students to the right colleges and universities.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I am grateful for the help of many people and organizations that I encountered during my life and career. Of course, my parents are the primary source of my self-confidence; they encouraged me to be independent and goal-oriented. In some ways, my pursuit of distance running is evidence of their inspiration. They also provided me with an educational consultant, Jesus Franco, to help me find my way to the US for my English study in New York City and college degrees from Clarke University in Iowa and Lynn University in Florida. These institutions had a profound effect on me beyond the degrees I earned.
Both universities gave me opportunities to work with international students and to meet mentors in my chosen profession. Through international educational organizations like the International Association for College Admission Counseling and the Council of International Schools I interacted with seasoned professionals who taught me and motivated me. I met people like Michael Gaynor of Villanova University who encouraged me to accept active leadership roles in the international community. By serving in elected positions in these organizations, I learned about the challenges of both higher education professionals and school counselors who serve students around the world. Delsie Phillips, who was VP for Enrollment Management at Lynn University during my time there, also helped me see the value of managing and nurturing staff to create an inclusive team atmosphere. Both continue to support me.
When I left higher education to start JCT4Education, I also relied on experienced independent educational consultants who were generous in helping me avoid mistakes and build my business successfully. The Higher Education Consultants Association and the Independent Educational Counselors Association both provided professional roadmaps for new members and a good set of principles to guide my professional growth. Of course, there is also my amazing team at JCT4Education; they took a chance on partnering with me and believed that we would be successful in our new venture. Likewise, the students and parents who trusted me the first year were instrumental in assuring me that we were doing this the right way. There are countless colleagues, friends, bosses and families I have not mentioned, but it’s fair to say that all have been part of my success.
- JCT4Education Junior & Senior Service – $9,900.00
- JCT4Education SAT Seminar – $2,200.00 (April 18-23 & September 19-24, 2018)
- JCT4Education – Fiji SAT and Service Immersion Project – $6,900.00 (July 20 to August 4, 2018)
- Summer Camp Placement/Search for High School Students = $1,900.00
- Website: www.JCT4Education.com
- Phone: 5613688320
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jct4education/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JCT4Education/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jct4education
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/company/2968814/
Beatriz Guerra, Christian Safie, Juan-Camilo Tamayo