Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Beth Dennard.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dr. Dennard. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
44 years ago, I was lost. I needed someone to guide me into my adult life.
In my high school, the counselors were too busy for me so I volunteered to help them during my off period. My job was opening and sorting the college guidebooks. This is where I learned about colleges and scholarships. Access, well before the Internet, opened windows of opportunity. Also, the registrar noticed me and encouraged me to attend night classes at the local community college.
My humble beginnings taught me to encourage students to dream big, even if they must start small. Higher Education built my confidence and opened doors into the adult world, which it continues to do today. My dream to one day give students the guidance I needed never wavered, even while I served as an Air Force officer. Today, my company, Bright Futures Consulting does exactly that.
Has it been a smooth road?
Growing Bright Futures from a one-person consultancy to one that has 4 mentors, an office manager and a college financial expert. Leasing office space created challenges when the landlord did not repair leaking roofs, and other structural issues. Problems that detract from the core mission create frustrations for small business owners. My company would not still exist had it not been for the amazing people who work for me. Four years ago, during 2012-13 my husband fought and lost his battle with cancer; I was his sole caregiver during that time. I am grateful for my team who carried my students and me through.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Bright Futures Consulting story. Tell us more about the business.
Bright Futures helps students achieve their college dreams. We begin with the Birkman Signature Report to identify the “bedrock” of each student’s strengths, needs and interests. I consider the Birkman an “MRI” of one’s personality because it is multidimensional, reliable and valid. We then match students to best-fit colleges using the Birkman results and questions we have developed that pinpoint unique factors for each student. I work with all types of students: High Achievers/Low Achievers, Learning Disabled, Gifted and Talented and combinations of all types. We understand that “One size does not fit all!”
We highly recommend students and their parents visit colleges before they apply. Campus visits are vital because the college dream becomes more real when they step onto campus, meet students, learn the admissions requirements, and interact with the people who will admit them. The college lists are designed with affordability and selectivity in mind. We believe an important aspect of choosing a college includes being able to pay for it without incurring debt.
Once we tailor the college list, we empower students to “own their college process.” This step flips the process from, “Will the college admit me?” to, “I am the prize to be won! Empowerment happens tangibly during our essay boot camps when students write insightful essays that showcase their authentic voices and showcase what they’re offering colleges. Another key to working with students is helping them develop their resume. We coach them to consider this document as compelling activities they selected to grow into the adult they hope to become, not a page of boxes that they’ve checked off.
Another distinctive aspect of working with us is my training as a Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC. My counseling skills and insights into the developmental context and family dynamics during the “Launching years are good reasons to work with a Certified Educational Consultant who is also a LPC. These years are stressful, expensive, and life-framing, and families benefit from informed and professional advice. Before creating Bright Futures, I worked as a therapist, college admissions counselor, and high school director of college guidance, and visited over 300 colleges.
Another huge reason families choose to work with Bright Futures is we have 3 mentors, besides myself, who work with students one-on-one. These professionals and I encourage students and keep them on track through the complicated and competitive process.
At first, I worked alone in my home’s dining room, just my cat and me. But eventually, I decided to work in a professional office space, and trained two associates to help me expand my practice. Now my team of 4 inspires and motivates one another and the work we do with students. Students and families benefit from mentoring and interactions of caring and intelligent adults other than their parents.
Mentoring it’s exactly what we do and students directly benefit from it.
Not only do we work one-on-one with students our small, summer essay camps and application workshops are crafted to give students the edge they need before senior year even begins.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
My industry is exploding! More people open new businesses everyday. That is good news and bad news. The good news is that families and high school students who need help with the college and scholarship process have options. The bad news is that many new consultants do not have experience, nor are they professional in their approach to this important work.
The American Institute for Certified Educational Planners, AICEP http://www.aicep.org/, has worked hard to encourage all educational consultants, even those who have 30 or more years in the profession as I do, to take a certifying exam. For those who pass this exam, they earn a credential called, Certified Educational Planner (CEP). I am a CEP and two of my mentors are working toward their goal of earning this national credential in 2018.
- $5,500 for our All-Inclusive Package which includes: The Birkman Signature Report, Test-taking advice, Resume writing and Interview Prep, Academic and extracurricular advice, Campus visit advice, Summer Activity planning, Customized College List, College Essay Boot Camp, College Application Workshop and One-on-one college application help and help completing scholarships that students find.
- $3,500 for our Essentials Package which includes: Birkman Signature Report, Customized College List, Academic and Extracurricular Advice, Test-taking advice, Resume writing and Interview Prep, College Essay Boot Camp, College Application Workshop,
- $2.000 for The Basics package which includes: The Birkman Signature Report, Summer Essay Boot Camp, Summer Application Workshop and Test-taking advice
- Hourly appointments with Dr. Dennard are $275 per hour and with Elana Denham $135
- Address: 1350 NASA Parkway, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77058
- Website: www.brightfuturesllc.com
- Phone: 281.486.0023
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Bright Futures College Consulting
- Twitter: @bfccollegeguru