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Nonprofit offers help for students, families affected by cancer

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WAKE FOREST — For many high school students and their families, the college admissions process can be intimidating, confusing and overwhelming. Adding a cancer diagnosis to the mix can bring more stress and anxiety when applying for college.

College Consultants Care is the first nonprofit in the nation to provide free college admissions assistance for high school students recently diagnosed with cancer or who have a parent with cancer. The new 501(c)3 organization was founded by Wendy Briley, an independent educational consultant offering comprehensive college application services to high schoolers since 2017. She lives and works in Wake Forest.

Independent educational consultants objectively guide students and help them meet application deadlines, plan for college visits, create a standardized testing plan, develop college application strategies, consider possible majors and search for financial aid/scholarships.

Consultants typically begin working with students during their junior year of high school but can assist students at any time during the college application process. The cost for a typical comprehensive package for a rising junior ranges from $2,500-$6,000 and application packages for rising seniors can cost between $1,000-$5,000. College application fees are not paid by College Consultants Care and are the responsibility of the student/parent.

The nonprofit enables independent educational consultants across the country to give their services to students and families who have bigger cancer concerns to focus upon.

“To keep the process from overwhelming students and parents who are already dealing with so much, we break it down into smaller, manageable tasks,” said Briley, executive director of College Consultants Care. “As a parent who has gone through the college application process with my own children, I truly understand the challenges and rewards that come along with this journey.”

Amanda Cochrane, 54, is the mother of twin daughters who are high school seniors at Wake Forest High School. The girls are the first to receive the services of Briley through the new nonprofit. After being diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year, Cochrane had surgery and is receiving chemotherapy for the next six months.

“A cancer diagnosis is a lot to deal with and a big struggle. While my family doesn’t want it to dictate our lives, it can be a distraction and time constraint. It’s such a relief to receive the free services of College Consultants Care to help my daughters with their college application process,” said Cochrane.

College Consultants Care has 20 consultants representing 10 states across the country with more being added monthly. As a member of a professional organization consisting of more than 2,000 independent educational consultants, Briley hopes the nonprofit will eventually grow to have at least one consultant available in each state.

Additionally, Briley says she would like College Consultants Care to work more closely with adolescent and young adult oncology groups for referrals and partnerships.

“If college consultants like me can use our skills and expertise to help students affected by cancer, then it will bring me great joy and reaffirm the reason I founded College Consultants Care,” said Briley.

Anyone can nominate a high school student or parent of a high schooler recently diagnosed with cancer as a candidate to be considered for free college admissions assistance from College Consultants Care by visiting www.collegeconsultanscare.org/contact and completing the online form. To be considered, candidates will be asked to provide documentation from their physician and other information.

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