Your College Bound Advising Team

College Bound Advising helps students get curious about college and gives them the tools to get organized for a manageable – and maybe even fun! – experience getting there!

one to one counseling

Eydie Balsam, Founder

eydie balsam

Our Founder, Eydie Balsam's Approach To College Admissions Counseling Is Changing how students approach their college Search and application process.

By combining her professional expertise in social work and education, College Bound Advising Founder and Director Eydie Balsam brings a compassionate and innovative perspective to guide families through this pivotal stage.

This personal perspective allows her to provide guidance that addresses the academic aspects of college admissions and nurtures strong communication and collaboration between parents and their children.

As seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience and a mother of three young adults, Eydie intimately understands the dynamics and complexities of the parent-teen relationship during this transformative period.

Eydie’s academic background includes a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. These qualifications, combined with her Certification in College Counseling from UC Irvine, and membership in National Association of College Counselors, Independent Educational Consultants Association and Higher Education Consultants Association, provide her with a comprehensive understanding of the academic, emotional, and social aspects involved in the college admissions journey.

When she’s not working – or actively parenting – Eydie loves to walk her dog, Yogi; read her stack of books (mostly non-fiction social science or history); write her blog for College Talk for Moms; and think about ways to build her Head Toward College Foundation. 

CBA Team Members

Rebecca Friedman
Director of Counseling and New Programming

Rebecca joins our team from Gann Academy, an Independent, private High School, where she has served as the Director of Admissions. Rebecca is looking forward to helping students understand what they are looking for in their school search and how to grow and articulate their stories. 

Rebecca will work alongside Eydie to support individual family needs by developing new initiatives, including a parent membership program and a writing club for students in all grades and stages of the application process. Rebecca will also work 1:1 with students, guiding them as they tell their unique stories in their college applications. As a former collegiate athlete, Rebecca will help continue to strengthen the support of our students looking to play their sport in college.

One of Rebecca’s most exciting projects is creating our brand new 1:1 counseling offerings for secondary and independent school placements. In addition to these responsibilities, Rebecca will be the Executive Director of Working Towards Change, our not-for-profit organization that engages students in hands-on social justice volunteer work in their communities.

 

essay workshop

Rebecca is an active parent, community member, and sports fan! Her four children have navigated the high school and college process in their own unique way, choosing different career paths and interests. Rebecca belongs to Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley and volunteers with many of its social justice organizations. She enjoys outdoor activities with family and friends. Most notably, she can be seen running around town, hiking in the woods, or enjoying a hot yoga class.

Rebecca graduated from Tufts University, where she received a dual degree in Comparative Religions and Spanish. During her time at Tufts, she received All-American honors for Lacrosse and still holds some of the scoring records today! Rebecca brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and energy to our team.

Senior College Admissions Advisor
Nicole Karp
Senior College Counselor, Writing Specialist

Nicole has spent much of her career creating reporting and training content, writing in a clear and engaging way. When working with students on their essays, Nicole pays attention to both the small details and the big picture; she is a stickler for grammatical accuracy but also reminds applicants that this is an opportunity to show admissions officers a perspective beyond grades, scores, and extracurriculars.

Nicole has a B.S. from Cornell University and a M.B.A. from Baruch University’s Zicklin School of Business. She is the mother of two teenagers and when she is not contending with their laundry or helping them with homework, Nicole can be found listening to podcasts, going on long walks, and trying out new restaurants.

Jen Hagopian

Jen Hagopian is a senior college admissions advisor at College Bound Advising. She is entering her 10th year as a school counselor/college admissions advisor at Acton Boxborough Regional High School.

Jen has collaborated with college admissions representatives and high school counselors, presenting at the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling (NEACAC) Annual Conference. Jen has also served as a volunteer at the Boston National College Fair. 

Jen has a B.S. in Psychology from Union College (NY) and her MEd in School Counseling from Salem State University.

Senior College Admissions Advisor
Shewta Bhatt

Writing Specialist

Shweta Bhatt is a consultant, speaker, writer, and artist who serves as a guide for those who want to harness their voice. After spending six years in finance, Shweta realized her true calling was in helping people find more compassion, connection, and resilience within themselves as they navigate significant life changes. She has gathered over 500 hours serving as a coach for high schoolers and beyond to finesse their writing and narrative skills. Featured on WBGH, USA Today, and National Storytelling Network, she uses the craft of storytelling, public speaking, and writing to share her art with the world while creating spaces for all to come into their own. Find her work through @beadsofshwet and shwetabhatt.com

Essay Specialist
Sky Calderon

Sky Calderon has a B.A. from Denison University. In her undergraduate career, she was a peer mentor and teaching assistant for first-year students. She is a lifelong learner who believes in the value of investing in your education.

As a first-generation college graduate, Sky is fueled by her passion for educational equity. Sky uplifts mentorship and collaboration. As a recent college graduate and current student, she knows that college is a period of transition. She recommends incoming students take every opportunity to meet new people and try new experiences.

Sky will be working primarily with our students at Working Towards Change, our student volunteer initiative.

Marketing & Communications Team
Denise Harrison

A marketing and communications professional with over 25 years of experience. Denise has a diverse background in marketing with such brands as CHANEL, Estée Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, The Art of Shaving and health & wellness brands. 

Denise is a great addition to the dynamic group at College Bound Advising. She brings a unique perspective to the world of college consulting as an expert in market trends, consumer behavior, and effective storytelling.

She also has two teenagers—one currently in college and another preparing for their application journey, so possesses firsthand knowledge of the challenges and aspirations families face during this pivotal time. 

She is an avid runner, having completed 56 half marathons and does some of her most important creative thinking while walking or running. She is also very into photography and spends a lot of her free time on the baseball field cheering on her son and taking photos.