About Zena Taylor
My Philosophy of Practice
I believe that all students deserve expert college advising, and I offer comprehensive college planning to students with a range of backgrounds and achievement levels. I take an “eyes wide open” approach to helping students find the best fit colleges. I encourage students to front load the process by spending a lot of time learning more about themselves and learning more about the colleges to which they may apply. I am firmly committed to helping students and their families understand the financial aspect of college selection because for most families, financial fit needs to be considered right from the start.
My four-stage college process not only gets students to college but also prepares them to get through college. The self-awareness and confidence that students gain from a thorough college selection and application process provide them with a good foundation for a successful college experience.
My experiences as a college counselor and in my earlier professional life have provided me with the skill set to interact effectively with students and their parents. I taught adults in community education and community college programs and volunteered with young people in schools, Girl Scouts, and at church.
While helping my own two daughters through the college process, I realized how confusing and stressful it can be! I earned a certificate in College Counseling with distinction from UCLA Extension, completed an internship in college counseling at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston ISD, received training in higher education consulting from the Independent Educational Consultants Association, and began College Select. In addition to those credentials, I hold a Bachelor’s of Art degree from Baylor University summa cum laude and a Master’s of Education from Texas A & M University.
My interest in the world of finances began when I was a member of an Investment Club then went on to serve on the Finance Committee and the Investment Committee of my church. I approached my college counseling practice with an interest in the financial side from the beginning and learned about this aspect of college-going by completing courses in cutting college costs. I work with knowledgeable financial partners to prevent college from leaving you financially strapped!
How I Work
Getting to know my students is something I enjoy. More importantly, it allows me to provide personalized service. I’ve found that meeting my students face-to-face for many of our appointments is the best way to achieve this.
I also offer Skype and Google-Hangouts meetings for convenience. Offering this level of personalized service requires that I limit the total number of seniors that I can work with during the year. I refer families to trusted colleagues when my practice is full.
In addition to working one-on-one with students, I collaborate with a colleague to conduct Essay Workshops each summer and provide information about the college process to students in Baylor College of Medicine’s Doc Prep program. I'm available to give presentations to groups about any aspect of the college process.
How I Maintain Expertise
As a college admissions and affordability advisor, I spend a lot of time staying up on the latest in the college world. Each year I attend two to three conferences, hit the road to tour more than twenty colleges, and visit with dozens of College Admissions personnel who come to Houston. I read college news, blogs, and listservs. Why? So I can offer expert, up-to-date advice to my students and their families. I also keep up with former students and provide mentoring to First Generation college students through the Groppe Scholarship Program. I find these contacts especially valuable to learn first hand what today’s college experience is like for our young adults!