JUSTINE MODICA, College Essay Counselor

I am a graduate of Dartmouth College, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in history in 2009. After I graduated, I stayed at Dartmouth to work as an Assistant Director of Admissions. I read over 1,000 applications each year, conducted weekly information sessions, coordinated our admitted student program, and served as liaison to first generation college students. Each year I had the opportunity to travel around the United States, visiting high schools and talking with students about their college aspirations. I also had the pleasure of coordinating our student intern program, a team of twelve undergraduates who held various roles in the admissions office.

In 2012, I accepted a position as Director of College Completion at Collegiate Academies, a network of open enrollment public high schools in New Orleans. My job was to design and implement an alumni support program for the graduates of Collegiate Academies, most of whom were first generation college students like myself. I connected them with resources, advised them on academics, and assisted them with scholarships and financial aid. I also designed and delivered curriculum to our current high school students on college success skills, FAFSA completion, and accommodating disabilities while in college.

While I loved my work supporting college students, I still dreamed of going back to school myself. In the fall of 2014 I decided to apply to graduate school to pursue a career as a historian. I am now at Stanford University, where I am working on a PhD in U.S. history with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My research interests include reproductive politics, gender, labor, race, and the U.S. South. I am in the process of writing a dissertation on the history of child care.

I love to work with students as they hone their college applications — deciding on the perfect essay topic, finessing their activity lists, and editing their personal statements and supplements until they are ready for submission. It’s a lot of fun getting to know students through the process and watching their hard work translate into an array of college options when decisions arrive.