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It takes very specific strategies to ensure students are accepted into the colleges they have worked hard for and deserve

Thrive College
Advisors LLC

Thrive College Advisors LLC

Blog        Podcast         Letter to Parents

Blog        Podcast         Letter to Parents

Get In. Do College. Thrive.

The New College Reality

CRACKING THE CODE: How to Secure Entry into Your Top-Choice Colleges

We Help High School Students Get into College through our College Ready Programs So They Can Thrive at College and Graduate Ready for Their Successful Launch in Life.  

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How To Build The College List

Click The Button Below To Get the How To Build Your College List white paper which highlights key steps, tips, and tricks to finding, selecting, comparing, visiting, and deciding on the top-choice colleges for you. This will save you so much time (and maybe money) and get you on the right road to college success.

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Jason Hilliard


Jason has attended amazing universities such as Creighton, Northwestern, and UCLA. He has worked 20+ years as owner of a Sylvan Learning Center franchise and at several Fortune 500 companies.

He started the Hired Graduate blog and podcast in 2016 and founded Thrive College Advisors LLC with the mission to help high school students and their families navigate successfully from high school to college and then into professional school or career.

It takes purpose, planning, and effort to achieve college goals, and working with students and seeing their achievements is beyond rewarding. 

Jason resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife, two sons, and two rescue greyhound dogs. 


Too Few Seats at Top Colleges


Only 5 out of 100 Are Getting In

There are more valedictorians graduating high school every year in the US than seats available at Ivy League colleges. And straight A students with perfect test scores are being rejected at the most selective schools. 
According to a Forbes March 30, 2023 article titled College Applications Are Up Dramatically in 2023 (versus 2020) using data from the 841 colleges that allow the Common Application: 

  • Total Applicants increased from 1.02m to 1.24m (21%)
  • Total Applications increased from 5.4m to 7m+ (30%)
  • The ten highly selective colleges listed below show a 5% admit rate
  • The test optional standard since the pandemic has contributed to this surge in college applications, forcing more competitive screening
  • Total 4-Year College Freshman Enrollment of 1.33m students appears to show a climb in students attending public relative to private, making admission to top public universities more competitive than ever

The Latest Class of Admissions
From Ten Highly Selective Schools
For the 2023 Fall Admission Year

This is admitting only 23,694 applicants
from a pool of 463,387 applications,
which is only 5 out of 100. A majority
straight A, top of class.

Students need to take the right
approach to admissions and they
need to level set the schools
they are applying to.

  • MIT: 29,914 applications, 1,259 admitted, 4.2% admit rate
  • Harvard: 56,937 applications, 1,942 admitted, 3.4% admit rate
  • Yale: 52,250 applications, 2,275 admitted, 4.3% admit rate
  • ​Johns Hopkins: 38,200 applications, 2,403 admitted, 6.2% admit rate
  • ​Duke: 49,469 applications, 2,948 admitted, 5.9% admit rate
  • Northwestern: 52,225 applications, 3,656 admitted, 7% admit rate
  • Dartmouth: 28,841 applications, 1,751 admitted, 6% admit rate
  • Brown: 51,302 applications, 2,569 admitted, 4% admit rate
  • Vanderbilt: 47,120 applications, 2,645 admitted, 5.6% admit rate
  • Columbia: 57,129 applications, 2,246 admitted, 3.9% admit rate


Getting into College
Can Be Overwhelming for Parents


Does This Sound Like You?

Parents of high school students face many demands on their lives at a time when their kids may need support but may not ask for it.  The college application process creates stress for many parents.

  • Do you feel like...the college application process is high stakes for your child's future? That the outcome of admissions will significantly impact your child's opportunities, career prospects, and overall success? Others feel a sense of responsibility to ensure their child gets into the best college. Or perhaps the high price tag of college at $100k+ for public and $250k+ for private university creates anxiety?
  • Does it seem... that you have no outside help or resources that you can partner with on this? There is commonly a big pressure parents feel that comes from watching over all of the extensive applications paperwork, essays, standardized tests, and deadlines. This is a common source of struggle in the parent-child dynamic and kids may push back.
  • Are you frustrated that... college applications are at an all-time high, the admission rates are at an all-time low, and colleges admissions has gotten way more difficult than when you went to college? There is enormous pressure to ensure your child is on par or ahead of their peers in the college application process. This competition adds to the anxiety.
  • And when it comes down to it, do you...feel the admissions process is more stressful than it should be? You are so emotionally invested in your child's future because you do share in your child's hopes, dreams, and disappointments, feeling the highs and lows of the process alongside them.


Getting into College
Can Be Overwhelming for Students


Through the Eyes of Your Child

High school students are busy juggling classes, schoolwork, activities, jobs, social lives, standardized tests and to throw in the college search and application process is lot.  The college application process creates a range of emotions and challenges for many students, such as:

  • Pressure...from their parents, peers, or society in general to get into a good college. This pressure can come in the form of expectations or comparisons to others that have already gotten into competitive colleges. Starting Junior year of high school most visits with family involves at least one mention or conversation about college choice and status.
  • Stress and Burnout...from the complexity of the college application process requiring a lot of time, effort, and attention to detail. There are multiple essays, interviews, and tests to prepare for. And kids are applying to more colleges today than in years past, so the work multiplies.
  • Excitement...about the prospect of going to college and starting a new chapter in their lives. They may be eager to explore new opportunities, learn new things, and meet new people. 
  • Uncertainty...around whether they have chosen the right colleges to apply to, whether they will get into the college of their choice, whether they will decide on the right college to attend, and whether the major they have  declared is the right one is a daunting decision for students. This often causes anxiety and worry.
  • ​Frustration...if they don't get into the college they wanted to or if the application process doesn't go as smoothly as they had hoped.
  • ​Fear of Rejection...students may fear rejection from their desired colleges as rumors start to spread about who got into where, and who didn't. This can create feelings of disappointment, self-doubt, and anxiety.


Why Getting a College Advisor May Be Just the Thing to Do


Several Reasons High School Students May Find It Easier To Work With a College Advisor 

...and NOT the Parents

  • Authority figures: They perceive advisors as having expertise in college admissions, making it easier to respect and listen to their guidance. Like a mentor and coach there to help them do their best.
  • Emotional Dynamics: Parent-child relationships can sometimes be complex and emotionally charged, especially with the pressure of college admissions. Kids may find it easier to receive advice and guidance from a college advisor because the relationship is neither intense nor conflicted. Advice is perceived as more objective and less influenced by personal dynamics.  
  • Fresh Perspectives: An outside view is refreshing.

College Advisors Can Help

The most important value proposition of a college advisor is their ability to provide personalized guidance, expertise, and support that empowers students to make an informed decision, present their best selves in applications, and navigate the complex college admissions landscape successfully. Some of the most significant ones include:

  • Expertise and Knowledge...College advisors have in-depth knowledge of the college admissions process. They stay up-to-date with admissions trends, requirements, and best practices. Their expertise can guide students in making informed decisions and understanding what colleges are looking for in applicants. Many parents are frustrated by the lack of transparency into the college application process, so advisors can help.
  • Personalized Guidance...College advisors can provide personalized guidance tailored to each student's strengths, interests, and goals. They can help students identify their unique qualities and present them effectively in their applications. Advisors can also assist with college selection, aligning student's aspirations with suitable institutions.
  • Application Strategy...College Advisors help students develop a comprehensive application strategy and an awesome college plan. They assist with creating a timeline, managing deadlines, and getting organized. Advisors can also offer insight on maximizing impact of the academic profile and overall approach to navigating essays, tests, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities.
  • Emotional Support and Stress Management...Applying to college can be emotionally challenging for students. College advisors can provide support, reassurance, and help manage stress throughout the process. They offer a safe space for students to express concerns, ask questions, and address anxieties. A coach and advisor in your corner.


Hired Graduate

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This podcast is intended to assist parents and students on their path to college with an aim to entertain, inspire, and inform. Jason interviews colleges, counselors, authors, HR personnel and career professionals who shed light on colleges and the college process. 


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Episode 007 - Exploring Eckerd College With Jake Brown
Eckerd is one of only 40 colleges featured in the book Colleges That Change Lives written by Loren Pope. Find out about this treasure of a school located on 188 acres along Boca Ciega Bay at the tip of St. Petersburg, FL maintains a staggering 97% four-year graduation rate.  Listen To More

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Episode 004 - Exploring Elon University with Greg Zaiser
Find out how Elon has climbed the list of competitive colleges and why this gem of a school in North Carolina is so popular. The weather, international travel, and 90%+ internship rate located near research triangle provide compelling reasons.  Listen To More

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Episode 002 - Exploring Tulane University with Jeff Schiffman
You will want to learn about why Tulane has grown to be one of the most desired colleges in the South. You will want to learn what types of students do well and the importance of the alumni network.  Listen To More

The podcast mission is to support parents and students on their path to get into college, graduate in four years with a job and little to no debt.



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How To Build The College List

Click The Button Below To Get the How To Build Your College List white paper which highlights key steps, tips, and tricks to finding, selecting, comparing, visiting, and deciding on the top-choice colleges for you. This will save you so much time (and maybe money) and get you on the right road to college success.

Get In. Do College. Thrive.

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