Hollie said her previous experience as a teacher and counselor inspired her to open the counseling business after speaking with students and parents about the stresses of applying for college.
“It was something a lot of families needed help with,” Hollie said.
GuideU started in October 2019 as a small-scale business primarily for family and friends, Hollie said. In August 2021, she expanded the business to anyone who wanted to seek her services.
Easing the application process
Hollie said operating during the height of the coronavirus pandemic created a lot of uncertainty with students looking to apply to colleges.
“A lot of people were used to things just being straightforward,” she said. “You always knew the path. ... COVID[-19] changed all of that. So many colleges went test flexible. ... The teams I worked with were trying to navigate the new normal.”
With GuideU, Hollie said she offers hourlong sessions with her clients to help their resumes stand out when they are applying as well as helping families understand the admission process.
“We are trying to tell their story to an admissions representative on what a student has been doing,” Hollie said. “When an admissions representative is reading the application, they can get a true picture of what the student is doing.”
Hollie added this service is where she saw students needing the most help from her previous time as a counselor. She also encourages parents to take their students to college campuses.
“It is hard for students to talk about their college future if they have never been on a campus,” Hollie said. “They need to visually know what life outside the halls of a high school can look like. We work diligently on letting them see a smaller school, medium-sized school and very large—private versus public, that kind of thing.”
For students in eighth grade, GuideU offers help for students and parents with high school course planning to get students through secondary school.
Hollie said her business can also help parents through the planning process by explaining the differences in programs for students.
“Because we live in such an information age and we are used to getting information so fast, ... I think it can make parents feel overwhelmed and overloaded,” she said. “I have had parents call me and tell me they did great with their first child, but child No. 2 is completely different, and they are going to need support.”
Hollie said parents and students can schedule time to meet with her through the GuideU website, and the number of sessions will depend on the needs of the student. The average number of sessions ranges from up to three for younger students to up to seven for seniors working through college applications, according to Hollie.
“We are making sure the full picture of that child is displayed well so the college is not left guessing,” Hollie said.
9595 Six Pines Drive, Ste. 4005, The Woodlands
Hours: by appointment only