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Parent launches college coaching service

An Island mom has dubbed herself a college coach and launched a business this fall to help Vashon students prepare for higher education.

Robin Blair, founder of College Connect Coaching Services, works with high school students over the course of a year or several years to help them identify their goals for the future and the path they must take to arrive at their goals.

“It’s A-to-Z college planning,” Blair said.

She meets with students at least once a month, helping them identify their learning style and passion and the colleges that may be best for them, as well as do college searches, tours and applications and scholarship searches and applications.

“Everything associated with college readiness can be really stressful for kids and parents,” Blair said.

Those who enlist Blair’s help, however, “can rest assured that their kids are staying on target in terms of deadlines and planning.”

Carlyle Scott, a Vashon High School junior and Running Start student, began working with Blair in the spring, weighing the decision of whether to begin Running Start. Her relationship with Blair has been helpful on many levels, she said.

“She’s great; she’s really easy to talk to about everything when it comes to college,” Scott said. “Without her, I would be completely lost on what I should be doing to prepare for college, but with her and her guidance everything has been made a lot more clear.”

Blair, who is not a college graduate herself, began researching college preparation, applications and scholarships when her oldest child was preparing to enter college. Though Blair knew she couldn’t pay for an expensive college education, she wanted her children to be able to attend any school that accepted them.

“A lack of money should never be the reason kids don't go to college,” Blair said. “I was doing everything I could to get every penny in scholarship and grant money.”

Her daughters both ended up at private universities with scholarships and manageable student loan burdens, she said.

After preparing her own daughters for college, Blair was enlisted by friends to help set their children on a college course as well.

Most recently, she worked as a middle-school coaching coordinator at Treehouse for Kids, a Seattle organization dedicated to helping foster kids thrive. But Blair’s position was eliminated last year, and she opted to start her own college coaching business on Vashon rather than commute off-Island this year.

“This is really rewarding work, and I think it’s a great fit in terms of Vashon,” Blair said. “My philosophy is that everyone has something they’re really good at, ... and I'm really good at helping kids figure out what they're good at.”

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