College is too complicated. I’ve seen friends and relatives feel exhausted and overwhelmed in the final year leading up to college. I’ve seen too many of those students back home, trying to figure out their game plan after college wasn’t what they thought it would be. Or, at least the college they chose.

My vision is to make the college experience more understandable and more successful for more students. I developed Understanding College to unpack the complexity. I want to help parents, students and school counselors know the roadmap and make more informed decisions about where they go to college, how they pay for college, and how to gain the most benefit from the experience once they enroll.

Most importantly, I want Understanding College to help level the playing field for all students who aspire to college–regardless of income and family background.

Personal Experience:

I was a college transfer student and am a college graduate but before that I was a college dropout. I learned a lot about college the hard way.

I started college at Villanova University: great professors with classes in the honors program that really challenged me to think and to learn more. Villanova is also where I learned that “fit” really mattered for college success, and my fit wasn’t there. I dropped out after the spring semester of my sophomore year without a plan.

I enrolled myself as an independent student at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England for a semester. Wesleyan University in Connecticut accepted me as a transfer student and agreed to defer my enrollment until I was ready. There are many life lessons in this college journey, but thankfully it concluded successfully with an English degree two years later from Wesleyan.

I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As a parent, I’ve helped two children navigate different college search and study experiences and am preparing for the third journey with my high school-aged youngest.

Professional Experience:

I have built my understanding of colleges in many roles.

I worked with academically talented middle and high school students who studied on college campuses when I was the Executive Director of a statewide educational nonprofit organization.

I taught undergraduate college students in large lecture halls and smaller seminar-type classes.

I worked with academic advisors for first generation, minority and low income students where I saw the challenges that very capable students still experienced.

I facilitated and led workshops across three states for high school counselors to meet with admissions directors from 22 different colleges to learn about needed, relevant, and timely resources and advice for the college search process.

I read and follow emerging issues in higher education in order to boil them down here for what matters to families and students.

I serve as a Wesleyan University alumni admissions volunteer, where I share information with potential students, interview applicants, and participate in alumni events for this great university.

In addition to Understanding College, I work with educational organizations on strategic communications to help advance their educational causes.

I invite you to read more about my professional background and connect with me on LinkedIn.


Carole Trone
Carole Trone is editor and writer for Understanding College