By Todd Travis
‘What I wish I had known’
Meaghan Rysdale, founder of Hoosier Academic Coaching, knows firsthand how difficult it can be to manage the college admissions process. “When I started the college process, my parents didn’t attend college, so the experience itself was very new for me to figure out how to navigate that,” she recalled. Fast forward a few years and Rysdale is teaching at Indiana University while pursuing her PhD – she served on a committee that helped assist students to figure out how to get to graduate school at IU. “I really enjoyed helping students figure out how to get to IU if they had no experience, and I think that’s where my interest sparked in all of that. I just want people to know what I wish that I had known. There’s so much information that I know now that could be so useful to students applying to schools,” Rysdale shared.
Hoosier Academic Coaching is born
After having this realization, Rysdale decided to take a break from IU in January this year and start Hoosier Academic Coaching. “Predominantly we help students figure out what they might want to do after high school. We start as early as middle school and help with everything from selecting classes and applying for financial aid, to finding internship opportunities and polishing resumés. We’re basically a one-stop-shop for anything a student might would need to help with their college application process.” Rysdale explained.
Hoosier Academic Coaching specializes in providing university specific information that can help students get a leg up in the competitive process of college applications. “I travel across the country and visit schools and see them and tour them. I meet with admissions counselors and financial aid officers to gather the student profile for the school that I’m visiting. Each university is different. It’s not a one size fits all – each school likes to see individuality in the application itself that they’re receiving from the student,” Rysdale said. “Additionally, with the student debt crisis becoming such an issue, I find that helping with financial aid can provide a huge relief for students who may not know all the resources available to them or how to get them.”
Finding the motivation
Rysdale has big plans for the growth of her business, although today it is essentially a one person show. From a young age, she has pushed herself to succeed and to help others along the way. She had to grow up fast since her father, a retired police officer, was seriously injured by a drunk driver and her mother was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. Rysdale was 10 years old at the time and her little sister was only 2 years old. “That was really hard, and I think that’s what motivated me and pushed me to set the bar in my family because I wanted to do what I could to make it easier for everybody else, as silly as that might sound. It’s all been a learning experience for me. As unfortunate as it was at that moment, thankfully my mother has made a full recovery and is in good health now,” Rysdale shared.
Hoosier Academic Coaching is currently going through the formal accreditation process and will look to expand and help more low-income students in the community. “In my spare time, I’m a huge advocate for Big Brother Big Sisters and I have a little that I oversee, which I really enjoy. Eventually the goal would maybe be to partner with children who are members of that organization,” Rysdale said. In the meantime, Rysdale looks to partner with local schools and businesses to reach out and help as many students as possible. “I just want to help students as best as I can so they can get the most of their college experience or projected career. Education is so important for the local community and it’s only going to get more important,” she concluded.
For more information about Hoosier Academic Coaching visit hoosieracademiccoaching.com.