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About Admissions Ally

About Admissions Ally

Applying to university is one of the most exciting steps in your academic journey.

As you look forward to the future, you probably have a lot of questions about the application process, including what admissions committees look for, the right extracurriculars to choose, the necessary courses to take and when, and common mistakes to avoid.

Searching for answers to these questions can seem isolating, confusing, and lonely.

There are some resources out there, such as career coaches, teachers, guidance counselors, and people in your network. However, there isn’t ONE person who is able to commit to YOU at this critical time in your life and combine all the essential skills you need, like:

  • An authentic approach to application strategy
  • A deep expertise and proven track record on top-tier university applications
  • Knowledge about youth leadership opportunities
  • A great youth coach who can bring out your best thinking and action-taking

That’s where we come in.

If you find yourself uncertain about what steps to take or you need an expert to guide you through this overwhelming process, you’re in the right place.

At Admissions Ally, we believe in the extraordinary potential of every student. It is our mission to help you unlock your potential using our expertise, experience, and mentorship.

At such a transformative period of development and during this important crossroads, we believe that every high school student has the right to receive quality guidance and support for their future—and we try to make this as accessible as possible for everyone.

Since 2010, we've personally helped hundreds of students elevate their game and get admitted to the most selective programs in Canada, including McMaster Health Sciences, Queen’s Commerce, Western Ivey HBA, Waterloo Engineering, and more.

At Admissions Ally, we do not violate academic integrity by writing your applications or essays for you. We are not pens for hire—we are youth mentors. We do not handhold students and we never condone inauthentic portrayals on applications.

Instead, we believe in real growth. We offer a holistic approach to guide you as you set goals, think about what you want your future to look like, deepen your self-awareness and personal takeaways from certain experiences, and grow immensely as a student.

Just as a tutor helps a student improve their academic marks or a career coach helps a student with an interview, our experienced youth coaches help students grow outside of the classroom. We believe that applying to university is an important growth opportunity to discover new things about yourself and begin your journey towards attainment and self-actualization.

Through one-on-one coaching, we offer expert advice on course and subject selection and career guidance, and we provide mentorship to advocate for your mental well-being during this difficult process. All of these can help make you a better student—and a standout applicant.

These approaches to learning and self-improvement are why parents and students from all across the country and around the world come to us during this pivotal period in their lives.

We are Canada’s top-rated and most experienced resource for admissions support and comprehensive youth coaching.

Read our reviews for proof.

We are in your corner, and we will do everything we can to help you become the best version of yourself.

“I would recommend Joel’s services highly to anyone looking to give their son or daughter an edge above the competition.”

John M. Parent of Successful Applicant

About Joel Nicholson

About Joel Nicholson

My Grade 12 year was an absolute rollercoaster ride.

I was applying to business programs, with Queen’s Commerce as my top choice.

In my first semester, I almost died in a snowboarding accident. The time alone in the ICU led to a lot of self reflection. I realized I wasn’t doing enough to get into this program.

I returned more motivated than ever. I started clubs and obtained leadership positions in sports and the community.

I spent months on my application—scouring online forums for tips and speaking to anyone who could help me submit an outstanding application.

Despite these efforts… I was waitlisted.

And I was devastated.

But months later, I received a phone call:

“Hi Joel, this is Peter from the Queen’s Commerce program. A spot has opened up and we wanted to offer it to you.”

Without hesitation, I said yes.

“Joel’s dedication to Canadian students over his short career is impressive.”

Lauren Shanahan Former Director, Rotman Commerce Career Services

At Queen’s, I made a vow to teach students what I wish I knew when I applied.

I became the Co-Chair of the High School Liaison Committee, in charge of student outreach initiatives, like the Ontario Universities’ Fair—speaking with thousands of students about the program.

I helped many of them with their applications.

And each year, students would come up to me:

“You helped me get into Queen’s Commerce!”

Realizing I was pretty good at this, I kept doing it alongside my full-time career upon graduation.

At the time I was working in Australia, China, and New York with a management consultancy called AT Kearney and a ‘think tank’ called the World Economic Forum.

It was a great experience.

A highlight of mine:

Leading a workshop at the WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos, with incredible people in attendance, including the King of Belgium, the co-founder of the internet, the Prime Minister of Estonia, and multiple CEOs and celebrities.

But I wanted to impact more student’s lives.

So, I left the corporate world to launch my first company: CampusRankings.

CampusRankings is home of the largest Canadian university and college rankings, the famous MatchU™ quiz, and thousands of dollars in free tuition giveaways.

University admissions teams literally hired us to get more student applications.

This gave me a helpful ‘behind the scenes’ look on the admissions process….

…And I used these insights in combination with my leadership-oriented coaching approach.

I helped students launch successful non-profits, secure internships with incredible start-ups, write Amazon best-selling books, and become more self-aware and skilled.

They stood out on their applications, which helped more students receive admissions offers.

I expanded my services beyond Queen’s Commerce and to other highly-selective programs, such as McMaster Health Sciences, UBC Commerce, Waterloo Engineering, and more.

I applied the same coaching approach: authentic, legendary growth.

And my success rate remained:

90% of my students received offers from their top-choice universities.

I also helped them win prestigious scholarships and awards, including the Loran Award, TD Community Leadership Scholarship, and the Queen’s Chancellor’s Scholarship.

After CampusRankings was acquired, I finally had more time to coach students.

I took on the highest number of clients I could manage—still maintaining my 90% acceptance rate.

But the issue became:

How could I help more students, without compromising on quality?

I spent a year developing a handful of online courses that covered everything I did with my in-person clients.

I wanted to give students and parents everything they needed to legitimately succeed, after a single course.

I called them ‘admissions bootcamps’.

And that’s how Admissions Ally was born.

I started to hire incredible coaches, often graduates from competitive programs, who would help prospective students.

My goal is to make admissions support as accessible as possible for students who want and need it.

Check out our admissions bootcamps and other 1-on-1 packages, so you can create stronger applications, become a better candidate, and apply with confidence.

Nothing but the best,

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