Danny Tejada is a 13-year expert in college counseling. He grew up in New York City, where he published his first book called "Different Families, Still Brothers," exchanging life stories with his mentee. At the beginning of his career, he started in community-based organizations that focused on assisting low-income students with the college application process.
Danny credits his college application journey as the reason why he became a college counselor:
"I came from an impoverished family. My family of five depended on food stamps and public assistance to survive in our two-bedroom public housing apartment in one of the roughest neighbors in Brooklyn, NY. My parents didn't graduate from high school. College wasn't a discussion in our home. My high school was overwhelmed with students, so I wasn't going to get help with the college process. What saved me from repeating my family's cycle was a college prep program. That program showed me love in ways my parents never did. It gave me vital information that got me to Skidmore College. Once at Skidmore, my life changed forever. In my senior year, I decided that I wanted to be just like the people from that program because they saved my life."
Upon entering the field, Danny challenged himself to learn as much as he could about the college application process. He joined college counseling associations and attended trainings to pick the minds of more experienced counselors. Reading the latest college admissions news/books to engage people online and personally to discuss college admissions policies, became essential to his continuous learning. In 2018, Danny started working with mostly middle-income families at a charter school in Brooklyn, New York. His work as a contractor with Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Apprentice Program consisted of middle and upper-income students, which led to founding We Go To College, LLC.
In 2019, Danny moved to St. Louis for a director position at a private high school in the college counseling office. Throughout his career, he shared admissions strategies and policies with other college counselors on listservs, online platforms, and at conferences.
He also created TestOptional.com to inform counselors, students, and families about the realities of testing and why test-optional schools are an excellent choice for many students.
Danny explains why it is essential to share information:
"I believe in this work; you always must be learning and innovating. Students change every year. Admissions changes every year. The best programs and college counseling offices are those that encourage their counselors to grow with the times. I share my work and knowledge with others because every student should have the opportunity to attend the best college for them. Access to college shouldn't be determined by where one lives and goes to school. The absence of information robs a student of their destiny and the world of a changemaker. I always picture a student like me who should have an opportunity to grow to be the best version of themselves. That starts with a knowledgeable counselor who invests in them. It's my life mission to give that student a chance wherever I am."
A graduate of George Westinghouse High School and Skidmore College, Danny also completed the College Advising Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. College Board named him the first college counselor to be called a "Professional Fellow" for his work. To learn more about Danny's college counseling experiences, view his press/appearances.
Throughout his career, Danny’s students have been accepted to the following selective colleges:
Bryn Mawr College
Case Western Reserve University
College of the Holy Cross
College of William & Mary
Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College
Macaulay Honors College at John Jay College
Mount Holyoke College
New York University
Rhode Island School of Design
Stony Brook University
The Honors College at the University of Missouri
United States Air Force Academy
University of California San Diego
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
University of Florida
University of Maine's Honors College
University of Miami
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Richmond
University of Rochester
University of Southern California
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Wake Forest University
Washington University in St. Louis