Entrepreneur applies skills to college application process

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Jana Thomas operates Wild Peace, a Grand Valley business combining her skills as a writing coach, grammar guru and cheerleader to help high school students apply for college admissions and scholarships. (Photo courtesy Wild Peace)

Jana Thomas believes there’s a convergence between wild excitement and calm peace. It’s the place where audacious aspirations combine with confident determination to turn dreams into reality.

“This is where life should be,” she said.

Wild peace is a concept after which Thomas has named her venture and one she encourages high school students to pursue as she helps them apply for college admissions and scholarships.

At a time when admissions have become more competitive and tuition more expensive, Thomas makes it her business to guide students and their parents through what can be a stressful process. “There are many moving parts, but there are many opportunities.”

Jana Thomas

Thomas said she launched Wild Peace in part to help others with what she learned in helping her three daughters apply for colleges and scholarships. Thomas also brings to the business her experience in teaching college-level composition and public speaking as well as her work as a certified health and wellness coach. She’s said she’s still a college cheerleader at heart in cheering on the students with which she works.

Thomas offers coaching on an hourly basis, but also leads strategy sessions and group workshops on writing essays for the common application. In addition, she offers a package to assist high school juniors and seniors with college admission and scholarship applications. Another package helps high school students pursue community service projects that will stand out in the application process.

Thomas said her services often start with strategy sessions to discuss the colleges and universities to which students are interested in applying and what they’d like to study. Thomas also offers help in putting together a resume.

Admission criteria vary, but include grades, classes students have completed, their extracurricular activities and essays. Essays are important, Thomas said, in not only demonstrating the ability to write at a college level, but also offering insights into the unique attributes, experiences and aspirations of students. A good essay quickly hooks a reader, then tells an authentic story about what a student has done and, more importantly, what they’ve learned from their experiences.

While students worry about the difficulty of composing a good essay, Thomas said the best essays are actually those that are easiest to write.

Thomas not only reviews essays, but also helps students realize they’ve got compelling stories to tell. “I help them find out how cool they are.”

When it comes to paying for education, Thomas said scholarships are available not only from colleges, but also local and national sources. It’s a matter of conducting the research and applying. “The money is out there.”

Thomas offers no guarantee students will get into their first choice of colleges with full-ride scholarships. But she does offer the assurance students will gain confidence in their abilities to turn dreams into realities — to find that place where wild excitement and calm peace converge.

For more information about Wild Peace, contact Jana Thomas at jana@yourwildpeace.com or 712-6628, log on to www.yourwildpeace.com or visit the Wild Peace pages on Facebook and Instagram.