Virginia feels that each student has a unique perspective, and her goal is to help her students present a complete, distinctive picture of themselves and the gifts they can contribute to the college environment.  Over the past eleven years, her students have been accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn, Duke, Williams, Vanderbilt, Davidson, NYU, University of Southern California, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Washington University in St. Louis, Rice University, Middlebury, University of North Carolina,  University of Virginia, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia,  Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Auburn University, Berry College and Agnes Scott - without having legacy status or recruitable athletic talents.  Through her understanding of how to plan for and craft a holistic strategic application, Virginia imparts her students with a competitive advantage in college admissions. 

​​​Our Team of Educational Consultants and College Application Specialists

As a previous admissions counselor for a private college in North Carolina, Bristow gleaned an "insider's" knowledge that is instrumental in helping students better market themselves in the college application process. Helping students develop their own unique angle subsequently became a personal goal that complemented her passion for tutoring, and she has been able to successfully guide a variety of students through the college planning process for almost twenty years. She works alongside a seasoned team of dedicated professionals, and their experience, ideas, and attention to detail take the guesswork out of college planning and the college application process.

College Planning with Virginia Shackelford

For over ten years, Virginia Shackelford has expertly guided students through the complexity of the college planning process.  Her extensive research and passion have helped a wide variety of students identify the right college list and present the very best application from highlighting their strengths to securing the best recommendations to polishing their essays.
Not only has the process and strategy she has developed been incredibly successful for the students at BBTS, she has also extended her gift into the community through mentoring Odyssey students. Her earliest experience was with her own two sons, both Westminster graduates, whom she navigated through the entire college planning process. Virginia's intimate knowledge of the curriculum and opportunities at Westminster continues to be pivotal in her consulting success.  

Educational Links:

The official ACT website.

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The official SAT website.

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The Common Application used for college admission.


A subjective guide to colleges with real student reviews that provide "the good, the bad, and the ugly!"

College Planning

​​Few aspects of a student's high school experience can be as daunting as the college admissions process. From choosing a college that will be an appropriate fit to distinguishing oneself from thousands upon thousands of worthy applicants vying for a limited number of openings, students often need personalized guidance.

Our Philosophy About College Planning

Families often wonder what criteria colleges use when assessing students. Beyond looking for students who earn top grades in the most rigorous schedule they can handle and standardized test scores within a preferred range, colleges seek students who possess a unique angle.

Our primary mission is to showcase a student's individuality. Whether assisting with the application, the personal statements, a well-constructed resume, preparation for an interview, or follow-up correspondences, we utilize every opportunity to help a student maximize his or her likelihood of earning admission to a particular college.

Our Range of College Planning Services

  • Evaluating a student based on academics, test scores, and activities
  • Suggesting an appropriate curriculum
  • Setting a schedule for standardized tests
  • Formulating a college list
  • Detailing how to glean the most from college visits
  • Preparing a student for college interviews
  • Creating a resume
  • Discussing essay ideas and polishing the finished product
  • Reviewing an application thoroughly
  • Establishing a master timeline to ensure no deadlines are missed 

Bristow and her specialized team of experts can play as limited a role or as comprehensive a role as the student and family desire.