Vincent Garcia

Vincent Garcia

The Clifton StrengthsFinder is a powerful online assessment tool that helps individuals identify, understand, and maximize their strengths. Q&A utilizes to help students maximize their strengths within the college application process. Vince and Caryl's strengths are listed below.



Ideation:  Loves ideas, seeks new perspectives on familiar challenges, and is an innovative thinker who willingly seeks to generate novel concepts, theories, plans, and solutions.

Positivity: Possesses an enthusiasm that is contagious, upbeat, and can get others excited about what they are going to do. Generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. He makes sure others recognize their talents, and emphasizes others' moments of excellence.

Adaptability: Allows and adjusts to others' styles easily. Easily deals with the requests or problems of others, and often sees the unique qualities in individuals that distinguish them from everyone else.

Arranger: organizes well but also has a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.

Individualization: Enjoys sharing expertise with individuals who are likely to benefit from his experience and knowledge. Easily forms a bond with each individual as I begin to understand their circumstances. Others trust those with this theme strength to accompany them on life’s journey.

Caryl Kristensen

Caryl Kristensen


WOO: Woo stands for winning others over. People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

Communication: People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

Positivity: People who are especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

Achiever: People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

Activator: People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.


Vince and Caryl are experts in the college admissions process who are uniquely qualified in niche college application environments that range from highly selective college admissions to STEM to athletics to theater to music. They have also created an extensive network of colleagues that supplement their work in even more specific areas requiring special expertise, such as portfolio curation, STEM and pre-med advising, athletics, or choosing and honing a theater monologue. Q&A expertly navigates the college admissions process for our clients.

I just wanted to thank you for your enormous help in the application process. I am incredibly appreciative for the tips and advice you gave me, and even more so for the time you spent reading and revising all of my essays and applications. Not to mention the moral support. You helped me to feel calm and confident in this process that can be very challenging at times. I simply don’t know what I would have done without your help!
— Senior, Class of 2015, Colorado

Vince Garcia

Vince is the founder and owner of Q&A College Admissions & Academic Consulting. A graduate of Occidental College, he has worked in college admissions, college counseling, and scholarship selections with students of all abilities since 1989. His experience and qualifications are extensive:


Occidental, Pomona, Cal Lutheran, UCLA, and UC Berkeley


Campbell Hall High School, Los Angeles, CA. 

In 2003 he created the nation’s first college admissions boot camp. During the college counseling application boot camp, high school seniors completed the Common Application, wrote admissions essays, developed a college admissions strategy, produced activity and achievements summaries, and practiced interview techniques.

Vince has expertise in admissions in engineering, health, science, mathematics, athletics, learning differences, and the visual and performing arts. He has extensive training in college admissions as well as college counseling training through Harvard Summer Institute on Colleges Admissions.

He has visited over 300 colleges in the US and abroad.

The Posse Foundation, College Summit; and The LA Gay and Lesbian Center


Dalai Lama Fellowship, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, The Point Foundation, and The Schwartzman Scholars


CoFounder and Creator of LikeLive, an online interviewing tool for colleges and universities.

Created The Point Foundation Scholarship Application Website and Selection Tool.


Caryl came to college counseling after a successful career in television as one of "The Mommies" on NBC, Co-Host of Caryl & Marilyn: Real Friends a talk show on NBC and the hit Showtime Special, My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student. She is the co-author of The Motherload: When your life's on spin cycle and you just can't get the lid up. She traveled the United States doing stand-Up comedy and found herself visiting every college campus she came across. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Joan Rivers, The Today Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to name a few.  She also did the Palmolive commercials for seven years, replacing the infamous Madge. As one of The Mommies, she has been a spokesperson for Target, Mastercard, Microsoft, Contadina and Revereware. 

After living the college process with her own children (and having always been a college junkie), she went back to school and made college counseling her profession 15 years ago. She especially loves working with students who are pursuing careers in the arts, media, entertainment, and technology. And frankly, she says, "There is a lot of comedy in college counseling, or at least there should be!" 

I am beyond appreciative for Caryl’s ever-present guidance and encouragement. I was a student who struggled with learning disabilities, and applying to college was intimidating. I wasn’t sure where I would fit in or if there was a school that checked all the boxes. Then came my first meeting with Caryl. She let me be me, and reassured me that everything was going to be okay. I believed her and she went above and beyond to help me find the perfect school for me.
— Recent College Grad, Goucher College


College Counseling Certification at UCLA in 2002; worked as a college counselor for the past ten years 

CollegeTrack—Independent College Counseling

Campbell Hall High School, Los Angeles, College Counselor, seven years

Instrumental in initiating the school-wide use of the Naviance college planning platform

Spearheaded many multi-media, college-content projects to streamline and simplify the college process for parents and students

Visited over 300 colleges in the US and abroad


Co-founded LikeLive, the first-of-its-kind digital interview portal for colleges and universities all over the world, enabling colleges to conduct interviews of students digitally as part of their applications.  Its client list included: Georgetown, USC WBB, USC Law, USC Marshall School of Business, Cornell, Washington University, Rice, Bucknell, Hamilton, Tulane, Pitzer, University of Texas and Michigan State.

As COO of LikeLive (six years), Caryl worked with colleges and universities to create and identify interview questions and techniques to yield desired students. 

She worked closely with the Deans of Admissions at hundreds of undergrad and graduate schools as well as private high schools to implement digital interviewing into their admission process.

LikeLive was acquired by Educational Testing Service (creator of SAT, TOEFL, and GRE) in 2012, and ultimately merged with another next-generation digital provider.

Caryl created a practice interviewing tool for Naviance as an add-on to the main Naviance College Planning Platform by Hobsons. It is used by over 6000 high schools. 

Caryl was also the co-founder of Zip Intro, a time-shifted interview platform for the HR space that uses prerecorded video.

She has been a member of WACAC, NACAC, NAFSA and has done presentations on the use of technology in the college admissions process.