Tracy Matthews

Tracy Matthews

Tracy Matthews

Lead Admissions Coach

Tracy Matthews became drawn to an admissions career while majoring in psychology at Swarthmore College. “Guiding students through the process really interested me,” she says. She soon took her degree and became an admissions officer at Princeton University.

After three years there, Matthews’ career detoured into public relations. She earned an MA in the field at Syracuse University and became a public affairs professional in Washington, D.C. “But that wasn’t for me,” she confesses.

A call from the Swarthmore dean of admissions, who knew Matthews from Princeton, brought her back to the profession she loved. Matthews returned to her alma mater as senior associate dean of admissions and coordinator of recruiting students of color.

Having served eight fulfilling years at Swarthmore, Matthews took an opportunity to work on what she calls “the other side of the desk in college counseling.” She joined Philadelphia’s renowned Friends Select School to direct college planning and testing for students. Matthews has worked at the school since 2002. There, she says, “I can focus on the part of the admissions job that I really like — connecting with students.”

Matthews brings that experience on both sides of the college admissions process to Bovard Scholars. “I enjoy working with the students to help them through this crazy, complicated college application process,” she explains.

She joined Bovard Scholars in 2019. As a lead admissions coach, her duties include supporting other coaches in ensuring scholars’ success. She also joins fellow lead coach Carol Moreno to bring in admissions personnel from highly selective universities for mock interviews with students and to offer tips on how to make their applications stand out. Another session includes a panel of former Bovard Scholars who share their experiences in the program and at their current colleges.

“They go to some amazing schools that probably beforehand they didn’t think they would even have a chance to be considered,” she says.

Coming to USC to aid a new cohort each summer enables Matthews to work with high-achieving students who lack the advantages of many of those she counsels at Friends Select.

“It means a lot to assist them in their college admissions process and make their dreams come alive,” she says, adding that the students help her as much as she helps them. “They help me stay young.”

To future scholars:

“The college process can be confusing and stressful, but you will successfully get through it by pacing yourself, leaning on your support network, and by trusting in yourself. You got this!”