Kristian presenting to the Reach Higher Initiative Team.

Working with Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative to Help Teens Apply for College

That’s me on the screen in the White House, sharing my idea of the “Mock College Application” with Reach Higher Initiative. 

It’s been a while! It was never my intention to wait so long in between blog posts, but so many exciting things have occurred in the last few months, one of which includes becoming a collaborator with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative! More on that later.

Most of you may not know that in addition to owning and operating a private practice, I am also a high school counselor. Being a trained mental health clinician positively impacts my role as a school counselor because it allows me to work with my students through a clinical lens. For example, I can pay closer attention to their mental health needs and its impact on their academic performance. Also, because I am a school counselor to 11th grade students, much of my work revolves around planning for the college application process. In doing this, I’ve recognized how anxious and depressed teens (and parents!) become as they prepare to apply to college. Most of the stress associated with this new transition is due to several misconceptions about college and the college application process. I wanted to correct these misconceptions, and that’s where the Reach Higher initiative came in.

As a partner with Reach Higher, I submitted the idea of a “Mock College Application” to the Teacher’s Guild in hopes of demystifying one of many key aspects to the college preparation process—the application! The Mock College Application will offer a super simple online mock-application environment that addresses misconceptions around college, connects students quickly to colleges, and addresses their needs by helping them understand their ability to be accepted. The goal is for students to feel empowered knowing that there is a college out there for them. To my surprise, my idea for a Mock College Application was one of ten ideas selected nationally! Since then, it has been shared at the White House and is now being developed by Facebook engineers in order to help students across the country. This is huge and so humbling!

Everything is still in the planning phase, but I feel privileged to be able to help millions of young people, beyond those I am in direct contact with on a daily/weekly basis. With that being said, my goal for the next few blog posts is to focus on the mental health of young people and parents as it relates to “life after high school”. The months of May and June will consist of many high school graduations, which usually signifies the beginning of young adulthood. Through this blog and via my private practice, I hope to offer practical suggestions to assist young people during this wonderful new chapter of life. Stay tuned and I appreciate all of your support 🙂

Kristian is the owner and Lead Psychotherapist here at Resilient Child Therapy Institute and has a passion for helping young people live a resilient life!


  • Starlette McNeill
    How amazing you are! Do keep up this life- giving work. I am so proud of you and grateful to God for your beautiful mind. Congratulations again and again.
  • Xanthia Johnson LPC, LCPC, ACS, RPT-S
    Congratulations on the Reach Higher Initiative, Kristian! The children & families of Prince George's County are so fortunate to have your experience & your expertise in their corner! In YOUR Corner, Xanthia

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Lego® Play Therapy Group

March 19 – April 16, 2022

Our new five-week therapy group aims to provide children ages 8-10 with skills training in social communication, collaborative problem-solving, and fine motor development. This group is ideal for children with a variety of communication and social development difficulties. Due to COVID, we will only be accepting a limited number of registrants and requiring masks.