Vince Valenzuela, a 1990 graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, is presenting four seminars on college planning for teens and their parents. As the director of college counseling at Collegewise, a division of Princeton Review, he works with students and parents through the college admission process.
Born in Staten Island, Valenzuela is the son of two medical doctors. His father, Herminio, was in the military, and Valenzuela attended grades 6 to 9 on Quantico military base while his father was chief of internal medicine at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
The family moved to West Windsor in 1988. They were one of the first families to live in Princeton Oaks. “It was all farmland then, and we could see Cranbury Golf Club from the backyard,” Valenzuela says.
He entered 10th grade at WW-P High School. “The open classroom and team teaching concepts were innovative and intriguing,” he says. “There were no walls and no windows.” He was on the tennis and cross country teams. Valenzuela graduated in 1990 with the title of best dressed in his yearbook.
During his junior year he developed a pneumothorax and was rushed to Princeton Medical Center. After looking at schools near and far, his brush with a medical issue led to his decision to choose Monmouth University. “It was the perfect size and fit for me,” says Valenzuela, who graduated with a bachelor of arts in communication with concentration in journalism and public relations.
His brother, Victor, graduated from WW-P High School in 1992. He is a special agent for the FBI. His sister, Vivian, graduated in 1994. She is an admissions counselor at Andover Prep School. All three of them were counseled by Gail Bruno during their high school years.
His parents are now divorced, and his father lives in New York. His mother, Fleurdelys, still lives in West Windsor.
Valenzuela was the assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Villanova from 1998 to 2001. He coordinated open house and recruitment events and was the director of multicultural recruitment.
From 2001 to 2008 he was the director of admissions at Rutgers Preparatory School, where he was also the head coach for girls tennis.
After working as the director of admission and enrollment management at Chestnut Hill Academy in the Philadelphia area for four years, Valenzuela took a job as director of admission at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, California, from 2012 to 2013 and served on the financial aid committee. After pricing out plane tickets to visit his family he decided it was time to return to the east coast.
Valenzuela now lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with his wife, Colleen, who works in pharmaceuticals. Their children are Andrew, 11; Gabrielle, 9; and Alexis, 5.
He discovered College Wise, the college counseling section of Princeton Review. It was the perfect fit, as he can visit his mother in West Windsor and commute home every night. “I’m in my hometown, and I love the families I get to meet,” he says.
He is also a college mentor at Novo Nordisk. They sponsor 30 kids from the Trenton area once a month. “I volunteer by sharing my expertise with the kids,” he says.
Collegewise, Princeton Review Testing Center, 194 Nassau Street, Princeton. Seminars on the college admission process presented by Vince Valenzuela. For parents and students in grades 8 to 11. Register by phone or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Free. 609-759-1106. www.collegewise.com.
Secrets of College Admission, Tuesday, June 17, 7 p.m.; and Saturday, June 21, 11 a.m.
Highly Selective College Admission, Thursday, June 19, 7 p.m.
Writing the College Essay, Wednesday, June 25, 7 p.m.