Admissions Gambit Helps MoCo Families Apply to College (Sponsored)

by Patrick Herron

Dr. Erwin Hesse and his wife, Andrea Hesse, are the Cofounders of Admissions Gambit, a Montgomery County based college admissions and essay development company. Both were born into humble beginnings with immigrant parents who were carpenters and cleaned houses for a living. Spanish was their first language, and both attended English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in their early elementary school years at MCPS. 

Despite their similar upbringings, both embarked on different paths. Andrea saw education as a stepping stone out of a low-income neighborhood and its perils. She focused on her academics, earning many honorable mentions and academic scholarships throughout her youth and into college. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of Maryland, College Park and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore.

Erwin followed the wrong crowd, became unmotivated, and his grades plummeted. After numerous disciplinary actions and barely graduating from Rockville High School, his only option for post-secondary education was Montgomery College, where he majored in criminology. One of his final courses required a class trip to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds. A group of inmates agreed to speak with the students at the end of the tour. To Erwin’s surprise, two of his high school friends were part of the inmate group. “It was a surreal experience, but I learned to appreciate life and live up to my fullest potential,” recounts Erwin Hesse. Upon earning an undergraduate degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, College Park and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore, Erwin went on to earn a Doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins University in Entrepreneurial Education in 2018. 

While earning his graduate degrees, Dr. Hesse worked inside of admissions offices at Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown. Over the course of a decade, Erwin served as an Admissions Counselor, Associate Director of Admissions, and Executive Director of Enrollment Management. He has reviewed thousands of applications, led and trained admissions teams, and created and taught a graduate course on enrollment management at Georgetown University. Dr. Hesse was then hired by Amazon to build relationships with universities across the United States to recruit exceptional students for STEM roles within the company. 

When Operation Varsity Blues, better known as the college admissions scandal, rocked the nation, Erwin saw the inequity in access to one-on-one college guidance. He explains, “With affluent families’ ability to afford outlandish college admissions companies’ rates and in some cases bribe universities, how could ordinary families compete for admissions slots at universities? What would ordinary families do if they needed one-on-one guidance throughout the college admissions process but could not afford exorbitant rates? The counselor-to-student ratio across the US is 482-to-1. Parents and students are left with limited opportunities for personalized guidance on the entire process.” 

With Erwin’s decade of experience in college admissions and Andrea’s decade of experience as a Professional Editor, Admissions Gambit was established in early 2021. Their mission is simple: Provide expert level college admissions and essay development services at affordable rates. “Large college admissions firms charge families $10,000 or more and then hire someone like me for a quarter of the price to conduct the services,” says Dr. Hesse. Admissions Gambit cuts the costs by directly working with families.

Grounded in the Hesse’s humble beginnings, Admissions Gambit offers a scholarship at Andrea’s alma mater, Good Counsel High School, to a rising senior demonstrating financial need, a commitment to their community, and a 3.2 GPA. Additionally, for every five families that sign with Admissions Gambit, one rising senior of first-generation, low-socioeconomic background receives a free Admissions Gambit package to a college of their choice. In other exciting news, Admissions Gambit received a national grant from NewSchools Venture Fund to provide first-generation, low-income rising seniors free college admissions and essay development services in 2023. “We encourage eligible families from Montgomery County to apply,” states Andrea Hesse. The application will go live on their website in May. 

Admissions Gambit will be participating in MCPS’ Summer RISE program for 11th and 12th graders. “Through this exciting internship opportunity, students can learn about entrepreneurship and how we developed a model to give back to our community,” remarks Dr. Hesse. Finally, Dr. Hesse has been selected as the 2023 graduation speaker for his alma mater, Rockville High School. “It’s truly a full-circle moment for me. My message to the graduates: It is not how you start, but how you finish.”  

For more information on Admissions Gambit, visit their website at or call them at 301-615-2232.

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