Founder and Managing Director
Inspired by his parents, Kevin’s journey from a first-gen, diverse, low-income background to Northwestern University shaped him. After experiencing challenges, including student loan debt, he founded HelloCollege and has spent the last 25 years helping students successfully navigate college admissions.
Despite the odds stacked against me, I find myself here today. My parents, survivors of World War II bombings and refugee camps, arrived in the United States with just $20, a single suitcase, and no knowledge of the English language. Their lack of formal education didn’t deter them from believing in the power of learning and its potential to create a better future for their five children.
I am Kevin Krebs, the founder of HelloCollege, the largest college planning company in the Midwest. My parents’ unwavering support, guidance, and strong work ethic empowered me to pursue my dreams. My father, a dedicated and no-nonsense bricklayer, served as a mentor through his actions. He woke up at 5:15 a.m. every day, never late, and never missed a day of work, even though he didn’t particularly enjoy his job. He approached his responsibilities with seriousness and determination, tackling every task with diligence. My mother, a kind-hearted lunchroom manager at a school for special needs children, passed away last summer at the age of 88. She encouraged me to set ambitious goals, reminded me to give my best effort each day, and provided unwavering support that boosted my self-confidence beyond measure.
My parents instilled in me the belief that I could achieve anything I dreamed of. I attended Hibbard Elementary, the most ethnically diverse grade school in Chicago, where students from over 50 countries, 90% of whom came from low-income households, gathered. Despite the overcrowded classrooms, I thrived as a strong student, fortunate to have exceptional teachers who cared deeply for their students and pushed me to reach my individual potential.
I successfully tested into Lane Tech High School, a renowned magnet school with over 4,600 students, known for its excellent academics and athletics. Surrounded by a group of motivated and aspirational friends, I set my sights on attending a Big Ten university and participating in sports. Before I knew it, we were seniors preparing for college. I earned a full scholarship to Northwestern University, where I played quarterback on the football team and pitched for the baseball team. Meanwhile, my friends pursued their education at prestigious institutions such as the University of Chicago, Northern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin, and CalArts.
Arriving in Evanston as a broke, first-generation college student could have been overwhelming, both socially and academically. However, it only fueled my focus and determination. The memory of my parents’ sacrifices and perseverance motivated me, especially during countless nights spent writing papers with tight deadlines or pulling all-nighters to study for finals.
Northwestern’s liberal arts curriculum and quarter system exposed me to a wide range of courses that expanded my worldview and honed my critical thinking skills. I had never worked so hard in my life, but I will forever be grateful to the incredible professors who shaped my future. As a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, I graduated with high hopes but without a job.
Despite my excellent grades, I found myself utterly clueless about how the real world, particularly the white-collar professional world, operated. My parents’ network consisted of plumbers, cleaning ladies, and carpenters, not investment bankers, Fortune 500 executives, or influential journalists. Like many unemployed college graduates, I turned to student loans and pursued a master’s degree, accumulating nearly $30,000 in debt.
A year later, I graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, expecting my dream job of anchoring ESPN’s SportsCenter to materialize. However, I found myself unemployed once again, burdened with a Sallie Mae student loan payment each month.
At the age of 25, I felt lost, drowning in debt, and overwhelmed with frustration. How did I end up here? Why had no guidance counselor, academic advisor, coach, or anyone else prepared me for the realities and uncertainties that awaited me?
Driven by these experiences, I founded HelloCollege with the intention of helping students and parents navigate the college path while raising awareness about the escalating costs of higher education. Over the past 20 years, my team and I have had the privilege of sharing our college planning and career readiness workshops, curriculum, and guidance with over 10,000 families.
Looking ahead, we aim to leverage our expertise to assist more than 250,000 students in successfully navigating the college admissions process. Join our movement and discover how students, just like you have gained admission to their dream colleges using our S.A.F.E. method. Together, we are on a mission to shape the next generation of scholars, ensuring they graduate within four years, free from overwhelming debt and equipped with a well-defined career plan.
I am filled with immense gratitude toward my late mother, Mrs. Ursula Krebs, and my 89-year-old father, Mr. Karl Krebs. Their unwavering belief in my potential has been the driving force behind my journey.
More about Kevin
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HelloCollege Students Helped
Years of Experience