Kevin Krebs - Founder

A first-generation college student and lifelong entrepreneur, Kevin has founded four companies and helped launch a student-athlete mentoring program at his alma mater Northwestern University. A two-sport athlete at Northwestern in football and baseball, Kevin supports higher education by empowering schools and parents with expert college admissions and guidance on paying for college while inspiring students to achieve their potential through goal-oriented mentoring programs.

Kevin and his three daughters
Kevin Krebs
Kevin and his mother
Kevin and his daughter Katie, currently attending Point Park for dance

Kevin’s College Planning Journey

If you believe the odds, there’s almost no way I should be here. My mom and dad, who survived World War II bombings and refugee camps came to the United States with 20 bucks, one suitcase and without the ability to speak, read or write English. Although they never even had the opportunity to attend high school, they saw education as the way for their five children to learn how to make a better life for themselves and for their own families in the future.

I’m Kevin Krebs, founder of HelloCollege, the largest college planning company in the Midwest.

My parents empowered me through their support, guidance and work ethic.  My dad mentored by example. He was an intense, gruff bricklayer who woke at 5:15 a.m. and was never late or missed a day at a job he did not like. He took his responsibilities seriously and worked hard to accomplish whatever task was in front of him.  My mom, who passed away last summer at the age of 88, was a kind-hearted, caring lunchroom manager at a school for special needs children—and she loved every minute of it. She challenged me to set lofty goals, reminded me to try my best every day and provided unwavering encouragement that boosted my self-confidence in ways that she could never have imagined.

My parents believed I could achieve anything that I could dream of doing in my life.  I attended the most ethnically diverse grade school in Chicago, Hibbard Elementary, with kids from more than 50 different countries and 90% of us coming from low-income households. The classrooms were overcrowded but I was a strong student blessed to have some amazing teachers who cared for their students as a whole and pushed me individually.

I tested into Lane Tech High School, a magnet school with over 4,600 students, known for its combination of strong academics and athletics. With dreams of attending and playing sports at a Big Ten university, my best decision was surrounding myself with a great friend group that was equally aspirational and motivated. Before you knew it we were seniors heading off to college.  I earned a full scholarship to Northwestern University where I played quarterback on the football team and pitched for the baseball team while my friends left for University of Chicago, Northern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin, and CalArts.

Although arriving in Evanston as a broke,  first-generation college student should have been intimidating socially and academically – especially with the time demands of playing two sports – it actually made me more focused and determined. I often thought of my parents’ sacrifices and perseverance, especially when writing countless papers under tight deadlines or pulling all-nighters studying for finals.

Northwestern’s liberal arts curriculum and quarter system exposed me to a wide variety of courses that broadened my view of the world and honed my critical thinking skills. I had never studied that hard in my life but I will always be grateful for the incredible professors that shaped my future. I graduated as a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection with high hopes but without a job.

Although I had great grades, I was totally clueless as to how the real world – especially the white-collar professional world – worked. My parents’ friend network was comprised of plumbers, cleaning ladies, and carpenters, not investment bankers, Fortune 500 business executives or Chicago Tribune columnists. So, I did what lots of unemployed college graduates still do – I took out nearly $30,000 in student loans and went back to get a master’s degree.

A year later, I graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and  I thought my dream job of anchoring ESPN’s SportsCenter was surely right around the corner. Nope. Unemployed again, this time with a Sallie Mae student loan payment hanging over my head every month.

So there I was at the age of 25 with no job, a boatload of debt and an immense feeling of frustration. How did I get here? How in the last eight years of my life did I not have a guidance counselor, academic advisor, coach or anybody else tell me what this was going to be like and how it might turn out?

I founded HelloCollege to help students and parents pave a path to college while also helping families be mindful of the escalating costs of higher education. I’ve spent the last 20 years daring to ask, what if there was more “real” in the college admissions process. Since starting HelloCollege, my team and I have had the pleasure of successfully sharing our college planning and career readiness workshops, curriculum, and guidance with more than 10,000 families.

We look forward to using our expertise to assist over 250,000 students to successfully navigate the college admissions process.  Come join our movement, where students just like you have gotten into the college of their dreams by using our S.A.F.E. method. We are on a mission to shape the next generation of scholars into being graduates who complete school in four years, without immense debt, and with a well laid out career plan.

I have immense gratitude toward my late mother Mrs. Ursula Krebs and my 89-year-old father Mr. Karl Krebs.

HelloCollege, Goodbye Stress!

Kevin Krebs

Meet the Team

We’re passionate about your college success

We don’t treat you like a number. We know each student has their own important needs. We used that passion to create a personal approach that helps all students with their unique college admissions journey.
Founder and Managing Director

Kevin Krebs

President & COO - College Counselor

Dan Farnesi

Student Success Director, College Counselor

Terri C. Houston

Allison Dahleen
College Counselor

Allison Dahleen

Founder and Managing Director

Kevin Krebs

Kevin Krebs is a first-generation college student and lifelong entrepreneur; he has founded four companies and helped launch a student-athlete mentoring program at his alma mater Northwestern University. A two-sport athlete at Northwestern in football and baseball, Kevin supports higher education by empowering schools and parents with expert college admissions and guidance on paying for college while inspiring students to achieve their potential through goal-oriented mentoring programs.

President & COO - College Counselor

Dan Farnesi

Dan enjoys helping students make the most out of their lives, and he is able to follow this passion daily at HelloCollege. Dan began working as a consultant for HelloCollege’s parent company, Partners For Achievement, in 2013 and soon took on the role of Executive Vice President. He has helped lead the company in developing structure, efficiency, useful tools, and an ever-refined approach to college planning that has deeply impacted its families. In June 2019, Dan was named President and COO of PFA/HelloCollege.

After graduating from college and earning his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, Dan spent the early part of his career working for a large corporation. He realized that sometimes the best way to improve your work environment is to start your own company. He built his own companies in the mortgage, home building, and restaurant/live music industries and then began a consulting practice that led him to PFA. Dan draws on life lessons from many important people who motivate him to never stop learning, never stop improving, and to continually stretch for new and more effective ways to help others. He is very excited about HelloCollege and the opportunity to serve more and more families throughout the country.

Dan’s favorite thing to do is spend time with his wife and family. He also loves music, golf, the outdoors, and being involved in his community.

Working with students and parents has proven to be the most rewarding job of his career. Dan is grateful to be on this journey with teammates who share his passion for helping students and their families.

Student Success Director, College Counselor

Terri C. Houston

Terri Houston is a trainer, partner and mentor of students, college administrators, and business professionals around the country. “Ms. H”, as affectionately known by students she has guided and mentored, most recently served as an independent consultant designing customized inclusive leadership training for colleges and universities.

Terri shares HelloCollege’s goals of helping students and parents navigate the complicated college planning process. Terri’s unique and extensive experience working with college students and universities provides HelloCollege families with unparalleled insight into higher education. For more than 13 years, Terri served as senior director for recruitment and multicultural affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she partnered with admissions, financial aid and orientation departments overseeing pre-enrollment and retention programs for high school juniors, seniors, college freshmen and their parents.

Additionally, she managed diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for Portland Oregon’s largest behavioral healthcare organization and directed recruitment, student leadership and career development programs at Iowa State University, Ferris State University and Chicago’s Robert Morris University where she began her higher education career. And although a proud Chicago native, she traveled around the world through the internationally renowned Semester at Sea Program.

Terri holds a Bachelors from Loras College and a Masters from Central Michigan University. She is a certified Life Coach, Safe-zone® trainer and professionally accredited through the Central Association of College and University Business Officers. Terri’s commitment around making college accessible and achievable for students and parents is her number one goal.

Allison Dahleen

College Counselor

Allison Dahleen

Allison is a self-proclaimed “people-person” and has a variety of experiences working with students within the higher education field. She has worked as a student advocate for graduate students while also founding new digital learning programs for renowned institutions such as the University of Kentucky. Allison has her BSBA in Comprehensive Marketing from the University of West Florida where she also completed her MSA in Administration Leadership. Allison brings a wealth of knowledge about college programming, expectations required of a student, and the ins and outs of university procedures and policies.

Allison was born and raised in Chicago’s southwest suburbs and attended Stagg High School in Palos Hills, IL. In her free time you can find Allison traveling or coaching basketball for the Southside Shooters basketball club.

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