In the back and on the second level of a petite but fancy mall in downtown Guatemala City there is something going on that’s never been tried, duplicated or imitated. Behind the painted over glass window in the Fontabella Shopping Center that reads “Will Get You In.Com” is a course both in miracles and on miracles.
Mr. Will, as he prefers to be called (his wife calls him Fred) is the full the name of Wilfred J. Jolicoeur. He’s a youthful 47 and a French-Canadian divinity school graduate who wears a black leather jacket when he drives to school on his Harley-Davidson. With over ten years of teaching practice in Canada and also Guatemala, he’s a natural. He’s tall, with a shaved head and with piercing blue eyes that are both warm and scholarly. The B.A in Psychology plus the two Master’s Degrees in Theology give his words far more weight than his students might realize.
What does he teach? The perfect answers for many of the prayers of the top upper crust families in Guatemala. It’s been said that Guatemala, as with most of the smaller Central American countries, is run by twenty families or more. Over the years they have intermarried and control most, if not all of the major businesses and as times have changed, those have become exceedingly technical. The local universities are good, in their way but not world-class. The answer, as provided by Mr. Will,is to provide a path for their sons and daughters elsewhere.
Path? In someways it has become a highway to success. In the twelve years or so that he’s been teaching, over 1200 hundred of his students have gone on to such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, M.I.T and the London School of Economics. There is a 100% success rate in gaining admission to at least five colleges per student, to which they have a multiple choice and their future is on the way.
It’s a simple formula: he teaches them how to pass the entrance exams of SAT’s, GMAT’s and how to write an admission essay that will make the Admissions Officer smile.
It may sound simple but also exceedingly difficult when you consider that the test essays and exams are in English, the second language for his students. This isn’t like applying at your local community college for a 2 year degree in Police Science with a C+ average.
The London School of Economics? Harvard or Stanford? It’s more than a bit difficult to pass those portals of higher education even if you’re in the top ten percent of any American school, much less from Guatemala and used to speaking and writing in Spanish.
There’s another major hurdle that all of his pupils have to deal with: the money for tuition, room and board. There are no scholarships or student loans available. Period. A one year MBA program, at Northwestern University for example, is $93000 U.S.D. and that’s not including anything else, like food, shelter and maybe clothing.
Their families realize that the long-term investment is business and exactly that: business and if they want to maintain their positions in Guatemala, it is imperative that they have the very best that money can buy, no matter how much it costs. The present cost for a year at Stanford is over $60000: multiply that by four years for a Bachelor’s Degree and that’s just for the basics. In this case it’s “C.O.D” or call on Dad.
Mr. Will’s modest offices are three: two small rooms for individual counseling plus a larger room with three tables, several chairs and four long white boards on the walls. The white boards on the right are blank. The white boards on the left are filled with the 1200+ names and schools where previous students have been accepted. In the tight-knit and inter-related world of upper class Guatemala, a lot of them know each other. There’s a lot more than just pride and prestige at stake here. When these students return from M.I.T or Stanford in a few years, they’ll be running things in Guatemala, sooner or later.
They ARE the future of this country and thanks to Mr.Will, aka Wilfred Jolicoeur and his www.willgetyouin.com, the future has never looked brighter.