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Heather Bandura

Lead Counselor & Founder

My name is Heather Bandura and I am the founder and lead counselor for Set Sail College Counseling which serves as a compass for students and families as they navigate the college admissions journey. With a passion for working with teens to help them discover their unique interests and strengths, I decided to impart my 25 years of branding, marketing, and storytelling expertise to help students on their college exploration journey.


My love for discovering colleges and the benefits of working with an independent college counselor started more than 30 years ago. As a teenager looking for a change from my Southern California upbringing, I wanted a college that would provide me with a well-rounded education, a strong Greek life, snow during Winter, and a small town that revolved around the college. Since Internet research wasn’t an option in the early 1990s, I worked with an independent college counselor who spent time getting to know me, and my interests, goals, and ideal environment. I toured about a dozen small liberal arts schools on the East Coast, ultimately choosing Gettysburg College as my home for the next four years. I will forever remember sitting at my English professor's dining room table discussing author Toni Morrison, or venturing out into the Gettysburg battlefields to view the constellations in Astronomy. I earned more than a degree in English. The skills learned at this liberal arts school shaped me into who I am today and allowed me to be a confident, creative, independent woman. My hope is to help students find this same college experience!


I received my Certificate in College Counseling from the University of California Los Angeles. I completed my counseling practicum at Dana Hills High School, interned with a leading Southern California Independent Educational Consultant and helped many students with their college essays and applications.


Prior to founding Set Sail, I was owner of eduCom Marketing, helping schools grow and thrive through strategic enrollment management, marketing campaigns and advancement programs. I also was the Marketing and Enrollment Management Director for St. Edward the Confessor Parish School handling communication, advancement marketing, social media, admissions strategy and events.


Prior to entering educational marketing, I owned Bandura etc. PR, an independent consultancy group specializing in marketing to moms through strategic public relations and influencer campaigns. My creativity, resourcefulness and firsthand knowledge of modern moms resulted in national consumer and retailer recognition for boutique brands that operated on a limited marketing budget. In fact, my social media expertise was featured in the Digital Mom Handbook (HarperBusiness, 2011).


I started my career with some of the country’s largest PR agencies. Career highlights include traveling around the country for the high-profile “Search for the Next Ivory Baby,” and Old Spice’s “Sweatiest Cities” media campaign, resulting in two New York Times cover stories and an appearance as a Trivial Pursuit question. My interest in communications started as a White House intern in the Office of the First Lady.

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