Over the last ten years I have worked with dozens of students through every aspect of their college search and application process. They each had widely differing aspirations, backgrounds, levels of maturity, challenges and talents. However, they all had ONE thing in common—they were teenagers. Today, this means they were ultra-busy young adults in the making, trying their best to juggle demanding academic schedules, activities, family commitments, sports, clubs and a little bit of fun with friends. In reality, teenagers also tend to procrastinate a bit, have challenges making big decisions and sometimes even contradict their parents for no particular reason. Believe it or not, if a family waits until the student’s Junior year or (gasp!) Senior year, it is too late to create the kind of educational options and opportunities they always dreamed about. This is the primary reason why I begin working with students during their Sophomore year of high school. I help them best plan their courses to be aligned with their academic and career interests. If they have no clue what career path they would like to pursue, we spend many hours exploring careers, assessing their strengths and passions and planning summer and school activities that will provide clarity and direction. The summer between 10th and 11th grade is critical in this process, and especially in preparing for standardized tests. The summer between 11th and 12th grades needs to focus on college visits and essay writing. Yes, that’s correct, college application essays should be completed before Senior year begins. If the student is a fall athlete, the urgency is even greater.
During this work, I get to know each student very well, so I can best guide them in authentically representing themselves in their admission applications. In all honesty, when each of my students sends in an application for admission, it feels just like it did when my own children were applying to their dream schools. This is why I limit my practice to a total of 15 students, because they each deserve my undivided attention. So there you have it…..there is magic in FIFTEEN and TEN.