By Ken Steinhorn
I think I’ve dreaded this process for most of the 16 years it took to get here. And the whole time, I’ve watched nervously from the sidelines as college admissions transformed from something relatively straightforward, to a complex and highly competitive process. But reality set in quickly when my daughter came home from school and excitedly told me about a presentation she attended given by Sarah Lawrence University. I knew at that moment it was time to dive in, do our best to figure it out, and help our daughter find the college best suited to help her reach her goals and realize her dreams.
As suspected, navigating the vast amount of college information, requirements, curriculums, strategies, as well as testing and timing issues, was daunting to say the least! Plus, although my daughter had a high GPA and strong testing scores, I realized quickly that academic achievement was only a piece of this confusing process. Without someone knowledgeable to help connect the dots and prioritize all activities, it was a short trip to overwhelm.
Two years prior, my sister had faced this same challenge with my nephew, and after going it alone with little success, I remembered she hired a college consultant to get some much-needed guidance. But when I called to discuss her experience, she related how disappointed she was with the input. Apparently the consultant took a fairly boiler-plate approach, she was not particularly conversant on financial aid issues, and maybe most importantly, she made little, if any, effort to understand what my nephew really wanted out his college experience. So when Tracy was recommended to us, I was largely skeptical.
But to be perfectly honest, any trepidation I had evaporated quickly when we met. The connection with my daughter was immediate, and after our first session, everyone had newfound confidence all would turn out okay—no small thing! We also had our assignments: Tracy is a teacher first, incredibly organized, and she provides a robust, easy-to-use, web-based tracking and management tool to link all facets of the process. But mostly, I knew we had found the right consultant by the diplomatic, yet firm, way she made it clear to us that this was my daughter’s journey, not ours.
I’m fairly certain there are other competent consultants out there, but I’m both confident and relieved to work with someone so committed to helping our daughter find her unique path, write in her authentic voice, and ultimately discover a campus lifestyle and college experience that best resonates with her sensibilities. What more could a parent hope for!
I mentioned to Tracy I would like to write a testimonial, but I thought it might be more helpful to write in a bit more detail to share the whole story. As of this writing, we’ve made tremendous progress, but we have yet to finalize our top 10 schools. My daughter’s senior year starts this week, and between summer homework, SAT tutoring, and the myriad demands of a teenager’s life; I don’t know how she does it all. But once we’ve finalized this process over the next 4 or 5 months, I will return to write the final chapter to share the ultimate results…and any additional accolades for Tracy’s tremendous help!