Jessie's Blog

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Wait, Am I Nagging or Motivational?

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Hello Tracy, 

One of the incredible side effects of owning a dog in the time of AirPods is that I get to walk Aspen, our super-athlete in the form of a German Shorthaired Pointer, while listening to podcasts and Audible. As in life, some are better than others. And some are so timely, helpful, AND informative that I feel that I need to share them. This is one of those. 

One of my go-to podcasts is called "Tests and the Rest." Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin, colleagues and hosts of said podcast, re…

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Sometimes School Sucks, But Thanks Mom & Dad

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Recently I had to re-establish a hard boundary with one of my brood. It hasn't been easy or pleasant, nor do I expect it to be moving forward. However, as I have wryly observed before, parenting is not for sissies. I am not going to go into the story here because I am just don't have the bandwidth nor the energy at the moment, and to be uncomfortably transparent, I'm still not sure I'm handling the situation appropriately and I'm still muddling my way through, as so many of us do. 

This latest …

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How to Boost a College App Over the Summer

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Hello Friend!

We field variations on the following questions ALL OF THE TIME: "What's the best way my teen can spend their time over the summer?" and "What activities will help my student boost their application?"

In this short video, I share one of my favorite go-to services offered by Give3600. Teens are paired with a volunteer opportunity that aligns with their interests, whether they have two weeks or ten months. The Give3600 College Application Spotlight package is reasonably priced at ab…

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NEW! Now Available: Test Prep & Tutoring Services

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One of the most frequent questions I'm asked by parents and students alike is: "What do you recommend for test prep?" Another repeat question is: "Does 'test optional' really mean 'optional'?" 

The data shows that students who submit test scores earn admission at higher rates than those who don't. Additionally, merit aid at many schools is directly tied to test scores

Further, according to NACAC's most recent annual report, of all the factors that admissions officers take into account, GPA i…

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The Battle I Won But Lost Anyway

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In the summer of 2005, we were renovating our home. One of the countless decisions that had to be made amidst the chaos of that project was whether or not to add a cable hook up in each of the three children's bedrooms. As a family, we had cable and we were keeping cable, but in my mind, hooking up the kids' rooms was a non-starter: "NO WAY! They'll be hiding in their rooms, by themselves, not learning how to negotiate the remote to decide between The Dukes of Hazard and The Six Million Dollar M…

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Does "Test-Optional" REALLY Mean Optional?

The pandemic has college admissions offices scrambling. They have long relied on test scores as one of the key variables they use to evaluate candidates, yet according to FairTest, two-thirds of colleges surveyed in October 2020 had been forced by our collective circumstances to adopt some blend of the test-optional or test-blind policy. 

MOST parents and students I speak with LOATHE standardized testing. Feelings aside, most still have questions about how to navigate this portion of the admi…

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Happy New Year! Here's to Finding More Sweet in 2021

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Receiving Christmas and Holiday greeting cards this year brought me significantly more pleasure than in years past. No one was more surprised than I was by my feelings of authentic delight when the first card arrived, nevermind that it was from Chewy.com! I even put it on display, tucking it under a window frame where everyone would see it – “everyone” being my immediate family since no one else was coming – and I made sure to point out to each of them the very FIRST greeting of the SEASON (cue …

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My Go-To Escape Isn't Working as Well as It Used To

Are you a reader? Have you been looking for your next "beach read"?  Fiction has never failed me as an escape. It has been my go-to to go somewhere else; to get lost in someone else's world, issues, and dramas. 

At 8, 9, 10, or 14... what I remember most about riding about in the back of the van while my parents were chasing the waves at Lavalette and Seagurt at the Jersey Shore, or Ramp 22 and the Lighthouse on the Outer Banks, was snuggling up next to Shamo (my curly-haired-rescue-dog) and di…

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Prepped and Polished Episode #231 — Talking Shop with Alexis

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Recently I got a chance to talk shop with nationally-recognized testing expert, Alexis Avila. He asked me to share what I thought were the best strategies to MAKE THE MOST OF THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS DURING QUARANTINE.

Click HERE and use the coupon code, PREPPEDANDPOLISHED, to get full access to online mini courses at our "College Admissions Made Simple" Virtual Academy. 

Listen to the podcast HERE

Watch the Video Interview HERE  

@preppedandpolished @compassU #authenticfutures #hellop…

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Make America Grateful Again — Tracey's Wish

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Two days after Christmas last year, I hitched my belt and realized that I had to go out a notch further than usual. And then my inner critic stepped to the front of the stage. 

I’d know that voice anywhere; the one that is very good at making me feel like sh*t about myself, and today she picked up the mic and started in on one of her favorite routines: the "you need more self-control," finger-wagging, body-shaming litany. "How hard is it for you to enter your consumption into your My Fitness …

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