Jessie's Blog

Parenting (especially #parentinginplace) Is Not For Sissies

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I have to admit I completely lost it on my crew last Monday night. Yup, pretty much the opposite of keeping my ____* together. *sh^t, zen, happy, life... (you pick). Thankfully, Dave wasn’t here to witness the meltdown — he was at his essential place of work.

Let me explain. Many members of the crew were having “egg o’clock” at noon and I was tidying the kitchen after my lunch. I reminded them it was their turn to make dinner that night. I had two conference calls starting at 5 pm. We agreed t…

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I Hired Jessie Sophomore Year!

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Jessie has been helping and supporting my triplets since sophomore year! We started with her at that time because the kids were looking to get additional advice (besides just that of their guidance counselor at school) as far as helping them with their schedules and deciding how many Honors and AP classes to take. She helped us in those early days with class selections, tutors, and SAT/ACT prep recommendations.

Then moving on to junior year, by that time she knew my kids well and were able to s…

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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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"It Must Be Hard to Be a College Admissions Consultant Right Now"

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Saturday, I was volunteering at our local ski area, handing out awards for the kids’ costume race. (Thing 1 and Thing 2 had performed a smashing dance, tapping away in their ski boots. My Cat in the Hat was concussed and sullenly left for home to avoid bright light.) That concussion, and the admissions scandal… plus another dozen or so other things that had come up that week had rattled me. But it was the scandal that really stuck, especially when another parent approached me to half-jokingly sa…

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Your App's EQ — Is It Loud and Clear? It Had Better Be.

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A recent cluster of articles (see links below) about a pending lawsuit challenging Harvard’s admissions reminds us of the importance of evaluating an application honestly before a student hits SEND. We can sometimes get so bogged down by the IQ of the application (e.g., test scores, GPA) that its EQ -- its intangibles -- falls by the wayside, or is, at best, an afterthought.

Let me begin with a few examples. But first, keep in mind that once most 17-year-olds cough up a rough draft or answer a …

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Navigating the Launch of Our College Graduate

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Beginning the process of letting go of Bryn at UChicago's Orientation 4 years ago. Check out that grip!


Bryn, our oldest, is graduating this weekend from UChicago. Natalie, a college junior, has just returned from Spain and is in the midst of a hard-earned internship at the local hospital. Aaron will be wrapping up his finals and preparing for a ski camp in Oregon, which starts the day after Bryn’s graduation. Mary will still be in school. And my mother, recently widowed, is in the midst of ha…

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How You Can be a Rock Star at Whatever—A Lesson Brought to You by Jimmy Kimmel

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 Jimmy Kimmel failed a test as an undergrad at Arizona State. It wasn’t because he hadn’t prepared. Or because he skipped a bunch of classes in favor of playing Grand Theft Auto with his roommates. You will likely never guess the reason why. It was because he didn’t have a pencil on him and couldn’t bring himself to ask a classmate to borrow one. Yes. Jimmy Kimmel. The guy who was on the cover of the February 2018 GQ and hosts a daily show that more than 2 million viewers watch. A pencil? Wait, …

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Acceptances 2018

Congratulations to all of our applicants! Your hard work has paid off, and your successes are commendable - and all your own!

The YES! List for CompassU 2018

(so far...)



American University
Cal Tech
Carnegie Mellon University
Dickinson College
Elon University
Fordham University
Franklin & Pierce College
Johns Hopkins University
Lehigh University
MIT
Muhlenberg College
NC State University
Northeastern University
Northeastern University Honors Program
Nova Southeastern University
Penn State
Quinni…

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Would you like to be paid $40,000 for turning off social media for an hour?

Delia came to me struggling with a low GPA and a desire to get into a BSN program. She knew her grades were not competitive for these programs. She said she was trying.  (Read Delia's full story here.)

I leaned toward her and smiled. “You’ve been trying very hard. I can see that. I want you to try one thing. Would you be willing to be paid $40,000 for turning off social media for an hour?”

“Sure, I mean, it can’t hurt, right?” she responded, dubiously.

“Turn your phone and all social media off whil…

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How to Make the Most of a College Fair Experience

Step by step help from The College Essay Guy!

Got a college fair coming up? A little bit of prep work can reap big payoffs. (Wait, what kind of payoff?) This article by The College Essay Guy is super helpful.

The Quick Synopsis:

First, the student needs to consider what is the goal of the college fair? What's the point? Possible points besides making Mom & Dad happy that can actually help a student get into college:
  • Learn about opportunities
  • Show genuine interest in a school
  • Gather talking …

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