Student Stories

In the Grammar Tree

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Feb 13, 2013 In the Grammar Tree 0 Comments

I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Girls’ Preparatory School, where we NEVER split infinitives, and if we did, we heard about it.  Of course, if we dared to end a sentence with a preposition, we were immediately corrected.  “Where’s it at, Mrs. Good?”  “It’s in the grammar tree,” would be the deadpanned response. [...]

Finding a Financial Fit

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Feb 12, 2013 Tuition Intuition 0 Comments

Too often when students go through the process of finding their “best fit” college, they focus almost entirely on finding the right academic, social, or intellectual fit.   As a result, many college lists are crafted without regard to whether or not the student’s college will, in the end, be an affordable option for their family.  At Admission Intuition, we believe that evaluating the “financial fit” of a college [...]

India

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

The street dead-ended into a dusty trail as I left suburbia and entered the Cherry Creek State Park. The Denver sun reminded me of my first day in India, and my mind began to wander.   It was very different from home in every conceivable way. The landscape was unsettling; trees grew where buildings might [...]

Kicking (Robbie’s student)

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

Mr. Maes, my kindergarten teacher, was very patient with me. I spent many weeks failing to translate the numbers on the digital classroom clock to hands rotating around a circle. Sitting in my classroom, he’d tell me that it’s OK to fail because that is how we learn. After weeks of frustration, I finally got [...]

Insurrection (academic prompt)

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

My dad spends an inordinate amount of time reading about the decay of a civilized German society in the lead-up to World War II. I was never sure why he searched for answers about something that happened a century ago. I felt protection in the safety net of time and a sensibility in the America [...]

On Curiosity

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that large objects bend space and time around themselves to generate gravity. From my seven-year-old students I developed my own theory: children warp your perception of the world the most, pulling you into their orbit. I began tutoring to share my cosmic love for science. However, I quickly discovered [...]

Darwin’s Arch (academic essay)

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

Darwin’s Arch fell on May 17, 2021. The iconic Galapagos formation cracked down the middle and slipped into the Pacific Ocean. The role of Darwin’s Arch in its ecosystem cannot be overstated; it was the centerpiece of a rare community, a familiar habitat for the dozens of plant and animal species endemic to the Galápagos [...]

Jade (community essay prompt)

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

I unwrapped the small box, casting the colorful ribbons to the side. But, as I peaked inside, my heart dropped. I stared at the green disk lying on a blue velvet cushion. The fat jade bracelet sat there like a pair of handcuffs. I let out a nervous laugh. What was my aunt thinking in [...]

Pokemon GO (community essay prompt)

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

“Gotta catch ‘em all!” I teased Will as he ran off in pursuit of his next Pokémon. We were strolling through Washington Park for Pokémon GO Fest, the 5th-anniversary event for the best mobile game ever created. My involvement in Pokémon GO came primarily from my cousin William, who moved to Colorado right before our [...]

Chanterelles

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

       We had been trudging through the forest for hours with no luck. The cutting echo of three-day-old rain dripped splinters of moist chill deep into our bones. It was mid-fall, and the surrounding woods of San Miguel County seemed to pulse with signs of the coming winter. The canopy, consumed with the [...]

Flat Feet

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

My feet were constantly sore. I tried everything. I swapped my Converse for Nikes; I donned an Ace bandage; I even soaked them in Epsom saltwater, but no relief. A trip to the pediatrician revealed I have Pes Planus, colloquially “flat feet.” My underdeveloped arch, which falls abnormally low and flat, causes mild pain in [...]

The Moth in the Moonlight

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

I placed the mouse’s fidgeting body into the isoflurane tank. It went limp after thirty seconds from the anesthesia, and with mechanical precision, I transported it onto the surgical table, steadying its head with metal clamps and bolts. Staring at the motionless body, I was suddenly reminded of an old memory, and my present reality [...]

Chasing Geysers

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Jun 13, 2022 Student Stories 0 Comments

Another mysterious cloud of steam burst into the late afternoon sky just behind a cluster of amber Wyoming conifers. Claire and I were together in Yellowstone, crossing off another national park from our list of natural wonders to explore. It was our last fall break together. Even after our long day of meticulous geyser chasing, [...]

L’oreal, Shade Beige

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Jul 10, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

Mrs. Webber’s 6th grade Language Arts class was my favorite class. I loved dissecting pieces of poetry and creating my own metaphors for homework that were just like the ones I saw in class. This classroom was a magical place for me, but it was also a place where I fired the first shot of [...]

Teaching Chess (activities prompt)

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Jul 10, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

A queue of chattering 5th graders eye the checkered board where I wait. The last day of chess club, my students now gawk at the fantastic prize I offered them; a huge chocolate bar. A shy girl of 10 approaches the board. I’ve been waiting the entirety of the competition for her. I’ve noticed her [...]

Superstitions

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Jul 10, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

A soft chime is drowned out by the sound of machinery whirring. The ding is followed by instructions in Thai. I don’t know what the pilot said, but I know what he meant: the plane has begun its descent. Without lifting my head from my book, I quietly pick my feet up off the floor. [...]

The Journey

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Jun 17, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

In a microcosm contained in the walls of one building, there is no God, no celestial or divine force other than in the minds and hearts of the people bustling around the 10 floor maze of hallways, rooms, and departments. In this building you can find literature’s most common archetypal narrative pattern, “the Journey.” “The [...]

The Newspaper

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Jun 17, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

On Sundays, my sister and I would race barefoot down the steps, out our blue front door, across our rocky driveway to where it meets the road. There we would find the bright orange bag with Sunday’s edition of The Denver Post. The stubbed toes and early-morning labored breaths were worth it for the glory [...]

Lenses

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Jun 17, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

My camera focuses. I’ve almost got the shot, but something’s not quite right. With a twist of the wrist and a tug, I pull the lens off the camera and pop it in the small black bag hanging on my waist. Inside the open compartment, my fingers brush over each lens, not taking my eyes [...]

Missing Puzzle Pieces

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Jun 17, 2020 Student Stories 0 Comments

I pass the wall with the puzzles hanging on it a million times each day. Time at the Johnson Adult Day Program goes by in a blur. One summer morning, I see Harold perched at his usual spot, and I slow to take a peek at what he is doing. As Harold senses me approach, [...]

What I like in a college

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May 1, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I notice how some colleges are purposeful in their mission, forward thinking and innovative. Others seem to be stuck on their past laurels. It’s hard to know whether a particular college is visionary and fresh or whether it is riding on its ranking. I think it often comes back to the leadership of the college. [...]

When is college “worth it?”

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Apr 22, 2018 0 Comments

As my middle son prepares for graduation from Dartmouth next month, I have been trying to understand why Dartmouth felt like such a worthwhile experience for him and like such a worthwhile financial burden for our family. Robbie’s time has been idyllic, and for a long time I just assumed it was because Dartmouth was [...]

Trusting your heart

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

People on Facebook are going nuts over this. I think it’s a little mean and mis-guided. I know…. I know…. kids need to learn responsibility. But I think parents need to be careful of a one-size fits all rule. Sometimes a little unexpected support from a parent can be just what the doctor ordered. Here’s [...]

senior doubt: Aug 2016

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

Crazy Making….My senior son looked at me with a little doubt and hesitation last night as he told me how his friend helped install a water pump at a fire station in Madagascar this past summer. He and his friend also have very similar college lists. The questioning look on his face said it all. [...]

On hunting

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Apr 22, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

The stars were dispersed throughout the luminous sky, the full moon the only other sign of light amidst the crisp autumn air. My boots made a small clink every time I climbed another rung of the cold, metal ladder, my grandfather’s 270 Winchester slung over my back. Once at the top, I slid into the [...]

Guilty pleasure

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I am going to admit it. I like rankings. I know…I know…I’m not really supposed to like rankings, but rankings are my guilty pleasure. Here’s the deal. I see the pitfalls of rankings, and I often like colleges that don’t rank highly on a list. I recognize that many ranking systems are based on the [...]

on college admissions…

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

http://www.wsj.com/…/educators-seek-to-ease-pressure-in-col… When U Chicago stops sending mailers to kids with a 3.2 GPA, and when Wash U quits inundating my cat (yes I signed him up on the mailing list as an experiment) with hundreds of marketing documents, then I’ll believe that the colleges really want to tone down the frenzy. When they say things [...]

Tight shoes and tight jeans

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I’m afraid this might not feel very helpful. I loved Vanderbilt the first time I visited it in 2011. In fact, of course, I still do love Vanderbilt. They have a firm commitment to undergraduate teaching. They’re alright in the class size department with 66% of the classes’ having fewer than 20 students and 9% [...]

My son the MUSSSSIC major

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

When I tell certain clients (and family members) that my middle son was a music and history major at Dartmouth, I can sometimes feel them freeze in embarrassment. What can they say? How awkward. It’s kind of like if I told them he’s in prison. They’re usually pretty good about covering up their initial shock, [...]

Let’s quit bashing the Ivies

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I’m just going to say it. There is a wave of political incorrectness in dreaming for and aspiring to and admiring the Ivies. I read over and over again about how smaller and less selective colleges are better than the Ivies, how the Ivies aren’t worth it, how the Ivies are just about the rankings, [...]

Post college acceptance for my own baby

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

It’s New Years Eve, and I think I might be finally waking up from my collegeadmissions PTSD. My son Will is a senior who has just completed his sweet little college admissions journey. I am not sure that I always supported him in the best way possible during this process, but man, am I glad it is over! [...]

I miss the University of Chicago

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I went to the University of Chicago info session here in Denver. I left oddly unsatisfied, and maybe even a little sad. It was interesting to me that the first thing the rep discussed, and these info sessions are orchestrated and purposeful, was the athletic tradition at the school. She joked about how they are [...]

What I’m learning from Duke. Oct 2017

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Apr 22, 2018 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I notice how some colleges are purposeful in their mission, forward thinking and innovative. Others seem to be stuck on their past laurels. It’s hard to know whether a particular college is visionary and fresh or whether it is riding on its ranking. I think it often comes back to the leadership of the college. [...]

Flow Paper (activities essay)

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Apr 22, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

I have a drawer stuffed to overflowing, as full as a drawer can be. Papers get stuck behind it, lodged in the sliding-gear of my dresser. However, I can always stuff in a few more sheets. Notes or “flow paper,” speedily jotted down by competitors in a debate round, is normally tossed when the tournament [...]

I’m caught on a cliff, falling…

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Apr 22, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

I’m one, and I’m spinning through a golden field. I remember that much; everything else is a blur—a story told so many times, it feels like a memory. Sunrays splash my dress, a lovely white thing ornamented with pearly ruffles, extravagant lace, and jingling beads. It’s unbearably itchy, but I’m dancing, so I don’t mind. [...]

CM Punk changed my life.

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Apr 19, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

On June 27th, 2011, a 220-pound, straight edge, tattooed superhero named CM Punk changed my life forever. I know, that sentence could have easily been the beginning of a disturbing confession, but such is the reality: CM Punk changed my life. On a dreary Monday night in the middle of the summer, he sat cross-legged [...]

Diversity

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Apr 19, 2018 0 Comments

There was this woman that worked at Pirate’s Cove (the water park where I worked). Her name was Holly, and I’d never met her, but the crew that had met her unanimously agreed that I was lucky to avoid her thus far. They said that she was strange and liked touching people, so I was [...]

Fade In

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Apr 19, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

  FADE IN:   Every movie, from Pulp Fiction to Casablanca. From Dr. Strangelove to Goodfellas all start with this phrase: “Fade in,” in 12 pt Courier font. It’s the unseen and unheard prologue of the entire adventure that awaits you. It’s an exciting thing, really: the beginning of something great. The problem is that [...]

American dream

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Apr 19, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

The airport was packed. People bustled by, boarding planes, grabbing breakfast– or in my case– kicking a tattered, brown suitcase through the baggage check-in line. A warm, June breeze blew in through the opening doors of DIA as I glared down at my bag. It seemed to enjoy resisting my every effort to move it [...]

Tenderloin

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Apr 19, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

Layered in sweaters over my leotard, I head towards the dance studio. The San Francisco morning bites my nose as I walk through the heart of Tenderloin. Sidewalks clutter with trash and human waste. Sleeping people bundle against buildings. Tenderloin is isolated from outsiders… perhaps the majority of San Francisco’s homeless reside here. Their afternoons [...]

Chef John

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Apr 19, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

You should never substitute kosher salt for plain salt in a recipe, for an equivalent volume does not mean an equivalent weight. This knowledge wasn’t born of experience; I learned it from a habit I developed the summer after freshman year. Somewhere in the bowels of San Francisco, a man known only as “Chef John” [...]

The error of my ways

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Apr 19, 2018 Student Stories 0 Comments

There is a specific cacophony that accompanies a room of musicians, a discordant mix of scales and warm-ups, with boisterous showoffs playing dramatic solos from the margins. For most, an experience in the backstage holding pen is jarring, but for me, it represents my career as an orchestral musician. The bizarrely alienating combination of shrill [...]

Dang, Girl, your participle is dangling…

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Oct 10, 2016 In the Grammar Tree 0 Comments

I find it incredibly satisfying to correct a dangling participle because they are just so obvious.  Now remember a participle is an adjective born of a verb.  Usually they end in “ed” or “ing.” His goose is cooked.  Cooked is the past participle, a kind of adjective.  Someone “cooked” (verb) his goose.  So now the [...]

Pull-it SURPRISE

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Aug 16, 2014 Bully Pulpit 3 Comments

“Well, I went to a small college called Middlebury—do you know it?” The youngish man in the middle row of the shuttle van was engaging the whole group of 10 weary runners. Among them sat Rich- flanked by Will and me. We were descending Pikes Peak Pass.  His laugh was exactly like that of Nick [...]

In that vein…

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Oct 2, 2013 In the Grammar Tree 0 Comments

It’s quite ironic that I’m the one sitting in the grammar tree, because, truth be told, I can’t spell, and I have to look up grammar rules all the time.  Today, I had no idea which way to spell “vein” in the phrase, “in that vein.”  I was editing an essay, and I made an [...]

Close proximity….ARG!!!

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Jul 23, 2013 In the Grammar Tree 0 Comments

If people keep using double redundancies, I’m going to be in close proximity to the limit of what I can bear—grammatically speaking of course. The word “proximity” means the quality or state of being near or close.  Do not use the adjective “close” to modify the noun “proximity”, for that would be redundant.  Also do [...]

Essays from the Heart

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Jul 4, 2013 Student Stories 0 Comments

You can find essay advice all over the internet and in book stores.  There’s a whole slew of topics about which NOT to write.  I say: ignore most of the advice you get, and lead from your heart.  Colleges want authentic kids, so write about your authentic self.  It doesn’t  matter so much WHAT your topic [...]

Demonstrated Interest- a Two-Way Street

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Apr 28, 2013 Bully Pulpit 2 Comments

  Applying to colleges is more of a 2-way street than you think. While it’s easy to get hung up on whether or not you’ll get accepted, it’s even easier to overlook the fact that colleges can be just as insecure as an applicant might be.  Colleges are hypersensitive to what they refer to as [...]

Need-Blind and Meets-Full-Need Policies Under Strain

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Mar 31, 2013 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

The number of colleges and universities that maintain need-blind admissions policies, while at the same time claiming to meet the full financial need of all admitted students, is continuing to shrink.  According to US News, there are currently about 64 institutions that offer to meet the full financial need of admitted students. However, fewer than [...]

Karen’s Sweet 16 Bracket

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Mar 25, 2013 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

I’ve watched exactly 28 years of March Madness tournaments.  I try to be a good fan.  I get excited when the Blue Devils come close. I jump up and down when they win. I make lots of chili and avocado dip to keep the family room inviting.  I admire the uniforms and wonder about who [...]

Urban Myths of College Admissions

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Mar 7, 2013 Bully Pulpit 1 Comment

I read The College Lady’s admission blog listing common myths in college admissions, and I felt compelled to share an adapted version of her list. Some of the myths, noted by *, are taken directly from her site—they were just too good to tweak. (Her whole site is very well done and worth bookmarking.) The world [...]

The Grocer’s Apostrophe

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Mar 1, 2013 In the Grammar Tree 3 Comments

The apostrophe should not be used to make nouns plural. It is instead intended to allow nouns to show possession.  We make singular nouns possessive by adding an “apostrophe s,” and we make plural nouns, that don’t end in an “s,” possessive also by adding an “apostrophe s”.  If a plural noun already ends in [...]

Subjective Pronouns

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Feb 14, 2013 In the Grammar Tree 2 Comments

Sing the following to nice C major scale. “I, you, he, she, it, we, they—will NEVVV-VER be objects.”  Now repeat it. “I, you, he, she, it, we and they” are subjective pronouns, and they will NEVVV-VER be objects. When they appear in sentences, they are the subjects, the doers, the instigators.  Their counterparts, “me, you, [...]

The Wrong Time to be Normal

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Feb 14, 2013 Bully Pulpit 1 Comment

The Wrong Time to be Normal   I usually have to write about my students with aliases.  But since I want to share my own son’s admissions horror story, I feel free to use his name.  ROBBIE.   Robbie is the kind of person NOT likely to space his University of Chicago interview.  Robbie never [...]

The Gerund

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Feb 5, 2013 In the Grammar Tree 0 Comments

The possessive modifies a gerund.  A gerund is a verb that has been turned into a noun by the suffix “ing.” Visiting a college can be awesome.  “Visiting” is a gerund—a former verb wearing the costume of a noun.  Like any self-respecting noun, it must be modified by a possessive pronoun.  You wouldn’t say, “Me [...]

My Approach

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Feb 5, 2013 My Approach 0 Comments

As an independent college counselor and educational consultant, I specialize in the college admissions process. I approach students with respect and optimism. I am often humbled by the trust my students place in me. I empower students to recognize themselves, to value their instincts, and to gain confidence in their own voice—knowing that their own [...]

Just Another Perfect Mother

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Feb 5, 2013 Bully Pulpit 0 Comments

Kalie’s mom, Pandora, interviewed me at a noisy hamburger joint when I first began my work as an educational consultant. As a mentor and high school volunteer I had helped many neighborhood students with the college process at the time she interviewed me.  I had also just completed my first application cycle with several a-la-carte [...]

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