Jessie's Blog

Success Stories - Gabriel UMD College Park

Dorothy’s son Gabriel was accepted to the University of Maryland, College Park. In her review of CompassU’s services, she writes, “Jessie is a strong writer, and her feedback on essays is critical. We have learned more and more with each child that those essays are very important to admissions counselors. She is also quite adept at remembering off the top of her head what each college expects in terms of scores, grades, visits, etc., and is very practical at matching a child's dreams with realit…

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Success Stories - Ryan and Megan

I was lucky enough to work with siblings Ryan and Megan last year. One was accepted to Penn State – University Park and the other to West Virginia University. Their mother Connie praised CompassU’s services by writing, “I used Jessie for both of my children, and they both were accepted to their first choice colleges before Halloween of their senior year. Jessie made the whole college application process stress free for me and my children. She provides time lines, guidance, and support through th…

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Choosing Resilience Under Unfortunate Circumstance

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On a Sunday afternoon in January, I got the call from my husband who had been skiing with our youngest two kids.

“Aaron crashed,” my husband said. “Come quickly. I don’t know how bad it is.”

I sped to the ski area. By the time I arrived Aaron had been discharged from first-aid and was propped up in the passenger seat of my husband’s car. As his Dad carefully removed his ski boots and slid on his winter boots, he said, “It’s his right shoulder.”

Aaron sat, tears running down his face, right ar…

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The Hot Potato Essay—How to Spot It, Fix It, and Cool It Down



During the Q&A at an NJACAC conference a few years back, a counselor asked, “What do you do with a student who has written about a particularly hard topic? Maybe they were abused, their dad died (or golden retriever) suddenly, their grandma is incarcerated, or they are dealing with a mental illness...and, well, it's just not very good?"

After a bit of back and forth, I added to the discussion, “Every student has something they absolutely need to write about. There are some stories that have been …

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Does the Drop-Off Get Any Easier?

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Aaron and I. September 2017. Move in day at Stratton Mountain School. #gosms #skifastaaron Photo Credit: Dad

Does it get easier? clients and friends will ask, referring to the school drop-off. We have four children: boy (23), girl (20), boy (13), girl (11). We call them the "Bigs" and the "Littles." (But only one husband!) We’ve done the drop-off, the send-off, the lugging of rugs and small fridges and the fretting about bedding with three kids so far for a total of nine times.

And, did it g…

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Challenge: My GPA Sucks. Now What?

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Delia, a bright-eyed high school junior, sat in my office. “You saw my transcript?” she asked in a cringing tone. “I’m trying harder. I’m working on that.”

I had reviewed her transcript. She clearly had the best of intentions. Her freshman year, though, was killing her confidence, not to mention her GPA. One B, 3 Cs, and 2 Ds. She had a 2.3, brought up only by a solid B in an elective. Her sophomore year she had brought up her average to a 2.6. As Delia planned on applying to highly competitive…

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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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He did it. On purpose.

Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

“He did it.” I don’t know about you, but when I was little, this was a go-to if I was trying to get out of the blame for something. Like eating the entire roll of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough or leaving my dirty mac and cheese bowl in the living room or not putting the hay out for the horses by 6 pm. It must have been somebody else. Except, as an only child, this got kind of tricky. So a lot of times I had to blame it on my dad; luckily for me, Mom b…

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How Drinking with the Buddha Helped Me Survive This Year’s Back-To-School Churn

Image based on Lodro Rinzler's book and designed by Daniel Urban Brown of Lithographs. Image based on Lodro Rinzler's book and designed by Daniel Urban Brown of Lithographs.

“Mom!!” rings from every corner of my small world. The couch, the top of the bunk bud, the bathroom, the kitchen table, and via Facetime and relentless texts.

The 10 year old: “We have two book reports. I thought we only had one book report, and I have only read fiction. I need to read a nonfiction. I like fiction. And my backpack is ripped. I found a new backpack on Amazon; would you look at it now?”

The 12 yea…

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