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Ask Your Mother

Aug 23, 2021

Having these conversations about the awkward, scary, and uncomfortable parenting moments always leads to change for the better. Such is the case for today’s timely episode. As I just dropped off my college freshman at her dorm, I’ve trudged through the muddy waters of the college process. We all try to get through it with our self-esteem, sanity, and the relationship with our kids intact. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and lost. Join us as we wade through the confusion and find clarity with today’s guest. 

Kate Sonnenberg of KS College Success is a college admissions coach who works with families and students to help them with all facets of the college experience. My favorite thing about Kate is that she’s open and realistic about what this process can be, what it could be, and how to navigate the process in ways that keep your family intact. We’ll talk about all of these aspects, keeping your sanity, and the extra challenges of doing it all during a pandemic. 


Show Highlights:

  • How Kate came into the work she does today after a long career in college admissions at Princeton
  • How good things came into the college process due to pandemic restrictions, along with the negative aspects of isolation
  • What parents need to know (that they probably don’t):
    • The test-optional landscape
    • The uncertain future of campus tours (in-person vs. virtual)
  • “Fit” factors to determine the best college for your child: academic, social, financial, and athletic (for athletes)
  • How the pandemic has forced many kids to look at college in different and bigger ways
  • How parents can help their kids consider the “fit” factors (key: everything is different now than when we were college students)
  • The importance of being open and honest about the process with your kids, including finances
  • What parents should know about college:
    • The college website’s net price calculator can help you figure out finances
    • The US News college rankings aren’t as reliable as you think
  • How the pre-work for Kate’s clients pays off in finding the best fit
  • Early action vs. Early decision
  • How parents and students can wield their power to improve their financial aid offer by laying out facts and circumstances
  • Final words from Kate: “Approach the process with an open mind. Remember that this is your child’s college experience--not yours.”
  • What to do if you have a high school junior this year



Connect with Kate:

Mentioned in this episode:  

The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together by Rick Clark and Brennan Barnard


Connect with Cristie:   

Parenting Courses: