Maddie (New York)




The Planner

The day we met Maddie, we knew she was someone special, driven to do her best in everything. She was the top student in her class, taking additional high school classes at a local university. She also served as president of her class and a leader in many other activities.

At the time, Maddie was a sophomore in high school, and we quickly saw what drove her success: She took the time to plan. She wanted to visit quite a number of schools, so we mapped out a two-year college visit strategy that took advantage of her school breaks and summer vacation. We spaced her visits so they would be manageable for both her and her family, and did the same with her SAT and ACT testing strategy, helping her attend college fairs and complete any homework we assigned her between calls. Maddie was always ahead of the game and, as a result, exhibited very little stress.

Maddie had prepared academically to apply to the best schools in the country, but she also wanted the schools on her final list to be those where she could imagine spending four years. As she began to visit schools, she looked for ways to connect.

There was nothing The Short List suggested that Maddie wouldn’t try. We explained the importance of demonstrated interest, so she took notes and photos, and collected contact information. She established relationships, and the schools learned about her well before she applied.

In the end, Maddie did not want to apply to any school with a binding decision. She wanted to give herself the option to choose rather than getting caught up in the frenetic “Early Decision” game that she saw so many of her classmates and friends pursuing. in the end, she was accepted to nine of the schools to which she applied, including four ivy League schools. She ranked three schools, all excellent options, as her top choices, and asked her family to allow her to visit each of the three one more time. Ultimately Maddie, now a freshman, chose to enroll at Harvard College.

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