By Hannah Weinberger
Some say that life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mom. Former South student Amanda Madenberg (Class of 2016) and her mother Jill Madenberg recently bridged that gap with the release of their widely-acclaimed college admissions guidebook, Love the Journey to College.
“College applications” are not two words that tend to excite high school seniors – to say the least. Some even say the process is more stressful than all of junior year combined. Amanda, however, had a more positive experience, which can most likely be attributed to her mother’s outlook on the application process.
With Amanda’s long-time goal of writing a book and Jill’s desire to change the way students go about applying to college, Love The Journey allowed the mother-daughter team to shed light on the college application process while building upon their personal interests together.
Throughout the book, Jill and Amanda discuss topics varying from standardized testing to the importance of college visits. The chapters alternate between Jill’s and Amanda’s voices, offering readers the opportunity to view the process through two different perspectives. Amanda reflects on her personal college journey, which ultimately led to her acceptance to her dream school: Cornell University. Jill draws on her time as a guidance counselor in New Hyde Park and her 20-plus years of experience as a college admissions counselor.
“Applying to college should be a mostly joyful process,” Jill said . Maintaining mental health during this process is a significant emphasis of the book. With a background in psychology, Jill concludes that a positive outlook on the process not only benefits the mental health of students (and parents) but also strengthens the students’ academic performance and individual applications.
Although Amanda noticed her stressed friends as they tried to will themselves through the Common App and each supplement, Amanda was fortunate to go through her senior year with a different mindset. “When I was finishing the college process midway through senior year of high school, I thought about how much I was going to miss the college search,” Amanda said. She hopes that sharing her experience and offering personal advice will teach today’s students to step back, find a new approach, and ultimately learn to embrace the journey as an opportunity for personal growth. In her opinion, the best advice she can offer is to have fun when applying to college: she said, “the whole process will be so much more enjoyable if you can find several colleges you love.”