Introduction: Who am I to be telling you what to do?I never intended to be a college admissions coach, develop a website, or write a book about college admissions. That all these have taken place is one of those delightful, unforeseen eventualities that sometimes occur in life.I have worked at a number of universities including Stanford University and the East West Center at the University of Hawaii. Some years ago, I created a Re-entry Program for adults at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Over the years, I counseled many adults about going back to school, and often ended up helping their children with college admissions.Most of my professional life has been spent working as a marriage and family therapist and executive coach with women (and some men), trying to bring some sanity and healthy living practices to their lives. Then a very predictable life event presented itself: my two children entered high school and the buzz about college admissions began leaking into our lives. I wasn't overly concerned about the children's college prospects. They were both very good students and attended a school that had a college counselor who focused on helping students with the admissions process.However, my sense of calm slowly eroded as I began to see that my children were not getting the information and support they needed. Among other things, the school did not alert my son to sign up for the appropriate subject test after he had completed an AP History class. As it happens, he scored a 5 on the AP test, but by not signing up for the related Subject Test he lost a wonderful opportunity. Another worry was the school outwardly discouraging students from preparing for the SAT I test. Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back occurred when my children, as a sophomore and a junior, began asking questions about college admissions and the college counselor brushed them off by saying that it was much too early to start thinking about such things.I decided that I was going to cut through all the myths and folklore about college admissions to find out "the truth" about what really happens and what counts. To do so, I read every book written on the subject. I also called many of my admissions friends to get "the skinny" on what was important and not. In the end, I assisted my children in developing college lists that matched their needs and interests, and helped them figure out how to make their applications stand out from those of other applicants. Both were admitted to many different colleges and for their own very different reasons each chose Stanford University for their undergraduate education. Once they were settled in college, I thought my admissions work was done. However, something very interesting happened. Because of the children's success, my best friend asked me to help her son with his college applications. I couldn't turn her down. Once her son was admitted to Princeton, she then told many of herother friends to get my help with their children's college admissions. Within a year of my children leaving for college, my phone began to ring off the hook with pleas from parents asking for assistance. Soon those phone calls were not just from San Diego where I live, but also from Los Angeles, San Francisco, the East Coast, Pacific Northwest, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, London, Stockholm, Tokyo, and even cities in China and India.I never dreamed that college admissions coaching would become a full-time job; never once have I advertised or marketed the service. To this day, adMISSION POSSIBLEis totally a word-of-mouth business. I can't keep up with the demand. Who would have thought that helping my children with their college applications would someday evolve into a successful global business, including a coaching service, website, and a series of books and other products.Because I can't see all the students who want my counsel, and also because there are many people who cannot afford to pay the fees for an independent counselor, I decided that writing a book about college admissions (and developing a website that offers free information and advice) would be a good way to broaden the base of people whom I could help, as well as level the playing field for those who need admissions information, but lack the financial resources to pay for it.So who am I to be writing a book about college admissions? I bring the following background, experiences, and biases to this work:•First, I have worked as an admissions counselor for many, many years now, and have coached thousands of students. I consider myself a student advocate. Rather than feel beaten up by the admissions process, my clients feel in control, gain major life skills, and develop confidence in themselves. The students with whom I have worked have been very successful in finding colleges that match their academic backgrounds, as well as their personal needs, wants, and desires. More importantly, they have gained acceptance to the likes of Amherst, Arizona, Babson, Bard, Bowdoin, Brown, Colorado, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, George Washington, Hampshire College, Harvard, Indiana, Loyola Marymount, MIT, Miami of Ohio, Miami, Michigan, Middlebury, NYU, Northwestern, Penn, Pomona College, Princeton, Santa Clara, Sarah Lawrence, Scripps College, Smith, SMU, Stanford, USC, University of San Diego, Vassar, Wake Forest, Washington University, Williams, Yale, the UCs, and many other colleges.adMISSION POSSIBLEprovides readers with examples of what these successful applicants have done, written, and said. It is also filled with important life-management skills such as decision-making, problem solving, and interviewing techniques, as well as creating an Activities Résumé.•Second, as a trained marriage and family therapist, I am determined to bring some sanity and calm to this predictably challenging time in a child's and a family's life. It is my hope that in reading this book, students and parents will become informed about admissions, organized, and strategic, thus avoiding the trauma that many people experience during the college admissions process. Even more, I want to redefine the admissions arena so that rather than having it be such a negative event, college admissions becomes a positive one that helps students figure out who they are and what they want to be and do in life.• Third, as a frequent buyer and reader of admissions books, I have been struck by how difficult it is to find the information I want. To begin with, while most of the current books have a table of contents, often the chapter headings and sub-headings are so obtuse I don't have a clue as to what is in them. Even more frustrating is the fact that many current books don't have indices. That means I have to read an entire book to see if it contains anything that might answer my questions. Therefore, in writing this book I have tried to be extra-sensitive to the need for readers to find and return to information they deem useful or important.• Finally, I am a concerned parent who is alarmed about the feeding frenzy that has developed around college admissions. Having successfully gone through the process with my own children, I know what it's like to experience the pressures and frustrations that occur from beginning to end. I have great empathy for anyone involved with applying to colleges. I want to make things easier for you. What this book represents is all the information and material I wish that I had possessed when I was helping my own kids. Excerpted from Admission Possible: Everything You Need to Know about Finding, Applying, and Getting into the Best College for You by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.