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This is another in a series of posts about some memorable applicants, their essays, and how we found them together.

Early on the morning of December 4, I got a frantic phone call from a woman in Boston whose daughter had been deferred from Yale. The mother explained to me in rapid fire that her daughter had applied only to Yale, confident she would be accepted. When the deferral came in the day before, the family realized that they had miscalculated the entire college admissions process. “Can you help us?” the mother asked. Meaning: we need to apply to 12 schools in the next three-plus weeks. I was dubious whether this was doable. That’s a lot of essays and I hadn’t yet spoken to Elise to see if, 1) she wanted to work with me. 2) had the energy to get through the essays. And, 3) whether I, myself had enough left to give this student so late in the game and right through Christmas and New Years. But, I agreed to speak with Elise who I found to be more than ready for the challenge. So, I agreed.

Over the next 20-something days, Elise and I worked our tails off on the 12 schools. We spoke each day, sometimes twice a day, discussing schools, prompts, answers, life, college, the holidays, family, and a myriad of other things. Over those weeks I came to adore that kid. She was bright, funny, incredibly motivated, and up to the challenge at hand. Elise worked harder than any other applicant I ever had. She turned her drafts around quickly, accepted my mandate to always dig deeper, and did this enthusiastically. Often I would receive a text message from Elise, sometimes at 11 PM at night asking a question, or needing clarification on something. And, I always responded, sometimes even calling her because at 11:34 at night, because texting is tiring. Somehow, all of her essays got done and I can say they were, without question, compelling and memorable.

I like to think that I made Elise better when in fact, it was the other way around. Elise taught me much about the college process and to her I am forever grateful. There is no doubt that Elise will go on to do great things in her life. I hope I played even a small role in that happening.

Last week when the results were announced, Elise called me with the great news. She had been accepted to 11 of the 12 schools she applied to. I may have been happier than she was.

Elise, Princeton, Class of 2023.