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Guidebook, online seminars demystify college application process

A former guidance counselor is breaking down college applications into a simple step-by-step process.

Dr. Amanda Sterk’s book “College UnMazed” has guided families through the process for four years, covering everything from how to find the perfect school to what questions you should ask on a college tour to writing your admissions essay.

“I’m sort of a connection to what’s going on in college admission and being that transition piece,” Sterk said. “Counselors today are usually about one to 500. So what happens in the counseling world is we either focus on sort of the bottom 10% that really are struggling and need our help or that top 10% that are really going off to those Ivy League schools.”

She has certainly helped Mark Geissinger. His triplets, Jack, Owen and Kaia, are all seniors in high school, tackling their college essays amid full-time dual enrollment classes.

As a financial planner, he’s used to saving; next year, he’ll add tuition to his costs.

“My auto insurance bill each month is more like a mortgage payment,” Geissinger said. “All of a sudden the idea of triplets is like, ‘Hmmm, maybe spacing them out might have been a better idea.’ The homework level and what they are doing is tough, and then to throw the college pressure on top of it is another level of stress.”

Using Sterk’s guidebook and her free, bi-weekly online seminars, the Geissingers are less stressed, even though they haven’t toured all of the colleges on their list.

“She has representatives from… well, we already toured UCF, but she’s having USF, UCF and UF, and so right now, since we can’t tour schools the way you used to be able to, I’m looking forward to that,” Geissinger said.

The webinars continue Tuesday at 7 p.m., and at the end of the session, parents and students will have a chance to ask those college representatives questions.

Sign up for the webinar series here.

Reporter:Janae Muchmore
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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