By Ellin Smith
You could spend hundreds of hours reading books about getting your child organized, strengthening time management and study skills, preparing for high school and college, securing an internship or first job; the list is endless and daunting. Or you can team up with Success Prep Partners and prepare your child to achieve while minimizing the stress on your family.
The Farmington Valley’s Ellen Hoffman and Cynthia Whipple have recently joined with Shari Steele of New Jersey to form Success Prep Partners. The goal of the three women is to prepare students for success in middle school, high school, college, and the competitive job market.
Ellen Hoffman, a former attorney in New York and Connecticut who has run a legal recruitment firm for the past 25 years, focuses on helping middle and high school students with study habits, organization and time management skills, extracurricular choices, and interview preparation. She believes that the key to success in high school and college is starting early. “When students master basic life skills like time management and organization in middle school, it’s far easier for them to excel in their studies and extracurriculars, and these skills will benefit them throughout their lives.” But according to Hoffman, families often overlook the importance of these skills, which can be honed at a young age. Hoffman notes that colleges want to see extracurricular and community service activities in which a student has invested quality time for many years, so finding activities that a student is passionate about long before junior year in high school is key.
Cynthia Whipple, a former lawyer, writing instructor, and published author, currently serves as a Secondary School Placement Director, assisting students with secondary school and college applications. This includes working with students to create authentic and compelling essays that stand out to admissions officers. Whipple feels that because of curriculum demands, schools do not devote enough time to teaching how to write, so she works with her students on developing strong outlining, editing, and revising skills. Whipple points out that these skills serve her students well in their academics and throughout the college essay process. Regarding her teaching strategy, Whipple explains: “The first step in writing is developing an idea which often emerges from a thoughtful conversation between the student and me. After that there is much editing and revising. When the process is finished, they are proud of their work and have the skills to tackle the next writing assignment independently.”
Shari Steele, a former Human Resources executive and alumni interviewer for the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on preparing students for college, internship, and job interviews, and assisting them in navigating the ultra-competitive internship and job market. Steele emphasizes that once students have been accepted into college, the journey continues with determining their career goals, securing the right internship, and ultimately landing a quality job; and that success on this journey requires a whole new set of skills. “A job search is a process – Knowing how to network, communicate, and market yourself is critical and these skills are often not taught in college. Having a compelling resume and social media profile, preparing thoroughly for the interview, and being timely and professional in communications to prospective employers is vital to securing a great internship or full-time position.”
The education journey is undoubtedly a challenging one, and Hoffman, Whipple, and Steele believe that this area needs a group that can assist both parents and students in navigating the long and stressful road from middle school through the job market. It is for this reason that they started Success Prep Partners, a “one stop shop” for academic and career success. To learn more about Success Prep Partners, visit their website at www.successpreppartners.com.