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The Authors

Cindy headshot.jpeg
Jenn Headshot.jpeg

About Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, M.A.

About Jenn Curtis, M.S.W.

Cindy is an expert in the college admission process: she got her start in admission offices before opening a private study skills and college counseling business in Southern California, which she ran for over fifteen years. As an Assistant Director of Admission for the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, she screened and reviewed over three thousand applications, interviewed prospective students, and served on the admission committee to evaluate borderline applicants and appeals cases. Then, as an educational consultant, she helped hundreds of high school students navigate their academic journeys, including course selection, study skills, time management, and college applications. Since closing her private educational practice in 2011, Cindy has focused on public speaking to student, parent, school and business groups on a variety of education-related topics.


Over the course of her career, Cindy has written numerous books over the past 25+ years: The Parent Compass is her tenth. Her other titles include The Best College Admission Essays (co-author, ARCO/Peterson’s, 1997), The Everything Guide to Study Skills: Strategies, Tips, and Tools You Need to Succeed in School (Simon & Schuster, 2011), Straight-A Study Skills (co-author, Simin & Schuster, 2012), The Everything College Checklist Book (Simon & Schuster, 2013), Writing Successful College Applications: It’s More than Just the Essay (Peterson’s Publishing, 2014), and four other books (Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House). Her first children's book will be released in 2023. Her essays have appeared on Zibby Owens’ Moms Don’t Have Time To Write platform, Your Teen MagazineCollege ConfidentialRaising Teens TodayThe Los Angeles Times, and The Mom Experience among others.  


Cindy holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Art History from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Nova Southeastern University. Some of the other twists and turns in her multifaceted career include her stints as a campus tour guide and volunteer student coordinator for Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admission, and a tenth grade history teacher at The University School, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She is a professional speaker and panelist on the subjects of education, study skills, parenting, and mental health in tweens and teens and has been interviewed as an expert on dozens of talk shows, radio and news stations, podcasts, magazines, and newspapers. For more information on Cindy and her books visit her website.


Cindy raised her family in Newport Beach, CA, and moved to Menlo Park, CA, in 2018, where she resides with her husband and two teens. She is the mother of four:  two high schoolers, a college student, and a college graduate.

Jenn Curtis owns FutureWise Consulting, a private educational consulting firm in Orange County, California. She has guided hundreds of high school students from throughout the United States through all aspects of the college admission process. Her passion lies in empowering students to navigate their high school years with confidence, emphasizing self-advocacy, grit, and intention.

Jenn speaks to parent organizations and schools about education, college admission, and parenting. She has been interviewed on a wide variety of radio shows; television news programs; and higher education, college admission, and parenting podcasts. She is the expert college admission and parenting contributor for a variety of blogs. She developed a college and career readiness program for first-generation students that has been implemented in a local elementary school for over 8 years. 


Jenn’s interest in mental health and research began while an undergraduate at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), where she worked in a psychology research lab. After college, at the University of California-Irvine’s Child Development Center, Jenn researched treatments for learning disabilities, co-authored a published study on a novel diagnostic tool for ADHD, and supervised and trained undergraduate researchers. After earning her master’s degree, Jenn worked in psychiatric rehabilitation, assisting clients with severe and persistent mental illness. She also served as the Director of Grant Writing for a university, was an editorial assistant for a forensic psychology academic journal, has edited several books, and coached graduate and doctoral students in developing effective writing skills. 


Jenn earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA’s Honors College and master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California, where she was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and selected as Dean's Scholar. Jenn earned her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. She resides in San Clemente, California with her husband and two daughters. 

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