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Three Books: Harry's Spare, Parenting, a Pandemic Novel

by Francene Katzan

The Parent Compass, by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA & Jenn Curtis, MSW, is a terrific guide to help in raising children.  Every parent should read this book to help one understand how to engage with our teens and parent with more awareness.  The authors provide us with suggestions for parenting while also saying there is no one way to parent. They understand the more important goal is to keep the line of communication open between you and your child.


Smells like Teen Spirit

by Kelly Fredericks for Dear Mr. Hemingway

Today I am presenting the MOST WONDERFUL book for parents of teens.  We all know that the book What To Expect When You Are Expecting is THE go-to book for new parents.  Unfortunately, this book and the one after do not cover the teen years.  And let me tell you this…if there was ever a time for a parent manual, it is during this period. This is where today’s book comes into play.  The Parent Compass by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA & Jenn Curtis, MSW could not be more timely.  I am literally in the throws of TEENAGEHOOD, and this book is my new GPS.  

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I Never Set out to Become and Author, but I Became one Anyway

by Cynthia Muchnick for Zibby (Owens) Magazine  

I am not a short fiction writer or novelist. I’m not a biographer or nonfiction writer. I’m not an essayist or journalist either. And yet, despite those concessions, I’ve managed to carve out my own little self-declared genre.

In 1993, my boyfriend proposed to me on a Scrabble board by scattering the words WILL... YOU…MARRY…ME during our game and that moment became a catalyst — not just for twenty-seven years (so far) of happy marriage, but also for a fulfilling career as a working author.


Want to Help Your Child Develop Self-Confidence? Let Them Speak for Themselves

Good Housekeeping

Interview with Jenn Curtis

When parents take a back seat, kids get better at becoming their own advocates.

I have a clear memory of taking my daughter to one of her well-toddler visits at the doctor’s office. During a routine check-in about developmental milestones, the pediatrician asked me how many words my daughter knew.“I think she knows around 150 words,” I said proudly.


15+ Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned


The Editors Interview with Cindy Muchnick

The practice of assigning students homework has been around for a long time. However, some people determine this task as a rapidly declining learning tool, with some pushing for it to be banned completely.

So the question is, should schools ban giving homework to students?

The following are reasons why homework should be banned, according to educators and other professionals.


20+ Reasons Why Homework Should Not Be Banned


The Editors Interview with Cindy Muchnick

Homework has been a source of many heated discussions—and one of the most common questions people ask is whether or not it should be banned.

Many believe homework stifles student creativity, while others see homework as an important tool to help students with their studies.

The following are valuable insights from professionals on why homework should not be banned:


How to Choose High School Electives

by Donna Tetreault interview with Jenn Curtis for US News & World Report

The number of electives students take varies by district and grade level, as do the courses offered. But the classes students choose can help communicate their unique academic journey, says Jenn Curtis, founder of FutureWise Consulting and co-author of The Parent Compass.

“Electives relate and build upon an interest and underscore who the student is and what they are about,” she says.

In the early high school years, “students don’t always know what they want to do, which is natural, but this is a time for exploration,” Curtis says. “In the later years, 11th and 12th grades, students start to home in on their interests, and electives can play a significant role in completing the picture of a student’s academic story.”


Practical Tips to Prepare for an Exam

Interview with Cindy Muchnick by My Tutor Source

Do you have exams coming up and are you determined to do your best? Here are some ways to prepare for them so that you can reach your maximum potential and get through this mentally taxing time. These pre-exam tips will help you pass with flying colors. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in.



How to Avoid Being "That" Parent:

Why We Need to Ease Up on our Kids and How to Do It

by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Interview with Cindy Muchnick & Jenn Curtis

Over the holidays, I read a book I’ve had on to-read list for months: The Parent Compass, written by college admissions expert Cynthia Muchnick and educational consultant Jenn Curtis. It’s a wonderful book that dissects the ways in which modern parents are often overbearing — pressuring kids to get good grades, rescuing them from challenges, hiring too many tutors — and explains why these well-meaning approaches are actually counterproductive. But the best part is that the book also provides a clear roadmap for parents on how to ease up on domineering instincts so that our kids can find their voices and flourish.


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It's Never too Late to Thank a Teacher

by Cynthia Muchnick  for  Moms Don't Have Time to Write

I was not a math whiz, but my high-school teacher figured out ways to make those lessons stick — even thirty-five years later.


My teenager has been struggling in her ninth-grade geometry class. The other night, she brought her homework packet to me in frustration and asked for help. Now, I was no math wiz in high school — as a student, I was always stronger in English and history — but somehow, as soon as I took a look at my daughter’s homework, the geometry concepts came flooding back to me.


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14 Favorite Parenting Books We Read This Year

by Cynthia Muchnick & Jenn Curtis for Medium

Fellow parents, the last year has given us time to read, reflect, think, and make some new parenting choices. We’ve been fortunate to have had conversations with so many of the authors below and have had the privilege of reading their timely books chock full of sage advice. So, this holiday season, we invite you to dive into our list of the best books we read this year. Add them to your 2022 “To Be Read” (TBR) pile and, even better, gift them to friends. It’s never too late to add some new tools to your parenting arsenal!


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Whats is Parents' Role in the College Process?

by Cynthia Muchnick & Jenn Curtis for College Confidential

We took a trip to Boston last week. As educational consultants, part of our job is to travel the country to visit college and boarding school campuses so that we can learn more about what each one uniquely offers its students. Large or small? Urban or rural? Ample research opportunities or co-op style internship opportunities? Our visits reveal valuable information that we pass on to our students and their parents. 

An Unexpected Day of Detox From WiFi Allowed Me to Reconnect With Myself

by Cynthia C. Muchnick for Moms Don't Have Time To Write

It began like any ordinary weekday. Early alarm clock. Shower. Coffee. Cereal and smoothies for the kids. Shuffle the teens out the door to school.

My husband went downstairs to his home office, and I sat at my desk to write and pay bills. Much to my horror, I noticed that the WiFi was out. After repeated attempts at rebooting our router and modem, I gave up. When I tried calling my Internet provider, I realized that even our old-school landline was dead.

College advising experts Jenn Curtis and Cindy Muchnick on why the kids aren't all right

by Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Anchor/Reporter NBC News

The answer is yes and no as kids have returned to in-person learning after virtual learning in the pandemic. Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis are college advisors and authors of The Parent CompassBoth say they're seeing some concerning trends in high schools.

Some kids quickly adjusted to in-person school. But many others are struggling to make social connections and get their education back on track.Body clocks are out of whack after 18 months of pandemic life.

Four for Four

by Cindy Muchnick  for The Mom Exprience on Medium 

I am a lucky, busy, and exhausted mother of four healthy humans: one college graduate, one in college, and two in high school. I have cultivated a special relationship with each of my kids that has spanned their lives. I know that I am blessed.

Alternatives to College: Exploring Other Routes

by Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis for College Confidential

We don’t need to belabor the point that this generation of teens is tired, depressed, and burnt out. You already know that. If you’re a teenager, you may be experiencing it yourself. And if you’re a parent, you’ve probably watched your teen struggle, adjust, then perhaps struggle some more as they’ve grappled with the turmoil of the past 18 months.


11 Books Every Parent Should Read this Fall

by Zibby Owens for Katie Couric Media Wake-Up Call

If you ever wanted a parenting roadmap, here you go. It isn’t just kids who have separation anxiety this fall: What about all of us parents?! While we may be eager to push our lovable littles out the front door to finally reclaim time for ourselves (and our sanity!), we may panic at the thought of sending them out into the world after a year of pandemic life and a long summer at home. As we start fresh this September, it’s not just a time to order new backpacks and pens: Now’s also a good time to rethink our parenting strategies.


What We Learned From Writing a Book Together

by Cindy Muchnick & Jenn Curtis for Moms Don't Have Time to Write

It’s better to focus on the journey and not on the destination, as the adage goes. This strategy is central to our co-authored book on parenting. But when you’re writing a book, the process is necessarily destination-focused. There exists one explicit end goal: a bound tome bearing your name on its glossy cover.


5 Ways to Really Connect with Your Teen

by Cynthia Muchnick for Familius

Some parenting experts say that connecting with a teen is like trying to hug a porcupine. In other words, it’s just not easy. One-word answers, eye rolls, and shrugs might be some of the replies you are used to receiving from your teen on any given day. But if we encourage and receive active engagement from our teens, we might find them responding with effusive hugs, detailed verbal replies, and enthusiastic sharing. And aren’t those meaningful connections so satisfying?



Culture of Intention: Setting Goals

by Jenn Curtis for Familius

I can’t help it. I’m an Olympics junkie. Every stroke, every flip, every serve, every stride—there’s not a sport I won’t devour. But when I really think about it, I realize the reason this event appeals to me so much is because of the athletes’ storied journeys. Beyond their exceptional athleticism, I marvel at their path, at their mindset, and at the sheer number of hours they spend honing their craft. I find my mind wandering during each event. What I’m considering is just how dedicated, focused, and intentional each one is. How fearless and willing to embrace defeat and setbacks each one is. I’m thinking about what the rest of us can learn from them. I’m pondering just how many goals they’ve set then shattered.

And there it is: at its core, for me, the Olympics highlights the value of goals...

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Preparing for Launch: 7 Topics Parents and Teens Should Discuss Before Leaving for School

by Cynthia Muchnick and Jenn Curtis for College Confidential

Michele was just crawling and babbling at your feet. Nakhil lost his first tooth. Stacia got her training wheels off, and Jabal took his first swing at bat. And yet the time has already come for your family and teen to face a much bigger right of passage: Your teen is leaving the nest to head off to boarding school or college. The day you thought would never come (or maybe the day you’ve been awaiting!) is on the horizon, but you need some tools to navigate this new season with confidence. As educational consultants, we’ve faced this delicate stage hundreds of times with our clients.

Before the final goodbye hug on the dorm stairs, parents and teens should discuss these seven topics that are crucial for a successful transition from living at home to living on your own.

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Straight-A Study Skills for Teens to Kickstart the School Year Right

by Cynthia Muchnick for Raising Teens Today

After this challenging year of Zoom school, hybrid learning, and all sorts of unknowns for students, traditional study skills and time management strategies fell by the wayside. 

Most students didn’t have the opportunity to see peers or engage with teachers face-to-face, and many kids even developed unusual sleep patterns.  (How many of you had child vampires who stayed up late far beyond what is considered healthy for tweens and teens and were exhausted during the day?) And when kids did roll out of bed to attend class, they did so in pajamas, and with more of a temptation to cheat than ever before.


Authors Cynthia Muchnick and Jenn Curtis on The Parent Compass

Interview by Linda Grasso for Ventura Blvd. Magazine

The Varsity Blues scandal blew the lid off the college admissions process two years ago. For many parents, the scandal reinforced suspicions: The process is not only challenging, but it can also be unfair and even corrupt. With so many deferrals and postponements in 2020—and an absence of standardized testing—COVID has made the process even more challenging.

College admissions experts Cynthia Muchnick and Jenn Curtis address the challenges and offer guidance in their new book The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World. Here VB editor Linda Grasso queries the authors about some of the new challenges that have arisen, gleaning some critical dos and don’ts.

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Enjoy the Ride: 9 Actions Parents Can Take to Survive the College Admission Roller Coaste

by Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis for College Confidential

Picture a roller coaster. Not a small, beginner-level one but an epic, change-your-life, go-through-all-the emotions one. Envision one with the most stunning twists, the most jaw-dropping peaks, and the most stomach-churning drops. Got that picture in your head? Good, because those crests, valleys, and loops, in truth, can also represent the daunting nature of the college admission process. But they don’t have to.

Whether it’s your first time parenting through it or it’s your fifth, approaching the college admission process can be stressful and downright intimidating. But we believe that with some planning and practical tools, it doesn’t have to be, and we’re here to help. . .

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Kids Under Construction: Authors of ‘The Parent Compass’ help parents navigate middle and high school

by Donna Tetreault for ABC4 Salt Lake City

When it comes to raising children, it is crucial for parents to understand their role in navigating them to appropriate emotions and conceptions. 

On May 7, Parenting expert Donna Tetreault and Author Cindy Clumeck Muchnick join ABC4 to explain the value of navigation amidst a competitive academic environment.

According to Tetreault, a great guide to understanding this parental role is book, Parent Compass.

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All We Needed Was a Dollar and Some Wind

by Cindy Muchnick for Moms Don't Have Time to Write

No, we were not out frolicking on a family vacation this spring break. Instead, like many families around the world, we stayed local and made the best of it.

My fourteen-year-old daughter signed herself up for a one-week golf clinic to learn the basics; she was masked, outdoors, with social-distance guidelines in place — the whole drill. I’d been relegated to my role as her chauffeur, something I happened to relish after a year-long absence of extracurricular activities. . .

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How to reset your 'Parent Compass' with Jenn Curtis and Cindy Muchnick

by Deirdre Fitzpatrick for KCRA NBC 3 Sacramento


Have you seen "Operation Varsity Blues" on Netflix yet? It's one of the network's most-streamed shows these days and it's full of Sacramento connections.

It's shocked viewers for two reasons.

One, it's still hard to believe Aunt Becky did what she did. Two, it's truly sad to find out how much stress high school kids face trying to get into the college of their dreams. 

And, that was pre-pandemic. . .


Parenting Best Sellers, February 2021 | Most In Demand in Libraries & Bookstores

Library Journal

The list of the Top 20 best selling titles in the parenting category includes titles most in demand by libraries and bookstores nationwide (as tracked by Baker & Taylor). 


Feeding the Mind and Soul

by Cynthia Muchnick for Southbay Magazine

. . .In pre-COVID-19 times, our family dinners looked very different. They were often frantically squeezed in between extracurricular activities, homework, social media distractions, playdates and carpools. But because our kids have been spending more time at home since the start of the pandemic, sharing family meals with them has been easier. . .

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It's the Journey, Not the Destination

by Emily Ball for The Vine

Two years ago, the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal shocked the world. Well, most of the world. Some, like independent college admissions counselor and author Jenn Curtis, saw the scandal as an inevitable extension of college admissions fervor.

“I would say I was certainly horrified,” says Curtis. “I was angry that things like this were going on, but I can't say that I was surprised. . ."


How to Limit Screen Time Without Conflict

Contributor Cindy Muchnick for Smart Social

If screen time becomes so out of control that teens and tweens experience headaches, erratic sleep patterns, or cannot disengage from their tech, here are some suggestions:

1) Model good tech behavior as an adult. Put down your tech and connect with your teen.

2) In our book, The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World, we resolutely recommend helping your teen shut down all devices for a full hour before they go to bed. Collecting cell phones, iPads, and laptops are a necessary nightly habit. Store them in a common area like a kitchen or house entry area. Studies do show that sleep patterns are negatively impacted by the use of tech too close to bedtime.

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College Waitlists Are Longer Than Usual: Here's What Waitlisted Students Need To Know

by Joy Bullen for College Confidential

After months of researching, applying and waiting, college-bound high school seniors are hearing back from colleges, but more students than usual may find that the waiting game isn't over yet — they've been waitlisted. Cynthia C. Muchnick, M.A., long-time college admissions expert and co-author of The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness and Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World tells College Confidential, "I have never, in my entire 30+ year career, seen anything come even close to the waitlist experiences I have heard about and guided families through this last year."

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How a Young Book Lover Becomes a Writer and Teacher

by Cindy Muchnick for Moms Don't Have Time to Write

In 2006, my eight-year-old son, our firstborn, stuffed fourteen library books into his suitcase for a one-week family vacation in Hawaii. The weight pushed his luggage over the airplane’s fifty-pound limit. We had to move the books into a carry-on so that he had room to pack clothes, too. . .


Behind the Book: The Parent Compass

by Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis for Familius

In March 2019, Operation Varsity Blues (also known as The College Admissions Scandal) erupted. At the time, we were professional colleagues—educational consultants who devoted our careers to guiding teens on their academic journeys. Shocked as the news unfolded, we called one another lamenting the stories of bad parenting behavior overtaking the headlines before our eyes. That very day, the idea for The Parent Compass was born. . .


Rejected?: Rethinking College Admission Decisions and How to Support Your Kids

by Jenn Curtis for Familius

If I’m being honest, sometimes I feel as though I wake up every morning to a dream job.

As a college counselor, I have the privilege of watching my students experience growth, self-discovery, and mastery; become empowered; and develop their own unique voices alongside critical self-advocacy skills. Cheering my students on as they stretch themselves and offering an enthusiastic thumbs up when they embrace a challenge punctuates my work life. But the reality is that one single month of the year also dominates so much of our work together. That’s because it’s in that month—March—that most college decisions are released.

As a result, March becomes the one month of the year that I associate with the most tumultuous roller coaster I’ve ever braved: extreme, exhilarating highs (“I got in!”); utterly confusing, head-spinning twists and turns (“Wait . . . what does ‘waitlisted’ even mean?”); and gut-wrenching, stomach-churning lows (“I was rejected”). It’s on these final three words that I want to take a hard pause because, really, that overused triad is what I intend to focus on here.

So, I’ll repeat it again: “I was rejected. . ."


The Book of Mistakes and Reading Aloud

by Jenn Curtis for LitWorld: Read Aloud Day

My house is littered in white printer paper, and it’s been like that for years. Clear Ziploc baggies made colorful with ragtag hodgepodges of crayons, pens, markers, and colored pencils are tucked away in every single room. Both my girls love the creative process, whether it involves writing stories about The Friendship Club (modeled after the Babysitters Club) or coloring for hours. . .


How Earplugs Can Help You Parent Better

by Jenn Curtis for Home Word

. . . Much like my husband’s snoring, the outside noise—peers, co-workers, friends, family—can eat away at our peace so much that we need earplugs to maneuver through our everyday lives. As a college counselor, I witness the disastrous effects of the noise every day. Students shuffle into my office burned out, stretched thin, and molded awkwardly into mutated versions of who they really are. Their desire to be the “perfect” college applicant, as defined by what they hear from friends, parents, even online message boards, renders them exhausted. Worse, it stifles their ability to explore with curiosity (there isn’t enough time), to learn for learning’s sake (there isn’t enough space), and even to take risks (there isn’t enough wiggle room in their GPA). . .

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Seeing My Teenager Build Resilience: A Pandemic Silver Lining

by Cindy Clumeck Muchnick for Your Teen Magazine

. . . I begin to fantasize about the evening ahead, when all of my birds are in the nest, under my roof. I plan a large meal, pull out the Scrabble board, and prepare for an evening of togetherness.

That night, when I look around the dinner table, I start to tear up. Moments like these are harder to come by now that my oldest two are in college. To have them home, along with their two younger teenage siblings—what could be better?

But as the week progresses, and the news of COVID-19’s emergence and initial spread in our country begins to increase, our household receives big news for all of our kids. . .


Following Your Kids on Social Media: 24 Tips for Parents

by Cindy Muchnick, Contributor to Smart Social

. . .We encourage you to dialogue with your family about what tech rules will be upheld in your household and to best determine how your devices won’t divide you. Reflect on your parenting practices as they relate to tech, and determine your own dependence on your devices. . .


How to Overcome Test Anxiety: Educators and Students Comment

by Katie Holmes for Outwit Trade

"[Cynthia Muchnick advises to]. . .avoid people who are alarmists. If you have classmates who panic and are completely stressed out themselves, their stress will rub off onto you. Block out the panic of others; don't let the fear expressed by others bring you down. Avoid these folks, especially leading up to the testing periods. 

"Have a positive mindset: if you have prepared to the best of your ability and learned the material as best you can, then you can succeed and do well on the test/exam. Positivity can make or break your mindset."

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Reinventing the Slumber Party: Social Distancing Sleepover

by Cindy Clumeck Muchnick for Your Teen Magazine

"Since Covid-19, I’ve had to find creative ways to try to replicate some of the more basic pre-pandemic activities that we once took for granted. As I write this, with heavy bags under my eyes and hundreds of calories burned bringing food and supplies from my kitchen to the backyard again and again, I am proud that my eighth grade daughter’s first Covid-era backyard sleepover was a success. . ."

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How to Apply to College During COVID-19, According to 5 Experts


The virtual world still allows for several ways to get to know colleges according to Jenn Curtis, an educational consultant and author in Orange County, CA. . .“Students can take virtual tours that are posted on schools’ websites and also via virtual tour websites like Lots of colleges and universities are also offering live guided virtual tours and even including  Q + As with Deans of Admission. There are also many virtual college fairs going on right now, which are often free. Participating in them allows students to listen to roundtables on topics of interest to them, learn about major and minor opportunities, and ask questions of admission officers. Another easy approach is to identify the student’s regional admission officer, which can be done in the Admission section of a college’s website, and email that individual with specific questions about the school. Many students are intimidated by that approach at first, but answering questions about the school is what admission officers are there for!”

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How Much Should You Pay A Tutor for Your Child? It All Depends

by Jennifer Paris for Romper

Tutors typically teach for 60-90 minute blocks once or twice a week depending on a child’s age, the grade they’re in, and the subject being taught. You can receive anything from homework help to study prep in subjects that are challenging to your child, and will have the opportunity to dictate the course of study with the tutor (whether that's to help your child understand critical concepts or ace that upcoming English exam).

...“Tutoring should be a last resort,” advises Muchnick. “Before investing in a tutor, ask your child/teen and yourself, has your child exhausted all of their other options for help before hiring a tutor?” You can find out if your child’s school has any support services — such as the teacher, peer tutors, or even tutoring sessions — before turning to a tutor for help.

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New book, The Parent Compass, helps guide parents toward healthier relationships with their teens

by Linda Hubbard for InMenlo

When the Operation Varsity Blues scandal erupted in 2019, Menlo Park resident Cindy Muchnick‘s phone 'started exploding,' she recalls. 

That wasn’t surprising given that she’s an expert in the college admission process, having run a private study skills and college counseling business for over 15 years in Southern California before moving north in 2018. Since closing her private educational practice in 2011, she’s focused on public speaking to student, parent, school and business groups on a variety of education-related topics.

Along the way, she met education consultant Jenn Curtis. "We talked while the scandal was still unfolding and decided we needed to do something to re-educate parents and help get them back on track," Cindy says.


The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness & Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World

Publishers Weekly

In an earnest and instructive guide, educational consultants Muchnick and Curtis offer strategies to help parents navigate their kids’ challenging adolescent years. The authors include anecdotes, input from experts, and their own observations as parents themselves (Muchnick is a mother of four, and Curtis of two) while warning parents to avoid overbearing parenting styles and to mind how social media and academic competitiveness place pressure on teens’ emotional health. . .


Book Talk

Palo Alto Weekly

Menlo Park author Cynthia Clumeck, a graduate of Stanford University who is an expert in the college admission process, is set to release her latest book, The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness and Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World in September. She and co-author Jenn Curtis, who owns an educational consulting company in Orange County, wrote the book to help parents understand their appropriate role in navigating a competitive academic environment that has resulted in overparenting and even fraud and bribery. . .


20 Ways Students Can Avoid Oversharing Online

by Cindy Muchnick, Contributor to

Ask yourself this question before you post: would you feel comfortable if your post was seen/read by your grandparents, teachers, or coaches? Or your parents? If your answer is, “No,” to any of those questions then do not post it; it is oversharing!

Posting text or photos on digital media is like getting a permanent tattoo. The words you write-whether on a quick Snapchat or in an Instagram post or in a “private” text message- are anything but quick and private. Screenshots can be taken on anything you post thereby making everything that you think is private actually public.

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Trade Schools Might Be A Better Option Than Colleges. Here's Why

by Justin Chan for Verizon Media

Ultimately, trade schools can provide the necessary space for many who are trying to figure out a career that works best for them, said Cindy Muchnick, a former high school teacher and co-author of The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World.

“Students can blossom at different times. Some cruise though high school ready to tackle college, while others need more time to marinate and grow," she told In The Know. "A generation ago, a high school graduate who attended a trade year might have been perceived as a student that did poorly in school or was not mature enough to leave home and go to college. Attending a trade school, though, offers teens time to learn a craft, some time to decompress from the pressures of a traditional academic or school classroom.”

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When SAT/ACT Scores Still Matter

by Melissa Erickson for Gannett//Gatehouse Media: College Prep Guide 2020

As colleges across the country announce they are no longer requiring SAT and ACT scores or de-emphasizing their role for admission, students and parents wonder why they should bother with these standardized tests.

"The standardized test landscape is on the precipice of significant change," said educational consultant Jenn Curtis, owner of FutureWise Consulting and Co-Author of The Parent Compass: Navigating your Teen's Wellness and Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World, available mid-September. . .

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Don’t focus on college rankings lists, which are misleading and easily manipulated by colleges

by Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis for The Los Angeles Times

When the college admissions scandal news broke, we called one another in extreme concern, lamenting the crazy circus that our beloved profession has become as a result of a hyper-competitive college admissions landscape coupled with inappropriate parenting madness.

But alongside our shock, echoed by so many around the country, at overreaching parents who resorted to fraud and bribery to help their kids get into college, something more important — more positive — emerged from our conversation.

How to Help Kids Speak Up for Themselves in School

by Larry Bernstein for

If you could simply wave a magic wand, what traits would you wish your child to possess? Confidence? Responsibility? Perseverance? Any of these would prove useful in life, but each of these is especially important because they enable a person to self-advocate, which is essential for independence. So when should a child be able to self-advocate?

...The ability to self-advocate needs to be developed. "Self-advocacy is a learned skill, and it takes time," says Jenn Curtis MSW, an educational consultant and co-author of a forthcoming book on appropriately parenting kids through the competitive landscape of college admissions. . .

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Why Are Parents Still Behaving Badly?

by Cynthia Muchnick, MA, and Jenn Curtis, MSW for Medium and Thrive Global

“A classmate’s mom got her two kids into [insert any Ivy League school name here.] I don’t actually know her, but I was told that she personally coached her kids and was super on top of the whole college admissions process." Wait, did we just read that correctly? A classmate’s mom got her kids into college? What?

This anonymous comment, posted to an online parenting message board just days after the recent sentencing of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, forces us all to ask ourselves: Have we learned nothing from Operation Varsity Blues?

Considering the tremendous pressures placed on families due to Covid-19 school interruptions and modifications, one would think that — now more than ever — parents would want to prioritize their kids’ well being, not pile more stress onto their already stressed-out teens. But, in fact, the case is unfortunately quite the opposite. . .


Family Night: 17 Ways to Have Fun Without Screens

by Cindy Muchnick, Contributor to

"Try a 'disconnection diet': Cindy Muchnick, Educational Consultant, Co-Author of The Parent Compass.

“'Get your family to try a 'disconnection diet' or a mini-vacation from technology. Start small with an hour, then grow to a half-day, full-day, weekend, or even a month. Can you give up tech for Lent or another special occasion? Maybe make it a family competition, but define what is included in your tech diet...'”

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