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Harvard? Hurry! Now may be too late!

Doctor. Lawyer. Accountant. Dentist. In many minds, an ideal family would have one of each. Now we need to add one more to the list: College Advisor.

Penelope is 18 months old and it doesn’t look like it’s too early to start preparing for the application process or those SATs. In fact, I think she's already falling behind. Parenting magazines suggest she should have an internship at an international law firm by now. Have you seen some of those resumes kids are accruing? Being entrepreneurial enough to take a summer job at Baskin Robbins no longer cuts it. Managing a Baskin Robbins, no longer cuts it. Owning a Baskin Robbins before you graduate high school may qualify, but not for the Ivy League. Starting an ice cream company that crushes Baskin Robbins in the key markets of Southeast Asia and all of New Jersey. That’ll do maybe if you also have an Olympic medal and over 5000 hours of community work outside of “paying back a debt to society.”

Lucky me, I have an Official College Advisor in my family, my Harvard MBA, dual undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania, sister. We’re not filling out the applications just yet, but we are working on the building blocks.

By high school, she needs to be an “expert” in something. And my sister says the best to do is work off a child’s interests and encourage her to develop them.

And that’s what I‘m doing. Trying to ignore the fact that there are 2 year olds in Korea who can count to 20 in 3 languages and recite the entire alphabet also in 3 languages while finger painting a Picasso, and Discover my child’s interests and expand upon them. I’m giving her choices a “premium value”.

She loves to climb so I count the steps out loud –sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in Japanese – as she goes up. (Going down my full concentration is going towards making sure she doesn’t fall.)

Penelope loves playing dress-up so I read Vogue to her as she puts handbags on her arms. I show her the fashion trends she’s following and point out the completely unique ones she’s come up with like un-matching shoes. . Note: summer Vogue is best for learning colors. We’re working on lemon, fuchsia and aubergine now, not to mention red, blue and yellow.

When she’s babbling to her invisible peeps on her toy cell phone I say things like, “My Penelope, aren’t you loquacious today.”

She loves music so I got us Schoolhouse Rock. And now I know my conjunctions, 3 is a magic number and how a bill gets turned into a law. I hope she does too.

She loves Elmo so I bought her a book or twelve starring Elmo and for once, she sits still long enough for us to get to page 4! Hurray!

Now whether this will get her into Yale or not, I have no idea. But it sure keeps my brain from going to mush. And when the most challenging part of my day is how to get my plus-size body down the spiral park slide with Penelope (size 18 months) at the bottom, patting it, waiting for me to follow her down, I’ve got to wonder.

Thank goodness I’ve taken my SATs.

If you'd like the help I'm getting and plan to take advantage of for the next 1-16 years:

My sister Mandee Heller Adler is an independent College Advisor. She also helps kids choose summer camps, boarding schools and careers. Call her at 954.253.5719 or email

Tell her you know me (and if you’ve been reading my blog you know me better than some of my friends) and she’ll give you a discount. She’s got an amazing track record!

And even for all you parents with kids as young as mine, don’t waste the summer! Only 15 more years to cram!