The Golden Ticket to College Admissions Is Not What You Think: Redefining Success for Parents of Teens with Irena Smith, PhD

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Author Talk

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Another college application season is around the corner, and stress is already beginning to ratchet up for teens and their parents. You’re invited to join us for this must-watch talk by Irena Smith, PhD. You will hear about constructive and healthy ways to approach the college application process, preserve your relationship with your teen, and help them define success on their terms instead of chasing the elusive “golden ticket.”

Irena is a former Stanford Admissions Officer who has spent 18 years advising accomplished, tightly-wound students in Palo Alto and around the world. She saw firsthand the extreme measures parents took to help their children gain admission to highly selective colleges and the toll it took on the children as well as on their parents.

At the same time, Irena’s own children struggled with developmental delays, learning differences, severe depression, and anxiety. She kept her double life—successful college counselor at work, anxious mom at home—tightly under wraps for years until a stunning realization: she was exactly like the anxious parents of the students she worked with, all of whom were equally terrified about their children's future. Irena’s memoir, The Golden Ticket: A Life in College Admissions Essays, which candidly explores her personal as well as professional life, was published in 2023, and she has since devoted her time to speaking out about hard things: the heavy burden of generational expectations, teen and young adult mental health, and the importance of embracing a broader, more generous vision of what it means to succeed. To learn more about Irena’s personal experience as a parent, professional experience as a college admissions officer, and leave with tips on how to help your child approach the application process in practical, healthy ways!

To register PLEASE CLICK HERE, or on the link at the top right of this page.