Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

College Application Scandal Worries Parent

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am worried about the recent college application scandal. While my family is not rich, we definitely want to take advantage of every opportunity before us as our kids prepare to go to college, including talking to our friends who are in high positions at universities, asking them to look out for our twins. My husband and I have never done anything illegal, but I fear that since this scandal, even asking about information on schools our kids like could be viewed as inappropriate. What can we do now? -- Navigating the College Process

DEAR NAVIGATING THE COLLEGE PROCESS: Even before this scandal hit, exposing how some wealthy families have literally bought their children’s way into college, the process has been challenging. Thousands of students are vying for the opportunity to go to the college of their choice, and competition is high. Now that illegal behavior has been uncovered, a lot more scrutiny will be paid to the admissions process. This is good, and it may help you.

You absolutely can call on people you know to ask for advice and recommendations for your children. Getting written and verbal recommendations remains legitimate and legal. Start at your children’s high school. The guidance counselor should be your first resource. Learn what he or she knows about your children as students and what schools could be a good fit for them. You can enroll your child into interview prep courses. You may consider hiring a private educational consultant who knows the college process and can help you find the right fit for your children, especially if the guidance counselor is not helpful enough.

For a wealth of information and resources, read this article:

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a freelancer, and work had been terribly slow. It has gotten busy lately, and now I am juggling, trying to manage my schedule. I feel like I have to accept every job that comes my way because I have often gone months between gigs. I am a little overwhelmed with the workflow, and I’m getting exhausted. How can I manage my relationships with my clients better when I feel like I have a short fuse because I’m overstretched? -- Customer Relations

DEAR CUSTOMER RELATIONS: Get organized. Keep track of each of your jobs using a calendar or software that helps to manage your projects. The goal is to write down everything, including tentative deadlines, so that you have a clear picture in front of you of your responsibilities. You don’t want to double-book yourself inadvertently. Check off each job when it is complete -- and be sure that you turn in your billing at once.

Be kind and attentive to your clients. Do not ever make excuses about not completing a job because you were doing another. It is your duty to compartmentalize. Each client wants to feel like the most important on your list. Be gracious and follow up with thank-you notes that show your appreciation.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)