College Inside Track values developing relationships with the families we work with. This is especially true for consultants who work closely with students and parents. So when CIT founder and consultant, Jay Benanav, received this Christmas card from a family, we couldn’t help but share their story.
Julie Fallenstein knows a little about the stress of raising teenagers, and how that is amplified during the college search and application process. She appreciated Jay’s guidance in helping not just one but four of her children through the college application process!
Julie is the mother of two boys and two girls. Her oldest Griffen, is currently 20 years old. Right behind Griffen is a set of triplets, Fletcher, Pippi and Liberty, all 19 years old. Julie’s extraordinary feat of raising multiples presented challenges, but some of her best memories are of the first few weeks when they brought the triplets home. “We had 90 volunteers each week in our home, shifts changing every three hours from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. The volunteers would feed and change a baby or play with 13-month-old Griffen, who was running at nine months.”
According to Julie, it would have been easier if the kids had been quadruplets because the babies would have been on the same schedule. “Griffen was always one milestone in front of the others. His favorite activity was stealing pacifiers, bottles, and blankets when he was growing out of them. I soon gave up, and he kept his sippy cup, pacifier, and bottle as long as he wanted.”
When the children were in high school, she hired College Inside Track to help guide the college process. Julie said, “I was quite overwhelmed with triplets who all had different needs and desires that were different than their older brother and different from each other.” The high school counselor recommended College Inside Track, and Julie was happy to have some guidance. “Jay relieved so much stress and was able to break down all the things that needed to be done one task at a time. It was great that he created deadlines for each step in the process to make sure we didn’t fall behind. Any time I felt overwhelmed, Jay was ready to put us at ease, talking through the steps to keep us on track. We always felt reassured with each meeting that we were making progress.”
Griffen, the oldest, is easygoing and loves to explore. His mother says he is “always looking for an adventure.” Griffen said he enjoys being the oldest because he has more freedom. However, the triplets sometimes overpowered him: “When they teamed up, I always lose that argument.” Griffen is attending California State University Long Beach, which he selected because of the variety of art majors and the location. “I am majoring in graphic design. When I graduate, I want to work with other creatives and hopefully build a brand around the things I like most. Like a creative collective.” He misses seeing his siblings, cooking for them, and sharing jokes. Griffen appreciates how Jay helped him find a college that was the right fit for his interest, major and overall feel of the school.
Fletcher’s top schools were in the Midwest. He chose Purdue University, and Indiana was a close second. Fletcher, who is studying finance, is described by his mom as her child with the “best sense of humor.” Growing up, Fletcher said he enjoyed being a triplet because they could help one another with homework. While he loves his siblings, Fletcher says he likes his independence at Purdue. Fletcher valued the guidance of his consultant most in the drafting and editing the personal statement, as well as with the many supplemental essays he had to write.
Liberty is studying equine science and management at the University of Kentucky. The college list was driven by this major, and she plans to graduate and attend vet school. Liberty’s mom describes her as “determined and hard-working, a person who never gives up.” Liberty said, “Jay helped me a lot throughout my college search. I did not know where to start when it came to looking for a college, and Jay knew exactly how to help me. I am very thankful I had Jay to help me get into the University of Kentucky. I just finished my first semester of college and I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.”
Pippi wanted to be close to home and selected UW-Madison for its location and the match for her major. She also loved the plants on the UW-Madison campus when she visited. Pippi is studying conservation biology, and she hopes to engage in work to restore the planet. Julie describes Pippi as extremely detailed and someone who loves to learn. She is also known for her amazing follow-through. Pippi enjoyed being raised in a family of multiples, “I like how we are all the same age and can do things together. Everyone is old enough that we can pick on each other and annoy one another.” While she misses her siblings, she said she transitioned to college life pretty easily because she has made some good friends. She appreciates all Jay did with her in editing supplemental essays, and guiding her in the right direction.
Having raised and launched four young adults, Julie has some advice for families embarking on the college process. “ What an overwhelming process. I didn’t start soon enough, and there were so many things I didn’t know I needed to do. They did not want to go to the same schools, so looking for a school that set them apart was a big task, and our CIT consultant took this on with pride! I would highly recommend Jay and his team for top success!”