by Sari Trompke, Boise ID

When my oldest child Rachel, was headed to college, I did not have a clue to the process, the decisions…what is Financial Aid? What scholarships was she entitled to? How do I know if she is qualified for a school? How do I get through the massive amounts of paperwork in the application process? And SO much more. She was fortunate and received a decent scholarship for Speech and Debate, but looking back now, I know there was so much more I could have done for to help as well as helped her receive more financial aid.
My next child, Jordan, wanted to attend a Military Academy, West Point to be exact. For anyone who has ever had to go through this process, it is extremely daunting to say the least. I helped a lot since my son was extremely active in school and honestly, it requires an administrator to be sure everything is done. By the end of the whole process, it became much more familiar to me. Jordan got accepted and attends there now as a rising junior and competes in track and Olympic lifting.
By the time David (son #2) was ready for college, I felt a little bit more familiar with how it all worked. In fact we started researching scholarships he could receive and he also was debating on whether to attend a military academy as well-so we had to go through the whole process again! All of my sons were in sports and I helped with the recruiting process for them…..since I was very involved with their teams ( Team Mom for all of them), some of the other kids would come over to my house for help with the process-I helped the kids with correspondence, research, questionnaires, etc. In the midst of all this, the high school that my sons attended needed help with some presentations on college admissions. I had become quite a familiar face in the Guidance Counselors Office, helping my children, as well as others, with requesting transcripts, letters of recommendations etc. So the school asked if I could help….since then, I have been helping with kids in the community whether it involves admissions, selecting a school, recruiting for sports, financial aid, etc. I do this for free and usually have 5 -8 students I work with a year. I have a passion for helping kids find their place and I truly enjoy seeing how it all unfolds for each child that I work with….I feel this is very important for kids and their families as well to give them direction, help or find a way for them to pay for it.

One of my favorite stories to come out of all of the kids I have worked with was a boy who I will call “Tom”. Tom approached me through one of my sons and asked if I could help him with the recruiting process and admissions to the Military Academies (he wasn’t sure where he wanted). We worked together and would email a few times a week, where I would help him with essays, questions, etc. I met with his Dad and always wondered where the Mom was in the process. I know sometimes it is only one parent helping with it, but it did raise a question. Several months into helping, a mutual friend has mentioned that it was great that I was helping Tom since his Mom had been killed a few years back in a drunk driving accident. It just broke my heart…I did not know, but it made more sense why he needed help. Since then, I have been privileged to be part of the recruiting process, with Tom texting me shortly after he accepted Duke’s offer to run track and attend school. He was so excited that he had found his new “family.” We still correspond and he is doing great.

It has been a wonderful ride with my own kids, with my son David attending Harvard, playing football and running track, and my youngest Alex, attending Michigan State in the fall on a swimming scholarship. But I look forward to continuing my work in the community, helping anyone who it needs find the right place for them college wise.