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Summer 2019


This spring has been a whirlwind of activities and emotions. Like you, we have been shocked and dismayed by the unethical actions in college admissions that have sparked so many headlines. Yet our hope is renewed every day as we collaborate with young people who are compassionate, earnest, talented, and willing to work hard to pursue their dreams. We engage with parents who value civic-mindedness as much as their teens’ growing independence. We witness the power of meaningful, sincere connections among students, families, and schools. Thus, we know that the stories making headlines are not truly reflective of the millions of students currently pursuing their college degrees.

At The Bertram Group we facilitate a process that promotes self-awareness and personal growth so that students can find “best fit” schools where they can thrive. As this year’s candidates celebrate their futures, we look forward to getting to know another group of young people and families who are thinking deeply about which particular boarding school, day school, college, or other unique educational experience will move them closer to fulfilling their goals. 

In this issue:

  • I outline the hallmarks of excellence and professionalism for educational consultants.
  • Deena articulates the role of authenticity and integrity in the college search process.
  • Audrey explores how boarding schools are integrating the latest research about thinking and learning to support 21st-century students.
  • In Bertram News, we introduce Dr. Michelle Tullier, a new professional affiliate who specializes in helping young adults launch their careers.
  • Jeremy highlights what every parent needs to know about vaping, which has become a public health crisis among teens and young adults.
  • Worthwhile Detours recommends a podcast and website that discuss the challenges of—and offer concrete strategies for—helping teens develop a definition of success that is rooted in values, self-awareness, and connectedness to community.

Also, don’t miss Holly’s recent column about how a post-graduate year is becoming more common as a strategy to foster more academic and personal growth before tackling the challenges of college.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Cammie Bertram and the Bertram Team

The Big Picture

The field of educational consulting has grown tremendously since I began this work many years ago. In 2009, a nationwide study by the marketing research firm of Lipman Hearne showed that 26 percent of high-achieving, college-bound students hired independent educational consultants to... read more

College Bound

The fundamental goal of parenting is to raise offspring to stand on their own as confident, contributing members of society. The college admissions scandal that made headlines this spring epitomizes parents who have lost sight of this goal. In these families, going to college was less about launching young adults into the world and more about parents securing bragging rights and social status based on bribes, cheating, and lies. These are extreme examples of what happens when parents... read more

The Right Road

It is increasingly common for schools nationwide to issue devices to a generation of students so digitally native that it is called “iGen.” Technology in classrooms can be a tool to enhance learning, but it cannot replace the context of personal relationships that are fundamental for inspiring, supporting, and challenging students to learn, grow, and achieve their best. Thus, the hallmarks of a 21st-century classroom are less about whether students use tablets or... read more

Bertram News

The Bertram Group’s newest professional affiliate, Dr. Michelle Tullier, has been interested in career counseling ever since her own professional life began. Working at a staffing firm in Los Angeles right out of college, Michelle noticed that many clients took jobs without strong prospects of those placements leading to satisfying careers. This motivated her to go on to earn a Ph.D. in counseling psychology with a concentration in career development, so that she could help people... read more

The Flip Side

At least it’s not smoking. This idea brought vaping to the marketplace with the goal of offering nicotine-addicted adults a path to quit tobacco cigarettes. Unfortunately, this idea has also prompted confusion. Underestimating the effects of vaping, many teens are surprised to find themselves intensely addicted to nicotine. Thus, what was promoted as a public health breakthrough for adults has also spurred a new public health crisis among teens.

The rapid rise of teen... read more

Worthwhile Detours

The nonprofit organization Challenge Success offers schools, families, and communities research-based strategies to promote student well-being, engagement with learning, and a definition of success that is “measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester.” They work with schools nationwide, offering workshops, research, and consultation to refine curriculum and school culture to support... read more