Since founding Blue Stars in 2010, Dr. M has shaped a coaching methodology that serves as the backbone of all Blue Stars engagements, and she’s created a multi-year certification program for guiding her counseling team in its master practice. Besides her regular one-on-one meetings with each counselor, she and the team work collaboratively and collegially on a daily basis to support one another in executing (and improving) the Blue Stars methodology, which has fortified hundreds of college-bound students and led them to success in admissions for over a decade.
The core principles of the Blue Stars methodology include:
1Personal growth leads the way.
It’s our motto. It’s our mantra. It’s our collective, deeply held belief. And, happily, it aligns with the expectations of elite colleges and universities, which not only recognize external accomplishments like grades but are intrigued by who a student is, from the inside out. Based on her training as a scholar of ancient Greek philosophy, Dr. M has created a mentorship style that centers individual actualization as the cornerstone of each teen’s unique journey to college. Key to her method is helping a student figure out their purpose (or “why”). As author and lecturer Leah Weiss states, “Purpose is an amazing superpower for resilience.” How true! Through our focus on activities that help a student define and activate who they are in a way that feels authentic to them, we see their resilience come to life in front of our eyes. Admissions readers see it, too!
2Building life skills for now, college, and beyond.
So much stress can be created because teens feel overwhelmed by their academic workload and other demands while their brains are not yet developmentally equipped with the executive functions for the time-management required to succeed in today’s high school environment. A scholar of Aristotle, particularly his treatises on ethics, which she taught at the university level, Dr. M sees time management as a skill that needs to be patiently taught through repetition, just like learning to ride a bike, throw a pitch, play the piano, or be a good person. It takes practice. And it is understandable that parents may not have patience or time to work with teens in this painstaking but proven way. That’s where Blue Stars comes in. We teach students how to build time-management systems that work for them, and we troubleshoot with them as they stumble through their “training-wheel stage.” As they advance, Blue Stars students become productive, calm, and mature. By the time they apply to college, they, too, are amazed at how much they’ve accomplished over the years.
3A culture of deep, open, nonjudgmental conversation and active integrated listening.
At Blue Stars, we take teens, their emotions, and their thought patterns very seriously, and we find ways to help them process life in their own way. Once a certain kind of pressure is lifted and students are given space to think and talk freely, it’s remarkable how good the outcome can be! Blue Stars counselors are truly interested in every person they meet and enjoy helping each student get in touch with their uniqueness. We believe that everyone needs to be heard and feel heard. The result is a tight-knit, trusting relationship between student and counselor, leading to best-fit results for each teen. In short, like Socrates and Plato, we find healthy, clarifying dialogue to be the first step toward effective action.
4Where there is a teen, there are structured exercises leading to action plans.
In full agreement with University of Oregon child development specialist Dr. Nicholas Allen’s observation that, if a teen is given enough time for reflection, their decision-making skills “can be on-par with a fully-grown adult,” Dr. M has designed a mentorship style focused on helping students make good decisions for themselves. Taking into account the developmental stage of adolescents, she and her team have created numerous proprietary interactive exercises that provide step-by-step guidance in envisioning creative pathways to college and setting goals to achieve teens’ dreams. In our practice, we routinely navigate between free-flowing exploration and structure, structure, structure!
5Driven by analytical thinking at every level of service.
A trained philosopher, seasoned researcher, and lifelong innovator, Dr. M loves systems, evidence, and data! Since the Great Recession, she’s presented on the topic “New Trends in Admissions” – noting how cultural shifts impact the admissions experience for applicants. A seasoned systematic strategist, Dr. M carefully observes American culture, admissions expectations, and teen psychology, studying how they shift and change over time, and then translates these new trends back into a coaching practice that comes to life through seasoned counselors who work closely with Dr. M, and one another.
6Spirited by a growth mindset.
The Blue Stars team approaches all we do with a spirit of inquiry, curiosity, adaptability, and flexibility. We grow and change with the times, all the while focusing on providing maximum success for our students.
7We believe in long-term relationships :)
There’s nothing better than talking with a high school senior about how much they’ve changed since ninth grade. Real growth needs time and investment, so Blue Stars strives to stay with our students throughout their entire educational journey. We don’t expect our students (or ourselves) to mature overnight, but when we look back at the end of all four years of high school, it’s incredible what has been accomplished!