MacKenzie Randall - Mt Holyoke 2015 ~ parent comment College Transition and Career Plannning
My daughter and I have known Mr. Horne in many different capacities over the course of the last nearly 10 years, as an Academic Dean, teacher and college counselor and in his current capacity as principal of The Student Compass, but always as a mentor and friend for both of us. He has played a very big part in my daughter's success thus far, as a college graduate of a distinguished college with a very good grade average, looking to fine tune her liberal arts education into a practical but passionate career interest that suits her skills and abilities. When we first met Mr. Horne, my daughter was recently diagnosed with learning differences and was unsure of her future and how she was going to get there. He played a very big role in helping her to develop confidence and self esteem. Most importantly, he was the first person to see her true potential beyond the learning differences and to this day, will not accept less than he feels that she is capable of, while providing her with the tools and motivation to get there on her own. I enthusiastically recommend Mr. Horne to students and parents alike ! In my experience, his knowledge, compassion and devotion to students and learning is unsurpassed and makes a very big difference! By Karen Randall, Pittsburgh PA.
Rene Sanchez – Suffolk University 2019 ~parent comment~ College Planning and Applications/Transition
The entire college application and acceptance process can be a bit overwhelming, for the student as well as the family! Jake Horne of the Student Compass provided my son a very important and complimentary support system to the School college counseling office throughout the entire process. We started with Jake during my son’s junior year. A focus on thinking through goals, character, skills and preferences, served to increase his self-awareness. It also helped him focus on the types of colleges and Universities he would thrive in. Helping organize his thoughts, practice interviews, think through college essay themes, testing views, and the myriad of other exercises and processes Jake focused on helped my son mature and be mentally more prepared for the challenges he faced and the decisions he needed to make. Jake was also instrumental in counseling my son through how to plan his important summer between junior and senior year. Jake’s vast experience and expertise with students of all types, skills and personalities, as well as his knowledge of the “Learning Business” is impressive. After my son received the great news of acceptance into the school of his choice, Jake immediately focused on ‘What’s next” with him. I am confident my son will do great, and am thrilled that Jake will continue to work with him throughout this summer and freshman year to support the transition process into college. Coming from a boarding school environment, as my son has, where students are nurtured, we sometimes underestimate the impact of a totally different experience on the student and his/her “compass”.
I highly recommend The Student Compass and Jake Horne to all parents focused on providing their son or daughter the best counsel and advice possible. It’s all about our kids, their self-confidence and their focus on a successful college experience . This can only come with planning, counsel and design. Jake was instrumental in providing the framework and importantly, providing it beyond the acceptance process.”
By Beatriz Sanchez – Geneva, Switzerland & Miami, Florida
Christian Frelinghuysen – Lynn University 2017 ~parent comment~ Gap Year, College Planning and Applications/Transition
After Jake Horne acted as our son Christian’s gap year advisor last year, it was a natural decision to ask him to continue the relationship by coaching our son through the transition to his freshman college year, and, we hope, beyond. Jake had gotten to know our son in school, had given him college guidance, and had easily established an effective rapport with him, and with us. That has been a key to the good results we have seen. Since they are far apart Jake and our son went from the original personal meetings to Skyping regularly over the past year, and Jake also consults with us. But the essential relationship is between the two of them. Christian speaks freely and frequently with ‘Mr Horne,’ respects him and gives great weight to Jake’s advice, in part because he feels that it is their relationship that frames the decisions that need to be made. He is in charge rather than us as his parents. At Jake’s suggestion, our son kept a private blog during his gap year, which helped hone skills of thinking, writing and self-expression while he was out of school. We can see great strides in these essential areas. Our son, especially through the gap year experience, has gained greater maturity, responsibility, and independence. The year was challenging, by design, and the different elements Jake helped Christian decide upon were a good match. As parents, we no inkling of the wide range of possible activities that Jake had in mind. From his extensive experience, Jake is up to date on contemporary high school and college life, the institutions themselves, and the pressures that today’s generation feel. Jake’s advice on the college transition has been very helpful; he brings up topics that were not on our radar, and engaged our son in thinking and planning about what he was going to find in college, and how he should approach it. We are also glad that Jake follows up on unfinished or continuing tasks and goals, rather than just identifying them. The advice is not just academic, but sensitive to social issues in school and to setting goals for school that lead to a productive life after school. Jake Horne has been generous with his time and his interest in our son’s success unflagging. We can give an enthusiastic recommendation of Jake Horne and the services he offers through the Student Compass to young people, and to their parents. He makes the goal of student success a team effort, one we all are very happy to work together to achieve.
By Mary Voyatzis and Fred Frelinghuysen – Tucson, AZ
Chris Stern – Occidental College 2018 ~parent comment~ Gap Year, College Planning and Applications/Transition
Jake Horne has been working with my 17 year-old son Christopher on fashioning a meaningful gap year experience and, given my son’s recent struggles in school, on preparing him for a successful entry into college next academic year. I can’t speak highly enough of the help and guidance that Jake has provided to my son, and to my wife and me as well. And I can’t speak highly enough of the program he has developed, The Student Compass — a most unique program— to mentor a truly lost generation of students as they come to terms with themselves, college, and the work world in our complex society. After years of struggling with executive functioning and attention issues, as well as with some mild language deficits, in school, my son bottomed out both emotionally and academically during his senior year. His self-confidence was extremely low and he became quite depressed and apathetic. We managed to get him through the school year but he was in no shape to go off to college this year. Jake provided us with much needed help and guidance on so many fronts. First, Jake became a mentor to my son. He quickly gained his trust (not an easy task in and of itself), and helped him to think through what he truly needed at this juncture in his life to feel better about himself and to function successfully at college and beyond. Then, Jake worked collaboratively with Christopher to fashion a gap year that will not only fit some of his interests but also be a growth promoting, confidence-building, challenging and transformative one. Jake scaffolds several gap experiences from more structured and overtly confidence-building to more independent, where students learn to become self-sufficient and responsible, all the while keeping in contact with them, wherever they are in the world, and providing encouragement and support. Third, Jake has worked wonderfully with my wife and me to allay our fears and to “keep us in the loop” while he works independently with our son— a balance that makes us feel like we are part of the process while Christopher feels that his gap year is truly of his own creation. Jake also initially consulted with Christopher’s school and psychotherapist, and evaluated Christopher carefully at the outset of our work together, to get a genuine “take” on who Christopher is and what would be most growth-promoting for him. I really believe that he understands our son (and us) extremely well. And finally, I look forward to the college prep portion of Jake’s gap year with Christopher, which will include lessons on how to be more organized and remain on top of work at college, remediation for some learning issues as they apply to college work (e.g., essay writing and studying for tests) and, most importantly, a reality check about what college really entails for one to succeed there and who Christopher is and therefore what he should pursue at college that will be meaningful to him. Jake will also be involved in following up with Christopher at college in the capacity of a mentor— a role that will provide him with the guidance and support he may well need during his first year there, and that will “unhook” my wife and me from having to be involved in an experience that should foster independence in our son. I should add here that Christopher, two weeks into his first gap year program (carefully chosen by Jake), already posted a reflection on the organization’s website— something that I thought my depressed, shy and self-conscious son would never do. In it, he says, “I have experienced so much and felt such a strong, reassuring internal growth,” and later, “I am exhilarated to take [the next 11 weeks] step by step with such amazing people. I cannot wait to relay more of our adventures in the weeks ahead!” This is music to a parent’s ears, all thanks to Jake’s work and careful selection of a gap year experience. I myself am a clinical psychologist. I consult to a boarding school in Connecticut and a private school in Manhattan, and my private practice consists of many teenagers and young adults. Significantly more now than when I started practicing 25 years ago, I meet with young adults of all different intellectual capacities and emotional make-ups who are lost and directionless, and therefore often highly anxious and/or depressed. Some are struggling to make it through high school, some are currently attending college (two at Harvard and one at Princeton currently, among others) and some recently have graduated from college (Brown, Clark, Reed, and yet another from Wesleyan). I mention these prestigious institutions only to highlight that these students “went through the motions” and successfully got admitted to the colleges “of their dreams,” but they all feel unhappy, unfulfilled and like “they don’t fit in.” It’s become increasingly clear to me that they played the college admissions game well and successfully, but they left out some ingredients when selecting a college— an understanding of who they truly are, what’s truly meaningful to them in life, and what would be a truly satisfying and important academic experience for them (and one that might help them to enter the post-college world with purpose and success). As a result, they all feel empty and lost.
I strongly believe that The Student Compass is not only a great idea, but is increasingly becoming a necessity in a society whose parents, educators and the educational system itself are raising lost generations of young adults. The Compass should be a part of every school’s offerings to its high school students, I believe, as they struggle to become self-reliant and independent, to understand a complex world, to discover who they are and what is meaningful to them, and then to enter the world successfully. They need a mentor, and Jake Horne and his program are it!
By Jonathan Stern, Ph.D. – NY, NY
Vince Pappas – Dickinson College 2016 College & Career Transition
It seems like we’ve always been close, I got to know Jake Horne during my sophomore year at prep school. There I quickly learned I had come across a truly amazing individual and I began to confide in him. I spoke with him about a variety of issues ranging from relationship problems, to my college essay. Luckily, he’s well versed in both. Jake gave me girl advice when needed and understood my emotions well enough to give me answers and guide me. As for the college essay, I must have sent him five different drafts at the least and he promptly returned every one to me with corrections. He has great insight when it comes to education because he’s been there before. Jake is an amazing mentor who is always willing to provide guidance where it is needed. I’ve certainly been lost in the game of life more than a few times and he has helped me find the right path to take. Not only has he helped me make choices in college, but he originally helped me to choose what college wanted to attend. Jake has certainly mastered the fields he works in such as college counseling, career mentoring, and life planning. The two of us Skype every couple of weeks to check in with each other. Sometimes our conversations are more serious than others. It has been somewhat confusing for me to set a career path for myself. I sometime think I should be pursuing a particular career path but then I find that it just doesn’t feel right. Jake has helped me sort through my decision-making. I have developed a great interest in being an entrepreneur. Recently, Jake has been helping me make decisions for a clothing brand I just started. Jake has helped to guide me in balancing school work, focusing on courses that add knowledge to my interests, striving to acquire practical experience and always encourages me to stay organized and to network with people in and outside of my school. Jake has been a really good person for me as a mentor. He hasn’t made me feel judged, but encourages me to look at myself from different perspectives and make decisions that I have to live with. I have learned a lot about who I am and helped me feel more confident about what I can do and how to be a risk-taker with my dreams and goals. I have learned a lot about myself and hope Jake will be there for me for years to come.
By Vincent Pappas – Bronxville, NY
Ashley Miles – University of Vermont 2019 `grandparent comment~
Jake's work with our granddaughter, Ashley Miles, was outstanding. His personal relationship with Ashley grew over her Gap year in which she participated in 4 different and challenging international programs. He had excellent rapport with her and orchestrated a thrilling year for her before college. As grandparents, Jake gave us great support when problems arose. Jake immediately got involved and found solutions.....even on a Sunday! We failed to take into consideration all the extraneous expenses that Ashley incurred, but that was not Jake's problem. We are so very grateful to Jake for his wise counsel and following Ashley's progress and keeping in touch with both Ashley and us throughout the year. She says it was "the BEST year of her life".
By Carol and Robert Scofield – Lake Placid NY.
Joseph D'Andrea – University of Florida 2019 ~parent comment~ College Planning, Application/Transition
I highly recommend Jake Horne of The Student Compass. My son, Joe, started working with Jake his Junior year while attending Litchfield High School. The Student Compass mentoring experience has organized my son, given him independence and the ability to choose a college that is appropriate for him. The college mentoring program helps reduce the stress of the college application process and allows the student and parents to enjoy the senior year and beyond with their child. Joe will be attending the University of Florida (Joe's first choice of schools) this fall. It is the best investment that you can make for your child.
By Robert D’Andrea – Litchfield, CT
Ashley Miles –University of Vermont 2019 Gap Year
Jake Horne helped me with every step of the planning process leading up to and over the course of my gap year between high school and college. Without him I wouldn't have had nearly the same level of success and preparedness with my travels had I not had his help. He even drove to meet me for the first time when I was still in boarding school to begin to discuss our work together as well as possible places/thing I might be interested in going/doing/seeing when on my gap year. Jake was very attentive to all of my (sometimes crazy) questions and was always very flexible with scheduling our typically once a week Skype calls. Even after most of the planning had been completed for one stage of my year Jake continued to be an invaluable asset to both me and my family in helping us keep in touch as well as prepare me for the next stage(s) of my journey. He had the connections and knowledge to take my goals, thoughts, and ramblings and was able to then give me a list of organizations/places I could go where my needs would be met and I'd learn new things, explore a new place, and have fun. I had one of the BEST years of my life and I wouldn't have had I not had the help of Jake. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Not one complaint.
By Ashley Miles - Vero Beach Florida
Chris Stern - Occidental College 2018 College Planning, Application/Transition
I first met with Jake Horne two years ago. I was about to graduate high school, and was very unsure of my footing in the world now that I was stepping away from my small, close-minded high school and town. To say the least, I felt unfulfilled and in need of an adventure. Jake helped me plan out and execute an incredibly successful gap year; a gap year in which I found myself backpacking along the Mekong River through the eclectic countries China, Laos, and Cambodia, backpacking and WWOOFing all throughout the North and South islands of New Zealand, and working an internship with an NGO in New York City. In Southeast Asia, I lived with families in each country, harvested rice, went on an excursion through the Laos’ jungle, saw Angkor Wat at dawn, and learned alongside Buddhist monks. In New Zealand, I hiked Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings, worked at a white water rafting lodge, herded sheep, worked on a vineyard, and found independence. In my internship, I helped run galas and raise money for children’s hospitals being built in Southeast Asia. I made amazing lifelong friends from all over the world. I grew mentally and physically healthier and established a healthy, happy lifestyle. I found passion in culture. I grew as an individual and established a strong sense of self-identity. Most importantly, I started dreaming again and believing in myself. All of this was made possible because I worked with Jake and the Student Compass. He has always been incredibly dedicated, has always believed in me, and has always genuinely cared for me. He is my mentor, my confidant, and my role model. I am so incredibly lucky and humbled to have been able to work with the Student Compass, and to still have Jake in my life today. With his and the Student Compasses’ help, I experienced and appreciated the most incredible, diverse, crazy and inspiring year of my life.
By Chris Stern Litchfield, CT
Michael McGill former Superintendent Scarsdale Schools
I've known Jake Horne for over a decade as an educator and friend. During that time, I've observed him in his professional contacts with young people, where he is warm, caring and thoughtful. He asks smart questions, provides them with good counsel and asks them to rise to their best. For Jake, working with students is both a serious responsibility and a pleasure. They develop relationships that last well after the end of their formal interactions. Parents I know speak highly of their children's experience with him.
By Michael McGill Director, Program for District Leadership and Reform Bank Street College of Education New York City
Jonathan Lubash - Columbia University 2019 College Planning, Application/Transition
Jake and I have been working together for over a year, and it has been an absolutely amazing experience. Jake helped me in preparing for the Toefl IBT exam and in writing my college application essay, while also assisting me in improving my speaking and writing skills. After spending so much time of intensive work with Jake, I can whole-heartedly say that he does a lot more than just teach. He gives his heart and soul to his students, by mentoring and leading them towards achieving their goals. Thanks to Jake's teaching and mentoring, I got accepted to Columbia University and am now pursuing an undergraduate degree in Economics. What at first seemed impossible, soon became very possible with Jake's guidance, and I would definitely recommend working with him, to anyone who is serious about succeeding in the American academic system.
By Jonathan Lubash - Ra'anana, Israel
Alex Laifer - Brevard College 2018 Gap Year, College Planning, Application/Transition
I have worked with Jake since the beginning of 2014. I was in the middle of a gap year and was looking to burst my bubble. He helped me plan the besthree months of my life in Costa Rica! There, I attended a language school, volunteered at a nature preserve, lived with a host family, and then hostelled around all over the country! Jake has helped me find colleges and summer employment. We have also discussed potential college majors. Jake is knowledgeable and his advice has helped me find my way.• • •
By Alex Laifer - Washington, Ct (I have also been working with Alex since his Gap Year, through his summer before matriculating at his college and as he transitioned into this past academic year, adjusting to the complexity of a new environment with the many academic and social demands that he needed to manage. Alex is considering transferring to another college which offers a major closer to that which his present college offers and so he and I are sorting through the issues of transferring or not and selecting colleges that would best fit his plans.) * note from JAH