Where Are They Now? Part One.
Lynne Mooney Teta, Parent
Lynne Mooney Teta
Lynne Mooney Teta is an Ed. D and an adjunct faculty at Boston College where she works in school leadership. She is also the proud mom of Amelia, a Focus Collegiate graduate.
Why did you decide to enroll Amelia in Focus Collegiate?
She transitioned from a very rigorous high school to a residential treatment program. When she transitioned back, she wanted to finish high school requirements online. She then started her college studies at Boston University. Because she had not been in a full academic environment for two years, we wanted to have some supports in place to set her up for success.
What are the things you thought Amelia was not ready to do independently in the college transition process?
We weren’t sure what she was ready to do because she had not been pressure tested academically or socially for two years. She had done some self-advocacy in online high school, but was she ready to take on Boston University and everything that came with it? What we found was that she jumped right back in the game academically, she advocated for her own accommodations, and she needed personal coaching in the areas of life skills and confidence. She also needed a safe place to bring the challenges she was facing in college.
Why was the first year so important for Amelia?
A successful first semester gives a student confidence to progress from there. It was her reentry into in-person learning and her first experience with college-level academics and the social challenges that come with the first year of college.
What did Focus Collegiate do for you that you didn’t think you were able to do as a parent?
I’m an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education), so I have a significant amount of experience working with and advocating for college students, I was also a high school administrator for over 20 years. But when it’s your own child, it’s wiser to find external support.
It gave me peace of mind that the Focus Collegiate team was checking in regularly, keeping an eye on things. I got regular updates from the team. If she were struggling, I would know about it early on.
What was your experience?
I had nothing but a fantastic experience from the very first phone call with Grant. I was very excited about his depth of experience and that of the support personnel. Amelia was very clear on who to go to for what. A successful first year was really important in her trajectory; she had another cheerleader saying ‘you can do this; it’s a big step and you can do this’.
Her transition from residential treatment to high school online to BU was challenging. She wasn’t sure she was going to go to college. She needed appropriate support to regain her confidence. Now the sky’s the limit!
Now that Amelia is an adult, how has your role changed?
I have been able to step back significantly. She manages an apartment, made the dean’s list, manages the softball team, is in an athletic leadership group, and has a part-time job. She is firing on all cylinders! She still has some supports, but I can sleep better at night knowing that she is successful and happy and meeting her goals.
How did this experience with your daughter influence your role?
My experience with Amelia at Focus Collegiate made me a better college advisor. As a mom, I was worried less and stressed less knowing she was in good hands.
The fact that they have a structure that supports students socially and academically, but that the supports are so individualized—this is the gold of the program. They meet each student where they are and help them get where they want to go.
Why did you choose Focus Collegiate over other support organizations?
Because of the personal recommendation from Amelia’s academic advisor and Grant made me feel he had the experience that would be a good match. We met the team and knew it was going to be a good fit.
How did Focus Collegiate help you as a parent let go?
I trusted them, the trust and the communication – they were in frequent communication which gave me the faith that if something were going off the rails, I’d know about it from an objective person rather than from an 18-year-old in the in middle of it.
What advice would you give other parents who are thinking about enrolling in Focus Collegiate?
If you believe your child would benefit from the support of caring individuals who are independent of the school and the family, it can be a great route to provide the individualization your student needs in the important first months of the college experience. You can always dial down support, but you don’t want to pick up pieces. We wanted to set her up for success and then dial it back if we needed to. Too much was at stake.