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Aiming for the Ivy League

She said the book deals with Ivy League schools but also has a good cross-section of other top-notch schools.

Atkin said schools look for a variety of factors when gauging a potential student, such as academics, community service and personal passions and goals that sets one apart from other candidates.

Atkin offered a piece of advice to any student seeking college admission.

"What you do in high school and how you do it is going to have an impact on the rest of your life," Atkin said.

She advised students to begin the selection process early, work hard and challenge themselves if getting into a top school is important to them.

"Otherwise you're just not going to measure up to the rest of the applicants," she said.

Atkin said a Brown University representative told her that 85 percent of applicants fit the "criteria" of the school, meaning their grades and service record is comparable to those in the school, but the ones that get selected are the ones that "shine on paper." She said the essay, community service record or outstanding adverse family or personal circumstances often make the difference.

Ian Leslie, who worked with Atkin on the book, said he enjoyed the experience. Leslie's background is in writing and journalism, and he is a graduate of the University at Albany, now working in South Carolina.

"Working with Marna was a great experience," he said. She's very wonderful."

While Leslie's background is not in counseling, and Atkin's is not in writing, he said they complemented each other, and he appreciated her years of experience working with kids.

He described the development process as "intense," and taking place over a short period of time.

Leslie said a mutual friend introduced him to Atkin and the entire process started last March and was completed by April. The writing portion of the project began last June, he said.

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