Ready, Willing, and Able

Ready, Willing, and Able A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success

Mandy Savitz-Romer and Suzanne M. Bouffard
Pub. Date: April 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-265-6
paper, 248 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-132-1
Price: $30.00

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How can an understanding of adolescent development inform strategies and practices for supporting first-generation college goers? In Ready, Willing, and Able, Mandy Savitz-Romer and Suzanne Bouffard focus on the developmental tasks and competencies that young people need to develop in order to plan for and succeed in higher education.


Savitz-Romer and Bouffard have written a much-needed book that captures and highlights the intersections of adolescent development, community-building, and college readiness. This book should be read by all educators, particularly school counselors and K-12 school-based college counselors, interested in helping youth reach their academic potential. Well done! — Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, professor and vice dean of academic affairs, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University

Ready, Willing, and Able is a must-read for everyone (and I mean everyone) who believes that there is more to helping young people become ready for college, work, and life than improving reading competency and mastering the FAFSA application. This book helps explain and address the missing piece: supporting adolescent development. I can’t remember the last time I read a professional book that taught and inspired as masterfully as this one does. I read it cover to cover and made notes in the margin. Thanks to the authors, help for young people is on the way. — Karen J. Pittman, cofounder, president, and CEO, The Forum for Youth Investment

How do we get our kids to and through college? For starters, read this book! For too long we have tried to help our students without understanding the profound developmental changes they are going through. This important work illustrates the complex challenges that adolescents face and offers important strategies and insights to help them flourish. — Jeffrey C. Riley, superintendent-receiver, Lawrence (Mass.) Public Schools, and former chief innovation officer, Boston Public Schools

Ready, Willing, and Able: A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success sets the foundation for all of the knowledge and skills that are taught and learned in our college-going seminar courses at YES Prep. Never have I picked up a book and been able to implement activities like I have with Ready, Willing, and Able. It is so practitioner-friendly and reads like a guide for immediate implementation at the campus level. — Rhiannon Carabajal Killian, senior director, College Initiatives, YES Prep Public Schools, Houston, Texas

I have worked in college access for more than twenty years and I have never read a better, more useful book than this. Ready, Willing, and Able is a must-read for anyone who works with any child in any K–12 setting in any capacity. The brilliance of this book is that a world of complex research is matched with an equally complex problem and results in a readable, enjoyable, realistic, optimistic book that makes the case that we can change the course of lives and the trajectory of our nation. No academic decision, no policy decision, and no funding decision should be made without the firm grounding in adolescent development found here. — Jacqueline Moreno, managing director, College Access Initiatives, Illinois Student Assistance Commission

This is a persuasive book that should be required reading for those interested in new ways of improving college access. — Mark Rohland, Teachers College Record

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About the Authors

Mandy Savitz-Romer is a faculty member and director of the Prevention Science and Practice program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her professional experience has allowed her to link research to practice in the field of school counseling, specifically as it relates to college and career readiness for first-generation college students. She has held previous positions at the Boston Higher Education Partnership, Boston University, Boston College, Simmons College, and the Boston Public Schools. As a former urban high school counselor, Savitz-Romer is particularly interested in how schools and districts structure counseling support systems and college planning efforts to reach all students. Her research interests include college access and success for first-generation college students; school counselor training and development; youth development; and preK–16 partnerships and policy. She holds a master’s degree in school counseling from Boston University and a PhD in higher education from Boston College.

Suzanne M. Bouffard is a researcher and project manager at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she focuses on applying research on child and youth development to practice and policy. Her work has focused on social and contextual factors that support learning and educational success, including out-of-school time and youth development programs, social and emotional learning programs, and family-school-community partnerships. In her current role and her previous position at the Harvard Family Research Project, she has developed a specialty in communicating about these topics for practitioners through written publications and in-person professional development. She has taught at Boston University and Emerson College and has worked directly with children and youth from elementary school through college. She earned a PhD in developmental psychology from Duke University, where she was a J. B. Duke Fellow and a University Scholar and won an Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association.