Every spring, high school seniors anxiously await college admission letters. At Princeton University, admissions officer Portia Nathan is a gatekeeper, evaluating thousands of applicants annually. Year in and year out, Portia has lived her life by the book, at work and at the home she shares with Princeton professor Mark. When Clarence, the Dean of Admissions, announces his impending retirement, the likeliest candidates to succeed him are Portia and her office rival Corinne. For Portia, however, it's business as usual as she hits the road on her annual recruiting trip. On the road, Portia reconnects with her iconoclastic mother, Susannah, and, on her arrival at New Quest, an alternative high school, she reconnects with her former college classmate, idealistic teacher John Pressman - who has recently surmised that Jeremiah, a gifted yet very unconventional student, might well be the son that Portia secretly gave up for adoption years ago while at school. Jeremiah is about to apply to Princeton. Now Portia must re-evaluate her personal and professional existences, as she finds herself bending the admissions rules for Jeremiah, putting at risk the future she thought she always wanted - and, in the process, finding her way to a surprising and exhilarating life and romance she never dreamed of having.