How much will we be expected to pay?
The short answer is too much!
Colleges are businesses and they want your student as cheaply as they can get him or her – that means they want you to pay as much of the bill as possible!
There are two major forms used to determine your contribution. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA, is used by nearly every school in the US. It is the gateway to federal, state, and most institutional aid. A few hundred schools also require the PROFILE form. This form assesses income and assets differently, usually to the school’s benefit, not the family’s. The PROFILE form is quite extensive. Preparing to file these forms is ESSENTIAL to your family’s financial success during the college years.
Those who get the most aid are those who understand the system. We understand the system and can help your family pay the least possible, often MUCH, MUCH less than you would have on your own.
Sign up now for a consultation ($250 fee will be applied to services, for those who hire us) to see how we can help your family make college affordable!
How do we choose a school?
Great question! With as many as 8,000 students applying for each seat in the freshman class, admissions is tougher than ever before. Consequently thorough student preparation and savvy school selection are both critical to college success. We guide students through the steps to determining their personal life goals, then use that to direct our college search. We can help you find the schools with the best environment for your teen, the right majors and programs, in your desired location. Furthermore, we specialize in finding schools with scholarships for your student.
For more information, or to discuss our premier, customized college prep program, please click here:
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Here’s a scenario that happens far too often – for no reason!
A student will pick schools they like, that their friends are going to, or they heard about somewhere, or they took a liking to – which may mean that they liked the food or the landscaping or the website. They apply and get in. Then the financial aid award letter comes and the parents realize just how costly it’s going to be. They can’t afford it – but their kid’s heart is set on it, they are accepted, and it’s too late to apply elsewhere. So, they go massively into debt to make it happen. Then Jane changes her mind, her major, or her boyfriend and transfers midstream. Now they are into an extra year or two of college in order to make up all the credits needed for the new major. Do you want this experience?
Does it matter if my child knows what he or she wants to study?
Get in your car. Drive down the street. Turn right. Drive five miles, turn left at the next light. Turn right at the first light. Turn left at the next junction. Where are you now? LOST, that’s where you are. So, do you think having a defined goal is helpful? Yes, just as it is for a car trip, so having a defined goal is essential for being successful at college and life.
Many parents send their children to college, expecting them to figure out what they want to do while they are there. What normally happens is that the student does poorly, feels even more lost. Many drop out and a few, sadly, take their own lives because they feel so lost.
If we want our children to be motivated, educated adults when they graduate, they will greatly benefit from taking time during high school to seriously explore their career interests. If we want our children to be part of the 50% who graduate in 4 years, help them find their direction before they get to campus.
This is a core part of our client services. Sign up below and someone from our office will contact you to start to explore how we can help your family make college successful and affordable.
How do schools decide who gets in?
Great question! There are numerous factors that are considered by admissions departments. Your student needs to know which schools for which he or she is a good candidate. There are twenty factors admissions committees consider and they go far beyond grades and test scores. Presumably all the applicants to a given school have GPAs and test scores in their range. How does your student set him or herself apart?
There are myriad ways to do this. The ones which will make your student successful will be integrated into his or her chosen field of study as well as his or her life goals. Admissions committees like to see consistency – your activities, grades, scores, and interests line up. There may be additional activities but, there will be significant ones in your field of interest.
When working with students, development of a plan to achieve the student’s goals always includes these things. We create excellent student applicants for their chosen schools. Call or email today to find out how we can help your child shine!
Is going to community college first a good idea?
This path sounds so promising – go to the local JC, get the general education courses done, transfer to a 4 year college for the last two years, and be done. Save a bundle.
Sadly, according to a study done by California State University and released in 2009, only 1 out of every 4 degree seeking junior college students gets a bachelors degree in SIX years. That means it costs MORE in both time and effort, not to mention the discouragement of failed expectations!
Contact us today to discuss which of our plans is best for you. We will guide your family to options which really work to save you time, money, and effort as you educate your child.
Should I listen to what everyone tells me about the various colleges?
I am sure you have had the experience of hearing about the new kid in your class, family on your block, or person at your office BEFORE meeting them. You may have heard they are strange, smart, beautiful , a good worker, etc. – then when you met them, you find them to be completely different from the reports.
The hearsay about schools is usually just as accurate as that example.
We work with facts and weed out the inaccurate and highlight the important. We even translate the obscure into terms you can understand. We’d love to help you find the perfect school for your child, Determine which service plan best suits you and sign up today!
The FAFSA looks easy, is it?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is the gateway to federal, state, and nearly all institutional financial aid – everything from loans to grants and school scholarships. So, it is VERY important to complete it correctly. Errors can cost you time and aid you would have qualified for.
Filling out the form is not too challenging this year. They simplified the online process and reduced the number of webscreens. That is very helpful.
However, the real work of filing the FAFSA starts a year or more in advance of filing season. This is when you analyze your situation and make the adjustments necessary to give you the lowest possible EFC and the greatest possible financial aid eligibility.
Contact our office today so we can assess your situation and make recommendations about how to improve it.
We filed our FAFSA but aren’t sure it’s right. Can you help us?
If you have already filed, remember that the form will need to be filed each year your child/children are in college – we can help you do better next year. We also do FAFSA reviews of non-finalized FAFSAs and can determine whether the form has been correctly completed. Call the office to schedule this.
When should I start planning to pay for college?
A lot of people ask me when they should start to plan. Some are concerned that they might start too early. Those who are starting late know that they have a problem.
The question is – what is your goal? Are you saving for college? In that case, you cannot start too early – compound interest is a great ally!
When should we start working with a college planner?
8th to 9th grade is the optimal time to start formally planning for college. 10th is good. 11th is late, the pressure is on with testing and upcoming applications. It can be done, but is very intense and the results are not as good. There just isn’t the time to deeply evaluate potential careers then appropriate majors, programs, and colleges when starting during Junior year. We’ll do our best. Starting earlier in high school really makes a difference for the student. They are far better prepared and more focused. They tend to do much better at college.
What do you suggest for early childhood academic preparation for college?
In reality, you have been preparing your child since birth with the selection of books you read to him or her – or didn’t. Exposure and immersion into second languages at an early age is supremely helpful. Foreign languages are best acquired before puberty. It changes the child’s brain and makes learning additional languages later easier. Do you keep your child accountable – do they get their homework done? Do they learn on their own, too?
I won’t get aid – but I can’t afford it. Now what?
You are what we call an affluent family. Don’t give up hope.
No matter the particulars of your situation, there are strategies which can be used which may make you eligible for aid. There are numerous additional strategies which will enable you to pay less for college and use your funds efficiently. Just because you have a child or two in college, you don’t have to give up your vacation or other plans.
Let’s schedule a consultation ($200, fee applied to additional services when you hire us.) to start to explore how we can best help your family’s college experience more affordable.
What makes you different from other planners?
With over eight years’ experience on the admissions prep and financial aid side, coupled with the CCPS certification and know how on the funding side, I offer comprehensive services. I combine academic, financial aid, and numerous funding strategies for each of my client families to optimize their situation. With over a dozen years’ teaching experience, I have experience working with many different kinds of teens.
Being familiar with your family’s complete picture enables us to provide thorough and coordinated services which ensure that you and your teen have the best possible outcome.
For more information on getting top quality college planning, please refer to my book on the subject:The Ultimate Guide to Getting Top Quality College Planning: Insider Secrets that save you time and money Finally Revealed
If you want customized, professional, comprehensive college planning services for your family, you have come to the right place. If your budget won’t permit getting the highest level of service for your child, please see our Services page for information regarding our various service packages. We also offer Online courses
Sign up below for your initial consultation and let’s make college affordable for your family and successful for your children!
When should I start saving for college?
If you have not started yet, today is the day to start. Your yesterdays are gone. Start today. Paying for college is an enormous task. For many of us, it will cost more than our house. But, start wisely. Get advice on your particular situation before you start. It doesn’t make sense to save your precious dollars, only to have them place in the wrong investments. Planning is absolutely critical to maximizing the impact of every dollar you save. Some people save, only to find themselves ineligible for aid they could have qualified for. It is ESSENTIAL to have a college planner participate in your college funding planning!
If you don’t have children yet, I congratulate you on your forward thinking. Start saving for college the day the baby is born. Take those gifts sent with the congratulatory notes and put them to work in ways which will provide for college, or other expenses, when your child enters adulthood.
Sign up below for your initial consultation. Let’s create a plan for your family so every dollar you save makes a real difference later.
I want to help my grandchildren with college expenses. How can I best do that?
I am sure that you want the best for your grandchildren. It is important that you carefully consider both tax implications and future financial aid eligibility when you gift or bequeath part of your hard earned estate to your grandchildren.
Sign up below for a consultation. We can discuss your plans and I would be happy to share the pros and cons of the various strategies so you can make an informed decision.
Where can we look for private scholarships?