Comprehensive Planning Services
$2,100 (Payment in full or a $700 deposit with a signed agreement is appreciated.)Get Started
The Comprehensive Program gives you the peace of mind that comes from having expert guidance through the entire college planning process.
Along with education and support for the entire process I create a college list specific to your student's academic, social, financial, & geographic preferences. This option means that you:
- Understand how to make college more affordable by learning where your child might get the most need-based and/or merit-based financial aid (other than your home, college may be the single biggest expenditure you ever have).
- Explore more “good fit” college options - too many students apply to the same colleges, neglecting lesser known schools with great reputations, outcomes, and aid.
- Sleep easier because you fully understand college application time-frames, standardized testing choice, and admissions options (with reminders and support along the way).
- Decrease family stress because you’ve got help with giving your student the structure & accountability needed for staying on top of college application details and deadlines.
- Help your student gain an expanded view of opportunities by exploring his/her interests and how those interests connect to college majors and the world of work (via the Strong Interest Inventory - see more here).
- Rest assured that your student will write his or her best possible essay/personal statement. I have been trained by and use a 10-step process designed by professional writers specifically for high school students writing their college essays. I help students identify a compelling essay topic and shape that into a personal statement that reflects who they are. This is my favorite part of the college planning process because students reflect on what is important to them or about them, put that into words, and invariably feel great satisfaction in having done so.
- Enjoy easy access to extensive, up-to-date information about thousands of colleges, allowing you to, for example, instantly compare ACT, SAT and GPA data to thousands of colleges to see how your student matches up to other enrolled students at each school).
Bottom line, you rest assured that your family has engaged in comprehensive and thoughtful planning, with support for every question, during one of the most important transitions in your student’s life.
Comprehensive Planning includes:
- Description & discussion of the different types of schools (research, masters level, and liberal arts), their advantages/disadvantages
- Assistance with understanding & navigating the college financial aid process, including guidance in evaluating whether schools might give your student need-based financial aid and/or merit awards and the amount you might expect; answers to your financial aid questions as you work to complete fin aid forms. The largest source of scholarship money for your student is going to be from the college the he/she attends -- that means you really need to start focusing on price at the beginning of the college search process, not the end.
- Identification of preferred college characteristics -- these serve as the basis for identifying "good fit" colleges for the student
- Career Exploration using the Strong Interest Inventory* -
- The Strong Interest Inventory® is the world’s most widely respected and frequently used career planning tool. The personalized insights that result from the Strong provide information and guidance for students, including:
• Guidance for college major selection or post-high school plans
• Confidence gained from increased self-awareness
• An expanded view of opportunities
• Improved decision-making
• Increased ability to articulate interests and goals in the college application & essay writing process, internships, & employment opportunities
• A process (and tools) for exploring career options well into the future.
More about the Strong can be found at:
- Development of a list of 8-12+ colleges that are a good academic, financial, social, and geographic fit for the student, based on preferences developed with the student and family
- Instruction on how to thoroughly research colleges, both the colleges on the list I provide as well as any others that you add to your list, and easy access to the best tools for doing so
- Standardized test planning, including understanding the differences between the ACT & SAT, outlining test prep options, and creating a testing schedule
- Providing students with structure, deadlines and goals, encouraging them to have control over and responsibility for the process
- Guidance for the college essay writing process - Using a 10-step process developed by professional writers specifically for college applicants, I help students brainstorm ideas for their main essay (typically the Common Application essay). I help them identify something important about themselves that they want to express to college application readers, and to create a "theme" around that idea. I then help them plan a carefully crafted essay with a clear theme, and write a polished final draft for submission. I don’t write essays or offer major revisions, both of which rob the essay of the student's own voice. I support students with 1) their main essay/personal statement and 2) with one "Why This College?" essay. I also help them identify all supplemental essays they will have to write.
- Review of admissions options (e.g, Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision, etc), their advantages and disadvantages
- Access to a password protected online college planning account from which students/parents can easily research colleges, compare their GPA & test scores to those of the most recently admitted freshman class for every college in the US, keep track of all application tasks, and more...
- Electronic documents and forms covering all of the issues we discuss for review/reading at home
- Unlimited email and phone access for questions along the way.
"Do-It-Yourself" with Guidance
Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors $525.00Get Started
"DIY" with Guidance
In two ~ 90 minute meetings you’ll understand:the key tasks in the college planning process, including how much schools will expect your family to pay for one year of college (using the required formulas); how to target schools for affordability and; the tasks that need to be done and when they need to be done.
At our first meeting we discuss:
- The different types of schools (research, masters level, liberal arts), their advantages/disadvantages. This is an often overlooked and very important distinction that you really want to be aware of before you start creating a college list;
- All of the college search and application tasks you will need to accomplish and the time line for getting them done. You will have a clear roadmap of key tasks to follow, leaving you feeling “on-top” of the process rather than overwhelmed by it;
- The importance of standardized testing (the SAT and ACT), (including how they impact need-based and merit [aka, free] money); the difference between the two tests (to help determine which one might be best for your student), and when to consider scheduling the test(s);
- Admission options: You can apply early, you can apply “binding", and you can apply “regular”. I will explain these options and the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can move forward with clear target dates based on your goals.
- College visits and the importance of “demonstrating interest” and how best to do it.
Our second meeting is devoted to understanding the college financial aid process so that you can target schools based on YOUR budget. At this meeting we discuss:
- How to identify the dollar amount that schools will expect your family to pay for one year of college (this is different for every student);
- How to research which schools might be most generous (in terms for free money (tuition discounts) for YOUR student; this varies considerably from student to student and from school to school;
- The required financial aid forms (both the federal and the private schools forms) and related timelines;
- Any issues that may impact your family's financial aid situation (e.g., divorce, separation, unusual assets, etc), and;
- Typically, the largest source of scholarship money for your student is going to be from the college the he/she attends -- NOT local or national scholarships. That means you really need to start focusing on price at the beginning of the college search process, not the end.
I provide these documents for your reference after our meetings:
- Types of colleges
- Overview of all College Search and Application Tasks with Timeline/Key Dates
- SAT/ACT comparison
- Admissions Options (Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision)
- Financial Aid Basics (covers need-based aid, merit aid, loans, scholarships)
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Tip Sheet - (your EFC is what colleges will expect you to pay for one year of college)
- How to Evaluate the Generosity of Colleges
- Tips for Completing the FAFSA and the Profile (two major financial aid forms)
- Schools That Meet 100% of Need
These are documents that I have created and that I update regularly.
After these two meetings you will have learned what you need to know to be an informed consumer, on this, one of the biggest financial investments you will ever make and a huge transition point for your student. You will have what you need to do a thorough job researching your own list of colleges and managing the process on your own. You'll will be ahead of the game instead of struggling to keep up and will be able to rest assured that you understand the major issues in the college search and application process.
Note: DIY With Guidance Service does not include discussion of specific colleges (however, if I do have immediate suggestions to make about colleges that seem a good fit I will mention them), creation of a list of colleges specific to your student, a college application plan, essay support, career exploration via the Strong Interest Inventory, online college planning account (Custom college Plan), student or parent support during the application process, phone or email support after our meetings.
High School Freshmen and Sophomores $250.00Get Started
This service is for 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students and their parents who want to understand the college search and admission process and what to consider when making academic choices in high school.
My goal is to relieve stress around college planning by providing the information you need to prevent worry because you know what you will need to do and when to do it.
In one 90 minute meeting we cover:
- College search, application, and testing timelines;
- What colleges are looking for in applicants;
- Review of student transcripts, activities and available test scores and recommendations regarding high school academic choices;
- The basics of college financial aid
And I am happy to answer any questions you have!
In the early years of high school my focus is on providing well-vetted information geared toward increasing both the parent’s & the student's understanding of important issues and time-frames.
Planning during middle school, 9th and 10th grade does not include specific recommendations for colleges or college list evaluation. These require more in-depth work with students and, in general, students in these early years are not ready to engage in the college selection process.