We know that the college admissions process is a critical period for your family. While it can also be a stressful time, we aim to alleviate that feeling by helping your child successfully navigate each phase of the college preparation and application process. We believe that supporting your child’s efforts to get admitted to the college that’s a perfect fit is our utmost mission. We view ourselves as advocates for the student and often in the confidence-building business as the cornerstone of enabling students to best represent their candidacy in a highly competitive moment in higher education.
We believe that the college admission process should be as transparent and fact-based as possible for parents as well as students. Our role in the process can range from targeted expert advice at key junctures to serving as the de facto end-to-end “general contractor” to ensure that every application step is proactively managed, reviewed and executed within the necessary timeframe, and that all details are perfected before applications are due.
While much of our site is devoted to our work with students, we also provide the following benefits to parents:
- Assurance that we will help your child follow a timeline that will minimize the frenzy of last-minute applications and will make this as positive an experience as possible.
- A personalized approach to your child’s goals and interests to ensure that he or she has the best possible chance of getting into their target schools
- Helping to maximize the merits of your child’s candidacy given their unique talents, academics and interests
- We fundamentally believe there are multiple “perfect fits” for your child and our goal is to help make sure they land in a place that they can do their best work and at an institution that will value their unique ability to contribute and grow as students and young adults on a pathway to employment or graduate school.
Paying for College
You’ve dreamed of the day your child would go off to college. What you might not have dreamed of was the cost, given steady increases in tuition over the past several decades. There are two ways to make college affordable.
The Easy Way:
The easy way is to start saving the day your child is born and is best done with a 529 plan that is a tax-advantaged investment vehicle designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. While this is the best case situation, many parents are often concerned how having a 529 plan will impact their chances of getting financial aid. We have experts who will work with families on how to optimize the allocation of resources.
The Common Way:
The far more common situation is there is not enough savings to cover the full load of a college education. Regardless of where your child would like to go to college or where you as the parent would like your child to go to college, there is one fact that remains the same — how much you as a parent are able to contribute and required to pay according to EFC(expected family contribution). Our financial experts will help you investigate your options for scholarships, grants, student loans, work-study programs and financial aid. Once you receive your acceptance letter there will then be a letter stating what sort of aid your child will receive. At this juncture we would sit down and look at the opportunities then pick a school that not only is the right fit for your child but is one that you can afford.
Our intent is to be build a trust based relationship with the parent and represent the economic facts to your student in the manner that is appropriate for how finances are discussed and disclosed in your family.
Financing College Websites
There are several free, comprehensive, objective, and independent guides to student financial aid resources.
What are the key financial aid terms?
EFC: Expected family contribution
COA: Cost of attendance
FAFSA: Free application for federal student aid
CSS: College Scholarship Service Profil
Grant: Financial aid that does not need to be paid back
Net Price: The full price of attending school minus the aid the student receives
CSS Profile – Institutional financial aid application – https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp
- Financial aid application for many private colleges
- Profile is always used in conjunction with the FAFSA. Therefore both applications must be submitted to these schools.
- Profile treats income and assets differently than the FAFSA. For example home equity is not protected under the CSS Profile formula, and income from the non-custodial divorced parent must be included in ability to pay.
- CSS Profile maybe submitted earlier than Jan. 2nd.
- Tax returns are often requested by colleges after financial aid award is made.
Scholarships can be an important piece in financing a college education. They are available to students for academic achievement; to students with special abilities or talents; for leadership or community service, or because of ethnicity, nationality, family background, or parent occupation. There are thousands of scholarships out there but students must be proactive in pursuit of most scholarship opportunities.
Here are some useful scholarship search websites:
- Fastweb – fastweb.com
- Scholarships.com – www.scholarships.com
- College Board – http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp
- ScholarshipPoints.com – www.scholarshippoints.com/
Massachusetts State Scholarships
National and College Scholarship/Merit Websites
Articles on Merit
In the 21st century there is an abundance of free resources and unlimited information about colleges and the admissions process. At a time when there has never been more information, the decision on how to proceed in regards to your child’s future has become very complicated. I have vetted some websites that I have found to be helpful in my work with parents as reference:
- College Board https://www.collegeboard.org
- Common Application https://www.commonapp.org
- College Essay Organizer http://www.collegeessayorganizer.com
Student Talent Searches
Beyond academics, how can you set a student apart in competitive college admissions marketplace? There are countless programs across the US designed to help augment your child’s development in advance of attending college. These programs can signal to schools that your child has earnest interests and distinctive talents. These programs often serve as feeders for candidates to a range of colleges. A representative sample of programs include:
- Johns Hopkins CTY (Center for Talented Youth) http://cty.jhu.edu
- Duke TIP (Talent Identification Program) http://tip.duke.edu
- Pomona College Mathematical Talent Search http://www.math.wisc.edu/talentsearch/
- Massachusetts Education & Career Opportunities, Inc. http://www.massedco.org/educational-talent-search
- Broadreach – adventures abroad for high school students including study abroad, service, language, scuba, medicine, natural science & marine com
There is no single path to college admissions, but there are patterns that emerge from the narratives of students. Completing non-traditional programs that mature your child’s capabilities can be a valuable part of the larger story for the candidate. Beyond solid academics, thinking in this way can lead to powerful additions to a resume and often unlocks the passions and potential of amazing students.