FAFSA form, SAT/ACT Test Prep, picking colleges, applying to college, admission essays, college visits, financial aid – OH MY!!!

19400320_sAfter working with families as a college planning expert and consumer advocate since 1999, the word we have heard the most from parents over the years is “OVERWHELMED”.  The word heard most behind OVERWHELMED is probably “STRESSFUL.”  Your ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE was created to take families from Overwhelmed and Stressed to Organized and Efficient as they work through the college process in less time and with less stress.

 

It’s no secret that you can find anything on the internet these days.  The problem with the college process is understanding where to start and the proper steps along the way.   Depending on the age of your student, knowing what to search for, and when, is what results in parents constantly telling us over the years that they are confused and overwhelmed.  The internet may make it easier to find information but that doesn’t necessarily translate into efficient processing of all the information you can find; and more importantly you and your student taking the right steps at the right time.  This program will take you from overwhelmed to organized if you just follow Your ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE.  Your GPS, if you will.

The program is designed to be your path and we encourage you to fight the urge to stray off the path.  Curiosity is great, but often times it leads to wasted time, more confusion and stress.  You have access to all the information and tools we have created for you, but we can’t stress enough the importance of following YOUR ROADMAP.  If your student is a sophomore in High School, you don’t really need to spend much time learning about college application deadlines and financial aid forms right now.  Your ROADMAP will let you know when it is time to focus on that step, so trust in the process, stay focused and you will greatly increase your efficiency through the college process and significantly reduce your stress along the way.

Oh, and another thing, you and your student will know many people who are also trying to figure this out and some may be a year ahead or a year behind you.  Be very careful to avoid others dragging you onto their path. If they are just constantly researching on the internet and getting confused themselves, they may be going East when they should be going South.  Be sure you continue to follow YOUR ROADMAP.

So what exactly does the YOUR ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE program include?

College Timelines:
Not just timelines, but interactive timelines, so you can keep track of what steps you or your student have completed and when. You will actually have 2 timelines; one for the student and one for the parents.  You will know what the next step is but avoid getting distracted and off course.  We will make it clear what your MUST DO items are along the way, and what the helpful, “should do” items are as well.  There are some MUST DO things that if missed, will prevent your student from getting into college or result in less, or no financial aid.

Managing Expectations:
One of the best ways to improve the whole college experience is to properly manage expectations from the beginning.  This is true of expectations of both the parents and the students.

Financial Aid:
You will understand how financial aid works, what the sources of aid are and how to access aid.  More importantly, you will understand how to determine what your aid will look like at different schools; way before most families find this out.  Knowing what to expect from colleges before you apply or even spend time and money to go visit schools can result in huge savings.    If you know in advance that a school will be out of reach financially, you don’t take time off of work and pay for travel and a hotel to visit that school.

Your Family Out of Pocket Cost:
Hopefully, you have never paid the sticker price on a car.   Similarly, you will know what your family can expect to pay at different schools so you don’t make the mistake of crossing a good fit school off the list, just because the sticker price seems unaffordable to your family.  The key is whether the true Out of Pocket cost is affordable.  On the flip side, nobody wants to have the uncomfortable conversation with their child after they have visited, fallen in love, and been accepted to a school:  “We are really sorry honey, but we just got our financial aid package and it is not enough to make your dream school affordable. You will just have to pick from one of these other schools that are more affordable.” Talk about emotional!

Tutorials:
Tutorials are available to help you through the steps.  One of the biggest mistakes or fears we hear from parents is that they are afraid they will make a mistake that could hurt their students’ chances of getting accepted somewhere, or reduce the chances of getting maximum financial aid to help pay for college.  Doing something new for the first time can sometimes be very stressful, especially when you are trying to squeeze it in early in the morning before heading off to work, or late at night when your eyes are half closed.

Scholarships:
Understanding the reality of scholarships and what you can expect to help cover the cost of college is extremely important in being prepared to pay your family cost for college.  Overestimating how much your child will get in scholarships can lead to big problems down the road.

Forms and Tools:
Most people don’t have a ton of extra time to create a spreadsheet to help them compare colleges, or keep track of the college loans that may be necessary to pay for college.  We have created such tools for you so you can just plug in and get started without that first step of creating the tool, or searching for it on the internet.

Appeals:
You will understand how to determine if your initial aid award from schools is a fair award or leaves room to appeal for a better offer.  You can’t just ask for more money from every school.  Once you know if an award is not up to par, you will have guidance on the best way to appeal for a better award.  (Begging is not a good approach).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Search:
FAQ’s are great, but what happens when you don’t even know what questions to ask?  Reading through an entire list of Q & A because you feel you will eventually need to know all the answers isn’t the answer. How can you avoid wasting time getting answers to one question, when there is a more timely and important question to have the answer to, based on where your student is on the timeline?

Are you ready to save yourself time and money and reduce the stress as you embark on the OVERWHELMING college process?  For only $249 you can plug into YOUR ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE and be on your way.  If you have talked to anyone who has been through this before, you probably know that you can’t just pick a weekend and complete all the college admission applications and be done with it.  The same goes for applying for financial aid.  Both involve a process that stretches out over months.  You might be asking:  “But is $249 a good investment for help with the college process?”   Try looking at it this way; if getting through all of this is going to take hours of research and then more hours of doing all the steps along the way; what is your time worth and do you have a ton of extra time on  your hands already?  You are probably getting impatient reading this, because you have to get to work, go grocery shopping, or pick up one of your kids from practice.  Even if YOUR ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE reduces your time on this process by 15 hours you have recouped your investment and that is not even counting avoiding mistakes you might make along the way that could cost you money in aid.  Avoiding the cost of one college visit that is not a good fit will be much more than the investment in YOUR ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE.  I can’t really put a price tag on having less stress in your life, so you will have to decide that one for yourself.

If all of this makes sense and you are ready to get started with YOUR ROADMAP FOR COLLEGE, for only $249, then click here.