Dear Estelle. I have avidly read your columns for many years and had plans to use your services when my daughter reached 11 th grade. Now however, with the dire economic conditions, the opportunity to make this a reality are dimming. We can probably afford your services but feel it would be prudent to tackle this on our own. JRS, Centennial, CO
These are tough economic times but I can guarantee that you won’t regret using my services once you’ve begun the process. Some parents are effective in guiding their children through the college planning process because they are familiar with colleges nationally. They can possibly assist the student with his applications although there have been significant changes to many of these. If a student is applying strictly to a few state schools, there may be no need to enlist the services of a private college planner. However, if families want to consider a number of schools scattered in diverse parts of the country with different admissions standards, it will be beneficial to enlist the services of a certified educational planner. The planner recommends schools that fit the students both academically and socially and then continues to serves as a coach throughout the process. Early planning has its benefits too in utilizing strategies for the student that have their payoff when preparing for college. College planners can also assist with the financial aid issue, which has become a bad dream for many families.
Financial issues and a good fit aside, an even more compelling reason to use a consultant to assist with college planning is to minimize the stress on both parents and teens during this period. The last year of high school can be filled with anxiety as teens assert their independence and test their limits. College selection, SATs, essays and application deadlines can test the patience of any family. This is frequently a good time to delegate the responsibility to a third party, an objective knowledgeable person who can guide the family and student through the total process.