Finding the Right Financial Strategy for your College-Bound Student

financial strategy

Parents have tough choices to make deciding on their financial standing when sending their kids to college. How much help should they offer? How do they make sure that their children learn financial responsibility? What is the best financial strategy?

Here are a few possible answers.

Paying for your child’s college is a good idea if you can afford it

Various positions exist on how fair it is to expect parents to pay their children’s tuition. Some experts point to the fact that college isn’t an essential because success is possible without college. Some believe parents should only be expected to pay for essentials. Those in favor of having parents pay point to the unfairness of the high cost of education today, and the terrible financial burden that loans place on a student.

Whichever side of this debate you may stand on, there are a few things to understand. College is a wise choice if the career that your child has in mind does require college. If it does, it is an essential, not a luxury. Ultimately, it is the parents’ choice on whether to provide support or not.

It is also important to understand that supporting a child through college doesn’t amount to coddling or spoiling them. The idea should be to pay as much for your child’s college as you can afford, without putting your own retirement into jeopardy. If you can only pay for tuition but not for board and lodging, that’s what you should pay. Encourage your student to contribute to the cost by working during school, breaks and during the summer.

Give your child a monitored credit card

Letting your kids have a credit card in college can be a risky choice because many have no idea how to use their newfound independence in a responsible way. They may go out and blow everything they have on the card.

A credit card with a low spending limit, however, can be a good idea. It’s when your kids blow their money and scramble to understand what they did wrong, that they begin to learn about how money works.

There are upsides to owning a credit card, too. As long as the card is in your child’s name, they will begin building credit, an important thing for when real life begins four years down the line.

Teach financial responsibility

Heart-to-heart talks about how money works are a part of gaining an understanding of money. You should talk to your child about savings, investing, payday loans, how banks and credit cards can help you with consolidation, how compound interest works and so on.

Talks are important because far too many young people go out into the world with an inadequate understanding of money.

Restraint is important, too

It’s a good idea to encourage financial responsibility by making your kids earn their rewards. While you should pay for your child’s college if you can, everything else like nice clothes and cars should be things they earn.

Finally, once you do have a policy in place, you should stick to it. It doesn’t work to start out with solemn declarations but to always bail your children out when there is trouble. Lessons will never be learned then.

13 Reasons Why Parents Should Pay Attention

13 Reasons Why

My teenagers are now adults. Thankfully, they both survived being a teenager and came through it unscathed. I was never more thankful than after I watched “13 Reasons Why”.

This is not an entertainment review blog. That’s not the reason I’m discussing the Netflix series here today. Although it was an excellent series with some bone-chilling twists and turns, it was more than entertainment. It was a shock to my system. It was a wake-up call for parents. It was a commentary on the dangers of today’s teenagers and how being connected either online or with smartphones can multiply and exaggerate what used to be typical teenage experiences.

The premise of this series is one teenager’s path from hope to hopelessness. That path was driven by 13 different people. Twelve teenagers and one adult who either weren’t listening, didn’t care, or felt pressured by peers to participate in hateful acts toward her. With each instance of cruelty, her hopelessness increases leading her to take her own life. But, she leaves 13 tapes behind explaining what led her to do it. Each person had no idea. Each came face to face with their own cruelty and neglect.

Every parent of a teenager should watch this series. But be warned—it will scare the bejeebies out of you. And it should. Because the world our children and our grandchildren live in today is cruel—crueler than it has ever been. Bullies exist everywhere and the bullying is magnified by social media and smartphones. Your teenager is most likely either being bullied or is bullying someone. Yes, I did say that.

It’s time for parents to start paying attention. Don’t bury your head in the sand and say it can’t happen to my child. Don’t turn away and make comments like, “everyone is bullied.” Most of us were bullied as children in one form or another, but trust me, it was nothing compared to the extent of what is happening today.

I am not a psychologist. I’m just a parent. I raised two teenagers. Based on my own experiences, here are 13 reasons why “13 Reasons Why” parents should pay attention to this series:

  1. Your teenager will experience back-breaking peer pressure. Their peers will pressure them to do things they might not normally do on their own. Peer groups have a great influence on your teenager’s actions. Give your teenager the tools he or she needs to stand up to bad behavior and bullying.
  2. The stress and competition around the college process is overwhelming. There is no greater time for students to feel pressured and stress from their peers and adults than during college prep season. Some is self-inflicted stress, but they will also succumb to comparisons over GPAs, test scores, college choices, and college acceptances. Encourage your teen to pursue his or her own path and be proud of their own accomplishments.
  3. Kids are cruel; especially teenagers. It’s a fact of life. It starts in grade school—the teasing, the bullying, the “I’m not your friend” comments. It only intensifies during the high school years. A strong self-esteem and supportive family can help your teenager overcome the feelings of inadequacies that come with this type of cruelty.
  4. If you don’t know the signs of suicide, you can’t help. Educate yourself. Get information online. Go to parent seminars. Talk to the school and ask what resources they have in place to help students. Finally, don’t ignore the signs. If you see your teenager needs help, don’t be afraid to get it.
  5. You should make it clear in no uncertain terms that bullying will not be tolerated. If you don’t want your teen to be bullied, you should make it clear that you will not allow bullying from your teen. If you see it happening, confront it. If you see it happening to another teenager, inform their parents. Get involved and encourage discussion.
  6. If you don’t talk about this now, it will only get worse in college. Now, while you have them at home, is the time to confront these issues of bullying, teen suicide, social media behavior and mental illness. Once they are away at college, it’s harder to see the signs and even harder to help.
  7. Social media is a game changer. Years ago, bullying was done face to face. Now, it happens online and with the use of smartphones. Social media allows bullies to remain anonymous and harm their victims without having to be face to face. It also makes it harder to fight and diffuse the bullying.
  8. Texts, group texts, Snapchat and other means of communication make bullying much worse. When you watch this series, you will see how group texts and social media contributed to extending the bullying from one student to an entire school. Talk with your teenager about the danger of this behavior and monitor their smartphone and social media activity.
  9. The suicide rate among teenagers is alarming. According to the Center for Disease Control:

    Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24; suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18; more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from any disease COMBINED; each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12; four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs

  1. Most teenagers have a side their parents see and a side their peers see. You may think everything is fine because your teenager tells you it is. But appearances can be deceiving. Take the time to listen, communicate and spend time with your teenager. Make your home a safe space where they feel free to talk about any subject without judgment or condemnation.
  2. Do not let your teenagers watch this without you. There are explicit rape scenes, nudity, and an actual depiction of suicide in the series. If you feel they must watch or are already watching, watch with them and have discussions after each episode.
  3. Kindness won’t stop a person contemplating suicide, but cruelty certainly contributes. It’s clear that a person contemplating suicide will require more than kindness to change their mind. However, the amount of cruelty and hatred a person endures can be a contributing factor. Your teenagers should be aware of this and you should make it clear that you won’t tolerate any hate speak or cruel words directed towards others.
  4. Your teenager’s peers shape their lives. Our friends dictate our actions. That’s why it’s important to choose our friends wisely. It’s important for your teenager to have a few close friends they can confide in and trust. These friends will help counteract any negative input they receive from others. My teenagers’ friends were literally their lifeline in high school and college. Help them choose friends who will raise them up and not tear them down.

If this isn’t enough, read this post from a parent whose son attempted suicide and watched the series: “13 Reasons Why” Scared the Shit Out of Me—And It Should Scare You Too!

Now go watch “13 Reasons Why”. But fair warning—it’s going to scare the bejeebies out of you. At the very least it will make you pay attention. At the very most, it could help you save your teenager’s life.

Preparing Students for College

college

High school students have to be prepared before going to college. This period in the educational journey of students has to be productive enough to gain the right amount of knowledge and skills. College is the real thing. This is where the students will build their dreams. It is where they can look forward into the future and see themselves as a success.

On the other hand, it is also a scary place. College will be full of activities, far harder than those in high school. Knowledge and skills will not be enough. Students also have to possess the needed qualities to thrive in their new environment.

  So now, the question is how do educational institutions prepare students for college? Is there a certain method to do this? In this article, we are going to talk about this critical matter. As you may know, “college” is not for everyone.

In fact, according to a study from Harvard University, only 56% of college students complete their degree. This is very alarming especially if we consider the number of high school students who are not getting a college education.

Why is this happening?

According to the latest findings conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) a.k.a. the Nation’s Report Card, only 37 percent of high school students are prepared for college. Why is this happening in a country where high achievers are very prevalent?

The blame goes both ways. The methods of the schools are not that enough to prepare students for college. Many college students are complaining about their high school education because they feel that it didn’t help them prepare for college. They believe that it all boils down to the quality of learning that high school institutions are offering today. 

In high school, you need to memorize a lot of things in terms of Science and the formulas involved in Math. There are also a lot of quizzes and standardized tests. However, when students go to college, the game suddenly changes. Students discover that memorizing is not that useful, but comprehension is a must.

Students have to understand the lessons and not just learn the facts. Another point to consider is that in high school, when a student attends classes regularly, they automatically get a passing grade.

However, when they are already in college, some professors don’t care if they are going to pass or not. It all depends on their performance in the classroom. Plus, the workload in college is far more demanding than in high school. You have to work hard for those passing grades.

Now, as per students’ opinions, we can say that high school today is not too bad. There are still small things that students should appreciate as high school is where students can learn the fundamentals of each lesson.

High school also teaches the students to acquire the necessary attributes that they can use in college. There are still a lot of things that students can learn from high school. They just have to notice these things and use them when they go to college.

A School That Defies the Norm

While most schools are too busy following their curriculum, there are schools that offers a different kind of learning experience for high school students.

Their methods go far beyond memorizing for exams and quizzes. They are famous because of their education from a deeper perspective. This is the Waldorf Academy in Toronto.

Waldorf Academy offers a wide variety of lessons in Sciences, Math, Arts, and Humanities, with a healthy dose of Social Sciences and Physical Activities. This institution makes sure that students are actively engaged in the learning process. Students in this school exhibit awareness, expertise, and clear thinking in a variety of areas.

Waldorf Academy is a school where students can actually entrust their future. As proof, statistics show that nearly 100% of the graduates from Waldorf high school get into College or other post-secondary programs.

According to the college professors who handled these students, the kind of education that they had in Waldorf Academy is evident. They are showing signs of clear-thinking and interest in the lessons—not only on the context but also in its sense.

Is your child ready for college?

Don’t compromise the future of your kids. High school is a critical part of the children’s educational journey. It is the start of making dreams and building them.

If they are not entirely equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and qualities, it would be hard for them to finish a degree.

So, why risk the future of your child while you can choose Waldorf Academy? Choosing a high-quality school with good-quality learning methods and teachers that are the best at what they do. In this school, you can be sure that you child is in good hands.

6 Tips for Writing a Winning Scholarship Essay

scholarship essay

Essays are the mainstay of scholarship applications, and being able to write essays that stand out and woo the reader are key to winning scholarships. Scholarship essays aren’t the typical English class essay, though. You don’t get a grade based on your work, there are no good efforts in scholarship writing; you either get the scholarship or you don’t. So, to help you be more knowledgeable and more prepared for writing scholarship essays, we’ve composed some tips that you should know before writing your scholarship essays.

Use the Correct Format

Using the correct format for your essay is crucial to having a chance at getting accepted. If your format isn’t correct, your essay may simply be rejected without being read, so it is very important that you both know what format to use and that you follow it. By default, you should follow MLA format – that is, use 12 point font, double spaced, one inch margins, Times New Roman, etc. Only if a different format is required should you not follow MLA standards.   

Know Your Audience

Research the sponsor for every scholarship essay you are writing. If you know about the sponsor, you can tailor your essay, that way you look like a better candidate for their scholarship and are more likely to be accepted. Knowing nothing about the organization leads to a genericsounding essay, which will make the reader feel less connected to you and more like you don’t care that much. Research the sponsor, use that information when planning your essay, and make them feel like you’re the perfect candidate for their scholarship.   

Outline Your Essay

Outline your essay before you start writing! This is very important for writing a well-planned, concise essay, which is exactly what you want. What you don’t want is for the reader to think that your writing is all-over-the-place and unorganized. That doesn’t make for a good impression or a winning essay, so you need to plan out your essay beforehand. This includes writing a thesis – which is the topic sentence for your entire essay – and detailing each of the main points that you will be developing to support your thesis. Not only will this help you to organize your essay, but it will make writing the essay seem less daunting. Coming up with a thesis and supporting points is the hardest part about writing any essay, so get it done and the rest will come. 

Proofread Your Essay 

This one should be obvious, but is necessary to include nonetheless. It is absolutely necessary that you have no spelling mistakes whatsoever in your essay. It needs to sound fluent and be without grammatical errors as well. This will help demonstrate to the reader that you are a skilled writer and have some merit in your writing abilities. Luckily, there are software programs, like Write!, that help you not only write the essay but also count the words and spell check them in any chosen language. 

Make Your Writing Authentic

If you really want to connect with the reader – and you do – you need to make your writing sound authentic. The feeling of authenticity is created when you write your essay using real life experiences and by using emotional diction, that way you sound like a real person telling a story, not an emotionless robot. You should write a new essay for every scholarship application; do not write a single, generic essay and then turn that in to multiple organizations. This is a perfect way to sound unauthentic, which makes the reader feel like you don’t care. It also means that your writing won’t be tailored to the organization. 

Read Example Essays

This tip may seem less obvious, and like something you’re more likely to blow off, but you really should read other scholarship essays. This is like studying for a test, or watching plays in sports to try for yourself. Finding and reading good scholarship essays will show you what you need to do to impress the reader, and sound like you really know your stuff and are deserving. Just make sure that the essays you’re studying from are good essays – you wouldn’t want to study from losing essays.

ScholarPrep 5 Day Challenge for Parents and Students

 

parents and studnets

Every parent wants to know how to help their college-bound teen with college prep. But where do you begin and what steps should you take to help? Jordan Schanda, Founder and Owner of ScholarPrep, has created a FREE 5 day challenge for parents and students to help them stand out on their college application. Below is all the information you will need from ScholarPrep to sign up for the event.

______________________________________________________________

Do you want to help your child stand out and create impressive applications?

Chances are, if you’re like the parents I’ve worked with, you have the desire to help your child succeed but you’re struggling with where to start! You want to do everything in your power to make sure they can afford the college of their dreams, but the amount of information out there is downright overwhelming!

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOU? YOU’RE:

  • Ready to help your 8th-11th grader so they can achieve their college and career dreams
  • Overwhelmed by all the information out there about preparing for college
  • Worried that college will be a financial burden on your family
  • Excited to have someone guide you through the college planning process, step-by-step

In this free 5-day challenge, I will share my secrets for creating impressive college and scholarship applications. By the end of the challenge, you will know how to help your child stand out from the crowd of applicants so that they can get into the college of their dreams and earn scholarships to pay for it!

THE DETAILS:

  • WHEN: Monday, April 24th – Friday, April 28th
  • WHERE: Online via email and in our exclusive, private Facebook Group.
  • WHO: The challenge includes activities and exercises for parents and students.
  • WHY: I created this challenge to help you learn how your child can stand out! This is one of the most overlooked parts of the college planning process.

HOW IT WORKS:

Every good challenge starts with understanding your WHY. As soon as you sign-up and confirm your email, you will receive the Pre-Challenge Worksheet. It includes questions for parents and students, but don’t worry if you are going through this challenge alone. Just answer your part and we will support you in the ScholarPreppers Facebook group!

Then, the challenge will officially kick-off on Monday, April 24th!

  • Every morning of the 5-day challenge, I will email you the topic and assignment of the day. I will also post this in the ScholarPreppers Facebook Group.
    • Don’t worry, the assignments won’t be terribly difficult or take up too much of your time, but they will be valuable!
  • Once you’ve completed the assignment, you can share with us in the group so that you have other families journeying with you and cheering you on! Remember, this group is private, so only group members can see what you post. This is a safe space to ask questions, share concerns and celebrate wins!
  • Everyday at 6 PM Central time, I will join you in the ScholarPreppers Facebook group for a LIVE video session to go over the topic and answer any questions that you have about the assignment and creating impressive applications in general.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How you can help your child discover their passions – and WHY this is so important
  • How your student can understand and leverage their skills and abilities
  • The importance of leadership and the difference between being a leader and being outgoing
  • Why it’s important for your child to take initiative and create their own opportunities
  • The importance of giving back to the community
  • How your student can connect their passions + skills to create really impressive college and scholarship applications

SIGN UP FOR THE CHALLENGE–> CLICK HERE

4 Excuses to Not Apply for Scholarships

 

scholarshipsIf you haven’t heard them, you have made them. These four excuses will keep you from getting a piece of the free money that’s out there and ripe for the picking. Make these excuses and you will be throwing away money that could be used to pay for scholarships.

It’s a waste of time.

If you think winning thousands of dollars of scholarship money isn’t worth your time you’re wrong. It’s worth every cent of your time and more. A few hours can net you thousands of dollars.

I hate writing essays.

There are plenty of “no essay” scholarships available. If essays scare you, look for the scholarships that don’t require them.

I never win anything.

You can’t win if you don’t apply. It’s a guarantee you won’t win if you don’t make the effort and apply.

Only smart kids win them.

Not all scholarships are academic scholarships. Many do not have a GPA requirement. This excuse doesn’t hold water. Many average students win scholarships.

If you want to know why scholarships are worth the effort, read this article I wrote for TeenLife.com: Are Scholarship Applications Worth the Hassle? You Bet!

Not Going to College? Now What?

 

This post was originally written for ClassandCareers.com and was posted as “Taking the non-traditional route after high school graduation”.

college

Most high school seniors are geared up for graduation next month and that comes with a good case of senioritis. The typical path for a large percentage of graduates sends them off to college in the fall to live in dorms, stay up all night studying, and pledge sororities and fraternities. But what happens when those high school seniors choose a non-traditional route that doesn’t include the typical collegiate experience?

Take a gap year

After 12 years of school, and more for some, many high school students are considering a gap year after graduation. That doesn’t mean you veg out on the couch in front of the television, or spend a year playing Xbox games in your parents’ basement. It’s a chance to expand your horizons and get some life experience under your belt before heading off to college. Gap years are becoming more popular among high school graduates and gaining credibility among established educators. Princeton University has a “bridge year” program in place for admitted students to do service work abroad before enrolling. High schools around the country are hosting gap-year fairs to familiarize students with the options available if they choose to take advantage of a gap year.

Consider entrepreneurship

TechCrunch recently interviewed, Peter Thiel, the founder of Paypal about what he calls the “higher education bubble”. His recommendation: take a different path. He has started a program for 20 students under 20 and is paying them $100,000 over a two year period to start their own businesses.  Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos encourages those who are considering spending thousands of dollars on an education to skip the degree and use the money to finance a business. While it’s quite common for college graduates to take an entrepreneurial path, the thought of high school graduates going down that road scares the pants off of most parents.

The downside to this path: not everyone can be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. It takes drive, ambition and determination to start and run a business. You need an idea, a concept, a product and the business sense to make it all flow together once you get started. Think long and hard before you choose this path and in the meantime, get some education to help you when you do.

Choose a military path

Many high school graduates choose the military as a post-graduation path. Although the prospect of heading into combat might not be appealing for some, others find this choice wise and honorable. The military provides training in many different career paths, along with the funding for a college education. Many servicemen are even attending college while they serve.

For those graduates who are confident in their path and are headed off to college in the fall, congratulations! But for those who still aren’t sure or are considering a non-traditional path, these options will be your ticket to the future.

How to Help Your Student Handle Rejection

 

This post was originally written for University Parent and posted at UniversityParent.comHelp Your Student Handle Rejection

handle rejection

In high school, my son participated in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program and had high hopes of attending a military academy after graduation. However, due to less-than-stellar SAT scores and our family’s general lack of understanding about how the application process worked, he was denied admission to all of them.

If you’re the parent of a high school senior whose sights are set on a dream college, you can anticipate how devastating rejection might be. But you also know that, given the competitive and subjective nature of college admissions, rejection is possible…even likely.

I have a colleague who won’t call it “rejection” — he has dubbed the two decisions students receive an “offer of admission” and “no offer of admission.” Language like this might ease the blow somewhat, but your teen will not be comforted. The disappointment will be enormous, and real.

How do you handle your own feelings?

First of all, be ready. Those thin “no offer of admission” envelopes are on their way and even if you vow not to take a rejection personally (after all, you’re not the one applying to college) it’s nearly impossible not to. This is your child; you are bound up in his sorrows and joys. And his application was stellar! “How can they reject my student?” you will wonder in outrage, speculating about who may have gotten in instead and taken “his” spot. Suddenly you realize that you, too, had pinned hopes on a future that included Parents’ Weekend on a certain idyllic campus.

When we acknowledge our own disappointment, we can make sure it stays where it belongs — in our own hearts. The last thing we want is to magnify our student’s pain. He feels badly enough already without feeling that he has disappointed his parents.

How do you support your student’s feelings?

Every student reacts differently. Some will shrug off the rejection letters, understanding that it is just part of the process, but others will view a rejection (or two or three) as the end of the world. At the moment that your student is absorbing this news, all the truisms in the world (“Everything happens for a reason,” “It’ll work out,” “You don’t want to go there if they don’t want you,” etc.) won’t help. Hold him, hug him, and let him know that you share his pain. He needs time to express his emotions and deal with the disappointment in his own way.

What do you do after you’ve both had time to grieve?

Once some time has passed and your student is able to be objective, embrace the life lessons. Point out that disappointments often turn into opportunities (it shouldn’t be too hard to dig up some examples from your own life!). Assure him that success in college is more about his attitude than the name on the T-shirt, and even though College “A” didn’t work out, there is a place for him — a terrific school where he is wanted and where he will thrive. On that note, move on to the colleges that mailed the fat envelopes. If there is more than one, he now has the fun task of making a choice. He’s back in the driver’s seat.

When my son was turned down by the military academies, he turned to Plan B and enlisted in the U.S. Marines. After four years of service and the passage of time, he saw himself in a new light. He applied to college, was accepted, and graduated with honors. Back when he was a high school senior, the rejections seemed momentous. Later, he recognized that they had been merely a bump in the road and an opportunity to re-evaluate his goals.

A Parent’s Guide to Controlling College Costs

 

controlling college costs

This past week, regular decisions began rolling out from colleges and universities around the country. With them, financial aid packages. With both those important decisions, parents are beginning to look ahead to the fall and how they will pay for this expensive education.

In addition to tuition, room and board, there will be travel expenses, clothing, dorm supplies, textbooks and entertainment. Each year, these expenses will increase. How can parents put a vice grip on their wallets by controlling college costs apart from all the incidental expenses?

Four tactics

I gave my best advice to Collegiate Parent recently in the form of four simple tactics:

  1. Take advantage of scholarships.
  2. Apply for financial aid.
  3. Borrow wisely.
  4. Graduate on time.

To find out just exactly how these tactics work, read the article. But these four tactics alone can save you thousands of dollars over the next four years of college.

Other savings tips

In addition to saving money on basic college costs, parents can save even more on tuition, room and board and incidentals by taking advantage of these five cost-saving tactics:

  • Get credit for AP or IB courses in high school
  • Become an RA after freshman year
  • Use the bare minimum student meal plan
  • Take advantage of student discounts
  • Rent, buy used, or exchange textbooks
  • Spread out your tuition payments

Get creative. Save on dorm accessories by sharing with roommates. Book hotels and travel in advance of parent’s weekend before the rates skyrocket. Teach your student to budget wisely before leaving for college. Encourage your student to work part-time during college to contribute to the college expenses. Studies show that students who work manage their time wisely and study more.

Every little bit helps when it comes to paying for college. By using these simple cost-cutting techniques, you can protect your savings and help your student control costs.

 

Are You Considering an Independent College Advisor?

 

advisor

With all the ins and outs of college prep, it’s becoming more and more common for parents to hire and independent college advisor to help with the process. But how do you shop for someone you can trust? Are all advisors the same? What type of questions should you ask?

This decision can be a costly one–on both of the financial spectrums. Hiring one can be an expense you and your family weren’t counting on when planning for college. Not hiring one can cost you thousands of dollars of financial aid because they help with college choices and financial planning. Before settling on one advisor, it’s important to ask the right questions:

  1. Do you provide a preliminary assessment when you begin the process?
  2. How do you choose the colleges you recommend?
  3. How can I be sure I’m getting the best fit for the best price?
  4. Will you help with college essays?
  5. How do you help a student with college prep in a way that is unique from other counselors?
  6. When advising a student, what do you consider when making recommendations for specific schools?
  7. Can you help with financial aid and scholarship advice?

These are basic questions and should give you a place to start. For additional explanation about each question, visit the original article I wrote for TeenLife Media: 7 Questions to Ask an Independent College Advisor.

One of my favorite advisors, Paul Hemphill, gives good advice: “Finding the right college advisor with the right perspective and with lots of experience can easily start an engaging relationship – all without fancy plans or complications – all with the benefit of reducing your stress.”

For more information on how to choose the best advisor for your needs, read his article: College Advisor: How to Find a Good One.

As with any financial purchase shop around. Not all advisors are created equal.