What are we really facing with college planning?

The road to higher education is complicated. Decisions about schools and degrees coupled with planning high school coursework around education and scholarship goals, and developing a college financing plan is overwhelming for most families. Add the endless perspectives available – none of which are tailored to your student’s individual needs.

With so many critical decisions to make, it’s easy to get lost in the process. Choosing the right school depends on a variety of factors such as abilities, interests, needs, learning styles, motivation and maturity.  One size does not fit all. This is where an experienced college planner becomes your greatest ally.

How does Collegiate Crossings navigate the maze?

We’ve been around the block and we know for certain: choosing the right school is a highly individualized process. The first, and most important, step is to get to know your child and the needs of your family.  We focus on finding the best fit and collaborate with one of the premiere assessment tools available to determine the educational setting in which your child will have the best chance for success. Another key is our college financing expertise. We’ll help you find the resources you need to get through college without the burden of devastating debt.

There’s so many “how-to” books and websites, I think we can figure it out ourselves.

We live in an age of information overload, with everything at our fingertips! The overwhelming quantity of information does little to clarify your child’s vision for education or answer your individual questions. Which information is useful?  Which sources can you trust?  Which information applies to your child’s particular situation?

The huge expansion of available information has created a new burden of having to sift through it all. A college planner can do the sifting for you. We pull information that is directly relevant to the student’s situation.  Setting your child out into the world is when you want to “get it right” and not “learn by doing.”

It’s too early or we are too busy to start the college planning, we’ll get to it their junior or senior year.

For a student to be eligible for IB or AP classes they need to begin taking honors classes as early as their freshman year in high school. Finding this out their junior year can be quite disappointing. Colleges have very specific minimum entrance requirements, and without these, a student cannot even apply to that college. For example, some colleges require three full years of foreign language. Numerous scholarships are both merit and community service-based which means students need to be doing community service earlier in the process to qualify. Starting to plan as a junior or senior may exclude your student from opportunities.

The High School Counseling Office is handling the college planning for my student, why do I need you?

We admire and respect high school counselors! Having worked in public and private school settings, we have first-hand knowledge of high school counselors begin overworked and underpaid! They have tremendous responsibilities, and in addition to college counseling, they manage class scheduling, counseling and crisis intervention, dealing with parental and student problems, and they are often tasked with other duties such as test proctoring and supervising lunch, etc.

School counselors are barraged with important responsibilities, and because of that, they average 38 minutes of guidance on college admissions throughout a student’s high school career. Nationwide, the average college counselor in a public high school serves 315 students. In Colorado, the public school student-to- counselor ratio is 553:1.

Despite their willingness and best intentions, finding time for comprehensive and personalized college planning is difficult. Hiring a college planner is by no means a vote of “no confidence” in the school counselor. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that your family would like more time and expertise than they may be able to provide.

We simply do not have the funds to pay for a college planner.

We believe every student should have access to college planning. We offer sponsorships to those who qualify. Sponsorships are based on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines used by Federal Student Aid when determining assistance levels in the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Some families qualify for FREE college planning services. We also offer a monthly payment plan for easy budgeting.

I’m not sure we can afford college. Besides, I know college students working at Starbucks and living with their parents.

Collegiate Crossings creates a plan to help students finance an affordable education. We look at grants, scholarships, work study and loans. To date, 100% of our students receive some financing for their education. In the 2013 – 2014 school year, students enrolled in Collegiate Crossings’ programs received $1,053,132 in scholarships to the colleges they are attending, averaging almost $ 30,000 per student.

By not pursuing college, students face considerable barriers to obtaining a credential with true labor market value. By 2018, 67% of Colorado jobs will require higher education—the 5th highest percentage in the country. Higher education is a baseline for employability. This is particularly relevant in Colorado, which has one of the most educated workforces in the country. And, college graduates make a million dollars more over a lifetime than non-college graduates.

My student is going to get an athletic, music, art, or merit-based scholarship, I’m sure!

Less than 2% of athletes secure athletic scholarships at Division I schools. Division III do not offer athletic scholarships. With the high easy accessibility to AP courses and intense competition in higher education today, a 4.0 GPA isn’t enough to impress many schools and scholarship boards. It’s critical that families understand the actual requirements and techniques to gain a competitive edge and get the scholarships that aren’t as easy to land as once thought.

My child did not do well in high school, so college will be too hard.

There are a lot of factors that could have affected your child’s performance in high school and it is not necessarily an indicator of their intelligence or ability. There are options for nearly everyone, and sometimes the adolescent needs to pursue other options. Regardless, all young people deserve a future and if your child wants a college degree, there’s a lot we can do together to make it happen.

Do you guarantee admission to a school, one of my top choices, or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships?

We are professional college planners and per ethical standards across our industry, we do not guarantee admission or scholarships. As well, we do not use personal connections to help students gain admittance.

Will you complete the application for admission, re-write my essays, or fill out the financial aid forms on my behalf?

It is essential that the student be in charge of the process and all materials should be a product of the student’s own, best work. This is another industry professional standard.

Do you ever accept any form of compensation from a school, program, or company in exchange for placement/referral?

Absolutely not. All payments come directly from our clients or non-affiliated sponsors supporting low-income students. This ensures that the needs of the child and family are upheld with full objectivity.