Never Ends – Always Planning

Love July …. Although we have had a few warm days already, you have to love July. Time to kick back, grab some vacation time, walk the beach, or sit poolside. For families of high school and college-aged students, the summer offers no rest from the critical tasks and activities associated with post-high school and college-related activities.

Top Nine Summer Tasks Not to Miss

1 – Learn the Admissions and Financial Aid Process – whether your oldest and first or fourth like me, learn the rules, terminology, and your parent of four like me. The pandemic changed the landscape, but it is coming back fast; rules, and processes

2 – Map Out the Timeline – digitalize the checklist of activities, tasks, responsibilities within the household – keep everyone accountable; it’s not just mom’s job!

3 – Don’t Waste the Junior to Senior Summer – colleges are open for businesses, sign up, and attend tours. Get out on the road. Investigate, explore, ask questions and learn.

4 – Raising Your Hand – register, text, email, and call. Let your schools know you are interested in them. The college hasn’t had time to find you!

5- Start the Essay and Common Application – senior year will be hectic – start now!!

6 – Gap Year – if you were one of the many students who elected to delay entering college this year, make it a good year. But read the fine print. Be cautious. Each school has its own rules and policies regarding deferring, taking a semester or year off. Contact your school and learn the rules!

7 – Keep the Pedal Down on Scholarships – Every dollar earned is a dollar not borrowed.

8 – Be Independent – learn to drive, volunteer, talk to college students, get a job, stay active – middle, high school, or college-age, pick one and join your community.

9 – Increasing Tuition Assistance – two important factors guide this, your student, and the needs of a college. Understanding the dynamics of a school and why they award scholarships, need-based aid, tuition discounts, and other resources is key. Not the two programs administered by the Feds or even your state and local providers. Moving this and moving that, prior to understanding the college-student matching game can lead to unwise changes.

Social Media – love it or hate it, it’s part of our framework and many daily lives. For colleges and universities, it is another item on their admission checklist – post offer to attend. Right now, many institutions across the county are examining Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter pages of their incoming class of 2021. They are reviewing social media pages to ensure that individuals who have accepted an offer to attend have not crossed the social media line. I advise all of my families to be cautious. Don’t let eighteen years of building a solid image and personal character get tainted by one social media post.

Remember – No Planning is Poor Planning 

CALMING THE WATERS – Are you feeling anxious? Have questions? As a parent of four, I understand the complexing of planning a student’s journey after high school. If you’re looking for clarity and insights to your questions reach out. . No Pitch!

Find us, follow up and learn more at https://linktr.ee/getcollegegoing – 617-240-7350 or email at tom@getcollegegoing.com.

Not ready for an adviser in your life, consider the online college planning portal Pivotal College Years. A low-cost, robust subscription resource center at the click of a mouse or palm your hand. EVERYTHING college before, during, and after, in one place.- College Planning Portal for Families 

 

No Summer Slide for 2022 Planning

Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2021

To the students and the parents of the graduating class of 2021, wow. kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school, college, graduate school. Wow. In all of my 35+ years in education, never has there been a year. Congratulation!

Now, no sliding during the summer. Put your relentless determination, newfound savviness, and ability to pivot to work, and take your next step. Parents and students use the month of June to recharge and refuel but do not let up on the gas.

Whether your classroom is moving up, changing schools, grade level, pursuing graduate school, internship, apprenticeship, licensing, or joining the workforce, take the bull by the horns (little ones not a good idea) and champion forward. We are here to help and have your back!!

Summer Doesn’t Take a Break

The pandemic has changed the college admission and financial aid landscape for the foreseeable future. If you’re a rising senior you have time and opportunity. This summer is going to be key to recovering and taking advantage of missed opportunities. The campus is opening for tours, information sessions, and meeting with college admissions and financial aid departments. Learn, explore, ask questions, and prep for the Fall. Need answers and insight – call us, schedule an appointment. We do not pitch until you say help!

Still, Thinking About College?

Opportunities await even now for September 2021 enrollment. The pandemic caused many students and families to pause during the school year to question what’s next—a good pause for many. This past year, we have learned a lot, including that we need to celebrate and support multiple pathways education and careers.

If you are now ready to go in September, over 150 colleges, universities, and Community Colleges in MA and New England are waiting to hear from you. If an internship, apprenticeship, licensing program, or skilled professional program suits you, then go for it. Turn to your resources at NSCC, NECC, No Shore Career Center, and the vast network that makes up the Route One BNG family.

Preparing to Pay – September College Tuition Bill

It will be in the mailbox, your student’s email or the college portal, the September tuition bill. Arriving as early as July, the bill, once resolved, is the pathway to key swipe card) for dorm rooms, access to the dining halls, and campus life activities. Yes, academic classes too. Finalizing financing options should be done sooner than later. Investigate all options, including a school’s Monthly Payment Plan, use of savings (529 plans), scholarships, and personal financing resources (home equity). If, in the end, a private education loan is the only option, borrow conservatively, and remember, a loan must be repaid.

No Break from Campus Tours

Parents of high school sophomores and juniors, no, no. The pandemic has left many slightly behind or not even engaged. In-person campus tours, information sessions, and 1-1 interviews are back! Students and families will need to map their thoughts on where to visit by the strength of the college list, who’s hot or not. The pandemic has changed the rules, many that will continue into the 2021-2022 college year. Don’t lose the benefits of the summer months!

Repaying Education Loan and Employee Assistance Programs

Changes during the pandemic placed a hold on the repayment of Federal Student Loans, which tentatively ends on September 30, 2021. It is unclear what, if anything, the Administration or Congress will do, but those whose loans were frozen should begin to factor the return of their monthly payment into the budget. Education loan refinancing and modified repayment may be an option if there is a continued financial strain on the family budget.

The use of employer-sponsored education reimbursement benefits also experienced changes with the introduction of expanded services—benefits, including assisting with education loan debt.

Power of Saving

Financial aid is available for those who qualify—a classic statement used by colleges and universities and many who advise students and families. However, saving is king. Every dollar saved strengthens a student and family’s access to college. Setting aside as much as possible through a broader range of education savings programs will increase access to a wide range of college options. Parents, grandparents, and relatives can also participate in the college savings game. Connect with one of the many financial service experts in the Route One BNG family for additional guidance and assistance.

Consult an Independent College Counselor

Need help with the checklist, calming the waters, getting started, or just answering questions. An experienced independent college counselor can help parents guide their students. They listen, focus on needs and expectations, and help manage realistic and holistic college planning. Plus, you’ll get the peace of mind that a professional is on the team 100% of the time.

Tom O’Hare is the Founder of Get College Going, a North Shore-based full-service college counseling practice. TOur goal is to help family’s find the right education, for the right reason, at the right school for the right investment—resources before, during, and after college.

Schedule a free consultation or obtain your free Comprehensive College Guide at www.getcollegegoing.com
Follow Get College Going at www.linktr.ee.com/getcollegegoing

 

 

 

Protecting Your (New) College Student

September is right around the corner. Please take a minute to protect your new college student and their family. Negotiating the deposit, reserving the dorm room, and calculating financing of the remaining balance are all top of mind for new and returning college-bound students.

As students transition from high school to college, many will be turning 18 years of age —a milestone in their lives and a new designation in the eyes of colleges and universities, adults.

Our children will always remain young at heart, but when they turn 18 years of age, the rules change, especially in the eyes of the medical and legal system. An eighteen-year-old becomes responsible for their own medical and legal care as well as other consumer actions. As students move onto college campuses, travel to and from, and begin to live independently of their parents, legal and medical documentation is need for parents to remain part of the conversation.

Four documents needed before a student settles in this September are:

  1. FERPER Agreement – signed by the student and parent(s) annually; this document permits school administrators to speak with parents for student needs associated with academic, housing, campus life infractions, and public safety, and more.
  2. HIPAA Authorization Form – allows a physician to speak with a parent regarding a student’s medical condition.
  3. Healthcare Power of Attorney – beyond a HIPAA Agreement, if a student cannot communicate due to temporary incapacitation, a parent would need a Healthcare power of attorney to act on behalf of the student.
  4. General Durable Power of Attorney – acting on behalf of a loved one to manage their finances, pay bills, and assist in matters beyond healthcare.

For parents caring for those parents, the elderly, these last three documents are standard but hold an equally important place in the lives of college-age students.

Check with your Family Law Attorney to learn more on how to obtain these vital documents.

In addition, immunization records must be current, including all vaccinations and now  COVID-19 for the Fall. Check with the college to determine if they have a specific form that a student’s primary care doctor must complete before arriving on campus. Medical records take time, don’t wait.

Up-to-date passports (study abroad), car. property, and liability insurance policies should all be reviewed to protect students and their families.

Finally, as I did with my four college-age children, I encourage all parents to have a frank and honest conversation about drinking, drugs, and sex. There is no denying it. On average, over 1800 freshmen nationally dies within the first 180 days of stepping on a college campus due to alcohol-related deaths.

Sending an 18-19-year-old young mind off to college can be like opening up the barn door and letter the horses run free. Help your college-age student have a safe and successful college career.

For more information on these and other college planning needs, please feel free to contact me, Tom O’Hare at Get College Going

 

7 COMMON COLLEGE PLANNING MISCUES

High school seniors are anxiously awaiting the finish line. Twelve years of studies, homework, and activities from 7:15 AM to 2:15 PM are coming to an end. Next for many will be college, work, internships, volunteer work, and service.

At the same time, college graduates begin to embrace their next move; graduate schools, two-year to four-year, upskilling, and of course joining the workforce.

The late Spring and early summer months are exciting times for young emerging minds.

For parents of rising juniors (2023) and seniors (2022), your work doesn’t end as the summer approaches. Yes, we all look forward to the beach, time off for good behavior, and maybe even a slower pace, but the summer is a pivotal time to stay on track to hit Fall deadlines and complete essential tasks.

7 Common College Miscues

1. Allowing a 17-Year- Old to Make $250K Financial Decisions
Attending college after high school is an investment. Too often, I find parents allowing their DS or DD to be the sole manager of their process. Parents need to work with their students to set realistic goals and expectations, learn about financing capabilities, and share tasks and calendar deadlines.

2. Believing that a 4 Year College is for Everyone
Yes, learning is timeless, lifelong, but for many, it calls for different pathways. Parents of middle and high school, don’t panic if the idea of a skilled profession or work than college is the path being considered. Education pathways should be individualized based on the interest, goals, and strengths of the student.

3. Shopping Before Budgeting
What is our financing capability? Debt tolerance? Learn the rules, how colleges set costs, award aid, and recruit students using their money. Like when buying a first home, it is critical to understand what we can afford.

4. Waiting for Colleges to Offer an Invite
It is exciting to see the mailbox fill up with college brochures and viewbooks, but it’s not recruitment. Students need to raise their hands, identify their interests and promote their individual talents and interest. Writing a strong essay, communicating (text, call, email), visit, and filling a timely application are all keys to demonstrating a desire to enroll.

5. Missing the Importance of Creating a High School Resume
Tracking accomplishments, achievements, and personal growth during high school make completing an accurate college application seamless.

6. Assuming There is Plenty of Financial Aid for Everyone
Colleges, universities, government, and private providers have limited merit scholarships, grants, and need-based available to new and returning students. Don’t delay and always file the FAFSA.

7. Creating an Unrealistic List of College Options
Cast a broad net to learn what schools are looking for your DD or DS, their strengths and interests. Consider a less known brand or one not on the national ranking lists. Don’t just chase.

BIGGEST MISCUE – FAILING TO CREATE A COLLEGE PLAN

At the core, every family should approach the college process with a comprehensive plan. It should be based on goals and expectations, academic, personal, and financial. A good plan offers the guidance and direction needed to find the right education, for the right reason, at the right school for the right price.

Don’t have a plan or wish to have a check-up, we’ll provide a free review and offer out best practice suggestions for a successful college journey!

Consult an Independent College Counselor

Need help calming the waters, getting started, or just answering questions. An experienced independent college counselor can help parents help their students. They listen, focus on needs and expectations, and help students manage a realistic and holistic college plan. Plus, you get the peace of mind that a professional is on the team 100% of the time.

Tom O’Hare is the Founder of Get College Going, a North Shore-based full-service college counseling practice with resources to assist parents, students, and individuals before, during, and after college. 

Have a questions, schedule a free consultation or obtain your free Comprehensive College Guide at www.getcollegegoing.com

Follow Get College Going at www.linktr.ee/getcollegegoing

 

Planning Saves…

Planning Saves…

Planning saves time, reduces stress, and creates harmony within a household.

 

College planning is now upon us. When high school juniors and their parents begin the journey, they ultimately find the student joining the incoming class 2022 at the college of their choice. This is an exciting time, occasionally a nerve-racking time culminating with a student opening the door to their next educational experience.

When asked how to start, my answer is always, create a college plan, a comprehensive plan.  A college plan provides peace of mind to all participating in the student’s journey to find their right match. A plan provides clarity, aids with communication, and keeps everyone moving forward, supporting students in reaching their educational goals after high school.

A Good Plan Should Include?
  1. Tools to assist a student and their family determine their college financing capabilities and financial needs. College is an expensive investment, so students and their parents must be under costs, financing, and debt tolerance.  Information essential to the search and selection process, a process well known for every who has purchased their first home.
  2. A process to create a broad view of colleges and universities options that, when narrowed, becomes the student’s pool of right-fit schools. A group of schools checks the boxes for goals and needs and challenges students to exceed their high school accomplishments and achievements.
  3. Structure to help keep students, their parents, and other family members organized and accountable.  The college experience can be complicated and overwhelming, and for busy households, the structure offered through a college plan is essential.  Important for students with heavy in and out of school commitments, parents who travel, and divorced or separated parents. Surprises typically lead to heightened anxiety and frequently miss opportunities.
  4. Provide resources and tools to navigate the journey during unprecedented times. Resources and tools are both conventional and new to support a student and their family through the search, selection, and financing processes. Students and parents today need help with alternative methods to accomplish critical tasks in the absence of college high school visits, college fairs, and virtual worlds.
  5. The guidance and direction need to connect multiple components, and stages into one efficiently managed holistic college enrollment experience.

A college plan is not merely a checklist managed through software. It is an ever-changing process that must be easily adapted based on external forces, unpredicted changes, and the student and their family’s underlining needs. It requires open, two-way communication with participation at all levels. A college plan should spark questions and helps dismay myths.

Consult an Independent College Counselor

An experienced college counselor (can’t fault me for banging my own horn) can help a student and their family develops and manage a customized college plan. A plan that meets individual needs, expectations, and capabilities. A college counselor can cut the stress of the process considerably by layout clear timelines and ensuring the student and parents invest in submitting the strongest application possible. Using a holistic lens, a good counselor will connect all aspects of the college experience, finding, enrolling, and financing the right college to career choice.

Schedule a free consultation and receive a customized plan for your student and family!

Knowing How the Industry Works

Knowing How the Industry Works

Rank, GPA, academic rigor, test scores, sports, dance, and part-time work are many of the components that make up a high school student’s resume. As parents, we work hard to guide our students to become their best, authentic selves. We motivate our students with rewards if they work hard academically and become good citizens.

So why does a student with a stellar resume find themselves deferred or waitlisted at their dream college? Do they receive little or no tuition assistance, scholarships, or need-based grants if they are accepted? The answer is, it is not always about the student.

In a previous article, Pre-qualifying For College Costs, we discussed how important it is for students/parents to know their financial numbers before starting their college search. Equally important is knowing that higher education institutions are businesses. Not unlike students and their families, colleges and universities have their needs and wants. As a business, higher educational institution must manage their needs and wants against hundreds of influencers and business factors. Sometimes these are in direct conflict with the consumer group they are trying to serve.

How do these factors affect students/parents and their college choices?

ð       Supply and Demand – selective institutions are reporting dramatic increases in their incoming applications pool while others are down. Changes are partly due to amended admissions policies, heavy brand marketing, and continued societal pressures: But 60K applications for 3100 enrollment seats.  With over 4200 degree-granting colleges and universities in the US, students and parents need to shop as consumers and explore a broad view of all options, offerings, and possibilities.

ð       Revenue – college and universities rely on tuition and fees and indirect revenue from housing, athletic events, and on-campus consumer purchases. Swings in enrollment, on/off-campus learning, and other concerns due to the pandemic may result in belt-tightening. The financial status of an institution should always be on the radar, just like at home.

ð       FIT – is the academic, personal and financial match that all students and parents strive for during the college planning process. As previously noted, college and universities have their fit, which can mirror a student or be very different. Mastering the FIT can depend on how achievements, personal accomplishments, and authentic self-align with the needs. Results can be surprising and very rewarding.

ð       Costs – achieving educational goals within the realm of one’s financial means is the art of affordability.  Knowing how the sticker price becomes the consumer price is every college consumer’s challenge. Understanding the impact of tuition assistance, scholarships, need-based, and self-help aid is essential to the affordability equation.

ð       Emotional Purchasing – investing in one’s education is a personal and monetary commitment, a big one. Relying on information gathered, research, consultation with knowledgeable advisers, and yes, a time-tested pros and cons process a student and family can make a wise personal and financial decision.

The incoming class of 2022 are on their journey now. Students and parents are encouraged to create their college plan on realistic goals and expectations while keeping a keen eye on the needs, the student and higher education institutions.