Thank You

I am blessed and give thanks every day but especially during this month of thanksgiving.  As a parent of four and a career college guy, I understand the thought of what to do after high school can be daunting, overwhelming, and often an emotional roller-coaster. I am thankful to be welcomed into the homes of high school families to share some expertise and bring peace of mind before, during, and after college. Equally, I am thankful and privileged when leaders of businesses, associations, and membership organizations turn to me to help provide education and enrichment programming for their employees, clients, and customers.
Please continue to share your text messages, phone calls and emails.

Top of Mind My This Month

 Debt Relief- Loan Forgiveness
The program introduced by the Administration and DOE provides eligible borrowers with financial relief of up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients.
Apply today (but no later than December 31, 2023). Use the link

  • Who Qualifies?
    – Individuals who made less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020**
    – Families that made less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020**
    ** Adjusted gross income reported on IRS Tax Return

Learn More at DOE Student

Public Services Loan Forgiveness Program
If employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government, a not-for-profit organization (section 503c), the military, or another recognized organization you maybe eligible for the PSLF Program.. The program provides an opportunity to save time, interest, and financial resources associated with repaying your Federal Direct Loans.
Complete and file the form electronically – work with your Personal Director, HR Manager, or Commanding Officer to obtain the necessary signature. Learn more at

Every good thing comes with scams – read on to protect yourself from the numerous sounds to be good scammers who are prying on federal and private student loan borrowers, parents, and employers –

Planning is Critical

  1. Your Amazing 12thGrade Students – over the past few months, I have had the privilege to read essays and personal statements of college-bound students – wow! Parents, you have exceptional students in your homes. They are thought leaders, articulate, creative, and write from their hearts. They are not afraid to show their vulnerability. If you have not read (your) student’s essay, take a minute. We are in good hands!
  2. Deadlines – admission application deadlines for many college-bound students have come and gone. It was the early flight of filings, but for many 12th-grade students, including those in my practice, January and February deadlines are perfect. Colleges and universities are waiting to receive applications. Stay on pace, submit the Application, and discover your college choice.
  3. Financial Aid – from colleges and universities, federal and state agencies, and external sources (employers, civic/community/philanthropic organizations) is determined by completing and filing the FAFSA. The 2023-2024 Free Application for Student Aid is available and should be filed ASAP. If you plan to attend school in September of 2023 and hope to receive financial Aid, don’t wait. File today.
    Download your 2023-2024 FAFSA Checklist 
  4. Hunting for Scholarship – don’t wait for the Spring of the senior year to start your search. Hundreds of scholarship deadlines end as early as December. Local, regional, and national programs provided by philanthropic organizations, businesses, and associations await your applications. Time invested is time rewarded. Subscribe to Pivotal College Years to access a free Scholarship Workbook. See below for more information on the online platform.

The HS Class of 2024 and Beyond
October is behind us now. PSAT, the national test to benchmark a student’s academic proficiency, is complete with results due out on December 5th. Unless a student is involved in winter sports or performing arts (dance, theater) families join my private practice after the holidays. If you starting now here are three important first steps:

  • Parents – get a read on your financing capabilities. College is expensive, ranging from $116,000 to $215,000. Such a big-ticket purchase should first begin by creating a financial plan. How much will I need to finance one year + 3? Do I have the financial resources? Have you had the money talk with your 11th and 10th-grade student? How is my creditworthiness if I need to borrow? A simple exercise we call our College Cost Estimator can ping point answers to these questions now to help with peace of mind down the road. Dreaming I can get in and hoping I can pay a recipe for financial trouble.
  • Explore College Options – there are 350+ institutions of higher learning in New England, another 500+from New York down the east coast. Hundreds if you crisscross the county and pop up to Canada.. Start with creating a realistic and broad list of schools, known and unknown. Consider a student’s current  GPA, academic rigor, and personal character adding the chance for a strong pump over the next 6-8 months. Evaluate and investigate your results with a plan to visit beginning in February.
  • Standing Out – plain and simple, 99% of colleges and universities do not know a student is interested in them. They send out glossy brochures and flood the email box after purchasing names but are unaware a student has them on their radar. Students need to gain exposure by demonstrating interest and educating schools as to their academic talents and personal strengths. Following some simple activities and a straightforward communication plan, students can become their best marketers.

Pivotal College Years
If you’re  tired of surfing through millions of websites, check out the college planning platform, Pivotal College Years. Created by experts who are also parents, the e-library offers reference information, instructional videos, checklists, and workbooks. Use PCY30 for a free 30-day trial and to obtain your 2023-2024 FAFSA Checklist and Scholarship Workbook.

Reading and Watching

Managing Educational Debt – with all the talk about forgiveness and PSLF, let us not lose sight of the potential value of education loan refinance and the need to make arrangements to repay student loans. The federal loan freeze will be over on December 31; repayment will begin again. What is your plan? Will it be regular payments, the government-offered IDR or ICR, or maybe private loan refinancing? 7 things to do before January 1. Resources, including Pivotal College Years, and our friends at AAA Northeast can help.

CALMING THE WATERS – Gain some knowledge, answer a question, eliminate a myth or misunderstanding – Everything starts with a Conversation – Learn more at

Looking for a speaker at your next group meeting, employee enrichment program, or client workshop? A broad range of topics for parents of high school and college-age students and recent college graduates. Live and virtual presentations and Lunch and Learn Q & A sessions.

If you find our newsletter and information helpful, share it within your community and workplace.

Let the Games Begin

Are you rested and ready to get into the game?

Yes, fall sports are in full swing, but I am talking about planning for college.

Time to open up the playbook that will guide a family through the process of finding, selecting, applying, and financing college. September can be a busy month as students and families work to get back into the groove, and if working on the college planning process has been left to now, it’s time to scramble.

This month I’m dedicating my column to sharing information that families in 11th and 12th grades should be working on. Knowledge is power; The more you know, the less worry and stress a household will experience.

Every parent of a 12thgrade student going to college in September of 2023 should be finetuning their college planning checklist, identifying what’s completed, and focusing on what needs to be done in the coming weeks to meet deadlines for admission, scholarship, and financial aid.

  • Budget and Costs – first and foremost, if a conversation about cost and affordability has not occurred, stop and have it! What will it cost, how much will we have to pay, and can we swing it, year one and beyond? Don’t finish the shopping experience without a budget number in mind – we can afford $$ on an annual basis. .
  • Refining college choices – have you done the research, visited campuses, understand the who is a reach, highly probable for acceptance, or a so-called financial safety? What’s our best path – 4-years, community college, skilled training?
  • Essay – is it in draft form or completed? Is it authentic, and will it captivate the reader? Grammar and spell check? A well-written essay can be the differentiator and catalyst for acceptance to college.
  • Common Application – deadlines are approaching, what schools require answers to supplemental questions, when to pull the trigger to file, and should  we will report test scores. Some of the many prep actions to get completed.
  • Scholarships – is the hunt on? Many deadlines, especially national, statewide, and regional scholarships, are in the Fall. Don’t be fooled by the deadlines in the Spring, they usually only cover local awards given out at graduation. Download the Scholarship Workbook at Pivotal College Years to get a jump on the hunt.
  • FAFSA – need-based financial aid is an important part of a family’s financing strategy. Completing and filing the Free Application for Student Aid is mandatory.. Resources from schools, Federal and State agencies, and philanthropic donors (scholarships) require the application. The window opens on October 1st.
  • I’m I Known – most colleges do not know students are interested in them. Students need to be the recruiter, emailing, texting, and setting up a virtual meeting to introduce themselves, and their interests, obtain answers to questions and build relationships is critical. Don’t be shy!
  • Credit Worthiness – Finally if a loan may be needed to finance the gap, the net cost to a family, don’t let one’s credit (co-signer) be a deal breaker. Act now!

Footnote to 12th-grade students not planning on going to college. Your 13th-year plan can also carry deadlines, applications, interviews, and mental and physical preparation (military) are a must as part of planning for the 13th year-you need a plan too. Whether your goal is to attend an apprenticeship to learn a skilled trade, enter the workforce, or serve our country, you too should have a plan.

 11th Grade Checklist

It is not a clique when someone says this is the pivotal year. GPA, grades, academic progression, and demonstrating a commitment to activities in and out of school culminate at the end of the 11th Grade. The first semester of the 12th Grade is a bonus, but the magic happens in 11th Grade.

  • Start Early – time is your enemy if you live with the hectic student and household schedules. The months turn quickly, and the clock even faster. Sports, dance, performing arts, volunteering, academics, and testing can overwhelm a student. Busy schedules can jam up the best of plans. October is the kick-off month with all students subscribing to take the National PSATs. Once test scores are returned, most 11th-grade families get the college planning bug.
  • Building A List – but get it started – every student committed to attending college right after high school must pursue their own goals and aspirations, but with an eye on realistic expectations. Schools to consider will offer opportunities that challenge one academically and foster personal growth; yes, we can afford them! Start with crafting a broad list of colleges and universities based on a student’s high school resume/profile and initial preferences.
    • Footnote: consider substituting academic interest when questioning majors, careers, and jobs when running these early lists. It is less intimidating for a student as many schools allow for the selection of a major after the first year.
  • Need Academic Help – first marks tell the tale. Are grades from early tests on par or missing the mark? If so, consider bringing in an academic coach/tutor to supplement classroom and study skills work. Starting extra help in the 9th and 10th can bring even better results!
  • Get Financially Prepared – understanding college costs and a successful financing strategy is equally important as good grades and a student character. Understanding what one can afford is essential to the college selection equation. Scholarships, grants, and federal loans won’t cover the entire cost of education. The gap may be small or large depending on the type of school, average aid awarded, and resources available from a family. Students and families should create a paying-for-college strategy, including determining their costs before shopping. Sounds like the senior year, maybe – but you have more time.
  • Spring comes quickly – drafting a plan, learning the rules, and deadlines (scholarships, auditions, portfolio reviews), and prepping for when the snow melts will make for a successful experience.

College planning may not be considered exciting or sexy, but as the father of four and advisor to many, if you want to minimize stress and maintain harmony in a household, get a move on. Give us a ring or download a grade-level checklist (they begin for Middle School) at Join our e-newsletter community, start a conversation or ask questions. No pitch or hock – just the facts.

Going the DIY path…. that’s OK too – consider subscribing to Pivotal College Years*. Designed as a digital portal, Pivotal offers guidance, tips, downloadable PDF documents, special topic workbooks, and more. Information, and assistance at one URL for families, before, during and after college.

Let the game begin!!

* Pivotal College Years is an affiliated partner of Get College Going.

Bells Will be Ringing

Bells Will be Ringing

Bells Will be Ringing

Planning for the new school year is just around the corner. Trips to the mall, school supplies, fall athletics, and dance, are all coming into play. It’s been a hot but exciting summer and the new school year is just weeks away.

For students, it is the excitement of fresh starts, new locations, reconnecting with classmates, and focusing on the future. For parents, it manages the 2022-2023 household calendar, squeezing into duties at the workplace, and the extra-curricular transportation schedule. Oh, to have a few extra hours added to the day.

While we’ve been away for the summer many things have remained the same, while others continue to evolve or even change.

In this month’s issue, we are tackling many of the pressing areas high school and college-aged families should be thinking about, introducing you to a couple of new partners/resources, and sharing some thoughts from a student entering his first year of college.

Have Questions – Calm the Waters – Start a Conversation


August Activities
12th Graders Action Items – if you have not already started, spend the rest of the month getting ahead of assignments to make the start of the school year easier. Here is what we recommend:

  • Refine the college list – narrow options to get to the final cut
  • Get on campus or an online virtual tour – take notes on what impresses you – investigate and evaluate.
  • Write the Essay – shot for a final draft by the end of the month – download the FREE College Essay Workbook from Pivotal College Years for helpful tips.
  • Launch and complete the Common Application
  • Engage college representatives in conversation through email, texting, and 1-1 virtual meetings

Parents –  The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) goes live for the 2023-2024 academic year on October 1, 2022. All students and families interested in applying for need-based financial aid awarded by colleges, universities, the federal, state, and some private scholarship organizations should complete and file the FAFSA. New changes affecting divorced and separated parents, the multiple student discounts, and grandparent gifts begin on 10/2/2022.  Read more

if you do not have a preliminary view of anticipated cost and affordability, your added assignment is to learn the rules and know your numbers. Don’t finish the shopping process until you know your family’s capability to meet college costs.

Add a copy of the Practical Funding Workbook from Pivotal College Years to your resource library.

9th and 10th Grade – right now, let’s keep emotions and anxiety in check by focusing on the excitement of a new environment, pursuing academics at the next level, getting involved in clubs, and exploring personal interests.

11th Grade  – yes, it is the pivotal year and begins in the fall—at the end of the junior year, GPA, grades, and all activities in and out of school will be the cumulative rollup of the first three years. A solid junior year can change a slow start or boost an already strong profile. In these final weeks, students should read, prepare for October PSAT, and evaluate how to improve their study habits.

Parents – focus on the need for academic support through outside tutoring, your student’s thoughts on high school sports, clubs, and one none school extra-curricular outside of school, plus creating a paying for college financial strategy.

Two Minute Read

From the Eyes of a 2022 HS Grad –
Cameron Chabot, University of Lowell

Picture this – you’ve just received your letter of acceptance to your dream college. All of your hard work paid off. The sleepless nights spending time on homework, the agony of studying until you’ve memorized every last vocab word, and your persistent work ethic leaving no room for free time. It has all paid off. But there’s just one thing, you didn’t receive any money from your dream school.

Unfortunately, this is a reality that many upcoming college students face, including me. Once I overcame the initial disappointment, I had to come to terms with the situation. Do I want to graduate with nearly $150,000 of loans? Isn’t the whole point of going to college to make money? I had other great options in hand. I decided to go to a state school where I will come out with minimal loans, and it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But I look around and see my peers choosing schools that will land them in massive amounts of debt, and it concerns me. No judgment is being made, for any college/alternative career path is a great one should be applauded. However, landing yourself in a massive pool of loans can be avoided in many situations. Here are some tips to avoid this.

First, one of the best lessons my college advisor (Tom O’Hare) taught me was to apply to multiple schools with different difficulties. This healthy mix of schools will allow for options, which means that you will receive acceptance from more than one school. This also increases your chance for the opportunity of receiving scholarship money. If you apply to schools that are either considered “safe” or “within-reach”, it is more likely they will offer more money. Applying to schools that are sometimes out-of-reach can result in less money awarded. Applying to state-funded schools is also a smart decision, for they usually have much lower tuition costs. Furthermore, if you are in a situation where you can commute to college and are willing, you will save ample amounts of money. However, if you are looking for a full college experience, it may cost you.

All things considered; everyone must choose their path. Whether you decide to go to your dream school and pay more, decide to live at school, or decide to go with the cheaper option; you are receiving a great education that will only be beneficial depending on how you use it. You chose what to do with your college degree, and you will ultimately determine your future success depends on your qualities, choices, and determination. No specific college will do this for you. Remember, there are usually ways to get around student loans, and just because it may be a prestigious college offering you the acceptance, does not mean you are required to accept.

As a graduated high school senior about to enter college, I understand this can be a stressful time. I wish everyone the best of luck on the journey that they are about to embark on.

100% Unedited!

4 Keys to Make the Transition to College Easier

The thought of sending your student off to college can turn a calm and easy-going household into the Goliath ride at Six Flags. Here are a few ways to turn a potentially wild ride into a smooth and rewarding experience.
Expectation –  many college experts will tell you it is less about the college and more about what a student puts into the experience. Every student needs to understand their goals and wants from their first year to the last. If being a number means stress, anxiety, and an unhappy college experience, then support being #2.
Networking – Interacting with faculty, advisers, campus administrators, and one’s peers is critical to fostering a close and trusted network.
Accessing Resources  
Knowledge is power. Asking for assistance with a dietary, roommate, and social situation removes the barriers that sometimes find students withdrawing, physically and emotionally. Learning and understanding where to seek help can be the difference between maintaining competitive grades, holding onto a scholarship, and completing in four years.
Communication – the #1 ingredient for a student is the connection back home. Before dropping off, students and parents need to develop their communication plan. When and how to check in to see how things are going. Keeping in touch, listening to answers, and monitoring changes are essential for a student’s (parents) mental well-being. College is the first time most 17-18-year-old students will be on their own. An experience that is not part of their DNA.
Share these tips with your first-year and returning college students

Trusted Partners Corner
This month Jamie Schultz, Founder of Jamie the Scholar Private Tutoring shares her insights on signs that extra academic help might be needed.

How to decide if your child needs tutoring

Many times, parents are understandably confused about when to push and when to get academic help for their kids. Here are some signs an academic coach/tutor is necessary:

1.     You hear phrases like “I’ve tried, and I can’t do it/don’t understand it.”
2.     They have exhausted what they know how to do, and the tools they have and have used in the past aren’t working.
3.     They have anxiety/increased stress/frustration surrounding the course.
4.     They ask for help.
5.     They either say things like “I guess I am just stupid,” or “The teacher is an idiot and doesn’t make any sense,” (self-downing and internalizing failure or blaming others).
6.     After the above, they become avoidant because they feel helpless.
7.     They give up.

It is much better to address these feelings in the early stages rather than waiting until they internalize what they see as a failure and give up on themselves. If you ever hear your child, say he/she needs help, they almost always do. Very rarely is this a sign of manipulation or laziness; it is most often genuine when kids and teens admit that they do not have the tools to manage a particular situation. Also, the more expediently the tutor/academic coach enters the situation, the better likelihood there is of a positive outcome.

Learn more about when and how to use academic coaching to support student success at

Anything Else


10 Differences between Middle and High School
PivotED –  a newsletter (for adults) about career readiness (for kids). Published by the American Student Assistance organization based in Boston

Fall College Fairs – mark your calendars!!

Other News
Waiting Game – going to press we are still on the fence as the final days of the student loan freeze-thaw. Will they or won’t they? Borrowers should file their PSLF forms by the October 21, 2002 deadline and be prepared to begin paying again.

More companies are adding employee enrichment and voluntary hiring benefits including “pay off my student loans”.

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics community that prepares young people for STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school.


Tis the Season

The joy of the holiday season is upon us all. Excitement and anticipation of the holiday season, the arrival of snow, and waiting to hear the reindeer land on the roof are what make December a wonderful time. For many, it is the exchanging of gifts, words of happiness exchanged with family, and blessings for those missing or silent.

The excitement holds for high school seniors and those restarting the education pathways. Anticipating the arrival of college admission decisions, offers of acceptance, and a merit scholarship can be more challenging than waiting to hear if one made the naughty or nice list. Hanging such notice on the refrigerator door can silence the age-old question, where are you going to college? The holiday break is also when college students return from campus, many for the first time since departing home. Parents await the arrival in hopes of good tidings and joy.

As we go to print, Admissions Departments at college and universities throughout New England and across the country are like Santa and his elves, busy at work making decisions on who will be part of the incoming Class of 2022. Counselors will be burning the midnight oil reviewing hundreds of applications, essays, and recommendations to deliver the all-important communication; Congratulations, you’ve been accepted! Keep listening for the bell!

May 2022 Graduates

What’s ahead – What’s the Plan?

Journey Beyond High school – College, work, blend of both, what’s the discussion at the dining room table. I currently have three groups of seniors in my private practice, all graduating in May of 2022, all following their paths of interest. They’re college-bound, attending an apprenticeship, and entering a technology position in the workforce. Today, the education to career pathway is opening up new options to meet the demands of family’s and society. As the Class of 2022 will tell you, whatever the direction, it’s essential to have a plan.

Exiting College – the graduating class of 2022 is gearing up for the most exciting time of a student college life, the Spring semester.  Now and through the Spring semester, soon-to-be college graduates should take the time to kick start their job search and create a preliminary financial budget. Walking across the stage with a job in hand makes graduating even sweeter. Start networking, schedule information conversations, and seek out introductions to the hiring manager. Also, remember,  if you financed your college experience through education loans, repayment begins six (6) months after you graduate!!

Have You Completed Your FAFSA?

If been writing about the FAFSA for the last few months. So, I’ll ask again. Have you completed and filed your FAFSA?
If you graduate high school this May 2022 and plan to continue your education at a 4YR college or university, Community College, Trade and Professional school, and need help with financing, completing the FAFSA is a must. If you are applying for scholarships or might have some skin in the game (take a low-interest federal loan) to pay tuition, room, board, and other costs, the FAFSA is a must for you. It takes 30minutes…The door opener to year 13th of your education journey!!

My First Semester Was a Blast

But what about your grades?

For sure, the holiday break is a time when new, first-year college students return home for the winter break anticipating good food, long naps, and reconnecting with friends. I’ve navigated the “how are you doing” conversation more than once as the parent of four. What I’ve learned (the hard way) is we need to have patience.  Yes, it is incredibly vital to know how the new college student is doing, especially if assistance is necessary; however, cracking the shell may require time. Trust me. You can watch and listen to nonverbal, but try to avoid the Q & A session on the travels home from campus. They’re with you till January.

Check List, Road Trips, and Crunching the Number                                                                 

High school juniors and their parents have lots to do at this mid-point of the academic year. Consider these:

  • Checking academic progress and seeking out extra help in a subject where potential can grow
  • Discussing the world of opportunities; thoughts on the post-high school journey
  • Sharpening the financing pencil; education savings, need for tuition assistance and credit
  • Building, narrowing, and investigating college options, virtually and on the road

Take the Early Planning Quiz

Not to be forgotten, parents of middle school, ninth and tenth grades should be taking the time to begin road testing plans for the future. It is amazing how fast the calendar turns and before you know it, it’s cap and gown time. Are you ready? Take a short quiz.

  1. Are you saving for college at the pace needed to cover costs?
  2. What financing strategies – moves might apply to your family now, and in the next six months?
  3. What post-HS education pathway is your student leaning towards now?
  4. Is it time to boost academics through tutoring – academic coaching?
  5. How much is known about tuition assistance, and how it works at the college level?
    Take the complete quiz – start here

 Managing a Workforce

A lesser-known provision created through the CARES Act signed into law in March 2020 allows an employer to make up to $5,250 in student loan payments for an employee annually. Funds traditionally tied to tuition benefits for new educational courses can now shift in this new direction. Until 2025, funds reallocated to help employees with education loan debt are considered tax-free and excluded from employer payroll tax. So if you’re struggling to hire or retain employees, this might be your differentiator.

Finally, in this season of giving, let’s all make a donation or two to a local non-profit or organization helping our citizens, next door or around the US.


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
Follow Get College Going at





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.


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. 

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