Is College Worth It?

A recent Georgetown University study attempts to answer this question and the conclusions might surprise you.  Major can matter more than prestige but the earnings garnered with a diploma from a 4-year college or university, despite the cost, continues to far outpace those with an Associate’s degree.  See this sortable, searchable table for details. 

Link to “Is college worth it? A Georgetown study measures return on investment — with some surprising results.”

New 529 Plan Provisions Improve Flexibility

If you’re considering establishing a 529 plan to save funds for education on a tax-advantaged basis, you no longer have to worry that unused monies remaining after your student graduates will go to waste.  Thanks to the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act, passed on December 20, 2019,  you now have more options as to how you use these savings since the definition of qualified higher education expenses has been expanded and now includes student loan payments and costs of apprenticeship programs.  See this Forbes article for more details –

New 529 Plan provisions allow using funds to repay student loans

Still interested in reading more about the latest in 529 plans and you live in California?  Here’s an excellent site for information on what to do next –

How to open a 529 plan in CA

NEW Way to Reduce Cost of 4-yr. College Degree – CA Community & Private Colleges Announce New Transfer Opportunities

Sacramento, CA — Under a new agreement signed today by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), California community college students pursuing an Associate Degree for Transfer can receive guaranteed acceptance and a more affordable, seamless pathway to 36 private, non-profit four-year colleges and universities [in California].

See the link below for details, including the list of colleges and universities, among them St. Mary’s of California, University of Redlands and University of San Francisco.  Please contact me for more information.

CA CCs adopt Transfer Agreement with private colleges 2018

72% of IECs say 50%+ of their students got into top choice school

Applerouth Testing ( just released the results, below, of their 2018 survey of Independent Educational Consultants (IECs).

Students named “fit” as the single most important factor in selecting colleges.  It’s easy to find schools that have your major, but do you know how to distinguish “top programs” from the rest?  Contact me at to learn how to spot the difference. 


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Applerouth 2018 Independent Educational Consultants survey

Parents of rising seniors – Avoid these college planning pitfalls

The Collegewise newsletter, July 14, 2018, highlights 5 common pitfalls that can trip up parents of rising seniors.  Another excellent resource is the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” College Admission Pledges for Parents and Students at the back of the book.  Don’t have a Fiske Guide?  Let me know and I’m happy to provide you with copies! 

People talk a lot about how hard college admissions is on kids these days. But it’s no picnic for parents, either. You want to be supportive and do whatever you can to make sure your kids are happy with their college choices. Unfortunately, these good intentions can sometimes lead parents to unwittingly hurt their kids’ chances of admission. So here are five common college admissions mistakes parents must avoid.

For Parents: How to Avoid Five Common College Planning Mistakes

1. Don’t get involved with college essays.
When a parent helps too much with a college essay, it is almost always glaringly apparent to an admissions officer. Parents think and write differently than kids do. And colleges want to hear your kids’ thoughts and perspectives, not yours. In fact, our experience has been that parental involvement in college essays almost never leads to better essays (or better family relations). So let your student take the lead and write what she wants to write. And while you stay hands-off, encourage your kids to seek feedback from an English teacher or a counselor knows them well. 

2. Don’t contact colleges on your student’s behalf.
When a parent repeatedly calls or emails an admissions office to ask questions, it’s natural for admissions officers to wonder why the student isn’t mature enough to call on his own. That’s why we recommend that any communication with an admissions office come from the student, not the parent. This is the time for these young adults to begin developing the ability to show initiative and take care of themselves. The one exception to this rule is when it’s time to discuss financial aid, as the admissions offices don’t expect kids to carry on discussions about family finances.

3. Don’t secure activities for your student. 
It’s easy for colleges to spot the applicant who volunteered at the hospital after his mother made all the calls, filled out the paperwork, and physically wrestled him into the car to get him there. That mother has shown a great deal of initiative (and a surprising amount of strength). But the student hasn’t really shown much of anything. It’s perfectly OK to help guide your student and offer advice, but let her decide what she’d like to do and how she’s going to start.

4. Don’t always listen to what your friends say about admissions.
We’re consistently surprised by the amount of inaccurate college information that parents get from other parents at dinner parties. The truth is that while many people claim to know a lot about colleges admissions, very few actually do. So unless the person giving you advice is a counselor or an admissions officer, check with your high school counselor before following any free advice from your friends.   

5. Don’t lose perspective.
Don’t forget that your son or daughter’s future success and happiness are not dependent on the admission to one particular college. We’re not psychologists, but we’ve watched over 10,000 families go through the college admissions process, and we’ve noticed that the parents who seem to enjoy the best relationship with their kids during this stressful time are those who make it clear they will proudly wear the sweatshirt of any college their kid chooses to attend. Kids today are feeling an enormous amount of pressure about college admissions. They need you to be the voice of reason who knows that good kids who work hard and have supportive parents will always turn out just fine.

So be a supportive partner, but let your kids take the lead.

Essay Workshops – Fall Session

We know what makes a ‘good’ college application essay* and we’ll help you to:

  • Create personal statement(s) that make you a stand-out applicant
  • Effectively communicate who you are and personal qualities you value most 
  • Consult with certificated College Counselor & credentialed English Teacher  
  • Finish one or more of the most challenging parts of the college application
*Contact us at for answer and upcoming schedule.       (Hint:  It’s NOT a good English class paper or a ‘love letter’ to the College!)