FAQS

Parents

Why should I hire a college and career planning consultant?

There are many benefits to hiring me, a professional college and career planning consultant. First and foremost, I am very knowledgeable about the details of the college planning process. When you and your student work with me, I will ensure that you are fully aware of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. I offer excellent client care and personalized service year-round. When a young person is preparing for college, it can be an emotionally-charged time for everyone in the family. As a third and neutral party, I help ease the overall stress and anxiety of the college planning process for both students and parents. I provide solid, fact-based advice in a friendly and professional manner.

How much do you charge? And, how does your “process” work?

My hourly rate is $110.* I can also develop customized “packages” for you and your student.
See the “HOW IT WORKS” page in the above menu for more details.
My son/daughter does not have particularly good grades or SAT test scores. Does he/she have any options for college?

Yes. If a student is motivated and wants to go to college, there are viable options, regardless of his grades or SAT test scores. Part of what I do as a consultant is help each student understand his/her post-secondary choices.
Are there things I can do, as a parent, to help my student in the college planning process?

It’s not uncommon to feel helpless or frustrated as a parent of a student preparing to go to college.  However, there are a variety of things you can do that will help you and your student navigate the college planning process.  One helpful tool is to hang or post a large family calendar with important dates, such as college application deadlines, indicated on the calendar.  Parents can also help plan the logistics of college visits for and with their students.  And, though it may sometimes appear that your student does not appreciate your help or advice, most teenagers appreciate kind, encouraging words and knowing that their parents care about their college plans.
Can you provide any information on scholarships and other forms of financial aid?

Yes, I can certainly provide resources and guidance pertaining to scholarships and financial aid in general. I encourage all 12th grade students planning to attend college after high school to apply for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in October of their senior year. Even if you are doubtful that your family will qualify for financial assistance, it’s still a good idea to apply for the FAFSA. Submitting the FAFSA “opens up doors” for other types of financial aid, including merit aid, for your student.
My child is unsure whether she wants to go to college. Can you provide any guidance for him/her?

Yes, I am more than happy to help the student who is not sure if college is the “right choice” for him/her. Sometimes young people need a bit more time to figure out the best path for themselves. I can assist in that process.
My student wants to go to college, but is unsure what he/she wants to study or major in. What would you suggest?

It is not unusual for a 17- or 18-year old to be uncertain of what major or course of study to choose. I encourage each student to self-reflect on his/her high school years. What classes did he/she enjoy the most? And, why? What does he/she enjoy doing outside of the classroom? I have wonderful resources to assist students in the self-reflection and self-discovery process. And, rest assured that many colleges are fine with a student enrolling as “Undeclared” and then deciding later in the freshman or sophomore year which major to declare.

 

Students

I feel pretty overwhelmed with this whole college planning thing. How do I begin?

During our meetings, I will guide you, step-by-step, as to the information and materials you will need. We will create a folder for each college you are applying to with a checklist of what you’ll need and when it is due.

What courses do I need to take to get ready for college?

After we meet and discuss your interests, strengths, and objectives (and review your transcript together), I will advise you of the courses you need to take and when, in order to achieve your goals. It’s important, as a California high school student, to understand the A-G course requirements and which of the courses at your high school fulfill these requirements.

For the University of California (UC) system, The A-G courses listed below must be completed with a “C” or better and at least 11 of the required 15 units must be completed before your senior year of high school.

"A-G" Subjects Units (One Unit=One Year of Study)
a. History/social science Two units
b. English
(or language of instruction)
Four units
c. Mathematics Three units (Four units recommended)
d. Laboratory science Two units (Three units recommended)
e. Language other than English
(or other second language)
Two units (Three units recommended)
f. Visual and performing arts One unit
g. College preparatory elective One unit

Which and how many AP (Advanced Placement) courses should I take?

It depends on you, your interests, and your capabilities in the different academic subject areas. I encourage you to “stretch yourself” and take the most challenging courses you can and those in which you can be successful.

Some high schools students find that taking just one AP course a year is plenty of a challenge. Other students can manage two to three AP courses without too much stress. It really depends on the student.

If you do have the opportunity to take AP courses during high school, choose from courses that sound interesting to you and/or the course subjects you have done well in and have enjoyed in the past.

When should I take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), SAT and ACT tests and how do I prepare for them?

A good time to take the PSAT/NMSQT is in the fall of your junior year. Many public high schools offer this test during the school day for both sophomores and juniors. Check with your school counselor.

Plan to take the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and/or ACT in the spring of your junior year. A good test-taking schedule would be to take the SAT in March, the ACT in April, and the SAT Subject Tests in June of your junior year. Since most AP exams are in May, this schedule would allow you to spread out your test taking over several months.

What kinds of grades do different colleges require?

It depends on the college. Do your best in all of your high school classes. In general, colleges like to see “As” and “Bs” on your academic record, but many colleges will accept students who have classes with “C” grades. If you have any classes with “D” or “F” grades, consult with your high school counselor about re-taking the class as soon as possible so that you can improve your grade.

When should I start to apply to colleges?

The summer before your senior year is the best time to start. Many students find it helpful to start jotting down ideas or create rough drafts of their college application essays over the summer. Most students do the majority of their application work in the fall of their senior year.

How many colleges should I apply to?

Five to seven colleges is usually the recommended number. It really depends on you and the types of colleges in which you are applying. All colleges you apply to should be schools you’re excited to attend. Be sure to have 3-4 “match” schools on your list. “Match” schools are colleges that, based on your academic record, will most likely admit you. I think it’s a good idea to have 2-3 “reach” schools and 2-3 “safety” schools on your list, as well. “Reach” schools are colleges that you are excited about attending, but your chances of acceptance are on the low side. “Safety” schools are colleges in which your chances of acceptance are 100% or very close to 100%. 

Should I apply to colleges if my grades or test scores are below their published ranges?

Yes. The admission scores and grades that colleges show on their websites are averages or ranges — not cutoffs. There are students at every college who scored lower (and higher) than the numbers shown.
Should I apply early?

It depends. If you are sure about which college you want to attend, early decision or early action might be a good choice for you. If you’re not sure, you may want to keep your options open and apply regular admission to all of your colleges of interest.

What is the Common Application?

The Common Application is a standardized application used by more than 525 independent colleges. Instead of filling out several different applications, we will use this application, whenever possible. Please be aware, however, that it may be necessary to submit additional or separate documents to some colleges. In addition, individual application fees will be required for each college.

How do college admission officers judge and consider applicants?

Colleges will consider many factors to get a more complete picture of you. For example, they look at the types of classes you take, your activities, recommendation letters, your essay and your overall character. Colleges are looking for all kinds of students with different talents, abilities and backgrounds. Admission test scores and grades are just two parts of that complete picture.

 

Please note: College guidelines and information may change from year to year. The above information is meant to offer general guidance; they are not “set in stone” rules. Always double-check with me or another professional, such as your school counselor, for the most up-to-date guidelines.

*RATES are guaranteed through December 2018.