College - FAQ
Aside from purchasing a home, a college education represents the largest investment you will make during your life. If you take into account the personal and professional benefits associated with earning a degree, college will likely be your most important investment.
Despite committing as much as $300,000 toward college-related costs, students and their families rarely seek the advice of a specialist, as they would when purchasing a home or planning their retirement, for example. Instead, most families choose to rely on their respective high schools. Unfortunately, most schools have devoted less, not more, resources to college planning in recent years. School counselors, for example, play an extremely crucial role in promoting the personal and social development of our youth, but mounting responsibilities in the areas of standardized testing, course scheduling, academic remediation, and mental health support have forced many school counselors to shift their focus away from college-related tasks. Currently, the average school counselor spends only 30 minutes per year per student on college planning activities. In contrast, private college counselors focus exclusively on college guidance and can provide families with the personalized and intensive support they require. Ideally, private college counselors fill the need for greater college guidance by offering services that a typical school counselor cannot, such as those related to:
- Career and interest assessment
- Developing a student activities resume
- Extracurricular planning
- College list development
- Preparing for college interviews
- College application (detailed guidance, review, and packaging)
- College essays (brainstorming, proofreading, and editing)
- Organizing campus visits
Private college counselors can also help families save on college costs, for example, by:
- Pointing students to good-fit colleges that are relatively inexpensive and where they are likely to receive significant (need-based and/or merit-based) financial aid.
- Teaching students how to maximize their financial aid eligibility and locate suitable scholarship opportunities.
- Pointing students to credit-earning opportunities before college admission, and helping them to navigate course (i.e. major and general education) requirements after admission – both shorten a student’s time to degree.
- Facilitating career exploration and recommending college majors that ultimately pave the way for professional fit and success.
Ultimately, (capable and well-trained) private counselors help students enroll and succeed at good-fit colleges, while ensuring that families receive a substantial return on their postsecondary investment.
Unlike most other providers, College Transitions counselors have worked on “both sides of the gate” – as high school counselors and administrators, and as college admission representatives. We are also published researchers, having authored articles on the college-related effects of counseling, the predictors of selective college admission, and education debt, among other topics. We are the only college planning company in the country to have contributed articles to higher education’s top journals and to have published two best-selling books, The Enlightened College Applicant and our newly released Colleges Worth Your Money.
In sum, our background and experience allow us to offer unique insight into the context and trends that impact college-related decisions; while our professional affiliations enable us to acquire college-specific information that is not readily accessible to school staff or to other private college counselors. As a result, we know how colleges – at all levels of selectivity – approach the admissions process, and we know why students achieve college success.
At College Transitions, we believe that the college admissions process should be about more than admission. We value personal growth and self-discovery as much as selectivity, and by doing so, we hope to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning.
Our fundamental objective is to guide students into good-fit colleges, where they can thrive and effectively pursue their personal and professional goals. We work toward this objective by leveraging our knowledge, as well as the knowledge of other professionals throughout higher education, with whom we have built extensive relationships over the course of our careers as researchers, counselors and consultants.
We moved to a remote model several years ago in order to reach a broader range of families and better accommodate our students, many of whom have extremely busy schedules during the week, and as such, need to meet on short notice and/or during nights and weekends. Now, we communicate through e-mail, phone, and most often video chat (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, etc.), responding to our families’ needs more quickly and offering greater flexibility and availability than we were able to under our former “brick and mortar” model. In the past five years, we have provided remote services to students residing in nearly every state and more than a dozen countries. Ultimately, our long-term success has been due to our responsiveness and unique knowledge set, rather than our location or proximity to certain students.