Why College Counseling is More Important than Ever: Part 2 | College Made Simple

Here are three more reasons college counseling is still crucial for any family looking for their dream school at a dream price…

In my last article, I began a list of five important reasons why college counseling could play a big part in your child’s college admissions and application process.

It’s easy to think that with the wealth of material available online these days that using a college planner isn’t necessary. But the fact is, your admissions process is completely unique and requires individual attention.

So here are three more reasons why college counseling should play a major role in your college search.

The cost of college is higher than ever.

It should come as no surprise that just like everything else, the cost of going to college is skyrocketing.

For in-state public schools, the average tuition cost and fees increased by 7.9% to $7,605 last year.

That’s compared to an average 4.5% increase at private universities, putting their average price per year at $27,293.

When you add on room and board, the average cost of attendance at a four-year, in-state public school for the 2010-2011 academic year shot up 6.1% year over year to $16,140.

And at four-year private universities, total costs (including room and board) rose 4.3% to an average of $36,993.

It’s no wonder the New York Times said that “college may become unaffordable for most in the U.S.”

So what can college counseling do to help? Well for one thing, there is plenty of federal aid out there for families. But navigating through the paperwork and red tape necessary to get it can be confusing and very often end up costing you in the long run.

Knowing the best way to fill out the FAFSA form and which financial assets to leave open to government review and which not to, can help to make sure you qualify for the maximum amount of college financial aid.

A college counseling firm can sit down with you and go over your specific FAFSA form and ensure you’re not cheating yourself out of possible college funding.

But federal financial aid isn’t the only way to get money for college. Which leads me to my next point…

There’s more than one way to get college aid.

Federal aid is by far the most common source of funding for families looking for college assistance.

But there are actually several other pipelines of college money for you to tap into if you know where to find it. College counseling can help you do that.

The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is a SECOND round of financial aid you can apply for that’s given out directly from schools themselves.

Not all schools are able to offer CSS money, but a good counseling outfit can direct you to the ones that are.

Now since the CSS Profile isn’t under federal restraints, schools are allowed to include various assets into their consideration of your Expected Family Contribution that the FAFSA form cannot. Working alongside a counselor can also help you figure out ways to avert being stuck with a huge family contribution as well.

Scholarships are of course another source of college aid. There are scores of them out there, so it’s helpful to have a professional offer advice as to which ones are worth your time applying to and which ones your student has the best chance of winning.

College counseling can help you make a list of your student’s academic, athletic or extracurricular qualifications. Then find the grants that they stand the best chance of winning based off of that.

There’s no way you’ll be able to cover the scope all these awards yourself. College counseling can tailor a scholarship plan of action to your child directly and put them in the best position possible for them to take home some money.

It’s tougher than ever for graduates to find work.

With unemployment hovering around 10% nationally, it’s a tough time to be looking for a job.

And it’s especially tough for recent college grads.

College graduates age 21-24 had a 9.4% jobless rate. Before the recession, it was 5.5% for young grads.

It’s plain to see it’s taking longer and longer for graduates to find work after they leave college. However, your child can greatly increase their chances of ending up gainfully employed soon after they graduate by choosing a school that’s going to offer them the best resources for their chosen career path.

The right school for a student looking to be an engineer definitely won’t be the right school for a student working to be a teacher or an economist.

A good college planning firm, after getting to know your student, can help direct them towards schools that will prepare them best for their desired career field. A bad fit at a college can set a student back years as they attempt to recover and learn what they need to know in order to qualify for jobs.

Discovering which school offers the best class tracts, faculty, internship opportunities and alumni connections, in a given course of study can be invaluable in sending your child out into the workforce with a leg up on the competition.

College is a unique experience for each student. And choosing a college is the same way.

Don’t limit yourself to general info and cookie cutter advice. Your finances, and your student’s future will be all the better for it.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold

Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com

Related Articles:

5 Reasons College Counseling is More Important than Ever

What to do Before You Apply to College

College Admissions Strategies

College Admissions Strategies, Part 2

How College Admissions Has Changed

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TrishJune 18th, 2011 at 9:46 am

Where can you find a reputable college counselor to help with FAFSA and other forms?

Alicia RichardsonJune 20th, 2011 at 7:13 am

College Planning Network has financial and education based counselors that can assist you in this process. To learn more about our services you should first watch our online workshop and then sign up for a free consultation to discuss how our experts can help you through the college admissions and financial aid processes.

To register for an upcoming free college-funding online video workshop, simply visit http://www.collegemadesimple.com/college-webinar/ for details and registration.

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.