Campus Pathway has been helping families since 2006. In the early days, we seemed to attract families with rising seniors. Soon after, we started getting calls from families with juniors, since it is clear that it takes time to properly plan for the right college and the best way to pay for it. Today, we are getting more families with sophomores and freshman!
The key to success in the college process is planning. When you may have to spend $150,000 or so on a 4 to 5 year education, you better have a clear and coherent strategy. But not many families think this way, and without outside help from a professional counselor, parents often struggle to create the critical strategic plan.
Here is a little more about the families that engage with Campus Pathway on the road to a terrific college experience:
In April, we get the news from all the seniors, including both admissions and financial aid awards, often labeled grants or scholarships from the colleges themselves. The kids with whom we work usually have acceptances from around 50% of their colleges to which they apply up to as much as 80%, depending on the individual decisions made outside of our consultation. And most have impressive scholarships or grants at a few colleges from the private institutions to which the student applied. All of these results are a function of the college analysis by the student with our guidance, good adherance to the consultaion and good execution of the strategies outlined with the family.
If your senior year starts this August/September, then you are a rising senior! Time is now an issue for you. That's because there is much to think through and investigate on the way to picking 10 or so colleges. (More on the right number of colleges to which you apply later in the Campus Pathway blog.)
It takes time to investigate colleges. But when you know how to use the available databases (most free), and break down the colleges' websites, you can evaluate many schools in a suprisingly short period of time.
It is smart to start with a picture of the student's aspirations and dreams. To their credit, the University of California applications require students to answer an essay prompt about their dreams and aspirations. When the student has a clear vision of his or her dreams and aspirations, then careers and majors become considerably easier to determine.
Colleges should be selected by the end of the summer. Essays should be at the 90% level by the start of the senior year, with "polishing" the only remaining task. Applications themselves can be completed for the private colleges in August. Early admission applications can be completed in October for those who are certain of their college preferences.
Start now. There is so much to gain from quickly establishing a strategy for a busy senior seeking access to the best available colleges.
From the student's perspective, the ideal time to begin the process with Campus Pathway is just prior to the junior year of high school. This is because the student has a year to look inside themselves - their heart and their heads - with our help, determining what careers are in-line with their interests, their values, their skills and their personality. At the end of the junior year, the student have a list of colleges around 12, all of which they would be happy to attend.
For the parents, the junior year allows the family to get ready for college from a financial perspective. This means smart asset management, risk containment, financial aid planning, financing and cash flow design.
Many families want to start early to get ready for the competitive college admissions process. They understand the financial challenges that lie ahead and want their kids to attend the best colleges possible. The sophomore year is early, but the students can make adjustments to their planning and execution before it is too late to make corrections.
Sophomores should focus on their life vision, their goals for high school and college, their activities and hobbies, their development in the arts, debate, leadership and sports. They should end the year with a broad understanding of what colleges have to offer and what it will take to get into various tiers of colleges measured by selectivity.
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