This recent article from Your College Advisor at NorthNewJersey.com provides some good advice on the college application process, and how to get the information you need. But even the writer, journalist Pat Restaino, notes that one of the problems is that there’s almost too much information out there, and “too much information often results in confusion and indecision.” Additionally, is the information accurate and do you know the right questions to ask?
It always amazes me to find that parents and children tend to select schools based on what family and friends have to say, with the focus usually on a few schools, none of which might be the best school for them. High schools tend to give out lots of helpful information. The internet is full of good information as well. In fact, as Restaino puts it, there’s almost too much information available. So how do you find your way through this thicket of information without it becoming your new full-time job?
What is the most expensive thing the people purchase in their lifetimes? For most people, that would be their home. But when you stop to look at the numbers, in most cases, educating just one child could cost more than buying a home. If a family has two children or more, the cost only increases with each child.
Isn’t it worth it then, to invest the time to attend a seminar given by a full-time educational consultant? A professional in this field save you money – assuming they have the right credentials and training — and I am speaking in terms of tens of thousands of dollars in savings.
School guidance counselors try to help, but they usually don’t have the time to remain current on all the regulations involved. College financial aid officers are not in the business of giving away more money. And entrusting your decision about which college to attend to your family and friends, or your child’s friends may not be the best idea either.
Get those applications submitted early, and usually you will be ahead of the process. Many colleges tend to give aid on a first-come, first-served basis. By having your applications in early, not only can you get your financial aid letters out sooner, but also it gives you the time to take the first offer and use it as leverage to appeal to the school your child (or you) would prefer.
There is so much more to this process, but the point is getting professional help early in the process can save you tens of thousands of dollars towards the cost of education, and make sure that the process of applying for college and financial aid doesn’t become a new full-time job for you.