Tips for Choosing a College Planner

 In General, High School Students, Productivity

Before you can identify a solution, you must realize you have a problem. The same is true when aiming to fulfill your child’s college dreams. A lot of families in the college application process are not aware of the opportunities they are missing academically and socially for their student, as well as financially for the family. You must have a unified team to collectively pull the oars and reach your family’s college goals. This is where choosing the right college planner for your family is critical. Do you know what your child needs in an advisor? 

First, you need to ask yourself, “do I have a problem?”

Well, if this is the first time you’ve thought about college since attending yourself, then you’ll be in for a big surprise. The process has changed immensely. Tuition is higher, scholarships are much more competitive, and students need to have a plan in place well before senior year.

Here are some points to consider:

  • It takes a U.S. student 5.8 to 6.2 years to graduate with a four-year degree. -College Board
  • College costs increase at a rate of 5 to 8 percent every year. -National Center for Education Statistics
  • Going a fifth year costs a family $64,000 a year on average (one year of lost income $40,000 and one additional year of college $25,000).
  • The average student debt amount is $31,000. -Wall Street Journal
  • An additional year for one student will cost parents $893 a month of retirement income at age 72. -Financial Planning 101
  • Wealthy families (making over $145,000 annually) miss out of two buckets of free money. -PCP

This is all very overwhelming, but the advisors and planning team at Peachtree College Planning are here for you!

So, is a college planner right for you?  

First, you need to understand what a college planner does. There are two main points of focus in our area, the guidance side and the financial planning side. Most high schools have fantastic guidance teams who can offer some advice to students. But, then that leaves the financial side at a loss. There are many  financial planners out there who claim to have plans that aim to help pay for college, but they never know enough about the actual needs of students and families academically. The real trick is finding a college planner who can do everything for you. Does your student need standardized test prep? How about help narrowing down where they should apply? How will you be paying for college? If any of those questions have left you feeling anxiousness, I’d say you better start looking for a college planner.

How can one advisor offer both financial help and a college plan?

Well, we haven’t met any one advisor who can do all this. It’s practically impossible to have the experience and knowledge in all the areas we’ve discussed.

So what does this mean for your family?

You need to find an entire team. That’s right, I said a TEAM. One person alone will not be able to aid in all of the college planning process. A comprehensive college planning team should provide career exploration, test prep, application assistance, essay review, and interview prep to get the right academic and social fit for your student. On the financial side, your team should have financial planners that understand tax, investments, financial aid, scholarships, and other financial products so you can assemble an unbiased college financial blueprint.

If you are one of the lucky families who attend a private college prep school, you may believe you have things covered because you are paying for that top-notch guidance team as part of your tuition.

But how important is the financial side for your success?

The higher the income, the more a family pays for college and without a proper strategy most high earners pay .38 cents more per dollar spent on college. Yes, you pay $1.38 per dollar more making a $20,000 tuition bill cost you $27,600 a year. You shouldn’t have to overpay on college.  Remember, what you don’t know that will hurt your family the most.

Good news: now you know the basics!

Your family can start the search for a college planner. But remember, the most effective results come from having a whole team behind you. The team at Peachtree College Planning has years of experience in the guidance and financial realms for college-bound students. We provide experts so your student will thrive socially, academically, and financially. These are our core beliefs in finding a balanced school that both parents and students will love. Like what you’ve read so far? Our team would be happy to discuss the process more. Reach out to us and get started on your family’s college plan!

Stuart Canzeri
Stuart has been in the financial and college planning arena for a combined 15 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Tulane University, a MBA from Mercer University and completed his Certified Financial Planner certification from the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business. Sign up to receive tips and tricks for college planning.
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Showing 2 comments
  • Max Jones
    Reply

    I really like your idea to think about getting some help from a college planner! I’m going to be looking for colleges to attend, and figuring out what I want to get out of going to school, so I think that it could help me out a lot to talk to a planner. I think I’ve got my choices narrowed down to a couple of colleges, but I think that asking for some help is never a bad idea!

  • Taylor Hicken
    Reply

    It’s crazy to read about the school debt that some people get themselves into. My daughter has been talking about college, but she hasn’t decided what school she wants to attend. I’ll have to talk to her about that tonight, hopefully she’ll be able to figure that out within the next month.

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