College costs are rising

College costs have risen substantially over the past ten years. But not all colleges cost the same. And some colleges give more scholarships than others. Families need to do their homework.

Start early.

The best way to navigate all of this is before, not after.

Talk to your kids.

Parents, talk to your child about college financials. What can the family afford for college? Will the student need to take loans? Will he/she apply for financial aid? Make sure their college list contains a range of schools giving the student choices not only with regard to academics, but with cost too. Adding in-state schools to a college list can help with the overall cost of a four-year education.


Please take the time to search out and read articles, books, and university brochures on college financials. What is the FAFSA? What is the CSS profile?

Visit colleges.

Begin visiting colleges with your child, no later than the start of junior year. Attend the information session and listen. Does the college offer merit money? What are the academic requirements necessary to receive merit money? What academic scholarships are available and how many students receive one? Is there an additional application to submit to be eligible for the university’s academic scholarships? 

Start your research today.

Below are two articles discussing the complexities of college financial aid, plus a link to an informative website.

“College Admission Roulette: Ask for Financial Aid, or Not?” 
[Read article on The New York Times]

“How Not to Blow It With Financial Aid – Common mistakes parents and students make when seeking help with college costs.”
[Read article on The Wall Street Journal]

“It’s comprehensive, it’s informative, it’s objective – and it’s the first stop on the web for students looking for ways to finance their education. Access to FinAid is free for all users and there is no charge to link to the site.”
[Read article on]

Research summer college programs

Use your summers wisely. Spending a week or two on a college campus this summer will give you a “feel” for college life, and broaden your academic experiences. Here are a few links to summer college programs around the country. Discover one that sparks your curiosity. Or call us and we will create a list tailored to your interests.

Brown University, Providence Rhode Island

Columbia University, New York, New York 

Stevens Institute of Technology: The Stevens Summer

Summer programs for future doctors


University of Pennsylvania

University of Sourthern California

Standardized tests

Standardized tests are a part of the college admission process…but students do have some control over this aspect of their profile.

They may take the SAT or the ACT, or take both. They may choose to take a standardized test once, or multiple times. Additionally, the colleges offering test optional is growing, and for certain students this is a strong choice.

We help our students understand their options, and choose the path that works best for them and where they will meet with the greatest success.

Check out this list of colleges that are test optional, by FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

[Read article on]

Internet Resources

College Board

College Navigator
Website is part of the National Center for Education Studies and all information is collected and analyzed by this entity.  It collects and presents a broad range of educational data, but in particular, college navigator provides statistical information on colleges.

College Majors
Links majors with/schools/careers/business firms.

Ask a college freshman about the college application process

College freshmen are always a good source of solid advice on the college application process. After all, they just went through it and understand what it takes to succeed.

“Applying to college is a taxing process for many students, and that stress can certainly increase when a prestigious school is on their wish list. Students applying to any of the top 25 National Universities in the U.S. could benefit from the personal experiences shared by those who landed a spot at some of these schools.” 

[Read article on]

A guide to senior schedules colleges will love

The Tufts Admission Office offers some simple but important advice about your senior year.

[Read article on Tufts University’s website]

High school grades matter most in college admissions

The recently released National Association of College Admission Counseling report confirms that grades do matter.

“The most important piece of a student’s application is their high school record – the courses they took and the grades they received.”

[Read article on]

Writing the college essay

Are you struggling to write your college essay? In this article, Holding College Chiefs to Their Words, see how university presidents answered the college application essay.

Take comfort in the fact that it was not easy for them either.

[Read article on the Wall Street Journal]

Change the way you build your college list

In 1996 Loren Pope, the retired New York Times Education Editor, published his ground-breaking book, Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College, promoting the importance of “fit” in the college selection process.

The CTCL website is a great resource for parents and students alike. It will change the way you build your college list!

[Visit the CTCL website]