College Coaches Corner: Question and Answer

Hi Students and Parents,

Our EDFIN community is looking forward to meeting you and your family in your FREE College 
Planning Assessment.

Today we share a question and answer session about college planning services. 

Q. My daughter is a sophomore in high school. A couple of her friends are working with college

counselors, not in the high school, but rather, private counselors. Why would a family pay for college

counseling? Is it worth the price?

A. We often hear from parents about how great their student's high school is. We hear how much they

love the student's experience, curriculum, clubs and extracurricular events. What we seldom hear,

however, is how great the college advising is. (You might think this is limited to public high schools,

but surprisingly, this comes from some private high school patrons as well.)

With the average student-to-adviser ratio in our local public school district somewhere between 750:1

and 1,000:1, is it any wonder? While these dedicated servants love, guide and advise their students -

often with a passion - the fact is, they are woefully outnumbered, and with the horrific budget issues facing our state, it doesn't appear to be getting better anytime soon.

While the guidance advisers are aware of the high cost of college and that the college-planning process has become increasingly complex and confusing, there is little they can do to effectively counsel their students. There is no time or funding to seek professional growth.

A report recently published by Public Agenda/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reveals the reality of the guidance received by high school graduates who are college-bound. It doesn't reflect well on our state of affairs at the national level, but it does shed some light on the fact that students need help. More students are dropping out of college than are graduating. And this can be avoided.

Now to the point of this week's column - while the report referenced above reveals why college-bound students need help from independent college counselors, it doesn't say how to find that help. The higher the student's academic and personal performance, the more the family needs expert guidance, especially with the competitive climate of today's college admissions. Sadly, many high schools take the position that there is no need to seek professional guidance.

So for a plan of action, let's start with what not to do. Be wary of seeking advice from friends. Just as you wouldn't seek tax advice from a teacher or legal advice from your hairdresser, seeking advice from those who are not experts college planning will cost you in the long run.

Finally, here are three tips to assist you in assessing the competence of an independent college counselor:

  1. Interview the counselor, focusing on his or her experience in college-funding strategies, a thorough understanding of EFC, student positioning and academic/career placement, and what the counselor's ideal student client "looks like."

  2. Realizing that the No. 1 reason students don't complete college is "financial hardship," make sure your independent college counselor understands the complexities of financial aid - both need-based and merit-based. And confirm his or her willingness and competence in working with your existing financial adviser and accountant. If you don't have such a team of financial professionals, your independent college counselor should have a network of experts to refer you to whom know the implications of income, assets, trusts, investments, etc., relative to financial-aid eligibility.

  3. With over 2,300 four-year colleges, make sure your independent college counselor has the tools to find the college with the right fit. Keep in mind that affordability must come first, followed equally by academic, social, cultural and spiritual fit.

If a counselor can assist your student in graduating in four years from the college he or she enters as a freshman in an affordable fashion for the student and the parents, it's hard to put a monetary value on such an accomplishment.


Should you have any questions prior to your appointment, please reach out to us at 951-261-9799.  Learn more college planning tips at

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Shelly Rufin, MSHS
Expert College & Financial Aid Planner
Published Author/Speaker of "9 Key Decisions for Better College Planning Better Life: Making College DREAMS a Reality 
TV Personality EDFIN TV/Radio Show

27420 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 104E  Temecula, CA 92590

Hours: Mon-Thurs 10:00 - 6:00 | Fridays 10:00

Call to receive your Complimentary consultation at 951-261-9799  WWW.EDFINCOLLEGEPLANNINGEXPERTS.COM

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EDFIN College Planning Experts
EDFIN College Planning Experts

College Planning Guidance for 7th - 11th Grade Students:

At EDFIN College Planning Experts we believe college success begin in 8th. We have some advice and resources to help you wherever you are in the process.

7th through 8th grade Students: 
It’s not easy to mentor and coach yourself through middle school or high school.

That’s why EDFIN has developed a foundation mentoring and coaching program to help you. 
1. The foundation to high school success begins in middle school. Begin as early as 8th for preparing for college. 
2. Developing Study Skills
3. Discovering your strengths, likes, interests, what your most passionate about. 
4. Discover your values and why they are important to you. 
5. Motivations, who or what motivates you.

At EDFIN College Planning Experts our Pre-Assessments, Personality/Career Assessments are designed to help you with an individualized college plan geared towards your success and gets results. 

9th - 11th Grade Students
1. Once you reach high school, the processes for preparing for the college application processes and ultimately choosing one school that will be the best fit for you, considering deadlines for Federal, State and Institutional, it crucial to your high school and college success.

2. Meet with your school counselor early and often. Your counselor is a great resource to help plan your high school class schedule and recommend colleges for you to consider.

3. Begin preparing for the SAT and ACT by taking practice exams available online through the College Board and ACT testing service.

Get involved! Participating in extracurricular activities makes you a well-rounded applicant and teaches you how to manage your time, work with others, and more.

4. Explore college majors. Penn State offers a Major Quest tool to help review the more than 275 majors we offer.

4. Begin researching colleges that interest you and plan to visit them.
7th-8th Grade Students
Even though high school graduation is years away, it’s not too early to start thinking about what you want to do after high school. We realize you have big decisions to make, and we want to help you begin to make plans for the future. The first step in career planning is getting to know you:

1. What do you like?
2. What is your favorite subject in school?
3. Do you enjoy spending time with people?
4. Are you the president of a club?
5. Are you organized?

Answering those questions can help you determine what career path might be right for you. Here are some additional resources to help guide you in the right direction.

As College Planning Experts for twenty-seven years, helping thousands of high school families just like you prepared for the one of the most important decision you will make in your life - Preparing for College.

Get started with a Complimentary consultation by calling 951-261-9799  WWW.EDFINCOLLEGEPLANNINGEXPERTS.COM