Welcome to the College Search Starter Kit
The College Search Starter Kit is six long-form articles that introduce my unique college search philosophy, discuss (in detail) the three aims I think most college searches miss, offers practical advice for uncertain students and unproductive searches, and discusses my top tip for taking the sting out of the college search process. I think of it as a crash course for taking your college search to levels most college-bound students never even consider.
The difference between my college consulting framework and a more traditional college search approach lies in the intended outcomes. Whereas many people focus on finding the right college fit, which is usually some arbitrary balance of prestige, reputation and costs, I think that’s an outdated model. My mission is to ensure every college-bound student graduates with something far more valuable than four-years of memories and a piece of paper to present at their first job interview.read more
A healthy college search is one that treats the decision as an investment. Now, as with any investment, from houses to stocks, positive returns are never guaranteed, there are simply too many factors that contribute to happiness and success, so the goal of the college search process should be simple…to tip the chances of success in your favor by conducting a college search that leads to a highly informed decision rather than an educated guess.read more
I’m often asked what makes the difference between a college decision and a college investment, and for me the difference lies in the fact that an investment should continue to generate returns over time. In other words, I think most students initially view college as a decision on where to spend the next four-years until they can move on to their “real” life, but for me college shouldn’t be like that. College should be an integral part of a life in progress, and perhaps more importantly, your college investment should continue to generate “returns” throughout your life.read more
There is a small debate going one regarding whether or not the true cost of college has risen and, if so, by how much. The group that believes the relative costs have not risen points to the fact that while advertised costs have gone up, so to has financial aid; meaning the increase is far less dramatic than we are led to believe. But who is right? For me the answer is completely irrelevant. What matters is that the average student now graduates with nearly $40,000 in student debt, and while many experts say that can still represent a “manageable” debt load based on the average starting salaries for many professions in the United States, the reality is that in many cases it is not manageable.read more
For most students the college search process is a long, challenging, and oftentimes confusing ordeal; so there are bound to be moments along the way when they feel lost, overwhelmed or panicked. And this can be especially true if they are trying to make a wise college investment without knowing exactly what they want in life, or do know what they want, but are struggling to find schools that they feel can help fulfill that vision.read more
For me, the most important thing is to establish a consistent practice of spending time almost everyday thinking about college. It takes a lot of time to discover new things (about schools and yourself), to process each new input, and to formulate lasting opinions. This can be all consuming and ineffective if you try to rush through the process in the eleventh hour, which is why I encourage college-bound students to start early. That may seem like common sense, but when implemented effectively it can take the sting out of the college search process.read more