COLLEGE ADVISORY SERVICE

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Iontuition.com Sample Web Site – Stress on Financial Aspects

iontuition™ provides you with the information and tools you need to make the most of your education. We help you plan for the future by providing a comprehensive experience spanning college selection through student loan repayment. We don’t stop at planning; our products empower you to manage day-to-day realities while helping you achieve your ultimate goal of obtaining a higher education. Your fellow iontuition users include:
·                                 Prospective students deciding on the right school to continue their education.
·                                 Enrolled college students in need of financial literacy content and tools.
·                                 Student loan borrowers looking to establish a repayment strategy.
·                                 Parents assisting their children with their education investment.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT Advisory Service:

Before you sign up with any private advisor, certain criteria should be met. Ideally, a consultant should have real credentials: an advanced degree in counseling or education and experience as either an admissions officer at a competitive college or a col-lege counselor at a major high school. Several industry organizations (such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association and National Association for College Admission Counseling) promote a code of practices and professional development, making membership a plus. To assuage any elitist guilt, most top counselors give their time pro bono to those who can’t afford it, something subsidized by their significant fees. Others have particular strengths working with special needs students.
Counselors should also provide a clear description of their placement record, keep track of transfers, and offer to continue helping through college, with an eye on graduate school. They should visit colleges religiously and attend conferences and college admissions fairs. It’s a plus if their work has been published. (Beware: If a counselor claims a special relationship with admissions offices, that person is on very shaky ground.) An alternative to hiring individuals is the larger counseling companies that may emulate an admissions committee, pulling together staff and reviewing as a group each client’s application to ferret out any potential issues or problems. Note, however, that no single advisor should have more than 20 clients at a time. And if you request it, a counselor should be comfortable talking to your child’s school guidance office to coordinate efforts and work out any conflicting opinions.
Most important, says Greene, parents need to answer some questions themselves, such as “Is it all about prestige, or is it about finding and getting accepted to the school that is best for your child?” Being frank with yourself about your kid’s prospects can be difficult, he says, but you have to be prepared to accept a professional’s considered opinion, advice, and assistance.
Additional Advice to Client
(CBS MoneyWatch) Although finding a college can be intimidating, being a savvy consumer will ease your stress and reduce the chances of overpaying for a bachelor's degree.
Here are 25 tips for making a wise college choice:
1. Don't eliminate any colleges from your list just because of its price tag. Published prices are meaningless.
2. Never assume that you must pay full price for college -- two-thirds of students don't.
3. If you are affluent, look for schools that provide merit scholarships to rich students. Nearly all schools do.
4. Use a college's net price calculator to get a personalized estimate of what that school will cost your family.
5. Don't assume that only "A" students earn merit scholarships. At private schools, 85 percent of freshmen have earned grants and scholarships from their institutions.
6. Encourage your child to take college-prep classes and earn good grades. Those are the two admission factors that schools typically value the most.
7. Teenagers will increase their chances of getting accepted to a school and winning a merit scholarship if they look at colleges outside their region.
8. Use an Expected Family Contribution calculator to determine the minimum amount you will have to pay for one year of college.
9. Don't automatically assume that a student won't qualify for financial aid.
10. If you are seeking financial aid, look for generous colleges that provide mostly need-based grants rather than loans.
12. If you're disappointed with a financial aid offer, you can negotiate. But be nice when you try this approach.
13. Don't get hung up on college rankings. US News & World Report's rankings are terribly flawed.
14. When visiting schools, use the list of questions assembled by the National Survey for Student Engagement.
15. Don't stress out about getting into college. Three out of four freshman get into their No. 1 choice.
16. If your child does poorly on the SAT or ACT exams, consider applying to test-optional schools. You'll find the list of roughly 850 schools at FairTest.org.
17. Look for schools that have high four-year graduation rates. You don't want your child stuck in college for five or six years.
18. It's easier to get regional or local private scholarships than the ones with national reputations.
19. Check out what other students are saying about individual schools at Unigoand College Prowler.
20. If you're still saving for college, avoid expensive 529 plans and stick with low-cost plans that you can buy directly.
21. When borrowing for college, pick federal student loans first.
22. If you must borrow through private loans, check out college loans offered by credit unions.
23. Research potential majors before shopping for schools.
24. Never assume that an academic department is strong just because the school's overall reputation is sterling.
25. Consider looking beyond brand names to find hidden college gems.