Ten Steps to Success
Everyone’s college planning process will be different, so these steps are just a general outline of our process. Extra meetings, phone calls, and emails are unlimited—whatever it takes to have a great outcome and a happy client!
STEP 1: Introductory meeting and initial consultation.
A meeting with the student and parent(s). We will share information, outline responsibilities, get to know each other, and review things such as high school courses/grades earned, test scores, scholarships, activities, and academic and extracurricular interests. Parents are encouraged to share their perspectives as well. After learning more about the student, we will recommend ways they can bring their talents to the next level and seek out leadership opportunities.
STEP 2: Let’s-Get-Started Meeting.
A meeting with the student and parent(s). We will introduce you to our process, including College Expert Naviance, our college guidebook, test prep, and assessments. We will help the student create an academic plan, testing plan, and activity plan. We will also discuss the parents’ role in the college planning process. Every family will be sent a monthly calendar and newsletter.
STEP 3: College Selection Meeting.
A meeting with the student and parent(s). We guide students through a detailed college selection survey to better understand their college preferences. We have created a fun, patent-pending deck of playing cards designed to help students sort out their college selections. Our goal is to assess their strengths, interests, needs, and wants so we can recommend colleges that will best allow them to grow, maximize their talents, and pursue their desired career path. Parents may provide their input as well, and we will discuss scholarships and financial aid. We require students to have taken a practice ACT before the college selection process. We offer practice tests at our office or online. We will also discuss how and when to visit colleges.
STEP 4: Junior Year Planning Meeting.
A meeting with the student and parent(s). After the student has their prospective colleges list and before they start researching these colleges, we will have a Junior College Planning Meeting. At this meeting we’ll update grades, testing, and activities and also discuss college visits. The goal is to begin narrowing down the prospective colleges list before students attend our College Research Jam Sessions.
STEP 5: College Research.
Responsibility of the student (with our support). Starting in January of the junior year, we will provide twice-monthly College Research “Jam” Sessions, held at Eagan and Hopkins locations. We will help students introduce themselves to the colleges on their lists as a potential applicant and provide tools they can use to explore their colleges online. Demonstrating interest to colleges is a vital part of the college admission process.
STEP 6: Summer Strategy Session.
A meeting with the student and parent(s). In the early part of the summer before senior year(even as early as May of the junior year), we will meet to finalize your “Apply List” and fine-tune all the different components—applications, supplements, letters of recommendation, essays, standardized testing, and possible résumé—that will make up the student’s individual application strategy.
STEP 7: Summer Workshops.
Sessions with groups of fellow students. The College Expert staff offers summer workshops for all rising seniors. Students may attend the Essay Writing, Interview Preparation, Scholarship and ZeeMee Workshops.
STEP 8: Let the Essays Begin!
One-on-one support for the student. After helping the student select an essay topic that fits with their personality and accentuates their strengths, they will be ready to start writing their main essay. This is when students let their creativity flow! To assist students, we assign them to one of our Essay Experts who will review and critique their main essay and all their supplemental essays. Up to 10 hours of professional editing are included in our services. Additional hours are available for an hourly fee.
STEP 9: Application Process.
Responsibility of the student (with our support). We will assist students with completing their applications through individual meetings and Application “Jam” Sessions that they can attend with groups of students. These are offered every Sunday from August to mid-November. We can also help students complete their applications through individually scheduled meetings in our office or via Google Hangout or Skype. We will provide guidance on how to submit your test scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and any other supporting materials. Parents and students will receive a weekly email with updates on the application process.
STEP 10: College Decision Meeting.
Final meeting with the student and parent(s). We will review the responses the student has received from their colleges and help them determine their final destination—where they will attend college next year. We have developed a unique system to help families make that decision. Time to celebrate!