It’s never too early–or too late–to begin thinking college!
We like to begin working with students during the end of their sophomore year. That way, we have enough time to thoroughly complete your student’s personalized career plan, provide admissions support and develop the funding strategy components of his or her college search.
But if you’re coming to us during your son or daughter’s senior year, don’t worry. We will meet more frequently to help determine his or her career path and college major, and to make sure all of the critical deadlines are met for admission applications, financial aid and scholarships. We will make sure you get through this process successfully.
But what if you are stumbling across our site because your son or daughter is a college freshman already–and he or she is already contemplating transferring or switching majors? Don’t worry–we can help your student make the best decisions in this confusing time! Give us a call to find out how.
Student loan debt has topped $1.3 trillion. College tuition costs have risen 400% in the last 13 years… and 1100% in the last 35 years.
It’s safe to say that things have gotten out of control.
That’s why we founded College Liftoff–to help you take back control of your son or daughter’s higher educational options and opportunities. We understand what’s at stake, and can empower you to plan for college the right way.
No. The “Bank on Yourself” method often used by financial planning companies is a bit controversial. It’s not so much a “method” as it is a product of selling and buying certain types of life insurance policies.
“Bank on Yourself” is NOT an actual strategy for reducing college costs, and is actually an expensive insurance product.
GREAT question–an important one, as the average high school college guidance counselor spends just 18 minutes with each student! College Liftoff advisors spend as much time it takes, even meeting weekly with our newly on-boarded seniors. Each of our advisors meets individually with each student and their family, walking them through the entire college planning process start to finish. Read more about our process here.
That’s great that your student knows what he or she wants to study! When we meet with your student, we will discuss his or her strengths, interests and desired areas of study just in case there are similar programs and majors that your student might not be aware of that might be a better fit.
For example, did you know that The Ohio State University offers 177 majors? There might be a program in your student’s area of interest that is slightly more specialized to your student’s passions and strengths. We will help you find them! Plus, in our consultation, we might find a particular minor that pairs well with the selected major to further ensure future career success or “hire-ability.”
Of course, deciding on a major is only half the battle–from there your student will need to identify colleges with those programs, and then the daunting task of paying for it all. That’s where we can really shine–helping your family invest in college the RIGHT way, and make sure you don’t overpay for the degree.
Will it be worth my money to hire a college planner? Isn’t it just MORE money on my student’s education?
On average, families we work with save between $28,000-$64,000 in college tuition over a four year span! And as your one-stop-shop for college planning, we can help your student define a career path, meet critical deadlines and be prepared for college. Click here to see what College Liftoff families are saying.
Beware of college planners that:
- Promise a certain amount of scholarship money
- Claim to know the “secret formula” for admission into certain colleges
- Earn commission on selling policies or plans that are not IRS “qualified tuition plans”
- Offer to double or triple your financial aid eligibility
More than 98 percent of our past clients are extremely satisfied with our services, which is why we have such a high rate of referrals and repeat families (the younger siblings of past clients). However, 1.5% of our past clients have reported being dissatisfied with their results from our program, and we think it’s important to transparently address their specific concerns and complaints. Here they are:
Q. ) My son has a 4.0/Perfect ACT score/is quite gifted. Why can’t you get him into an Ivy League school?
A. ) Be wary of companies that promise to get your student into an “Ivy” or other prestigious institution. Nothing is guaranteed, especially for schools with acceptance rates as low as seven percent in some cases. Our goal isn’t to get you into your dream school–it’s to get you into the right school for the right price. Your student’s merits will, and should, land your student where he or she needs to be.
Q. ) Some of the schools on the list you’ve come up with for my daughter don’t sound prestigious enough. Why are you recommending them?
A. ) It’s important to look at schools “program by program” in order to get true pictures of prestige or worth. For example, MIT is ranked second in the country for Supply Chain Management; Michigan State is actually ranked first.
Q. ) My son is too busy to do the “homework” College Liftoff required us to do in order to determine his major. Why didn’t you fill out forms for us/talk to schools on our behalf/go on our college visits? We thought you would act as our de facto guidance counselor.
A. ) You’re never too busy to work on your future. No one can do this process but your student; it’s his or her college experience that will set the trajectory for his or her life. Students must take ownership of the process in order to find their proper path.
Did you know that the PSAT is linked to the national merit scholarship program? That’s why we encourage students to take these tests in the fall of their junior of high school.
We then encourage your son or daughter to take both the ACT and the SAT between December and January of junior year to get a natural assessment of which test your child prefers, and identify testing strengths and areas for improvement. There is always time to take one or both tests again–and we want to make sure your student has the best opportunity to achieve his or her best score!
We do not offer ACT/SAT test preparation courses, but we do strategize scores into your student’s whole college plan. If your student needs extra tutoring help to prepare for his or her standardized tests, we have relationships with local services and programs that can help you.
Yes! We know how worrisome it can be for you as a parent to have to navigate your teen’s IEP or 504 plan with colleges. Not to mention, many parents don’t even know where to start! Click here for more information, or give us a call to talk a bout how we can help your family.
We will go after any type of gift aid, scholarship or grant money your student is eligible for, including athletic gift aid. If your student is interested in pursuing a college degree while participating in collegiate athletics, we will introduce potential career paths that enable him or her to fulfill the dream of playing a sport. Most importantly, we will ensure those scholarship dollars are put to good use toward a marketable degree upon graduation.
We still work with your student to vet their strengths and passions and introduce them to potential career paths. With our extensive and expert knowledge of colleges and universities across the country, we can match your student’s unique passions with available majors and minors to create the best combination of areas of study and launch your student on the greatest path for future career success.
Then, we develop strategies to leverage all types of scholarships, financial aid and other funding sources to minimize student loan debt, as well as negotiate with schools to get the best price for your son or daughter’s education. We will help you leverage scholarships to maximize the amount of free money you receive for your education.
While we are not financial advisors, we help you determine the right way to fund college from resources you have such as:
- IRS 529 plans and other college savings vehicles
- Student contributions from savings they accumulate through working and gifts
- Financial aid from loans, grants and work-study programs
Once you have determined how you are going to pay for college, we work with your student to set a budget to manage your finances. Visit www.studentaid.ed.gov for tips and tools on setting budget, financing college and FASFA.
Whether you’re relying on financial aid, student loans, or plan to self-fund, knowing the benefits and limitations of college savings vehicles can help you navigate your options. While we are not financial advisors or tax accountants, these are some need-based financial aid strategies that can get you started:
- Taking advantage of IRS 529 plans, college savings accounts and prepaid tuition plans.
- Leveraging additional aid if more family members attend college simultaneously.
- Spending down your student’s personal income first.
- Reducing personal debt and reducing your available cash before filing FAFSA.
- Making the maximum contributions to your retirement plan.
- Prepaying your mortgage to reduce available cash.
- Choosing the date to submit the FAFSA carefully, as assets and student marital status are specified as of the application date.
- Talking with the financial aid administrator at your school to review your case.
These are all beginning strategies. For a more detailed plan, please consult your financial advisor or tax accountant. Let us know if you have one, and we will invite him or her into the college conversation. Once you have determined how you are going to pay for college, you need work with your child to set a budget to manage your finances. Visit www.studentaid.ed.gov for tips and tools on setting a budget.
Colleges, private institutions and the government provide money to help students fund their college education. Scholarships are gifts of money that does not need to be paid back.
The vast majority of the scholarship money (or gift aid) will come directly from the universities themselves. These monies are given out for a variety of reasons from demonstrated financial need to academic merit and beyond. There is no one set way universities give scholarship monies.
Outside scholarships typically require that students meet certain requirements. Some scholarships are based on academic achievement while others are based on demonstrated financial need. Scholarships are also available based on area of study, athletic ability, ethnic and racial background, and military background.
At College Liftoff will will help you leverage scholarships to maximize the amount of free money you receive for your education.
That depends! But don’t do anything without giving us a call–we can help your daughter navigate her best (and least costly!) path to success. Have your daughter give us a call (and see our page on this topic for more information).
If your student is interested in pursuing a college degree focused around music or performing arts, we work with your student to introduce them to potential career paths that enable them to fulfill their dream and become financially self-sufficient.
With our extensive and expert knowledge of colleges and universities across the country, we can “marry” your student’s unique passions with available majors and minors to create the best combination of areas of study and launch your student on the greatest path for future career success.
Then, we develop strategies to leverage all types of scholarships, financial aid and other funding sources to minimize student loan debt, as well as negotiate with schools to get the best price for your son or daughter’s education.
Since high school guidance counselor spends an average of just 18 minutes on college planning with each high school student, hiring a college planner makes sense. You have many choices when it comes to selecting a college planner from national franchises to “mom & pop” operations that specialize in one aspect of college planning such as career development or savings vehicles. As your one-stop shop, your College Liftoff advisor will spend however long it takes with your student and family, to walk you through the entire college planning process start to finish.
And we’re not just confined to Columbus! About 10 percent of our clients reside in other parts of the country. We will “meet” over Skype and Google to work individually with families just the same as if they were in person.