Tag Archive | planning


It’s just around the corner and many high school seniors still aren’t ready for college and the Jr’s are still picking their nose waiting for their moms and dads to make them fill out paperwork. If you don’t start pulling your act together (and I mean you high school freshman out there), you are going to miss prime deadlines for the best scholarships, grants, and other admissions requirements. All this means to you is that by dragging your feet YOU LOSE.

I once spoke with a parent who told me (over the phone) that he didn’t think it was a good idea that his daughter (who was a sophomore in high school at the time) needed to start thinking about college because he believed two things, 1) that the college admissions standards would be changing drastically, and 2) he didn’t think his daughter needed to be thinking about such things so soon, she was still so young! I know two things about this well-meaning father, 1) that he has a limited understanding of the college admissions process, and 2) that he still views his daughter as the little girl who once sat upon his knee and to whom he once read bed-time stories. This however lack of understanding doesn’t serve his “little girl”, it sets her back.

This is the first post that has gone up in over 6 months, primarily because I have been in Guatemala, working with my wife to establish a non-profit organization that serves the disabled there. Our primary focus was establishing Guatemalan leaders to run the organization. But secondarily we aided in the purchasing and distribution of food for the malnourished, therapy for the physically disabled, and education for local business leaders including English as a second language, as well as leadership and business principles.

The point is that hesitation in planning for the future will not enable success. There is a quote, it states, “If you aim for nothing, you are sure to hit it.” We must take aim at our futures and fire shots based on calculated reasons, any other way is simply foolish. College Life Planning exists to help students and parents plan for college and career, we exist to help find that lighted path that will lead to success and happiness in our future generations.



College Q&A

Sometimes there are questions that while we feel we ought to somehow already know the answer to, we just don’t. It happens all the time, it happens to me. The key to success isn’t so much with what you know, it is WHO you know. Having a college advisor at your finger tips can be a huge help to you as a student, to your parents, for your future. The main difference between your traditional college advisor and an independent college advisor is availability. When you need an answer about which classes to choose, which college to go to, which major to focus on, how to write a brag sheet, how to find the most financial aid… you need an independent college advisor.

Check out my website at: http://www.collegelifeplanning.com

If you’re going to college, no matter what stage of life you might be in, as a High School senior, or a 21 year old transfer student, or a 42 year old father of 3; I would love the opportunity to answer your college questions and help you chart a path for your future.

Your online College Advisor

Here’s an interesting article if you (or your teen) is getting ready to gear up for college next year. Lining up your letters of recommendation are critical. This is very basic, but it will give you an idea on where to start. If you would like more information, or have questions; check us out on-line at www.collegelifeplanning.com

Amplify’d from u101.com

Lining Up Letters of Recommendation

Long ago, in a public high school far away, I made plans to
apply to three universities. Early in my senior year, I asked
my creative writing teacher for a letter of recommendation to
William and Mary, her alma mater. Her response: “I don’t
know you well enough to write a good one.” Ouch. By spring,
when she knew me well and had heard I was waitlisted, she apologetically
offered to write a letter. I sullenly rejected her offer and pulled
myself off the waitlist.

I made several mistakes: 1) colleges usually prefer letters
from core academic teachers-English or math, for instance-and
I had no business asking a creative writing teacher unless I had
phenomenal talent (I did not) 2) in a public high school with
big classes, it takes time for a teacher to know a student well-a
junior-year teacher would have been a better choice, and 3) when
the teacher offered an extra letter, I should have accepted-such
an additional edge might have led to my admission.

A decade after I left for the University of Virginia, I began
teaching English to juniors and seniors in a college-prep school.
Since then, I’ve written scores of letters of recommendation and
have seen that students today are better informed and coached.
Their savvy sets the bar higher for you. Here’s how to match the

Whom To Ask

Additional References

When To Ask

Make a list of dates by which recommendations must be submitted.
Are you applying early decision or early action? Then forms might
be due as early as November. A month before the first deadline
is not too early to ask a teacher; a week is too late. Teachers
may limit the number of recs they will write, so if you’re among
the last to ask, you could be shut out.

How To Ask

Not during a fire drill. Not as a teacher sits at the lunch
table among other teachers or students. Find a quiet time when
the teacher can talk one-on-one and consider your request thoughtfully.
In a perfect world, you would make an appointment to talk with
the teacher about your list of schools, your plans for college,
and what you see as your accomplishments and strengths. Don’t
walk in with forms in hand, assuming he will say yes. Ask first.

Once You’ve Asked

I loved when students gave me a folder with all the forms and
envelopes organized inside, lines for names and addresses completed,
envelopes addressed and stamped. The best was when a student attached
to the outside of the folder a schedule chronologically listing
due dates for recommendations. Teachers are busy, with many demands
on their time, and with papers continuously flowing into and out
of their lives. Anything you can do to help organize these papers
makes a good impression and helps ensure your letters are submitted
on time. I also loved when students used the Common Application,
which meant fewer forms for me to fill out. Finally, it’s not
pushy to remind the teacher of a deadline a week before it arrives:
if the date has slipped his or her mind, you’ll both be glad of
the reminder.

Read more at u101.com


20 Questions to Ask your School Guidence Counselor

Find this and more at College Board!

Your school counselor is one of your best resources as you plan for college. Your counselor has information about admissions tests, college preparation, and your education and career options. Here are some basic questions to help get your conversation started:

  1. What are the required and recommended courses—for graduation and for college prep?
  2. How should I plan my schedule so I’ll complete them?
  3. Which elective courses do you recommend?
  4. Which AP® courses are available?
  5. When is the PSAT/NMSQT® going to be given here?
  6. Is this school a testing center for the SAT®, or will I need to go somewhere nearby?
  7. Do you have any after-school or evening sessions available for college planning, or the SAT?
  8. Do you have college handbooks or other guides that I can browse or borrow? Do you have a copy of the free SAT Practice Booklet, which has a practice test in it?
  9. What activities can I do at home and over the summer to get ready for college?
  10. What kinds of grades do different colleges require?
  11. Are there any college fairs at this school, or nearby?
  12. Where do other kids from this school attend college?
  13. What are the requirements or standards for the honor society?
  14. Can you put me in touch with recent grads who are going to the colleges on my wish list?
  15. Do you have any information to help me start exploring my interests and related careers?
  16. If my colleges need a recommendation from you, how can I help you know me better, so it can be more personal?
  17. Are there any special scholarships or awards that I should know about now, so I can work toward them?
  18. Can I see my transcript as it stands now, to see if everything is as I think it should be?
  19. Do you have any forms I need to apply for financial aid?
  20. How does our school compare to others, in terms of test scores and reputation?

Reality Check

Your school counselor may be the most wonderful and accessible person on the planet, or may be juggling a thousand students and barely know your name. So remember that the person who has the biggest stake in your academics is you. It’s up to you to stay on top of opportunities and deadlines, to take control of your future.

For more tips and help, contact College Life Planning!

15 Essential Social Media Sites for College Students

by Rachael Holtz on February 9, 2010

Now that college is looming (or is already here), it’s time to change faces and move into social media networks that work for college and future employment success. Think of these changes as student ‘branding,’ or making yourself stand out with efficiency, networking and leadership. You can do it all with these fifteen essential social media sites for college students.

The links below are categorized for your convenience. They all contain social aspects, where you can touch base with students or other individuals who have the same goals.


  1. Box.netBox.net: Yes, businesses use this site, and you might think about using it, too, to share content with peers, other students and even with your alumni friends. While this application is similar to GoogleDocs, you have mobile access with Box.net as well as fax agreements, the ability to print and ship using FedEx and much more. Box.net offers a free trial and a free ‘lite’ service. The next step up is less than ten dollars per month.
  2. EvernoteEvernote: This site is insanely easy to use…so much so that  it can become addictive. Use it to keep notes (never lose a phone number again!), save ideas and get inspired. You can snap a photo of a business card with your phone and have an easy way to store and access contacts, plan trips, research Web sites and clip pages directly from your browser and more. You even can send your tweets directly into Evernote.
  3. Remember the MilkRemember the Milk: Manage your tasks from anywhere, get your email, SMS or IM reminders, share your tasks and even mange these tasks offline. You can integrate Remember the Milk with your Google Calendar and add tasks from iGoogle or gain access from your phone. Sign up for free, take advantage of Remember the Milk apps as well as third-party widgets that have noticed the milk.
  4. SpideroakSpiderOak: SpiderOak offers a different approach to online backup by combining a suite of services into one consolidated tool — free online backup, synchronization, sharing, remote access, and storage. This difference is further measured in their zero-knowledge privacy policy, which is the first one ever employed in this setting. Their flexible design allows you to handle data from any operating system (Mac, Windows and Linux) or location (external drives, network volumes, USB keys, etc.) by using just one centralized account.

Save or Make Money

  1. Campus BooksCampusBooks: While this is not the only site to buy and sell textbooks, we like this application because it uses an iPhone app, price tweets, price alerts and the ability to compare prices. Not only can you save up to 95 percent on textbooks, you have one of the largest supplies of textbooks online through this site. Be sure to sell your textbooks as soon as possible after using them…the next edition will knock the price down on your used book by as much as half or more.
  2. GradeFundGradefund: Go ahead, invite mom and dad to this one as well as all the aunts, uncles, grandparents and more. They have the money, hopefully, to sponsor grade levels (as low as five dollars) and send it to schools or directly to you depending upon the sponsor’s preference. The higher your grades, the more money you or your school receives for your education. This is a great thing, especially if you go to an expensive school. You also can look for corporate sponsorships, where you can compete for corporate funds. What better way to get noticed well before you enter the job market?

Socialize Professionally (or not)

  1. LinkedInLinkedIn: Ah, this site is for adults, right? Right. It’s a great way to begin networking for your career even while you attend college classes. Sign up for free and begin to browse through contacts. Get introduced, but only after you fill out your profile page completely with a resume, references and more. You can even join several quality groups, such as groups specifically for minority students to connect. Use widgets to tie your social life into your professional life, but make this connection only if you want professionals to know about your social life.
  2. NingNing: No matter your interests or location, you can find a network here that might cater to your desire for blogging, connecting, motivation, business prospects and more. While you can create your own site, Ning already offers sites that may appeal to a busy college student. You can stay in touch with people at home or build new relationships at your school. The sky is the limit with Ning.
  3. TwitterTwitter: You may already be on Twitter. If so, take a good look at your tweets to see if they represent who you are and your aspirations. If not, then create a new account and start over. After you notify all the contacts you want to keep, you can close that previous account forever. Use Twitter to send information to your LinkedIn account, to stay on top of your Evernote stickies and to keep informed with Remember the Milk. There’s so much more you can do with Twitter…but, you know all this, right?

Training, Internships and Jobs

  1. CramsterCramster: This social networking system is not a tutoring system. It is an alternative that does not sacrifice quality. Cramster, first, is free — which makes it far different than tutoring. Even if you choose a Gold or Platinum membership, it will cost less than ten dollars per month. Get together with other students who are studying the same subjects, network at any time and provide assistance in exchange for a rewarding and memorable study experience. While you still may need tutoring, Cramster can help you smooth over those rough spots and provide you with a way to easily remember the answers for that next quiz.
  2. Education CommunityEducation Community: If you are interested in climate change, globalization, infrastructure booms and digital technology, you might want to use this site to network and to gain access to over twenty-five free downloads of the same design software used by professionals worldwide, including Autodesk. Autodesk software and educational training resources will help you learn industry trends like digital prototyping, building information modeling, digital entertainment creation and sustainable design — all being used to turn these global challenges into opportunities. Training is involved, along with a design showcase for your work. Registration to join this site is free.
  3. InternshipRatingsInternshipRatings.com: Use this resource to rate, research and compare internships in various industries across the U.S. While becoming an intern is thrilling, sometimes overwhelming and challenging, it also can be a real pain. Find out which internships are the best from those who have been there, done that. You can search by location, industry or by company name to learn more for your research. Ask questions and share your own experiences to develop a network as well.
  4. ZumeoZumeo: You may enjoy this career network site, where you can get matched to internships as well as jobs. Learn more about your strengths, get connected with people who can help you get ahead and get matched to relevant jobs. Build a great peer student network here so, as alumni, you can help each other out after college, too. This social site also sports recruiters, universities and employers who want to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them.


  1. Couch SurfingCouchSurfing: CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world since 2004. CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. ‘Surfers,’ or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. CouchSurfing has built a system of safety features to help keep their community safe. They are a self-moderating community, which means they work like a neighborhood watch program with references, verification and vouching. Of course, you always can decline and offer or a request, but this is one of the best ways for college students to travel safely alone.
  2. ZimrideZimride: Zimride offers a simple way to find friends, classmates and coworkers who want to share a ride with you. The focus of this site is on college, university and corporate communities; therefore, Zimride is able to build the critical mass of users necessary to sustain Zimride as a reliable form of transportation. Safety? Zimriders can view profiles for common networks, interests and friends before deciding to share a ride. Like CouchSurfing (listed above), you always can say no, but this is one of the safest ways to share a ride around.

College Search: Finding and Choosing a College

“Choose your area of study:” When you see a service for finding a college, they often start with ‘help finding a college’, but then they ask the student to select the area of study they are interested in. Now I wonder… if I am planning for college, or life; how do I select an area of study if I don’t know what I want to do with my life?How can I select an area of study to find the right college for me if I do not know what I want to do with this degree?!

College is an important investment, and there certainly should be a certain amount of soul searching in order to “find yourself”, but knowing what you want out of life is often then key to success! And it isn’t about pleasing yourself and your own goals! Helen Keller said, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” Going into college should be a well thought out goal, a “worthy purpose”, and fidelity to that purpose, is what will bring about the greatest sense of accomplishment and self worth. It will be the winning formula for students, and society at large.

Finding the right college is about knowing where you’re going and what the expectations will be once you get there. I recommend using a private college counselor (primarily because I am one), but I also recommend finding and using as many resources as you possibly can to make the best decision you can for this “worthy purpose”.

Find this and more at: www.collegelifeplanning.com

Written by: Nathan Cornett

Planning for College, and Life!

College Life Planning can be a challenging thing; especially because most teens don’t really think along those lines. Using the resources is probably the best way to make sure that you are ready for college, and more importantly, ready for life after college. That is the real issue in my opinion. Going to school is important, but as one person said it, college is a means to an end: A JOB! So how about some basic pointers from a guy who knows how to screw up royally.

  1. College isn’t magical. You won’t finish college and somehow by some magical power be transformed into a super genius, and jobs will not by miracle just ‘fall’ into your lap. Going to school after high school will require planning and precision if you are to get the most from your college investment. The parties are great, and some of the friends are for life, but if you don’t work hard, and pay attention to what your doing; you can still fail to succeed.
  2. College COSTS MONEY. Have you ever heard the old adage, “it takes money to make money”? well it is true (most of the time) and you will be spending quite a bit of money on your college degree. The key is to know how much money you’re spending, why your spending it, and what the return will be once you’re done. There are plenty of estimates out there that outline the earning potential on various careers, the major that you chose can be associated with several careers and it is important that you know and understand the potential return on your investment. If you use loans, you WILL get a bill when you’re done with college- no one pays it off for you, you have to make that payment!
  3. Your friends are important! So don’t hang out with losers! Friends influence us in a huge way! In fact, many times we tend to act a lot like our friends and we tend to get pushed, or held back, depending on the caliper of the friends we chose to keep. So be very careful to chose your friends carefully!
  4. College and life planning is not easy! Don’t give up when you find out that your essay didn’t win you that fifty thousand dollar scholarship, or your application for Dartmouth was rejected, again. Keep your eyes on the goal. It’s not about getting into the ‘best’ college, it’s about getting into the best college FOR YOU.

If you need any help or advice, feel free to contact me:

619.823.5974 cl