Educational Planning: Frequently Asked Question

Educational Planning: Frequently Asked Question

What is PrepMatters Educational Planning?

Educational planning helps students and families navigate a series of decisions and choices that they are faced with throughout their education, from high school preparation to the college admissions process, grad school and beyond. Successful educational planning requires knowing the student, knowing the schools, and knowing the current—and often changing—admissions landscape. We take the time to understand each of these components, enabling us to offer individualized advising for students and families.

How does Educational Planning work?

At PrepMatters, all educational planning begins with a comprehensive initial assessment with one of our expert educational counselors. Affording us the opportunity to collect and review the information essential to the planning process and to engage the family as a fully committed partner, this assessment culminates in a strategic educational plan tailored to the unique needs of the student.

After the initial assessment, many families work with the educational planning staff to execute the strategic plan. This work can include designing a course schedule that reflects academic strengths, planning a strategy for standardized tests, identifying prospective colleges that fit the student from the standpoints of academics, social style and admissibility--and all the details in between. Click here to read about our complete list of offerings.

How can PrepMatters Educational Planning help?

PrepMatters educational counselors offer a supplementary and personalized guidance track to traditional in-school counseling, providing the benefits of specialized expertise to the complex area of academic planning.  Many of our clients work with us in conjunction with their school counselors and enlist only those PrepMatters services they feel are required to address specific needs.

Our independent educational planning gives students, parents, and professionals the flexibility they need to navigate often-stressful situations such as identifying colleges, preparing for standardized testing, and understanding application requirements.

When is the best time to begin educational planning?

Now! Just kidding. Sort of.

The path to successful college admissions begins with good planning. While we are happy to work with a student at any point in her educational career, an early start is advantageous for a myriad of reasons. Ideally, we would begin working with a student in the 9th and 10th grade to establish a course schedule that encourages success throughout high school. A student who engages in educational planning in freshman or sophomore year will have far more opportunities to make guided decisions that complement her strengths and give support in areas of weakness.

Does Educational Planning help with financial aid and scholarships?

College is a significant investment. For some families, part of the college admission process at PrepMatters will include discussions about planning for the financial components of college admission and matriculation, including consideration of public universities, financial aid, and scholarships.

While we do not typically assist families with their financial aid paperwork, we are happy to make referrals to colleagues who have helped many families with the often complex world of college aid.

Does PrepMatters Educational Planning work with students with learning differences?

We have always believed that educational counseling should be customized to the student. We have worked with students with various learning differences to find colleges and universities that incorporate learning environments and support that best fits the student’s particular preferences and needs.

What are some of the potential benefits of the PrepMatters approach to developing a long-range education strategy plan?

The early adoption and successful implementation of well-conceived educational plan can help students and their families. Some of the benefits include:

  • Building personal stories that will set them apart from other applicants;
  • Discovery of students’ academic passions;
  • Assessment of academic strengths and weaknesses;
  • Guided course selection and well-planned tutoring and test preparation efforts;
  • Identification of the best college choices based on academic style, the community of students, and admissibility;
  • Mediate family discussions on college selection;
  • Utilizing Early Decision and Early Application strategies;
  • Assist families with final college choices;
  • Demystification of the college admissions process;
  • Confidence to make sophisticated decisions;
  • Helping students discover personal preferences for learning environments in which they can be successful.

What is the Initial Assessment?

The Initial Assessment typically consists of four phases:

  • Academic record collection and review– The family submits transcripts and any existing testing as well as complete detailed questionnaires for the counselor to review prior to the preliminary interview. In this phase, the counselor is able to begin to understand the unique needs and preferences of the family.
  • First meeting – Using the academic background and surveys as context, the counselor holds an in-office meeting with the student and family and begins to lay the groundwork for the educational plan.
  • Strategy refinement– The counselor incorporates feedback from the interview and the results of continuing academic review into a holistic plan tailored to the needs of the student.
  • Follow up meeting– A tailored educational plan complete with detailed recommendations is presented to and discussed with the family in a follow up in-office meeting.

Will I have all the information that I need after the initial assessment and the development of the educational strategy plan?

At the culmination of your initial assessment, you will have a comprehensive educational strategy plan to help guide your college admissions efforts. This plan will be based on your current academic profile, strengths, weaknesses and goals, as well as the counselor’s assessment and expertise.

What isn’t included in the initial assessment? Will I need additional help?

The goal of the initial assessment is to provide families with an effective plan for the college admissions process. Implementation of the details in the plan, such as essay and application review or communication with particular school officials, will vary greatly from student to student, as will families’ desire for support in the completion of these tasks.  Specific guidance on the execution of these elements is therefore beyond the purview of the initial assessment.

We recognize that some families, facing special circumstances or enjoying specific opportunities, will require additional assistance. Others will simply have more questions they’d like answered as they navigate the college admissions process. No issue is too large or small for us to help. These services are available on an àla carte basis; clients may purchase as few or as many hours as they need to realize the level of support that is appropriate to their circumstance.  All Educational Planning services beyond the initial assessment are available on an hourly basis (billed in 15-minute increments).

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