Educational Planning FAQs

Read on to find out how we work, but don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a call with our Educational Planning Placements Specialist who can answer all these questions and many more.


What is educational planning?
Who should use an independent educational counselor?
What should we look for in an independent educational counselor?
Who are the PrepMatters educational counselors?
When should we start?
How does PrepMatters educational planning work, and how long does it last?
How is PrepMatters educational planning different?
Exactly what services does PrepMatters offer?
Does PrepMatters help with identifying scholarships?
What if we’re interested in looking at international colleges and universities?
Can PrepMatters help students who want strong learning support services in college?
Does PrepMatters work with students in applying for graduate school?
Does PrepMatters work with students in applying for private secondary school (middle or high school)?
What if I want to transfer from one college to another?
Does PrepMatters work remotely with students?

 



What is educational planning?
There are a lot of moving parts to consider while navigating school and the admissions process. Our counselors work in concert with parents and students to map out a path for success and equip them with the tools necessary to execute their personalized plans. Educational planning positions students to look ahead, act deliberately, and make decisions confidently as they move forward. If you’re ready to start or just want to learn more, contact us.

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Who should use an independent educational counselor?
Anyone who wants an additional resource for mapping out a smart education pathway. Sometimes students want more frequent or earlier access to a counselor than what their schools provide, and sometimes families just want a second opinion. Your school counseling office plays an important role, of course, and just as you might ask more than one professional for medical, financial, or legal advice, you may benefit from further insight from an experienced professional who can help with educational advice.

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What should we look for in an independent educational counselor?
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the relationship with the student. We recommend meeting the educational counselor first to see if the vibe is right, which is why PrepMatters gladly offers a complimentary meet & greet for any family who wants to learn more about educational planning. Generally, you will want to work with a counselor who holds him/herself accountable to a professional organization, such as the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, Higher Education Consultants Association, or Independent Educational Consultants Association. (We’re members of all three organizations). These organizations require counselors to stay up-to-date on education and admissions trends, to develop relationships with admissions representatives, and to put their feet on the grounds of colleges and universities. It’s also wise to find a counselor who has worked as a school teacher, counselor, or administrator, or in an admissions office, or both.

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Who are the PrepMatters educational counselors?
Jeff Knox is the director of educational planning services and a counselor with experience in both teaching and college admissions.

Maureen Delaney brings tremendous experience to the PrepMatters educational planning team with more than 25 years as a college counselor in schools at Washington, DC, and New York City.

Katy Dunn is a former private high school principal who oversaw admissions and revamped the school’s entire college counseling program.

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When should we start?
Now. Educational planning does not start fall of senior year. It starts when your student is ready to think deliberately about the steps ahead. It’s far better to look at the decisions coming up than to look back at what has already transpired. Generally, we start with students either right before the beginning of high school or sometime in 9th grade. Of course, for high school admissions, we start much earlier, either in spring of 7th grade or summer before 8th grade.

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How does PrepMatters educational planning work, and how long does it last?
We launch with what we call the Counseling Assessment, which lays out a roadmap for managing all the moving parts of navigating both school and admissions. After the assessment is complete, you and your counselor will determine how often you should connect throughout the process. It’s not uncommon for students to find their PrepMatters counselor to be a useful resource all the way through graduate school. Additionally, PrepMatters offers some a la carte services.

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How is PrepMatters educational planning different?
Perhaps the two biggest differences between PrepMatters educational planning and that of similar organizations are process and philosophy. We want families to feel in control and to allow them to use our services as much or as little as they please, rather than requiring large package options. Additionally, our work is informed heavily by the philosophy espoused by The Self-Driven Child, written by PrepMatters founder Ned Johnson and his colleague Dr. Bill Stixrud. Our experience has taught us how important student empowerment is to student development. Finally, PrepMatters counselors work as a team, and our students benefit from our professional collaboration and combined experience.

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Exactly what services does PrepMatters offer?

  • Counseling assessment and working relationship with a PrepMatters educational counselor, which includes…
    • Mapping out course selection
    • Creating a standardized testing timeline
    • Building a school list
    • Honing an individualized admissions strategy
    • Constructing a cohesive and compelling personal narrative
  • College application and essay support
  • Mock interview
  • Resumé assistance
  • Also, access to…

    -College planning software and data analytics
    -Informational webinars and seminars
    -Newsletters and tip sheets
    -Educational resources

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Does PrepMatters help with identifying scholarships?
Yes. There are many types of scholarships available. PrepMatters can help students identify the right options and navigate the process for merit-based aid. For support with need-based aid, we can point you in the right direction but do not offer financial advice in that area.

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What if we’re interested in looking at international colleges and universities?
More and more students are looking into undergraduate institutions abroad, which requires a very different approach from applying to schools in the United States. PrepMatters counselors are well-trained to support you in navigating both the domestic and international application processes.

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Can PrepMatters help students who want strong learning support services in college?
Yes. Everyone learns differently, and many students have developed the self-awareness to know what their learning needs are – whether through natural maturation or educational testing. PrepMatters counselors have experience in working with students with individualized education plans (IEPs), 504 plans, or other approved learning accommodations plans. They understand the various resources and support services available at universities and colleges and are equipped to find the best match.

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Does PrepMatters work with students in applying for graduate school?
Yes. Maureen Delaney is our expert graduate school adviser.

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Does PrepMatters work with students in applying for private secondary school (middle or high school)?
Katy Dunn and Jeff Knox are our private secondary school counseling team.

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What if I want to transfer from one college to another?
Sometimes transferring is the right step to take. Our goal is to help students determine the best fit for both academic and personal growth. The transfer process is complicated, but we can make it manageable (and maybe even fun).

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Does PrepMatters work remotely with students?
All the time! We are comfortable meeting with students online (via Skype, Zoom, etc.) or on the phone. Our remote services work for families who live outside the DC area, and they can also provide some relief for students who live nearby but might be too busy to regularly shuttle themselves to and from our offices.

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