Plan For College

Monday, August 22, 2016

Are you ready for college? Tips from the experts on college planning and individual learning needs

Written by Stan Ezekiel and Rachel Buday

There is no need to stress about preparing for college. Your junior and senior years in high school are demanding enough without losing your cool while getting ready for some serious college planning. In this article, Stan Ezekiel of College Planning Group, and Boston-area Learning Specialist, Rachel Buday, will share insider college preparedness expertise for high school students, including those that used IEP’s and 504 plans.

Here is a checklist of 6 tips to keep you on track as you start planning…

1.     Prepare for filing your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You will be able to file the 2017-2018 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016. If you have already looked into this, have complicated financial records, or are not sure how to start, we can lead you through the process.

2.     Get your resume together. If you do not feel like you have anything to include in a resume of if you have never written a resume fear not! It's easier than you think, and you probably have more experience than you realize. Having your resume handy will also make filling out the college application easier. Include extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, and part time jobs. Brag a little! This is a document meant to showcase your amazing talents, goals and accomplishments.

3.     Work on your essay. Not sure what to write about? The essay prompts can be found on the Common Application for College website (  Write it, read it and write it again. Let others read it and get their feedback. If you'd like professional assistance with your essay, send us a copy.  We will help to make it college-ready.

Have you used an IEP or 504 Plan in high school for learning or medical needs? Do you have an interest in keeping some of these accommodations in college? The process, laws and supports are extremely different!

4.     Make sure you have copies of the testing that was done to create the IEP. Often, IEP’s are not sufficient forms of documentation for colleges.

5.     Be prepared to realize that an 18-year-old student is the only person that can initiate accommodations in college! Parents are no longer part of the process unless the student signs a release form. Our experts can help students develop self-advocacy skills.

6.     There will no longer be a team of school staff and teachers to take care of all issues related to learning and medical accommodations. The student must initiate the process. They must identify the appropriate office, schedule appointments, and follow protocol. Again, parents may not call the college to inquire about what a student has or has not disclosed, or make appointments for them. If you are a student, or parent of a student, that would be interested in having a Learning Specialist meet the student for coaching, strategies, and college prep, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Stan Ezekiel, CCPS
College Planning Group
Ph:  781-828-1114

Rachel Buday, MAT
Rachel Buday Coaching
Ph: 617-306-5517

Friday, August 5, 2016

Do Employers Really Care Where You Got Your Degree?

Do Employers Really Care Where
You Get Your Degree?

Many parents today feel if their student were to receive a degree from a prestigious college or university it will assure the student will be able to get a high paying job. In the past, this way of thinking might have been true however graduating from an elite college or university has changed.

A new Gallup survey has found business leaders who make hiring decisions are far less concerned about what college the student attends or what major the student pursued. According to the survey, business leaders are more concerned about the skill level of the student and the knowledge a potential employee has in their field.  

The chart below outlines what employers find important when looking at hiring new employees.

As you will notice in the chart above the knowledge of the candidate and the applied skills the candidate has in the business are the two most important factors of business leaders when hiring new employees. Also, you will notice the two lowest concerns of potential employers are what college the student attended and what degree the student obtained.
According to the Gallup survey, about eight in 10 adults that are working in a business environment agree that knowledge and applied skills in a particular field is very
important to managers making hiring decisions for their company.

However, the survey found the average American believes a college major and where a potential employee received their degree was the most important when it comes to employment. The survey found nearly half (47%) of future employees believed their degree was most important to business leaders and 30% believed where they
attended college was very important as well.

The survey found business leaders are not downplaying the value of obtaining a
college degree. However, business leaders are downplaying where a future employee received their degree as well as what major they obtained. Business leaders are
saying a college degree alone is not enough to obtain employment.

The Gallup survey found, “Getting a job and achieving long-term success in one's
career may increasingly depend on demonstrating real value to employers through
experience and targeted learning -- and increasingly less on degrees, even if they are from prestigious universities. Higher education institutions have a tremendous
opportunity to partner with businesses to bring relevant, responsive, and timely
learning opportunities to workplaces in this country and worldwide.

It’s clear from the Gallup survey, business leaders are placing more emphasis on what potential employees know and their style of working, rather than on the candidate's
degree or where they went to college.

Understanding financial literacy issues and how to pay for college expenses
correctly could save your family thousands of dollars.  If you are interested in learning more, go to our website or send us an e-mail (  for more

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Planning for College: 5 Things to do if you are a Junior in September

If you're reading this article, you're on the right track (or maybe you're a parent of a high school junior which means you're ahead of the game). The college planning process is a daunting task. That's why today, we're only focusing on your next month and a few of the most important tasks. If you (or your son or daughter) can get these done in September, you'll be in a great spot for the upcoming school year. Here are five tasks to complete during September of your high school junior year:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Springtime is Full of Opportunities for High School Juniors

Your junior year in high school plays a crucial role in your college search. Possibilities are wide open during your junior hear. There are so many colleges to consider and there are still many opportunities for college scholarships.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

High School Juniors: Start Planning for College NOW!

If you are a high school junior and planning on going to college, it's time to get started. Here are five things to do now.
  1. Update your email address. Colleges will communicate with you by email and you want to be sure that your email address clearly identifies you and gives a good first impression. This email address should be professional and separate from your personal email address. (Don't use nicknames or names of your favorite sports teams.) Once you begin applying to colleges, make sure to check this email address often.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Best Times for College Tours

Think spring!  Although time is more plentiful in the summer for a high school student to plan college visits, it may not be the best time for college tours.  The summer is not a good representation of what your campus life will look like during the actual school year. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Divorced or Separated: Who Files the FAFSA?

We often get asked who should file the FAFSA when the parents are divorced or separated.

If a student’s parents are divorced or separated and not living together, only the custodial parent's income and assets are used for filing the FAFSA.

The custodial parent is the parent with whom the student lived with the most during the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA. 

If the parents have joint custody, then count the days and nights. 

Another important factor to consider is cash support. Determine which parent spent the most money on support and expenses on the student’s behalf. This includes food, clothing, housing, car payments, medical care, dental care, and educational expenses.

If parents cannot agree upon who is the custodial parent, the college may decide for you!

Need help establishing who should file the FAFSA? Call (781-828-1114) or email College Planning Group ( for a free consultation.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Social Media Matters: Colleges Care What You Do Online

Students often wonder whether colleges look at their social media profiles. The truth is, sometimes colleges will go online to confirm that your resume accurately reflects who you are and what you do.

What they can see about you online depends in part on how open your social media settings are. Most students' accounts are fairly accessible, which makes it especially important that you be aware of what you are sharing with the world.

Post the good stuff -- awards, achievements, recognition, links to any newspaper articles.

Always think carefully before you post. You never know who is looking.

Not sure whether you should be sharing something? Wait. Ask someone you trust (preferably an adult) for their advice. When in doubt, keep it off the Internet. Because once it's out there, it becomes part of your permanent record.

Need help preparing for the college application process? Call (781-828-1114) or email College Planning Group ( for a free consultation.

Monday, February 8, 2016

New SAT or ACT: Why Both Could Be a Good Choice

As of March 2016, the SAT implements new changes to the format and scoring. The new SAT now has an optional essay and no penalty for wrong answers, and the math sections reflect real-world usage. Scoring will again be out of 1600 for combined math and reading.

With the new SAT format and scoring, we are getting a lot of questions about whether it makes sense for students to take the new SAT or take the ACT instead. There are often some concerns when a test changes formatting. It's not always clear ahead of time what role the new format will play in a student's performance. Our advice is to check with the colleges you are considering to see whether they prefer one test over the other. If they don't have a preference, you might consider taking both tests.

Still have questions? Give us a call and we can discuss what's best for your student.

Need help preparing for the college application process? Call (781-828-1114) or email College Planning Group ( for a free consultation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Finding the Right School: There May Still Be Time

Even when students do everything right, sometimes finding the right school doesn’t happen quite according to the deadlines.

Maybe your student has visited or revisited schools and found that they aren’t the right fit after all. Or perhaps the acceptance letters haven’t been what was hoped for. Or maybe your student found their dream school after the application deadline had passed.

Depending on the school, there may still be time to apply. If you are an eligible candidate (your grades and SATs are within the target range) for the school in question, try completing the application online. If that's no longer available, contact the admissions department. 

Worst case scenario, they say no. But they can't say yes if you don't ask.

Need help finding the right college for you? Call (781-828-1114) or email College Planning Group ( for a free consultation.