College Planning During Coronavirus

April 17, 2020

Coronavirus is creating a tremendous time of unrest. Some days we are encouraged that the world will return to normal, and others we wonder if things will ever be the same. For this year’s high school graduates, the disappointments are many: Graduations, proms and other senior activities have pretty much disappeared.

Yet, we can not just give up, but more importantly, we need to turn our attention to current high school juniors. As the world of college admissions and SAT and ACT testing has been turned upside down, it is the current class of high school juniors we need to focus on. More than any other year in my 30 years of college counseling, college planning is going to be absolutely critical.

High school counselors are overwhelmed with all of the changes that the Coronavirus has caused and college planning will not be on the top of their lists. Using  a college consultant will assure your family and student that they are making the best decisions as they go through the college admissions process. I want to encourage parents of the high school class of 2021 who are considering hiring a college consultant to help simplify the college search and application process, now is the time. College Direction limits the number of students with whom we work each year in order to provide the individual attention that every student deserves.

Susie Watts offers a free information session to all prospective students and parents. Call 303-692-1918 or

Three Things Parents Need to Know About the 2014-15 Common App

August 1, 2014

Three Things Parents Need to Know About the 2014-15 Common App.

The Common Application officially goes online August 1st.  Let’s hope it is smoother sailing than it was last year.  It is important to read the application instructions carefully and to fill in all of the questions, even if they are optional.

7 steps for scholarship success

November 9, 2012

7 steps for scholarship success | USA TODAY College.

Paying for college is an overwhelming concern for most students and their parents.  The cost of college continues to rise every year and some families even wonder if a college degree is worth the expense.  As a private college counselor, I think most would agree it is.

Whether a family thinks they will qualify for financial aid or not, they should always fill out the FAFSA online.  This should be submitted as soon after January 1st as possible.  If  students are applying to private colleges or universities, they should check with these schools to see if they need to submit the CSS as well.

Scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study on campus are the most common forms for financial help.  Applying for scholarships is a wise idea for every student.  In order to have success, students need to get started as soon as possible and follow a few specific steps to make your efforts worthwhile.

Redefining College Readiness

November 2, 2012

Redefining College Readiness.

Interesting info graphic on what is important for college admissions.  How do colleges weigh up the different factors they consider when evaluating college applicants?  Larger public universities usually consider grades and test scores as the most significant factors.  Smaller schools and private large universities often take a more holistic approach which includes going beyond the basic grades and test scores and looking at extracurriculars, essays, and the student as a whole.

The Weakest Link in the College Admission Process

November 1, 2012

The Weakest Link in the College Admission Process.

This is why families are turning to private college counselors.  They know their students will benefit from the college counseling expertise and individual attention private college counselors are able to provide.

10 Things You Can Do to Help Pay for College

February 29, 2012

What parent isn’t shocked when their child is going through the college planning process and they start to look at the sticker price at most schools?.  College is the biggest investment most families will make with the exception of buying a house.  What can you do to make paying for college a little less painful?

1.   Fill out the FAFSA form whether you think you qualify for financial aid or not.

2.   Wait until you receive your financial aid package from a college to compare it to other schools.  Negotiate with a college to get the best deal.

3.   Encourage your child to apply for scholarships from colleges, local organizations, and your workplace or for a specific college major.

4.   Have your child start looking for a summer job and use those earnings toward college expenses.

5.   Compare the dorms where your child will be attending college and choose the one that is the most reasonable.

6.   Check out the meal plans where your child will be attending college and select the one that meets your child’s eating habits.

7.   As soon as class schedules are available, have your child try to buy textbooks online or at least used from the college bookstore.

8.   Have your child get a part-time job either through work-study on the campus or in the college community.

9.   Look at both public  and private schools and consider those that are committed to seeing your student graduate in four years.

10. If you child needs to fly to college, stick with one airline and make your reservations as far ahead as possible.

FAFSA: First Step to Take for Financial Aid

January 12, 2012

FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is an online form which determines which students are eligible for federal financial assistance. No one should be intimidated by the FAFSA form and everyone who feels they might qualify for federal, state, or institutional grants or loans should definitely apply.

Applying for financial aid is not as overwhelming as it used to be, but it does require time and accurate answers to allow the government to determine what your Expected Family Contribution toward college will be. This is known as your EFC. The FAFSA form is filled out by the parents of prospective and continuing students on an annual basis. There are about 130 questions on the online form. They are both personal and financial.

Paying for college is one of the biggest concerns parents have today. Last year more than 80% of the parents who had students applying or returning to college filled out the FAFSA form. You have nothing to lose by filling out the free form and some families are pleasantly surprised that they actually qualify for at least some financial assistance. Every little bit helps

March 10, 2010

College Direction has a new and improved website with lots of great information for college bound students and their families.  There are articles and videos to help students be more successful as they apply to college.  There is help for your college search and getting financial aid and scholarships and paying for college.  There is information for students with learning disabilities and advice for student athletes.  You can also add your email and name and receive a real informative newsletter every month and it is free.  Go to to see what you think.