Expert offers five tips for getting started early in the college planning process
Ann Arbor, Mich. — Aug. 6, 2014 – Ann Arbor-based Parros College Planning, a division of Parros Financial Group, may be focused on higher education year round, but the back to school season definitely brings an uptick in interest among college bound students and their parents this time of year. The business was formed in 2006 by Tim Parros, a certified college planning specialist, because his traditional financial planning clients continued to inquire not only about saving for college but about the entire college process..
“Questions about saving for college have always been popular, but through the years, parents increasingly wanted to know what they can do to help get a child into his or her first choice school as well,” Parros said. “Because the journey to college admissions is a process, we formed a business offering consulting services on a variety of college planning issues that are distinct from college savings issues.”
The business currently serves about 100 students and families a year, a number that has grown about 10 percent since the business started eight years ago. Services offered include ACT/SAT test prep, aligning college choices with career interests based on formulas and acceptance rates, college essay critiques, scholarship searches (with some monies available as early as middle school) and a special focus on student athletes, including the intricacies of the sports recruiting process, which can start as early as sixth grade. Students using Parros College Planning services pursue majors from physics to musical theater and hail from the Ann Arbor area to Detroit, Northern Ohio and even as far away as Illinois and Pennsylvania.
“Our services can be offered in person, online or via web meetings, so geographic boundaries don’t limit us,” Parros said. “We also get a varied group in terms of academic accomplishments. While some of our students are accepted into the Ivy Leagues, others are seeking admission to a state school or want to begin at a community college. Our services help them define their college and career goals early and make the appropriate choices from there.”
Parros says a key to getting into the college of one’s choice is starting the college planning process early.
“Students should be well on the way to knowing the school of their choice, scholarship options and appropriate academic matches by their sophomore year of high school,” Parros said. “That knowledge comes from laying the groundwork in middle school and early high school.”
Parros College Planning also has a certified high school counselor on staff to help students and families navigate the college planning process.
“Parents can handle the college planning process on their own, but the challenge is finding the time to do the research, devise a plan, and effectively stay on track,” Parros said. “There are dozens of strategies for college selection, admission and funding that can give families an advantage. A professional college funding consultant with a proven track record can advise clients on how to use comprehensive and applicable strategies to their child’s advantage.”