For Parents

We came to realize that one of the most stressful times for a family is when they start preparing to send their student(s) to college. There are many issues that must be addressed during this time, many deadlines to be met, and an overwhelming amount of conflicting information to process. We found that there was lack of information out there from a PARENT’s perspective. It became obvious that parent’s need an advocate, a reliable resource, to help them navigate the college planning process efficiently and effectively. Our goal is to empower parents with the knowledge they need to make sending their children to college a whole lot easier. We genuinely want to show prospective parents the options available to help them send their student to the college of their choice and do so in a stress free, organized and affordable manner.

Expert Advice = Maximum aid

Financing a college education is one of the largest investments a family will every make. That’s why there can be great value in seeking the advice of experts to maximize your financial aid eligibility.

Like you, we see which colleges have the highest published tuition rates. But, because we are working in this field full time, we also know when an “advertised” cost is negotiable and how to seek out schools that will offer you the best financial aid package.

There are many factors that go into determining need and merit-based financial aid–parent finances, student grades, test scores and volunteer activities–of which many families are not fully aware. Therefore, finding an affordable college is really a balancing act between admissions and financial aid planning.

Families tell us they appreciate our holistic approach, with experienced admissions and financial aid advisors working as a team to present college options that will be embraced by both students and their parents.

You will be able to watch your student’s progress through the program and you will be kept in the loop on their development and achievements.

Our Family/Student Services Include:

The Expected Family Contribution is calculated according to an established formula and represents the amount of money you can afford to pay for college each year. The information you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile is used to calculate your EFC.

The EFC is a must-know number for the college selection process and for basic budget planning for the family. The EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by colleges to determine your federal student aid eligibility and total financial aid award.

Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits are all considered in the EFC formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year, and more. It is critical you know your EFC so you understand how it will affect your student’s college search and financial aid awards.

Thinking about our Career Assessment Tools, or some of our other Family/Student Services? …we help you navigate.

Did you know? The average time to acquire a bachelor’s degree in the United States is north of six years!

Financial aid dissolves after four years. Count the loss of income from those two extra years during which the student is not pursuing their career, and the last two years can easily cost as much as the first four. Therefore, saving time through the Career Assessment also saves tens of thousands of dollars.

We use the same tools college counselors use for this part of the process. When a student is confident in their selection of a career, they’re confident in selecting their major, giving important clarity to the college search. Students begin by exploring their interests, values, skills and personality through a series of reliable and valid self-assessment instruments. They answer questions to see which occupations match who they are. They explore occupations that match their assessment results. Then they are able to explore salaries, job outlook, working conditions, schools offering occupations major.

This step is part of the college selection/student positioning program and is not normally done singularly.

Thinking about College Selection/Student Positioning, or some of our other Family/Student Services? …we help you navigate.

College Selection is the most important part of the college process. We call it Student Positioning, selection of the right college for each individual student.

All colleges use a relatively new management position in the development of the incoming freshmen class called an Enrollment Manager. We have reversed engineered the Enrollment Manager goals into a college selection program exclusive to our college-bound student. Along with a consult by a professional counselor, families utilize our proprietary Student Positioning program to properly and effectively complete their college search.

College “Fit” is the goal of any fee-based college counselor. The norm is to select a college that fits the student academically and socially. In light of enrollment management, we have added a third criterion to the process of selecting a college: financial. Our goal, simply stated, is to find a college that fits the student academically and socially, as well as fitting the family financially. When you do all three, you will find a college which creates the best fit for everyone in the family. This process creates the best return on your investment for higher education goals of the entire family.

Check out for a series of free webinars outlining the college selection process!

Thinking about Filing FAFSA and CSS Profile, or some of our other Family/Student Services?

With the high cost of college today, it is critical for every family to file Financial Aid Forms on time, accurately. Even families who will not qualify for need-based aid should file the FASFA and, when required, the CSS Profile.

Filing these forms could take a family more time then they are willing to give. We have perfected the process, and can have the FAFSA, and CSS Profile ready to file in approximately 60 minutes. Plus, we assist in the filing of institutional forms. Accurate and on time filing is valuable to anyone, and you’ll want that peace of mind even in a non-qualifying for need-based aid scenario.

The reasons to file vary for every family. They may include:

  • For financial aid–  Colleges will want to ensure that the family is NOT eligible for federal and state need-based aid before dipping into their merit funds.  Additionally, some colleges will not allow students to change their status from “no-need” financial aid, to submit the FAFSA even though there have been changes in family circumstances or income.
  • For admissions– Experience shows us that if you are a family of means, submitting the financial aid forms will improve your chances of admissions.  In some cases, it is estimated that admissions rates are 20% higher for students who have submitted financial aid forms than those who have not. We have discussed this experience with other planners outside of our organization who confirm they have experienced it as well.
  • For accountability– Accountability can be built into the college planning process for parents who use the student loans.  Parents can make a deal with their student that when they graduate on time with A’s & B’s their loans will be paid off. Families can’t use the student loans unless financial aid forms are filed.
  • For Enrollment Management– Enrollment Management research shows that colleges will want to make sure they don’t lose the prospective student. They’ll provide a discount in the form of a merit scholarship to entice you to attend their schools rather than a competitor’s school. They’d much rather have that seat go at a discounted rate than have it go empty.
  • For Graduation– It’s important for the college to know that you’ll be able to get your student to the finish line. If a college doubts a family can fund their student up until graduation, they may not admit the student at all.

Thinking about College Selection/Student Positioning, or some of our other Family/Student Services? …we help you navigate.

In the spring of the senior year, after the timely submission of admissions applications and financial aid applications, the student will begin receiving award letters. An award letter is a statement from the school detailing the type and amount of financial aid the student can expect to receive. A typical award letter will denote funds from varied sources including federal, state, and the college’s own resources. While some award letters are easy to understand, more prove to be complicated.

The Department of Education has long promoted and offered a standardized format for the communication of the awards letter. Regrettably, only a few colleges use this easy to understand format. Still, it is important to know if an award letter has met the standards that the college set for their previous year’s freshman class. Awards Analysis was created to address these issues. If the award is lacking compared to the norms set by the college, appeals for more money (in the form of additional merit and need-based assistance) is appropriate, and many times successful.

We are here to help you evaluate your awards in a realistic and comprehensive fashion and help you determine the merit of appealing.

Thinking about Test Prep or some of our other Family/Student Services? …we help you navigate.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no shortcuts, quick fixes or “magic wand” solutions to a high ACT and SAT score. Any student willing to put in the practice and review can significantly increase their test score.

Our Test Prep provider understands you have a busy schedule, so we won’t waste your time teaching you basic concepts you already know from a classroom setting. Instead, you immediately take practice tests under timed conditions (online or offline), grade your answers, and review the questions you missed or skipped under expert instruction. We recommend and provide subject lessons for review based on your practice test performance. Time and time again, our experience has proven if you follow these steps, your score will increase.

Thinking about Essay Writing Assistance or some of our other Family/Student Services? …we help you navigate.

Test scores, grade point average, and the difficulty of classes taken, are king when it comes to admissions and scholarships. Right behind the grade point average is the essay. Essay Writing Assistance is not going to write the essay for you but rather guide you on the focus and content of the essay. We will assist as much as is ethically viable!

We have two options for essay writing assistance. A student can employ one of the options and get the right results with confidence. Admissions officers already know a lot about you from your application, so use the essay to tell the college something they don’t know about you. What are your two best characteristics? What is interesting about you? Assistance with the essay helps students write, with the confidence they need for acceptance.

Thinking about our Client-only Web Portal, or some of our other Family/Student Services? …we help you navigate.

Tap into the comprehensive resources our application, Engus offers

FREE eBook“Finding the Right College” Academically, Financially, & Socially