Hope is NOT a College Plan

This time of year is very frustrating for me. Frustrating and heartbreaking.

Not because of my clients… actually I’m THRILLED for my clients. They’re getting college acceptances and five and six-figure scholarship offers.

It’s frustrating because I’m getting calls from folks who are NOT my clients.

The calls sound like this…

“Our daughter is a Senior and we need money. We need to schedule a College Plan Review Session with Jean as soon as possible.”

“We thought we could do this ourselves. But, our son was just rejected from 5 of the 6 schools he applied to. We need to schedule a College Plan Review Session with Jean as soon as possible.”

“We’re already paying $32,000 per year for our older daughter who is in college. And now, if I’m understanding this letter, our son’s school thinks we can pay $28,000 – there is NO way we can do that. We need to schedule a session with you as soon as possible.”


These folks are smart people who made dumb mistakes and now are hoping that we can wave a magic wand and fix them.

The last scenario is particularly sad to me because, after making mistakes with their older daughter that ended up with them paying a huge college bill, clearly they thought the smart thing was to do the exact same things all over again with their son. And then hope that somehow, magically, the things that didn’t work the first time around would produce different results – only to experience that heart break moment!

Part of me is dumfounded.   Let me see if I understand this: After your college plan failed to produce the results you hoped for, now you want me to review your college plan?

Doesn’t make sense, really, does it?

There’s no need to review a college plan once the results are in.

And they would’ve realized that it wouldn’t work if they had scheduled a College Plan Review Session when it could’ve actually made a real difference – BEFORE they picked schools, applied to them and got financial aid offers.

It breaks my heart to have to tell these folks that there’s nothing I can do in Spring of the Senior year – after the rejection letter or lousy financial aid offer arrives — to fix all the seemingly simple mistakes.   I could’ve fixed them in August of the Junior year; April of the Junior year; July before Senior year or even in September of Senior year.

But fix them now in the Spring of Senior year? Sadly, it’s not possible.

College planning can prevent mistakes. You can’t plan to fix a mistake that has already happened.

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