Frequently Asked Questions

College Coaching FAQ Category:

What makes Clark College Consulting Different?
A college planner and guidance counselors tend to focus on helping students select and apply to colleges, but tend not to assist families with ways to reduce the cost of college.  A financial planner and CPA focus on showing you ways to grow your income, reduce your tax burden, and to create wealth, but are not trained in helping you figure out how to select colleges that meet your budget or lowering the cost of college.   Clark College Consultants fill that gap in your planning.  I believe proper college planning starts with the College Success Formula (CSF):

CSF = Academic + Social + Financial Fit

My team helps families in identifying a personalized college list that matches the student’s academic promise, social perspective, as well as the family’s savings and college budget. My objective is to guide you through the entire college planning process of selecting, applying, and paying for college, and potentially make it a financial "non-event" for your family.

What is one of the most critical aspects for families understand about the college planning process?
With the constant talk about college, financial aid, and with conflicting ideas on proper college planning, it can be a stressful time for students and their families. At Clark College Consulting, we strive to alleviate this stress by providing you with a proven plan that guides you through this complicated and competitive process. The most important aspect of the college selection and application process is finding the right fit.

The "right fit" means identifying colleges and universities that are a good fit socially, academically, and financially for each particular family.

Many students do not have experience in making a $100,000 to $300,000 decision. As a college consultant and a parent, it is imperative we teach our students how to make this monumental decision the right way! Our student-centered process shows our young men and women how to take ownership of the decisions they make about college and how to use this same technique when making other important decisions later in life.

At what age should a student begin working with you?
When it comes to college planning, earlier is always better.  Whether you are late in the college process or just starting your Freshman year in High School, you will find we have a plan for you!

What kind of information are you able to provide about colleges, that we couldn’t get on our own or online?
You can spend countless hours searching websites and reviewing college guidebooks only to come away more confused. It is easy to waste precious time on these sites and still make a poor college match. A poor college selection can result in higher dropout rates and transfers after the first year. Most websites only provide a limited amount of information about colleges and universities, with most of the information being general and/or statistical.

While working with my team, you will experience less stress and enjoy participating in your child's college search. We can personalize the process by helping students understand the most important elements in the college selection process and by giving them a step-by-step system to follow resulting in a college list that best matches their individual needs. We provide personalized information, proven strategies, and objective insights to eliminate stress and gain the competitive edge needed to navigate your way through every aspect of the college planning process.

What if we need help with athletic recruitment, fine/performing arts process, a homeschool family, students with learning disabilities, or a gifted student?
We are ready and prepared to help you!  I have personally worked with over a thousand families over the last decade, and I have worked a variety of students with special circumstances.  I have created specific tools to help these students in my College Experts Academy and my A La Carte Service.  If you are interested in personal coaching, my team and I will determine if we can help you succeed.  If we believe we are not qualified, we will not hesitate to refer you to a better-fit colleague.

How do we get started?
Please review my services page to see which one you are interested in starting.  When you purchase these services, and I will contact you to begin working together immediately.  I also encourage you to call me or schedule a FREE college planning appointment if you have any additional questions or concerns. You can reach us by calling 704-944-3543, Skype, Google Hangouts, or by emailing me at [email protected] I look forward to working with you!

Since my child already has a high school counselor, why would we consider paying for private college counseling?
Selecting a college will be your second largest investment you will make in your lifetime (maybe the biggest), other than purchasing a house. Would you consider buying a home without the assistance of a real estate agent to make sure you don't make a mistake or take on unnecessary risk? Would you consider going to court without consulting a lawyer beforehand? A good college counselor can provide valuable insights into the college planning process that can save you time and money.

With the recent school budget cuts, constant turnover, and the increased responsibilities, high school guidance counselors have a very limited time for college planning. With a large number of students they work with each year, in addition to the non-college planning responsibilities they are saddled with on a daily basis, it is a tough job. It is almost impossible for them to give each student the attention that is needed for this very crucial and expensive decision.

Also, many counselors are not trained or do not help with making sure the college your child selects is a sound financial fit for your family, help you with paying for college or showing you ways to reduce the cost of college. They place that burden on each household. Many parents turn to the college for help. Would you ask a barber if you need a haircut? Why would you ask a college for ways to reduce the cost of college?

Many families may feel the need for a more personalized approach to their college search, the application process, financial aid, paying for college, etc... My team has the gratification of working with a small number of families each year, so we can get to know each student. We provide individualized and customized college advice to each student. Moreover, my team and I are also able to regularly visit colleges, attend college specific seminars, keep abreast of government regulations, and participate in professional development activities.

We are not a replacement for your high school counselor, rather a personalized enhancement of the college planning assistance that you will receive.

Do you work with students from outside of the Charlotte area?
While the majority of our students come from North and South Carolina, we have worked with students in almost all 50 states via telephone, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Many of my clients that live down the street from my office prefer to meet virtually, and we have designed our business to give us the flexibility to work with families throughout the U.S.

What is the likelihood of my child receiving a scholarship if we work with Clark College Consulting?
While we cannot guarantee that scholarships will be awarded, we have a very successful process to teach families the different forms of financial aid, identify which type of aid you might qualify for, and give you specific and actionable items for you to reduce the cost of college for any student from any financial background. We will consider grants and scholarships, federal, state, and local government aid, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, corporations, the colleges own money, and other sources when we develop your plan.

We have found that the majority of scholarship money a student receives will be awarded by the college or university in which the student enrolls. It is essential that the development of a targeted college list maximizes the chances of receiving the various forms of financial aid. Last year, our students were offered nearly fifteen million dollars in scholarships and grants.

However, we are NOT a “scholarship search” company. But we do give you proven strategies that are unique to your family on how to identify, select, and maximize various forms of aid to reduce the cost of college.

Does my student need a specific GPA or test score to work with Clark College Consulting?
No. Clark College Consulting was founded on the idea of helping all students who demonstrate the desire and motivation to attend college.  Not all colleges are looking to recruit the same type of student, and there is a broad range of college options that are available to families.  We can identify the right educational options that best match the needs and goals of any student.


Paying for College FAQ Category

Can my current financial advisor or CPA offer these same services to me?
It is possible, but not likely. Financial advisors and CPAs typically do not have the expertise and insights that are needed for a comprehensive college plan. They do not have the training on specific government regulations, financial aid, various financial aid forms, scholarships, grants, the many college "tax scholarships," etc.. This specialization means we have a very specific skill set. Would you want your general practitioner doctor to perform knee surgery?

We work in conjunction with your Financial advisors and your CPA. Many financial advisors and CPAs recommend and refer their clients to us because the value added by our specialized skills is immense.

Do you give out loans or scholarships?
No. We are not a bank, lending institution, or a scholarship search company. However, depending on your needs, we will identify and recommend the best college financial tools for your situation.  We can help you evaluate the different loan options available to you, and we can give you recommendations based on your specific financial goals.

How do we get started?
Please review my services page to see which one you are interested in starting.  When you purchase these services, and I will contact you to begin working together immediately.  I also encourage you to call me or schedule a FREE college planning appointment if you have any additional questions or concerns. You can reach us by calling 704-944-3543, Skype, Google Hangouts, or by emailing me at [email protected] I look forward to working with you!

We were planning for financial aid to help with tuition, but our income may be too high. Can you help families like ours?
Absolutely, and we often work with families that have a high income or high assets that might disqualify them for need-based aid.  We take a multifaceted approach that begins with determining the best strategy for your family to reduce the cost of college.  There are many forms of aid to help you lessen the cost of college.  While you might not qualify for need-based aid at an in-state public school, you might qualify for aid at a private school.  Even if you are not eligible for need-based aid, you still have the opportunity to be eligible for merit aid and the college's endowment money.  We will determine the best strategy for your individual family and help you implement this strategy to reduce the cost of college. We routinely aid families who did not think they would qualify for financial aid based on their income or assets with incredible results.

If we want to learn more about affordable college choices and the financial aid process, but cannot afford personal coaching what are my options?
I treat financial aid education and affordability discussions as an integral part of the college conversation.  All of my books, College Experts Academy, and Personal Coaching include the discussion on college affordability and strategies to reduce the cost of college. Alternatively, we also offer some lower cost alternatives to families who would like to access just this financial aid and affordability expertise in my A La Carte section.


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