College Advising

services-icon_advisingClients come to a private consultant at many stages of the college process, and Diane is happy to begin work at any point. Some of the more customary entry points are described below, but College Well Planned also offers packages to meet a variety of needs.

College Launch – Freshmen & Sophomores

Many families find that introductory sessions during the freshman and sophomore years can be helpful; the goal here is to give an overview of the college process, explaining timelines and creating a plan for the first years of high school. At this stage, students often need perspective in selecting appropriate high school courses. This is also an ideal time to begin building a strong resume of activities, both inside and outside the classroom.

Summer enrichment programs can also be important, giving students low-risk opportunities to explore possible majors and interests; College Well Planned has a wide variety of resources and contacts to help research and identify the best of these programs.

The College Launch package is perfect for these early years of high school, and provides an excellent base for more focused work to come.

Juniors & Seniors

During the fall of junior year, the college process begins in earnest, with students preparing for SAT/ACT tests, taking the PSAT (in October of junior year), and beginning college visits. Juniors should also begin building relationships with college admissions representatives by attending college fairs or information sessions, and can start building what College Well Planned terms the “BIG list.” It’s an important time for self-reflection, for thinking about what matters most – Location? Size? Majors? Campus culture? Cost?

At this stage, College Well Planned begins a step-by-step program designed to guide students and families through the college admissions process. Personality tests and career interest assessments can guide students to consider possibilities they might never have imagined; thinking “outside the box” is important during this time, and Diane often used guided surveys and interviews to encourage clients to broaden their perspectives to find the right college fits.

There are lots of details to manage by this stage, and students receive a subscription to their own personal online organizer, CustomCollegePlan. CCP is an excellent tool in itself, but Diane goes a step farther and uses it to create a truly individualized plan for each student, assigning step-by-step “To-Do” tasks that turn an overwhelmingly large process into very manageable, “bite-size” pieces.

Throughout the junior and senior years, College Well Planned makes sure each student stays on track, with monthly meetings often turning to weekly meetings during “Senior Crunch” (September-December). Applications are fine-tuned, essays are polished, and the Big List is narrowed to a thoughtful, well-planned list, usually of 6-10 schools. Scholarship options are researched, and parents receive detailed advice on financial aid applications and approaches to maximize scholarship dollars.


Diane can help with all aspects of the process – for a list of some of the many services available, see the Comprehensive package.

Families who are most interested in identifying good-fit colleges may be interested in the List Builder package, which helps juniors or seniors build an appropriate and well balanced list of right-fit colleges. College Well Planned also offers packages to meet a variety of needs, including focused Mini Packages and hourly rates.