Pinnacle Summer College Planning Clinic

With school counselor caseloads climbing ever higher, families rightfully fear that students will lack personalized help with planning for college at the same time that admission selectivity reaches a peak nationwide. This summer local independent educational consultant Dr. Lisa Ransdell is offering a six-week reasonably priced college planning clinic to a small group of rising high school juniors and seniors.

The clinic provides 12 hours of instruction and personal guidance with key aspects of college planning, including college searching/matching, essay development and editing, career/major planning and assessment, financial aid guidance, model campus tours and interview preparation, and more. After completing the clinic, each participant will be far ahead of many of his or her classmates with much of the work of applying to college complete or solidly begun. Parents are invited to attend the financial aid and scholarship class meeting.

At the conclusion of the sessions each participant will receive a detailed, personalized report with college matches, the student’s edited essay draft, the college major assessment report, a point-by-point college planning timeline, financial aid and scholarship recommendations, and more.

Dr. Ransdell launched her education consulting practice, Pinnacle Education Consulting, LLC, in 2007 in the Denver area.  Lisa works with all kinds of students, sharing with each insight from her 20-year career as a higher education administrator and 28-years as a college faculty member (ongoing). She is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, and the Denver-Boulder BBB.

Lisa’s past clients are attending or headed to schools like the University of Denver, the University of Colorado, the University of Chicago, Gonzaga University, the University of Southern California, Villanova University, Louisiana State University, the University of Oregon, and many more excellent colleges. The summer clinic is very affordable and offers phenomenal value and terrific benefits to participants and families.

For info/to register: LRansdell@comcast.net                   303-635-6620

Campus tour at UC Berkeley

Crazy U

In my work as an independent educational consultant I frequently make use of multiple resource guides, databases, education blogs and publications. This past weekend I added an entry to my list of favorite non-traditional books about college planning: Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College, by Andrew Ferguson.

Ferguson applies humor and plenty of ironic commentary to his tale of helping his son with the college planning process. One of my favorite chapters recounts the author’s attendance at a presentation led by the most expensive east coast college consultant, whose fees are in the neighborhood of $40K for comprehensive services, typically targeting the Ivy League and other elite east coast colleges.  Ferguson skewers her readily, along with the parents who are gullible enough to fork over the funds for her tactics of intimidation and snobbery.

Ferguson also takes colleges to task for their arcane and obscure norms in vetting applications, as well as the obscene extent of inflation in costs of attendance.

His points are well taken; in fact, I am considering emailing him to share something I’m sure he already knows: that there are highly qualified, ethical college consultants who work hard (at reasonable rates) on behalf of students and families to demystify the process and expand options.

This is a fun and illuminating read, and will be savored by professionals and digested by parents.  I recommend it highly.

Lisa Ransdell is an independent educational consultant in Denver, Colorado with an extensive background in college teaching and administration. She helps students and families nationwide with all aspects of college planning.

 

Battling the High Cost of College

I’ve seen several pieces in educational media recently that suggest that a backlash may be brewing among middle class families in reaction to the exorbitant cost of many selective colleges. This nascent movement isn’t necessarily forming in reaction to the Ivy League tier of schools, which will always attract applicants no matter their cost, but more in response to the next tier of private institutions across the U.S.

A small subset of the schools now costing upwards of $50K for the total yearly cost of attendance include Bates, Carleton, Colorado College, Hamilton, Johns Hopkins, Pomona, Stanford, Swarthmore, Vassar, Washington University (SL), Williams, and many, many more….

There are many wonderful colleges across the U.S. that offer an excellent education at reasonable prices, as well as those that are consistently generous with aid and discounting offers.  Independent educational consultants can help families identify schools and enrollment arrangements that can significantly reduce the cost of attendance, and equally important, student debt after graduation. As a consultant from a working class background who was a first generation college student I am especially sensitive to such concerns, and I strive to keep my own fees at a reasonable levels, with special group discounts, pro bono clients, and offers to assist local high schools with college planning for free. My own summer college planning clinic is just such an effort, with dramatically reduced rates for students participating in an eight week, 16-hour college coaching class: http://pinnaclecollegeplanning.com/ (click on the “summer clinic” page).

Click here to see a pretty cool viral video out of Canada (apparently similar problems abound there) that gets to the heart of the student debt lament: the Student Poverty Song.  It’s pretty catchy and has great visuals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr2LiQGrC7A

 

The Circle of Life … in College Planning

At this time of year I am acutely aware of cycles and the continuity in life in general as winter threatens to drag on forever (we know it won’t!), but also in my profession of college planning.  This year’s seniors are mostly done applying; some have received early responses and others await those fat or thin envelopes in the mail with their news of joy or disappointment. I am also following up with last year’s seniors to hear how the first term of college went and how that chosen college is panning out. Finally, I am receiving inquiries from some of this year’s crop of high school junior parents who are beginning to realize that it just might be helpful to solicit some extra assistance with the whole complicated, intimidating process that is about to take on a life of its own.

I love every bit of the cycle, and take great pleasure in helping to explain and simplify the various processes involved in college planning. Guiding students and parents to opportunities and resources that expand the joy and reduce the angst is what it’s all about for me.

Happy to be Among the 26%

I was delighted to hear that a recent research study on high achieving seniors in the U.S. showed that fully 26% report having used an IEC (independent educational consultant) in their college search and application process. With high school counselors frequently managing impossibly high caseloads and the increasingly positive publicity that credentialed IECs are receiving nationwide, that number will likely climb even higher in the near future. Check out the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) website for the full story and extensive information on locating and evaluating consultants: www.educationalconsulting.org

I was so fortunate discover that my extensive background in college teaching and administration was highly relevant to this field four years ago when I decided to launch Pinnacle Education Consulting. I truly love what I do and greatly enjoy partnering with Colorado students and families on college planning.

I’m also quite proud of my clients and their achievements. Here are some of the institutions where recent clients have been accepted:

  • Colorado State University
  • Cornell University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Montana State University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Santa Clara University
  • Swarthmore College
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Denver
  • University of Montana
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • Villanova University
  • Washington University St. Louis

Looking forward to getting my “26% Ask Me” Button at the IECA conference this May in Philadelphia!

Lisa Ransdell, PhD

Pinnacle Education Consulting, LLC

Denver, CO

LRansdell@comcast.net   303-635-6620