Helping College-Bound Students Achieve Their Goals
Do you have a son or daughter who is beginning to think about college? If this makes you feel a bit uneasy, the answer must be yes. For many, the prospect of college can be a time that is both exciting and challenging, of optimism and high anxiety for all involved. There are so many difficult decisions to be made, it’s hard to know where to start. The answer? Jesse Hedrick, independent college consultant and owner of Knoxville-based Collegiate Blueprint.
After 10 years as a consultant helping students find the right college, Jesse knows very well just what a challenge preparing for college can be “My goal,” he says, “is to provide the guidance that families need in order to navigate the college search, cost planning, and career exploration process. It is extremely complicated and college is expensive. Finding best-fit schools is like a three-legged chair. Academics, environment, and cost are the three legs. Without each of these legs optimized for the student, he or she will fall over.”
In order to ensure that a student has that stable foundation, Jesse and his team dive in depth with each client to make sure that the student and parents’ unique needs are met. Some are searching for a college that offers a specific major or one that is within their financial means. Others are looking for guidance in securing admission to one of the “elite” universities. “There are a multitude of considerations in choosing a school and proven ways to be successful in getting there. Not having good guidance,” Jesse explains, “can not only lead to choosing a school that is not the right fit, but it can also lead to the student withdrawing, changing course of study, or transferring. All of which can mean years of tuition payments wasted.”
Although the ideal time to start preparing for college is freshman year, Jesse understands that this is not always possible and that’s okay. “It’s almost never too late to start,” he says. “But there’s a lot to accomplish, so the more time we have, the better. We guide our students through the entire exploration, planning, and application process…career assessments, and discovering what types of colleges fit them. We help with summer activities to strengthen their resumes and applications, with cost planning, the application process, essay writing, navigating financial aid letters, and more. With all that goes into it, you probably don’t want to start just a few weeks before applications are due!”
Unfortunately, one reason — and a very important one — is that high school students simply aren’t getting the guidance they need. According to a Department of Education study, the national student-to-college counselor ratio is 478 to 1. As a result, 60% of high school seniors never receive college counseling and of the 40% that do, the average time given was less than 40 minutes over the student’s entire four years.
Is the outcome worth the effort? Absolutely. “Jesse was a godsend!,” recounts Rebecca Badeaux, a client. “His knowledge, tools, and team worked together to open our eyes to the many possibilities and then whittle them down to an ultimate selection. We felt confident throughout the journey and ended with my daughter getting her first choice of school, and a generous scholarship. So glad we had Collegiate Blueprint in our corner!”
Collegiate Blueprint Counseling (865) 307-0635 9724 Kingston Pike, Suite 108 Knoxville, Tennessee www.collegiateblueprint.com