William Lee Sefton, CPAAmerica's Most Outspoken Non-Attorney Living Trust Advocate...
College Planning

While serving on Willamette University's Alumni Board and later becoming a Certified College Planning Specialist, Bill came across some very interesting considerations, the most important one: 

 Make certain that the student and the school are a good match so that the student thrives.

But first, let me ask you a question:  Is it possible for a College Freshman to receive
$4,000 a month, income tax free, to pay for their higher education expenses?

The U.S. Income Tax Law actually encourages such a possibility; but, it takes a forward looking, open minded, parent and child to create such a possibility.  Call Bill if that catches your attenton.  It'll take about 10 minutes to sketch it out for you using a personalized webinar format as each situation is a little, but significantly, different than another.

Back to our Other Considerations:

    Always tour the campus with note paper, pencil, and a camera.  Never rely on reputation, glitzy brochures, or even alumni.

        Start with touring small, local, private colleges, even if they are not on your list; if for no other reason, to get the 'butterflies out of your stomach.'  You will then appear on future college tours as a more serious researcher and not all 'gah-gah' over what they have to offer.  Then take a family vacation visiting colleges in an area; like the numerous small private colleges around Portland and in the Willamette Valley of Oregon; or, along the Wasatch Front in Utah. 

    Always ask intelligent questions that dig below the surface questions that other prospective students and parents ask.

    Ask to see their largest lecture hall:Cal Berkeley's probably holds a 1,000 students or more; Southern Virginia University's holds 35.

    Ask to see the expected living arrangements for incoming Freshman students.

        I know of a case of an only-child who found herself living in co-ed Freshman Dorm at Stanford.  Not a good outcome; but, within a few years at home, she recovered and entered Mills College (Oakland) where she thrived.

    Does the school guarantee graduation within 4 years?

        Public Schools often take 5 to 6 years for 4-year degree;  Southern Virginia University guarantees graduation within 4 years (check their website for details), making the overall cost of attending the public school much more expensive.

     What is the school looking for; who is their target student?  

        A college with no marching band will not go out of their way for a tuba playing student from a high school championship marching band; on the other hand, a college with a marching band needing the tuba player will  go out of their way, even financially, to recruit the tuba player.

    Cost of an Education

        I remember 2 cases where the student was receiving more money than they were spending because of scholarships, financial aid, coaching, etc.  One was attending UCLA; another was attending the very expensive Colorado School of Mines.

If your heart is set one college, like BYU, then do the above with other somewhat similar schools before BYU, so that BYU will recruit you

Consider saving the big universities for Graduate School so that you can take advantage of the smaller community atmosphere of a smaller school like Willamette University or Southern Virginia University, where you can actually walk between classes within a 10 minute window.

And, start the college search during Middle School or Junior High School.  Then, by the time that a serious selection is made, you will be very familiar with the colleges of your choice AND they will be familiar with you also!