How To Choose Colleges in Today’s Economy:

The admissions and financial aid process from the perspective of a retired Guidance Counselor and a parent of four children. I spent 34 years in education with the last 22 years as a high school guidance counselor. I specialized in admissions and financial aid as two of my key assets as a counselor. I visited many colleges up and down the east coast and networked with many admissions/financial aid counselors in order to better service my counselees and their parents. I have successfully put three (3) of my children through college but I did this in an economy that was flourishing. In today’s economy with our assets and investments down anywhere from 30% to 50%, it makes this process a lot more difficult. College admissions have become more competitive and more expensive since my last child graduated from college in 1998. My first two daughters graduated from college in early 90’s and the admissions and cost was very reasonable during that period.

In general, for those of you that are planning to send your sons and daughters to college in the next 2 to 5 years, you should begin to do your preliminary research right now. For those of you who will be sending your son or daughter to college in the next 2 years, you should have done your preliminary research and your financial planning already. Right now, you and your son or daughter should be visiting colleges, taking the PSAT’s and SAT’S in the junior year. The mindset and training begins a lot earlier than I have just mentioned. Financial planning also should be started as early as possible. Your sons and daughters will most likely get into 3 to 10 colleges/universities, depending on the number of schools that they apply to. Admissions will be based on what kind of profile that your son or daughter creates during high school and this will also effect what kind of financial aid package he or she is going to receive. After everything is done, what it comes down to is where can you afford to send your son or daughter. It comes down to money and the decision will be made between April 15th and May 1st of your son’s or daughter’s senior year.

Now, I will get in to the specifics of college admissions and financial aid. I will also give you links to websites where you can get more information.


Admissions to colleges are based on your son’s or daughter’s transcript, class rank, SAT scores, school activities/sports and letters of recommendation from teachers and his or her counselor (grades and activities from grades 9 to 12 are considered for the purposes of applying to college). The student’s work habit is established early in years. Once your son or daughter enters high school, everything that he or she does will become part of his or her profile. For admissions you need to go to to become familiar with PSAT’s, SAT’s, plan for college, find colleges, apply to colleges and pay for college. 

Once you have your son’s and daughter’s GPA, class rank and PSAT’s or SAT scores, you should go to the college’s and university’s website to see what the previous freshman class’s profile was to see how your son’s or daughter’s profile compare. This will give you an idea of what kind of chances he or she will have when he or she apply. There many websites out there that you can use to do your research and your best resource is your son’s or daughter’s guidance counselor.

You should work closely with your son’s or daughter’s high school’s guidance office. Also, you can always call the college’s admissions office to get information specific to that college.

When your son or daughter does apply to college, he or she should apply to at leas 5 schools. You want he or she to apply to at least (1) one school that you have a real good feeling that he or she will get in and that you can afford. Your son’s or daughter’s safety school is extremely important on your list of schools. He or she should also apply to at least (1) one reach school. The rest of the schools should be within his or her profile.


Financial aid or financing your son’s or daughter’s college education, is to me, the most important part of this whole college search process. Because it doesn’t matter where and how many schools that your son or daughter get into, if you can’t afford to send him or her to one of those schools. You need to apply to schools in variety of price ranges. You should from the beginning, apply to at least (1) one school that you know based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), that you can afford that particular school with little financial help or no help at all (your financial safety school). The following websites will help you determine your EFC:

Your EFC is calculated when you file your financial aid forms (FAFSA and CSS Profile). In most cases, you only have to file the FAFSA, which is the federal form, and it is income driven. You should calculate your Expected Family Contribution as soon as possible so you can realistically do your college searches. You want to know how much the schools are going to expect you to come with financially and it always is more than what you think.

I hope that the information that I have given you is helpful in your college search adventure. For more information, please contact your son’s or daughter’s guidance counselor.

 If financing your son’s or daughter’s education is a concern in today’s economy and you are willing to investigate how you can pay for you child’s education with easy. You could possibly have your son or daughter come out of college debt-free. I will provide you with more free information on my website which will give you more details on how you can make a second stream of income in a risk-free and recession-proof business opportunity. We don’t sell anything or make anything. We are the new millennium middlemen.

Good luck and God bless! I will not ill advise you. I was in the helping profession for 34 years and I have been blessed again with an opportunity to continue to help people but this time it is financial in nature.

If what I have just described to you is of any interest, click on the following link for more information!


Leonel DaRosa

FHTM Independent Representative


I am a retired Guidance Counselor who wants to continue to help people. I was born in Cape Verde Islands in September of 1950 and I came to the United States in May of 1963. I attend junior high school and high school in Falmouth, Massachusetts and received my batchelor degree from North Adams State College in 1974. I received my Master in Education From Bridgewater State College in 1977. I retired after spending 34 years in education helping students. I am married with 4 children and I now live in North Carolina.


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