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 Joanne Levine:



“In my work as a college counselor, I encourage high school students and their families to approach the college search process with the mindset that college fit doesn’t mean finding the one college where a student would be successful (college is not like a soulmate), but rather seeking many colleges that would let a student be happy, grow and learn.”

Collegiate Parent, “The Right Way To Explore Colleges” 2022.

“Students need to be proactive in seeking out scholarships and searching for them consistently and from multiple sources.”

How to Get a Scholarship During Summer Break

“While most families want their children to go to college, parents and kids may come to conflict over different aspects of the process”

How To Solve Differences in College Plans and Still Protect Your Wallet

“The moment your child is ready to go off to college is a big, exciting and also nerve-wracking time in a family’s life.”

How To Solve Differences in College Plans and Still Protect Your Wallet

“Appeals aren’t always successful ­— my success rate for my clients is a little more than 50 percent. But by using these tips, you can increase your chances of success right from the start.”

Collegiate Parent, “EFC Too High? Tips for Successful Aid Appeals” 2022.

“Here are some tips for success when it comes to course selection.”

Collegiate Parent, “How Many Classes Should They Take?” 2022.

“Free money for college can sound enticing, but students need to be wary of offers that are too good to be true.”

The Wall Street Journal, “How to Avoid College-Scholarship Scams.” 2020.

“My College Planning Team (MCPT), which helps families and their students get the best possible price at the best fit college, is now offering a service that guides families through the financial aid appeal process.”

East Hartford Examiner, “Lowering the bottom line of college: My College Planning Team now assists families with aid appeals.” 2022.

“When it comes to FAFSA, there are two types of assets — those that are reported on the FAFSA and those that are not.”

Tribune Content Agency, “Kids and Money: Confused about FAFSA? You have plenty of company.” 2022.

“A monetary gift to a grandchild may result in a tax event on the grandparents’ end or interfere with financial aid eligibility for the student.”

Accounting Today, “A grandparents’ guide to funding college”. 2022.

“Should I apply test optional? I believe students AND parent(s) should consider several factors before making their decisions.”

Collegiate Parent, “Should My Student Apply Test Optional?” Feature article by Shane Cole from MCPT, 2021.

“What Is Ikigai? The term combines two Japanese words: iki, meaning “alive,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.” … The right college will help lead your student to their ikigai.”

Collegiate Parent, “Help Your Undecided Student Find Their Ikigai” Feature article by Peter Pitts from MCPT, 2021

“The campus visit is the most important part of a student’s college search process. Here are some suggestions for making the most of those visits. Most of these apply more to small colleges than large universities, but some apply to all.”

Collegiate Parent, “How to Optimize Your College Visits” Feature article by Peter Pitts from MCPT, 2021

“One often-overlooked category is small residential colleges. By “small,” I mean fewer than 3,000 full-time undergraduate students living on campus, of which there are about 700 in the U.S.”

Collegiate Parent, “Top 10 Advantages of a Small College” Feature article by Peter Pitts from MCPT, 2021

“In my work as a college admissions consultant with My College Planning Team, I advise students and their families to not focus only on the big universities but also to consider the advantages of small colleges. Many small colleges are just too cool to be completely overlooked in the search process.”

Collegiate Parent, “How to Find That ‘Small College’ Experience at a Big U,” Feature article by Peter Pitts from MCPT, 2021


“Undecided” is one of the most popular major choices among college freshmen. In my experience as a high school counselor, I’ve heard widely varying opinions on this. Some say every student should go into college undecided so they can explore their interests without pressure. Others say that, to avoid wasting time and money, undecided students should first attend community college before enrolling in a four-year college or university.

Collegiate Parent, “Is Your Student Undecided About Their Major?” Feature article by Paige Buttels from MCPT, 2021

“Families continue to get squeezed by the cost of college, but there is one way to dramatically cut costs — graduating in three years. That doesn’t have to mean overloading on Advance Placement classes in high school or taking the maximum number of credits each semester in college. What it does mean is doing some homework to learn about the options before deciding whether this approach is workable for an individual student.

Collegiate Parent, “How to Save a Year’s Worth of College Tuition” Feature article by Erin Hack  from MCPT, 2020

In summary, if your student is undecided about their upcoming major, that’s perfectly normal. You can help them understand the implications of enrolling as undecided — and engage in a process of learning more about themselves and where they want to be.”

Collegiate Parent, “5 Things to Consider if Your Student is Undecided about Their Major” Feature article by Paige Buttels from MCPT, 2020

Visiting colleges has been a rite of passage for high school students. Campus tours give students and their families a way to see if schools really reflect those glossy brochures that landed in their mailboxes. With COVID-19, that’s all changed.”

Collegiate Parent, “Making Virtual College Visits (Almost) as Good as the Real Thing” Feature article by Stephanie Kennedy from MCPT, 2020

Students should never pay a fee to submit a scholarship application or to be entered into a potential recipient pool; this is a red flag, industry participants say. They should also avoid opportunities that tout a money-back guarantee. ‘If they are asking you to pay for free money, it’s a scam.’ says Shane Cole, a scholarship and college counselor at Addison Trail High School in Addison, IL.’

Wall Street Journal, “How to Avoid College-Scholarship Scams” Quote by Shane Cole from MCPT, January 2, 2020

Contacting a school’s financial aid office can help a student stay in college when that package turns out not to be enough.  This I especially important now that families have to cope with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Collegiate Parent, “Struggling with College Expenses? Reach Out to the Financial Aid Office” Feature article by Billie Jo Weis from MCPT, February 14, 2020

“Now more than ever, middle class families need help figuring out how they can afford college.  With many families having to do more with less, knowing the ins and outs of the financial aid system can be key to helping them cut college costs.”

Link for Counselors, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Help Families Afford College” Feature article by Shane Cole from MCPT, December 11, 2019

It doesn’t matter what you put your money into to save for college-starting as early as possible is universally the best decision you can make.”

Collegiate Parent, “The Smartest Ways to Save for Your Child’s College Education”  Feature article by Jim Kraiss from MCPT, CFP, September 16, 2020

“We know that adults spend the majority of their waking hours at work which has a huge impact on their overall life satisfaction.  With this in mind, it’s important for students to consider the value in selecting a career field that will bring contentment and spark joy.”

Collegiate Parent, “Career Exploration for High School Students-3 Steps to Follow” Feature article by Paige Buttels from MCPT, August 17, 2020

“Saving on college means more than just earning scholarships or financial aid awards.  It also means being wise at tax time so you don’t miss out on deductions that can save you money.”

Collegiate Parent, “Tax Tips for College Parents” Feature article by Billie Jo Weiss from MCPT, April 7, 2020

The best way to position yourself for a career switch is to have a clear understanding of what you do best and how you can add value to the company’s team, says career coach Ray Giese of My College Planning Team.”

Chicago Tribune, “How to prepare for a career change post-coronavirus” By Ray Geise from MCPT, June 08, 2020

“Unlike federal student loans, which have consistent interest rates and terms, emergency student  loans vary greatly by school,” says Teddy Nykiel, client service manager at My College Planning  Team, a financial aid advising firm. “Students should check with their school’s financial aid  office for details…”

 U.S. News, “Should You Get an Emergency Student Loan?” Quote by Teddy Nykiel from CMPT, August 2, 2019

“Start early, work on your project consistently, and be open-minded in your process,” said Stephanie Kennedy, an independent educational consultant and founder of My College Planning  Team.”

The Seattle Times, “Navigate the College Admissions Process Without Losing Your Mind” Quote by Stephanie Kennedy from MCPT, October 25, 2019

“At some colleges and universities, the more outside scholarship money students have the less  money they’ll receive from their college. It’s called “scholarship displacement,” and it often  comes as a shock to families who are counting on that scholarship money to send their student to  their dream school.”

CollegiateParent, “Are Outside Scholarships Worth the Trouble?” Featured article by Matt Grezetich from MCPT

“Students working as independent contractors — as rideshare drivers do — have the “unique  ability” to deduct certain expenses from their income and potentially keep their income under  the allowance, says Billie Jo Weis, a client service manager at My College Planning Team.”

NerdWallet, “What College Students Need to Know About Driving for Uber, Lyft” By Teddy Nykiel from MCPT, June 6, 2019

“Oftentimes, parents believe there is no point to completing the FAFSA,” said Lindsay Muzzy,  a FAFSA and student aid expert with college consulting service My College Planning Team.  “It is important to complete it regardless of if the family believes it will be eligible for governmental aid.”

Student Loan Hero, “Parent’s Guide to the FAFSA and Federal Student Aid,” November 14, 2018 

“Considering that assets are assessed at a rate of 5.64%, it makes sense for many small business  owners to hold assets in their business, rather than personal accounts, during the college years.”

The Daily Herald, “How Small Business Owners Can Save Big on College” October 22, 2018T

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