Picking Prep Schools: When to Get Help? Understanding the Timeline and Whom to Trust.

I received a call from a family whom I had been recommended to by a previous client. By the time they contacted me, they had already communicated with some prep schools. They also were getting help from one of their child’s coaches, as well as a friend who had been through the process before. As a result, they felt they had a good list of schools and decided they didn’t need my help at that time. They did leave the door open to hiring me later, in the event they needed help with the financial part of the process.

When they called me a few months later, their son had been rejected at the school that was their first choice. They were stunned. They shared with me that they had come to realize that, having no experience at this, they had misinterpreted the feedback they had been getting from the coach at that school and had overvalued the help they’d been receiving from friends and others. Compounding the problem, they assumed they were going to get into their first choice and made little effort with the other two schools they had considered. They were upset and looking for answers.

We talked about applying to other schools, but by this time most other schools had filled their spots and handed out their financial aid. Schools that would have been good options a few months prior no longer were. In addition, they told me after what they’d already been through in this process they didn’t have the emotional energy to start over with new schools. Consequently, this family was forced to choose from a very limited list of schools, most of which they wouldn’t have otherwise found acceptable, and/or, lacking options and leverage, pay $5,000 – $15,000 more than they would have.