Shellee Howard, Founder and CEO of College Ready
Shellee is a certified independent college strategist and counselor. She helps middle and high school students (and their parents) prepare for the college admissions process. She helps them create a standout strategy, get into their best fit college without going into debt, and shows how to succeed once admitted.
Shellee is on a mission to help a million people understand how to go to college, get into their dream college, and graduate debt-free—the same way she managed to send her kids to college.
To make this happen, she founded College Ready and wrote the best-selling book, How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money.
Questions Answered Today:
What is the first step in making sure that a student is on the right path to choosing a debt-free and right-fit college?
There are three needs that families need to consider when planning for college:
- Academic fit
- Social fit
- Financial fit.
When asked, most parents prioritize financial fit, while most students pick social fit. The immediate misalignment between what parents want and what students want is the common reason why families fall into college debt.
For Shellee, to do planning correctly, addressing this difference and bridging the gap between students and parents’ preferences should be the first step.
One mistake parents should avoid is waiting until their student gets accepted into colleges. This often results in either the student’s heartbreak or incurring debt as they find out about the college’s unaffordable sticker price.
When buying a house, we must be pre-qualified, right? We only go for something we know we can afford. Shellee believes that the same principle should be applied when college planning.
One good strategy for students and parents to meet halfway is while students focus on being the best version of themselves, parents should be making an effort in planning and strategizing financially.
How do passion projects and community service lead my student towards the best career path?
Most of the time, guardians ask their students, “What do you want to do?”—a question that’s often answered by “I have no idea.”
As Shellee points out, students don’t want to be data dumped. They don’t want to be told what they need to do either. By immersing the student in real-world problems that they can witness themselves, they can be a better version of themselves, help the community, and have fun in the process.
One of the strategies Shellee uses in helping students find their career path on their own is called A Passion with a Purpose Project. She does this for purposes that benefit not only the student but also the community. It’s win-win.
Through their passion projects directed to the community, students discover what they’re really passionate about and how they’d like to make a difference. They learn things that aren’t taught in school (or anywhere) and start asking significant questions such as:
- Do I like interacting with elders? Or am I more inclined to caring for babies?
- Do I like to lead? Or am I more effective as a follower?
- Do I want to be out in the field doing something every day? Or am I someone who enjoys doing a desk job?
- What are my core values? What’s important to me?
- I’d like to help people with my words, what can I do?
Simple realizations like these lead the student into choosing a major and eventually a career they would like to have and, most importantly, a career they would do best.
Shellee also believes that this is the way a student would stand out and get rid of insecurities about somebody having better credentials.
Remember: Anywhere the student chooses to go, there will always be a better somebody. But if the student fully realizes what they’re capable of, what they’d like to do, and why they’re doing it, they’ll have a fair chance of getting in.
What faulty mindset around community service needs to be corrected?
Families don’t think about college until later in high school, and that is considered late.
It’s ideal for students to start as early as eighth grade because that’s the time when colleges start counting their community service hours.
As long as the student is already mature enough to understand community service and its implications, parents can already start looking for opportunities to immerse the student in the real world.
However, it’s also important to keep in mind that community services should not be done for the sake of putting them in the student’s portfolio. Community services are there to ignite the student’s passion and, of course, to make the members of the community’s lives a bit better.
In the Common App (an application students use to apply to multiple colleges), there is a question that asks, “Tell me about a time you did something for somebody else that did not benefit yourself.” A student who has been doing community hours for years would look much more authentic than a student who started community service in their senior year.
Why? Because a late start raises the suspicion that the second student only started doing community service for the sake of college applications.
How do I take part in my student’s journey of being the best version of themselves?
It’s always great to stay on top of planning and team up with experts to help with your student’s admission. College planning is not supposed to be taken lightly, and it should be considered a full-time job. In fact, it takes 20-30 hours weekly to do the planning.
Brad compares this to a kid learning the piano—if you want your kid to learn to play, you get a piano teacher. The same thing should be done when planning for college. If you want your kid to get into the best school for them, you should consult an expert who would help them reach that goal.
Therefore, a decision must be made: do parents want to do the planning full-time, or will they work with someone who knows the nooks and crannies of the college admissions process?
Many parents make the mistake of thinking that their student’s high school counselor is enough support, but in actuality, high school counselors have a lot on their plate and can’t realistically manage thousands of kids.
Experts like Shellee help parents with:
- Strategizing financially early (breaking down finances such as the school’s “sticker price,” explaining the idea of co-signing student loans)
- Talking to students about their college’s return on investment, asking questions such as “Do you want you and your parents to work for free, paying off your student loans?”
- Finding opportunities for students to do research, internships, and community service
- Strategizing in college selections (e.g. having reach, comfort, and safety schools)
- Directing the student towards the path they would like to take
Another thing that parents need to understand is that there are tons of great colleges out there and that their options are not limited to big names. Shellee herself did a study about taking off-brand names and having students pick schools based on credentials alone. Students were shocked to pick a school that’s not even on their radar.
While it’s great to get into the big schools, it’s always a smart idea to have a backup plan. Always remember that the school that’s the right fit for the student takes precedence over the school everybody wants.
Lastly, parents must also realize that students only have an idea about professions their parents have. They know nothing about others. It should be a goal for parents to introduce their kids to as many professions as possible for them to have an idea of what other careers look like.
What resources does Shellee offer to help me and my teen get started with strategizing?
Shellee manages College Ready, where she and her team help students not only get into their dream school but also graduate debt-free.
In 2021, College Ready’s 61 students managed to get over $10.7 million in scholarships.
Shellee also offers a free copy of her best-selling book, How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money. The book is a great resource in understanding the rules of college admission as well as understanding the colleges’ academic, social, and financial fit to their students.
For those who would like to buy it on Amazon, order a copy here.
Links and Resources
Helpful Articles and Resources
- Taming The High Cost Of College
- How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money – Amazon
- How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money – Free Copy
- Shellee Howard’s Contact Info:
- College Ready
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How to send your students to college without losing your mind or your money.
You have kids that grow up, and before you know it, it's time to plan for college. Where do you start? How much is it going to cost? Will you qualify for financial aid? Should you be looking into scholarships? When will you be able to retire? What about student loans? The list of questions is never ending. The good news is all the answers are right here. Welcome to Taming the High Cost of College Podcast. Here is your host, certified financial planner, Brad Baldridge.
Hello, and welcome to Taming the High Cost of College. I'm your host, Brad Baldridge. Today we have a great interview with Shellee Howard. She is the author of the book How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money. And she has some great ideas around helping your students stand out and finding a school that's a good fit, not just academically and socially, but also financially. So let's go ahead and jump into the interview. As always, we're going to have show notes available at tamingthehighcostofcollege.com/150 where all the links that we mentioned will be available. So here we go.
Alright, today we're talking with Shellee Howard. She's the CEO of College Ready. Welcome, Shellee.
Thank you so much for having me.
All right. So CEO of College Ready, how did this come about that you got involved in working with students in college?
I guess the best way to say it is 13 years ago, it found me. My oldest was, he came home from eighth grade, and he's like, 'Mom, I know exactly what I want to do and where I want to go to college,' and he's so excited. I'm like, 'What happened today school?' He said, 'The counselor came, and we have to pick classes, and it really matters my first classes. So can I go to college? And can I go and I want to be a brain surgeon.' And I'm like, 'Well, sure you can.' And it was a mom moment of, 'Oh, my goodness, I was the first to go to college on both sides of my family. There's no medicine in my family. We have a lot to accomplish.' So fast forward. My firstborn did exactly what I asked him to do. I went back to school, and I got my certification at UC San Diego, and I started touring 25 colleges that semester, when he got up to give his salutatorian speech, the young man next to me said, 'Dude, I didn't even know that kid was smart.' And I said, 'Yeah, that was kind of the plan.' He didn't want to stand out as being that kid. And he had seven full ride offers, ended up going to Harvard, four years for free. Then decided, 'I'm going to try working.' He got a job working for Bain consulting, making $106,000 a year at 23. Then he decided to go back to medical school, went to UC San Diego, and now he's an orthopedic surgeon at UCLA. So my why started when my oldest started asking questions. And as a parent, I could not find the answers. So I made it my mommy mission to go and get those answers. And at the same time, I was a single parent. So even if he got in to one of those schools, I was a bit terrified on how I was going to pay for it. So my program touches on the academic fit, social fit, and financial fit because that's what I had to figure out for myself.
Right, absolutely. All right. So obviously, you started figuring this out. When you say you visited colleges, what does that mean?
So going on college tours is the best way to truly get. We call it 'boots on the ground,' right? While we're seeing it, smelling it, experiencing it. So I literally went to 25 campuses a semester and went on college tours. I wanted to ask the questions myself, I didn't want to read about something on the Internet. The Internet is a very scary deep dark hole once you start going into college planning. So by talking to these colleges directly with admissions people, I realized there was a common theme. And with that theme, I built a strategy. So College Ready has used that strategy for 13 years and helping students not only find the perfect fit college but to do it without going into debt.
Right. Okay. So can you tell us a little bit more about the strategy, then?
I would love to tell you about the strategies so what we do is we help families get very clear on what their needs are or their wants. Sometimes it's a need, sometimes it's a want. And so, you know, if I ask a parent, please rate this in order, academic fit for your students, social fit for your student, or financial fit for your student. It usually goes financial, academic, social. If I asked the student the same question, they will say social, academic, financial, this is why most people end up in some type of student loan debt. The parents are not aligning to the student and the students picking colleges based on their limited 17-year-old knowledge of how much debt they will get themselves into. So our strategy is to first align the parent with the student. And we help bridge that gap of having that hard conversation, how much the family can afford, or wants to afford, how much does the family want the student to go across the country? You know, when I went to college, my dad gave me two options. He said, 'One, you go there and you pay, you stay here and I pay.' It was, my dad just laid it out there, there was no guessing and there was no debt. He was like, 'I'm not going to take my retirement to pay for your college, I'm going to use my retirement to retire.' And I learned early on that the choices that we make when we're in our 20s affect us in our 50s and some beyond. So the strategy is first aligning the student and the parents, and then going after the ultimate goal, if it's an academic fit, great. If it's a social fit, which is quite surprising how many parents are okay with that one, you know, they pick a football school or a basketball school or a school on the beach. Like, there's a lot of different social fits, and then how does the financial fit because I have multimillionaires in my program, and I have need-based 'I can't go to college' in my program. And the beauty is we can help them all. There is not one perfect student, the only student that would not do well in our program is one who doesn't want to go to college. That's it.
Right, exactly. And I think as professionals, we both run into that situation where college is the parents' goal, it's not the students goal. And that's a tough thing to solve, let's put it that way.
Yeah, and that's part of the equation. If we don't do it before they apply, the worst thing you can do is say, 'Oh, let's wait and see where they get in.' Now they get in and you get see the sticker price. And you're like, 'I can't afford that.' And now the student's totally deflated. Whereas if you pick the right match university or college before they apply, it's all celebration, and it all has a strategy. So it's really planning for their future, not winging it.
Right. All right. So as part of this program, then how do we do this? I mean, seems like for many families, the college process is very challenging, and that they don't really understand what it's going to cost and, and any of that, and they don't realize that they're going to get the answer at the end. And then if they're shocked at the end, so how do you flip that around, then?
Yeah, I see it's like reverse engineering, you wouldn't go and buy a home without being pre qualified, without knowing 'I can afford this mortgage.' Right?
I wouldn't go and buy a car without figuring out I can afford this car payment. Right. But for whatever reason, when it comes to college, people are not doing that strategy, which is something that we've been doing for years and years and years. And so it is work in the process. So I do it in two ways, that how-to is what you're asking. I built this cloud-based portal. And inside the portal is all my intellectual property. It's exactly how a student would work this process. Inside of there, we're working two completely different buckets. We have one bucket with how to make the student the best version of them they can be. Then we have the other bucket of how to get your financial house in order. What many families don't understand is the fastball looks at the second semester of the sophomore year and the first semester of the junior year. Well, if you start planning for college at the end of your junior year, you've just financially strapped your family because now you're trying to play catch up versus going in there strategically, with your best financial strategy. I work a lot with families on financial negotiations, financial reconsiderations, helping them understand why would you pay sticker price for college, if you wouldn't for a home or even for a car? So a lot of it is mindset, planning and strategizing. It's not that it's that far off, or there's some magical potion. It's just really looking at it, breaking it down, reverse engineering it, and then talking about what does that look like? Because many, many families don't understand there's a ton of great colleges. But yet everybody wants to apply to the same one. I don't know if that's lack of depth of knowledge, or it just is what the semester doing. I haven't figured that out in 13 years why that happens. But it is true that it does happen. So I have to help them. So for my master's thesis, I took all the labels, the brand names off at the universities, and then I had students pick the university based on the details of the major of getting out in four years of the financials of all of that stuff. Then I put the label back on, and they were shocked that that was not even on their radar. But yeah, it was the perfect fit school once I took the label off. So it's educating students, that there's more than just the school everybody talks about. Now, don't get me wrong, I mean, this year, we've gotten students into Stanford, into Yale, all of the big schools, but this is a perfect example of not having a backup plan. So this year, Berkeley is in a really tough position. And they're only going to allow 3000 students into admittance, which is an extremely low number for them. If that was the only school or the dream school for that student, they're now in a very bad situation, where we have reach schools, comfort schools, safety schools, and we have statistics that show that our students get into 9 out of 12 of those, why not 12, then you don't dream big enough. So it's helping families understand that just applying to the UC is not a strategy. Everybody does that because it's as easy as clicking a bunch of buttons. So that right there is where people have a tough time navigating this process, because it takes about 20 to 30 hours a week to do this properly by yourself. With me and the student, it's about one to two hours a week, who wants to do 30 hours a week on top of their full-time career, they would rather go, 'Oh, we'll wait and see where they get in.' But the student is not getting help from anywhere else. And that's the tragedy. I was presenting to the National Charity League two nights ago, and just out of curiosity, I said, 'Ladies, raise your hand, if you've seen your high school counselor, in the last year and a half,' not one hand went up, not one. So the high school counselors are just struggling with depression and anxiety and kids not wanting to be in school. And these kids are not getting support. And these families are believing that they are, and that's a part of pointing at each other and going, 'there's no support for them.' And they don't know how to do this, the parents don't know how to do this. Because even if they went to college, it's so incredibly different.
Right? For sure. So you mentioned a few things in there where the whole college process, to do it well is very time consuming. And that's the analogy I use for people is it's kind of like the job that you do for a living. Often people say, 'Well, how hard can it be you just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.' Yet, when you're in the job and you do it, you immediately say, 'Yeah, well, you don't know all the nuances and the problems' and the all, you know, it's much more complicated than what you just said, for sure. And obviously it is, because it's somebody's job, if it was that simple, they wouldn't hire someone to do it.
And I think with college, we've just upped the complexity a lot, the price a lot. And now all of a sudden there's a lot more reasons to get it done. Well, I mean, when you and I went to school so many years ago, wasn't unusual to run into the kid that was on a six-year because he changed his major three times and he was struggling with what he wanted to be when he grew up. And again, it was a little bit of his time and a little bit of money, but it wasn't a big deal to add a couple of years. Now, parents hear something like that, and they almost have a heart attack. You know what, in extra two years I could barely, normally want to think about the four I'm on the hook for now. So how do appearance again, deal with figuring out how much is the right amount of effort in any particular area. So you could spend hours and hours and hours in scholarships, you could spend hours and hours and hours in visiting colleges, you can spend... So how do you figure out a reasonable, I guess, to-do list that doesn't drive you insane?
Yeah, that's a great question. So I use two analogies for that. So people can have a clearer understanding. The first analogy is, you could do your taxes, or you hire a professional to do your taxes. So you're not bogged down with learning tax code and getting overwhelmed with, 'Oh, my gosh, what are real deductions? What are not real deductions? And should I be an S-Corp, a C-Corp an LLC?' That makes my head want to explode? So I hire a CPA to do that, for me, just preparing my receipt for the CPA overwhelms me, right? I don't like to do that work. It's same for college, right? If you want to do it all yourself, you're now walking in the shoes of a professional. And so you need to get clear on how much time you have for this. Because if you don't have time, then it's best to be realistic. The other thing I equate it to is this one, if you're a business owner, and you're hiring for a job, and two people come for the interview, one of them has a zero anything on their resume. And the other one has three pages of incredible depth to their resume, which one are you going to pay more?
Obviously the one that seems like they know what they're doing?
That's exactly it. So how much is too much? Or what should I be preparing? How much money do you want? What college do you want to go to? It's the same concept as preparing for life. You have depth of experience, you have amazing essays. If you don't have experience, your essays are going to not be very powerful. So helping families understand that this is not just planning for college, it's planning for their future. So all of the students in our program do what's called 'a passion with a purpose project.' Not only because do I believe that every student benefits from serving their community, and if they did, our world would be a better place. That's just my philosophy. The reality is why students do it is because they learn, do I like to lead or follow? Do I want to be at a desk? Or do I want to be out doing something every day? Do I like the elderly? Do I like babies? When these teenagers are serving other people,they're figuring out their career and their major without an adult? Same? So what do you want to be when you grow up? And they're like, I don't know. But when they're doing things versus just feeling stuck, it opens up their world to receiving what are they really good at. So we do things very differently than any other college consulting firm. And that is, we focus on the student and making them the best version they can be while having a enjoyable experience. I always say you can drip the information or you can firehose it and high schoolers prefer the dripped information. They don't want to be data dumped. So we do this process, when you ask that 'how', this is part of how we do it. And this is what helps the students stand out individually. The reality is, right, the student needs to stand out because somebody is going to have a higher GPA, somebody's going to have a higher test score, somebody is going to have more community service hours, somebody is going to have more leadership, somebody's going to have a better letter of recommendation, somebody's gonna have a better essay, don't worry about all that. Just be the best version of you. And the hard part is students don't know how to do that. There's no class they've taken. There's no seminar. And so we work with our students one to one and help them figure that out. What are their core values, what is important to them, they have been brought up in a world that they're pretty lucky. And for the most part, most students have a lot to be grateful for. And they don't think what it takes to provide that. They just grew up in it, it's their norm. But when I talked to them about a return on investment, they're very confused when I asked them how long do they want to work for free. And I said, they're like, 'I don't want to work for free.' And I'm like, 'Now you understand college loans.' 'Well, that's okay. My parents can take the loan.' Okay, 'So how long do you want your parents to work for free?' 'Well, I don't know.' So there's no connection for that teenager, or 95% of them that I've ever talked to. There's not that connection of paying this back. It's like, 'Yes, that sounds great. I would like to do that.' The other thing I'm finding out recently, as parents don't understand that they have to co-sign, that that student cannot get that loan on their own because they don't have collateral.
So now the parents are going, "Well, wait. I'm not going to co-sign.' And that's where all of this starts to blow up, if they don't plan and strategize it ahead of time, because now they're in a position of adversity versus being the Dream Team. And that's where a lot of this can be stopped if students just plan and strategize.
Right, absolutely. So if you're talking about passion projects, and doing these types of things, when does a typical family need to get started on all this, too? Again, that'd be the fire hose situation where, 'Oh, geez, I have a passion project. And I've got three weeks to get it done, because my applications are going out soon.' That doesn't sound like the right strategy. So how does it work from a timing standpoint?
So this is the challenge. Some students just don't start thinking about college, until later on in high school. If you want to know when's the perfect time, when your student is mature enough to understand community service. There's a question on the Common App that says, 'Tell me about a time you did something for somebody else that did not benefit yourself.' Okay, if we know that's a question that's been there for the last seven years, would it not be wise to start planning that as soon as possible? So people often ask when is the best time, the best time is when they promote from eighth grade? Because that's when colleges allow them to start counting community service hours. So why would you wait until you're a senior, and they can see that you did it all your senior year, it's like ding, ding, ding, I did this for my college application. That's not what they want to see. They want to see that you've started it, and it built and built and built, and then you handed it off. And so our students, they find this whenever. 70% of our students come from referrals. So we're only successful because of our referrals. And what does that mean, we're successful. And that's why people want to refer us. So we tend to get the second child after the parents try the first child and go, 'That didn't work out so well. I am now in massive debt. And I can't do this again, because we seriously can't afford it.' And so I'll get the second student. And luckily, they have either heard of me or I got their student later, and they wish they would have started sooner. But it's never too late. It really is never too late. If they start early, it's gentle, it's drip, drip, drip, no mistakes. Everything is simple and strategized. I have students who start their freshman year, their sophomore year, their junior year, I have students every single year who come to me begging for help the last two weeks before applications are due because they thought they had it. And the reality is they're buried. So it's whenever the family hears this, they're like, 'I had no idea that this was even available.' And that's how it was for me. 13 years ago, I wasn't apparent. I've had four kids. First one medical school, second one nursing school. Both of them did it debt-free. But I had to be very proactive and strategic about it. So now, I tell people if you start early, great, if you start late, we just have to move faster and hope that they can handle it and they're mature, and they can run with it and fix all of the gaps. Because that's usually where the problem is. And if people want money from colleges, you can't just do it at the last minute. It's like preparing for an interview and not having a suit to wear. It just doesn't work out in your favor. that you aren't going to be ready for that opportunity. So it comes down to, obviously, the sooner the better. But the reality is, it's never too late
Right, now, and I'm sure you've heard this in the past, but I hear a lot of parents say things like, 'Well, we can't do anything because little Johnny or little Susie doesn't know what they want to be when they grow up, or they can't pick a college. So we're just waiting until they figure that out. And then we'll get started.'
I hear that all the time. I would say 75% of little Johnnys and little Susies don't have a clue. And why would they? I mean, how would they, if the parents not doing the job, their dream job, they don't know what other jobs are out there, right? If they haven't seen somebody doing what they're doing. So what do we do, we put them in front of that. We help them to find internships and research projects and do community service. Because when they're serving their community, the focus is not on them and their failures or potential not being good at something. Teenagers don't like to fail. That is something that is across the board, they don't want to put themselves out there and fail. But if I could help them understand that, without them, these people's lives are going to be way worse, so whatever they can do is a huge blessing, they go into it with, 'Well, I got nothing to lose,' now they're ready to play the game. And everybody wins, the community wins, the student wins. And yes, ultimately, it's a win-win. I have students in my program that the light bulb goes on, at some point, it's when they have the opportunity to do it. I have students who didn't know what they wanted to do, we started a passion project. And what they found out is, 'I love blogging, I want to be a journalist, because I can help these people with my words, or I want to be a certified nursing assistant, I love to help patients bedside.' There's a zillion things they can be doing. But students aren't going to be like, 'Yeah, I want to challenge myself in an area I have no clue of what I want to do. And I want my parents to navigate it.' That's disaster. I don't know about parents out there. But my poor, I had to hire them a consultant to just tell them what I wanted them to hear. Because they heard, 'Clean your room, do your homework,' and so on and so forth. So a lot of it is how you present the message, a lot of it's how they receive it. But they do want this, I I've only had two students in 13 years, who told me, 'My parents are making me do this, and I don't want this, this is not what I want to be doing.' And okay, so now what is that, and then we just go a different direction. And it's great. We still need a strategy and a plan. It may not be college, but it may be trade school. So students, a lot of times are scared to tell their parents, 'I want to be an artist,' because they know that parent doesn't want to pay $70,000 a year for them to go to art school. But when I say that sounds fantastic. But if you owned an art gallery, and they're like, 'Yeah, let's do that. How do I do that? Oh, a business degree would be the first step.' The student's like, 'That's great idea. How do we get started?' So it's just helping navigate them and not telling them 'No' without judgment, because ultimately, I just want what the family wants. I want the child to be successful. And so I can help them navigate that way. You know, a lot of times I say it's like a vocal coach, or it's like a sports coach, when the student wants to learn to be better. It's all good stuff, when the student doesn't understand why, they do not want to play the game.
Right, absolutely. So I think that's the, when you mentioned coaching, I think that's the realization that parents may need to make is that, and I've probably said this on a prior podcast, but if your student came to you one day and said, 'You know, I'd really love to play the piano.' Most parents would think about that and say, 'Okay, well now I guess I've got to go learn to play the piano so that I can teach my kid or maybe I can find a piano instructor right? Or maybe we can find some online courses that will teach them piano.' But there's many ways to do it. When I think when it comes to coaching kids around what they want to be when they grow up, and how to do the college process and how to choose majors and careers. I mean, most parents didn't have that opportunity to get that type of coaching. And therefore, and quite honestly, it didn't exist 25 years ago either. But there was a time when a piano instructor didn't exist, and a batting coach didn't exist, and a vocal coach didn't exist. But now they're all available. And I think it's that shift where parents aren't aware of all the different types of help, that can be out there. And again, with the goal of 'Let's do this better', the piano instructor, not only do they know how to play the piano, but if they're a good instructor, more importantly, they know how to teach piano, which could be a completely different skill. And that's where I see people like you, I work a lot with parents, and the idea of working with students just scares me a little because I don't think I could add value, I don't think I could connect with a student very well, I connect really well with parents. But I have had those meetings with the 17-year-old who's kind of deer in the headlights kind of like, 'Mom made me come,' and it's not a very good feeling. So I'm glad you guys are out there that can get help with all this. And of course, the stakes are higher now with college being more expensive, and, and everything else as well. So if people want to learn more about what you do, and how you can help them, how can they reach you or find you?
So the easiest place to find me or College Ready is on our website. And that's www.collegereadyplan, so it's P-L-A-N dot com. And I intentionally put that in there. Because that's really what we're doing is we're planning and strategizing. I'm all over social media, and my website has all of the links to me. If your listeners would like a free copy of my best selling book, How to Send Your student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money, I am happy to give that to them by going to book B-O-O-K dot collegereadyplan dot com. And that way, they can have at least the rules to the game. Right? They may not understand how to play the new game, but I share these are the rules. These are the things you must understand to navigate this process, then they can decide, do they want to be the college coach? Do they want to be the financial coach? Do they want to be the social coach, like do they want to wear those hats, but the book is free to them so they can, or they can go to Amazon and buy it, whatever they choose. But it's my gift to your listeners because I want, my mission is for a million people to understand how to go to college, get into their dream college and graduate debt-free. It is not easy, but it is possible. And that is what I am on a mission to prove. You know, last year in 2021, our students earned over $10.7 million in scholarships. That was 61 students, not the stock market can give you that return on your investment.
So helping families understand that, yes, this is an investment but it's bigger than hockey lessons or club soccer. This is a lifetime of strategy and launching them. So I would love the opportunity to offer your listeners that book to get them at least the rules of the game.
Right. And we'll put all the links you just mentioned in the show notes. So if you're driving or whatever, you can always go to our website and and grab the links as well. All right, Shellee, well, I really appreciate all the great information. It was a good chat with you and we'll stay in touch.
Thank you so much for having me.
All right. That's our great interview with Shellee. Hopefully you've learned a ton. As always, we appreciate any sort of reviews that you can give us in iTunes or wherever it is you're getting your podcast. That's all we have for this week, we'll talk to you next week.
Thank you for listening to Taming the High Cost of College Podcast. Now, it's time for you to take action. Head to tamingthehighcostofcollege.com for show notes, bonus content, and to leave feedback for Brad. The next step on your college journey starts now. Brad Baldridge is a registered representative of Cambridge Investment Research and an investment advisor representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Securities are offered through Cambridge Investment Research Incorporated, a broker dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Brad owns two companies: Baldridge Wealth Management and Baldridge College Solutions. The Baldridge companies are not affiliated with Cambridge Investment Research.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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