Certified educational planner gives parents & students roadmap for getting into college

Sponsored by Collegiate Advisory Placement Service

Choosing which college to attend is likely the first of many adult decisions a high school student will have to make. With thousands of colleges and universities nationwide, a Certified Educational Planner can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty by assisting students, parents and guardians as they navigate complex admissions processes, entry requirements, testing and applications.

Nancy Cadwallader, a Baton Rouge-based Certified Educational Planner and owner of Collegiate Advisory Placement Service, urges students and parents to start the process early – don’t wait until fall of senior year! Using her expertise, knowledge and academic background, Cadwallader has one goal in mind: to impart high-quality advice and service to students. Read more about the services CAPS offers below.

Student needs assessment

Upon meeting a new client, Cadwallader conducts a needs assessment with input from both the student and parents. Questions involve how the student learns best, what sort of contact they expect from college professors, and whether they want to attend classes in larger auditorium settings or in smaller class sizes. Those answers help Cadwallader determine which type of college would be best for the student.

List of schools

With the results of the needs assessment and the student’s transcript, Cadwallader identifies approximately 20-25 schools that she feels would be a good starting point for the student’s college search. The list encompasses a variety of choices – some are reaches for the student, others are solid matches and the rest are considered safety choices. “You can’t just apply to name brand schools,” Cadwallader says. “Smaller and medium-sized colleges tend to look more at the total student. They wholistically review applications.”

Campus visits

During a campus tour, students meet others who are currently attending that college and get a feel for what it would be like to go there. It’s important to find a campus where the student feels comfortable. Because of time and financial constraints, Cadwallader typically makes appointments at five different campuses. Since the pandemic, most schools have added a virtual tour option so families can tour online before an in-person visit.

Provide testing schedule and updates

Standardized tests including the SAT and ACT have been a large part of the college admissions process, but since the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools have moved away from weighing standardized test scores heavily in the admissions process. Cadwallader says she keeps students on target with testing requirements at their top choices, as well as the testing schedule offered in our area.

One of the biggest changes to standardized testing is the transition of the SAT from paper format to digital. The ACT will still be given on paper. The SAT also has a new shorter format, which changes the level of question difficulty for subsequent questions based on a student’s performance. Cadwallader stays on top of the latest developments in standardized testing and college requirements so your student isn’t caught off guard.

Finally, once a student decides which colleges they want to apply, Cadwallader helps with essay topics and proofreading the applications. For more information about the services offered by CAPS, contact Cadwallader at 225.931.7518 or visit online at capsbr.com.