College Coach

College Coach

College Coach is the latest addition to the University’s suite of Tuition Programs and is available at no cost to active Faculty and Staff. Administered by Bright Horizons, a leading provider of educational counseling services, College Coach gives you access to a team of college admissions experts who can help you maximize your child’s success. Suggested for parents of 9th-12th graders. 

    About College Coach

    College Coach experts include former senior admissions and financial aid officers from some of the nation’s most well-known higher education institutions. Expert guidance is available through live events, online support and personalized assistance.

    The program is designed to help you and your family members:

    • Navigate the complex college admissions process
    • Select high school courses and extracurricular activities
    • Narrow options and select a college or university for your child
    • Resources and strategies to pay for college expenses

    College Coach Registration

    New to the benefit? Visit: https://passport.getintocollege.com

    Employer Username: columbia  |  Password:  Benefits4You

    Get Expert Guidance:

    • Schedule a free one-on-one session with an expert to discuss your family’s unique situation.
    • Questions? Call (888) 527-3550 or email [email protected].

    College Admissions: The Insider’s View

    Thursday, September 30, 2021  |  3:00 p.m. ET 

    Admissions shouldn’t be a guessing game. What if you could tell exactly what College Admissions decision-makers are looking for? Get the facts from former admissions officers about maximizing your child’s potential for college admissions success, discover the “dos” and “don’ts” of the application process, and learn more about changes resulting from challenges created by COVID-19.

    You’ll also learn how to:

    • Planning a high school academic program with college in mind
    • Understanding how to remain involved even when high schools are closed
    • Putting together a strong college list
    • Create a standout application package

    This topic is suggested for parents/guardians of 9th – 12th graders.

    Register

    Live Q&A: College Admissions In a Changed Landscape

    Monday, October 4, 2021  |  3:00 p.m. ET 

    Since the pandemic, many aspects of daily life have become more complex, and stressful, including the college admissions process. From helping your student determine their best-fit colleges to negotiating financial aid offers, you likely have many questions. During this event, you can ask the experts, your most pressing questions, including:

    • How do we explain gaps in extracurricular activities caused by COVID?
    • Where can I find colleges that will offer my student a scholarship?
    • What are some tips for demonstrating interest in a school if we're unable to visit?
    • Does my student need to take the SAT or ACT now that so many colleges are test-optional?

    This topic is suggested for: Parents/guardians of students in 8th – 12th grades. 

    Register

    Paying for College

    Wednesday, October 6, 2021  |  8:00 p.m. ET 

    When it comes to paying for college, how can you be smart about your finances, especially given the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19? Our experts will help you learn how to best use all of your financial resources, when to ask for financial aid, and what to do before writing that first tuition check.
    You’ll learn how to:

    • Negotiate for more aid
    • Explore avenues for scholarships
    • Understand loans before signing 

    This topic is suggested for: Parents/guardians of students in 9th – 12th grades. 

    Register


    Navigating the FAFSA and Other Financial Aid Applications 

    Wednesday, October 20, 2021  |  12:30 p.m. ET 

    File the FAFSA or CSS profile with ease. The filing process doesn’t have to be stressful…but you do need to start thinking about it. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS Profile will be available in October. Learn the ins and outs of both applications from financial aid experts and get tips on how to:

    • Understand the key application components
    • Review and make sense of the recent changes
    • Complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile application forms efficiently  

    This topic is suggested for: Parents/guardians 12th graders through college students.

    Register


    Paying for College

    Tuesday, November 16, 2021  |  3:00 p.m. ET

    When it comes to paying for college, how can you be smart about your finances, especially given the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19? Our experts will help you learn how to best use all of your financial resources, when to ask for financial aid, and what to do before writing that first tuition check.
    You’ll learn how to:

    • Negotiate for more aid
    • Explore avenues for scholarships
    • Understand loans before signing 

    This topic is suggested for: Parents/guardians of students in 9th – 12th grades. 

    Register

     

    Programs and Resources

    The College Coach online learning environment provides videos, resources and frequently asked questions for you to access on demand. It’s a great starting point for introducing the benefit to your whole family. 

    Consult with College Coach admissions and college finance experts in private phone sessions tailored to your needs. You can discuss your family and student’s application questions, create plans for high school and more.

    A family typically uses 2-3 scheduled counseling appointments per student each year. As this is a shared resource across all employees, it is helpful to consolidate your inquiries into fewer scheduled appointments.

    Register for Phone Counseling

    Note: you must register for College Coach before registering for phone counseling.

    Simplify the college search process with a custom list of colleges and universities based on your student’s preferences, interests and academic record. The list is created by a College Coach admissions expert based on a detailed student questionnaire and features a brief informational profile and estimated chance of admission for each school.

    Help your student craft their best application essays with exclusive written feedback from College Coach experts on college application writing supplements and activity resumes.

    College Coach will provide written answers to your specific questions through the Quick Questions tool. 

    Send Quick Questions

    *You must register for College Coach before you can send questions.

    College Coach FAQs

    There is no universal better choice between high schools. Colleges evaluate applicants in the context of their school environment. In any high school, it is important for students to make full use of all resources provided, in and beyond the classroom. If advanced, accelerated, or honors courses are available, students are encouraged to challenge themselves if it feels realistic and manageable. If such courses are not available, students will not be penalized in the admissions process.

    (Q&A provided by College Coach)

    Should my student be taking the most challenging courses, even if it might hurt the overall GPA?

    Your child should challenge but not overwhelm him/herself when choosing courses. Most students experience the greatest level of success and satisfaction when they challenge themselves in the coursework they enjoy most. Admission officers are not impressed with good grades in a curriculum that lacks challenging courses.

    (Q&A provided by College Coach)

    How many activities should my student get involved in?

    The number of activities is not as important as the commitment to the activity. Five hours spent with one club bears more fruit than one hour spent with five different clubs.

    (Q&A provided by College Coach)

    How many colleges should my child apply to?

    There is no perfect or absolute number that applies to every student.  College Coach recommends that students apply to around seven schools representing varying levels of selectivity.  An ideal list would consist of two “challenging schools,” institutions where the average accepted applicant's profile is stronger than your student’s profile; three “just right” schools, where the average admitted student’s academic performance is equivalent to your student’s record; and  two “no problem” schools, where your child’s academic performance clearly surpasses the typical admitted applicant.

    (Q&A provided by College Coach)

    If I apply for financial aid, will it adversely affect my chances for admission?

    At some schools, a financial aid application can reduce the student’s chances for admission, while at others, it won’t. Many schools are “need-blind” and do not review the financial aid application, if there is one, during the admissions decision process. Others are “need-conscious” and in one way or another favor the admission of non-aid applicants, or students from high-income families.

    In general, the presence of a financial aid application is much smaller factor in admissions than the data from the admissions application. Many need-conscious colleges admit almost all of their classes on a need-blind basis, and reserve a small fraction of admissions, perhaps 10%, for students who do not need financial aid. Others allow finances to play a minor role in the evaluation of all candidates.

    (Q&A provided by College Coach)