Now that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is starting high school this September we have started thinking more concretely about college for her. She wants to go to art school, with Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) being a top choice.
I did a little research to look into a private college counselor for her. My conclusion years ago on Private or Public School: Which Is Better? was that public school was right for us, but the addition of a private college counselor would ensure personalized attention when it came time to applying for college. But when I started talking to private college counselors, I quickly realized that:
- Private college counselors might place kids at art schools but no one specializes in it.
- $250/hour is roughly the going rate for a private college counselor. They also charge a flat fee ranging from $5000 to $7500 to work with your child over a number of years.
- My daughter would need help with: finding the right classes to develop her art skills, developing her portfolio, and choosing a range of art schools to go to.
- The most important element of her application is going to be her portfolio.
A private college counselor’s role is also that of therapist; keeping everyone calm during this stressful process. My daughter might not want advice from me (though I have spent a lot of time researching on her behalf) but the same counsel from her personal college advisor would be palatable and perhaps even taken seriously!
My plan evolved into one of recruitment. If no private college counselors exist for art schools, then create one. My first thought was blogger Jeanette Nyberg of Artchoo! and Tiny Rotten Peanuts. She attended RISD and hangs with an arty crowd. She’s funny and great with kids. My daughter would LOVE her. And most of all, I would be able to talk to HER during this process and get my thoughts filtered down to my daughter.
Step 1: Secure Private College Counselor.
Step 2: Pay for College.
529 Investment plan …
When my oldest was born, I was fortunate to have a CPA working on my taxes who also had a child a little older than mine. She had done all the research and steered me to the 529 plan then which was just in a nascent state.
As the years passed, the 529 plan became more widely available with many more options and my husband and I use this as the primary vehicle to pay for college for our three kids. The way it works is that the money invested can grow tax-free.
It’s always a good idea to first research your state’s 529 plans since sometimes there are tax incentives for residents. The idea for the funds — you can also invest the money yourself — is for the plan to invest more aggressively for growth when your child is young and more conservatively for preservation as your child nears college. If your child ends up not needing the money (athletic scholarship?!), you can pass the funds to your next child without penalty.
This Friday on July 25th, I’ll be attending an event at the Children’s Museum in Easton which is a stop for the U.Fund Dreams Tour.
The Children’s Museum Easton
9 Sullivan Avenue
North Easton, MA 02356
It’s from 9 am to 4 pm, so drop by any time! If you are in the area, I hope to see you there!
p.s. This is the Pinterest board I built for my daughter: Art for Kids. I collect art ideas for her here.
I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA for this post in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.