Adding Pizzazz to College Planning- The GuidedPath Way!

See what all the excitement is about! GuidedPath has added Pizzazz to college planning with new dashboards and user tools. Cyndy McDonald, an expert in college admissions, and the President of GuidedPath, introduces the new GuidedPath features, with tips for guiding your parents and students through the college and career planning process.

Q&A from the Webinar:

College Pizzazz - FAQ's
1. What's the difference between reach and wildcard?
A wildcard school is one with a less than 20% acceptance rate. Even the most qualified student is not guaranteed admissions, because so many highly qualified students apply. Making a college a "wildcard" manages admissions expectations. A Reach is a school that a student is in the Red section of the My Chances chart. Admissions is possible, especially if the student's application shows additional qualities the student will bring to the campus: special talents, athletics, needed major, potential donor to the school, first generation, race or other diversity characteristics.
2. Can you send an attached document to a group? Can you email parents in group form too?
Yes, you can send an attached document to a group of students and/or connections (parents).
3.When the college search tool looks for multiple career interests/fields of study, does it identify ONLY those colleges that offer just those colleges that offer BOTH Career interests or does it create a list of colleges that offer EITHER career search?
Selecting more than one field of study will generate a list of colleges that offer EITHER career search.
4. Any chance in the future FAFSA and CSS Profile Deadlines could also be listed on the College Deadline List?
The table of deadlines is already at full capacity, but we can take a look at what this would look like. the application dashboard, how can I change a deadline date for a particular college? For example, some students (e.g. music) have a different deadline for their program. Also how do I add in additional deadlines, like auditions?
The application dashboard is a summary of information for a specific student. To change any of the data that appears on the dashboard, visit the Application >> My Application Plans page. There, milestones (such as auditons) can be added, and deadline dates can be modified for a student.
6. Can I rename the college groupings - Likely, target, etc.?
The college groupings cannot be renamed at this time. We have received this request previously and have added it to our feature enhancement list for discussion.
7. What is the advantage of looking for schools that don’t superscore?
I don't know that there is an advantage or disadvantage. It is important to know which schools do super score and which ones do not. For example, the University of California system does not super score. You best sitting is what will be reported to the UC's.
8. How do I search for certain sports teams?
GuidedPath does not have sports teams included in the search yet. We are looking at what it would take to add sports to our search. Search for sports teams through NCAA or NAIA.
9. How does this curent tool compare with Naviance?
There are a lot of differences between GuidedPath and Naviance. Naviance is a large corporation, with a focus on post-secondary institutions first, then secondary. GuidedPath is built for counselors, owned by counselors, and run by counselors for secondrary institutions primarily. Our focus makes us fundamentally different.
10. Is the email system of GuidedPath encrypted?
Data Safety is a priority for GuidedPath. Read how we keep your data safe:
11. Do we still get same pricing?
Pricing is based on how many active students you have in your account. Your plan can move up or down, depending on active students. See our consultant plans page:
12. Where do you enter the test info?
Tests need to be added to a students schedule before scores can be entered. Add a test in the Tests >> Schedule Tests by (date, or type) section. Add scores in the Tests >> My Scores section. This informatin will then be able to be used in GuidedSearches, and be seen on the student's Test Dashboard.
13. I notice some college search engines do not really have updated programs of study. For example, using CollegeBoard or CollegeConfidential, if I look for Sports Management, some colleges that actually DO have this major does not show up. How does GuidedPath compare? How updated is it? Right now I have to go to the individual college website to find it.
The college information for GuidedPath is updated annually each summer by a survey that the colleges complete and provide to WinterGreen Orchard House - our data provider. Many sites on the web use older IPEDS data - data provided by the government - that tends to be a few years older.
14. Sometimes I want to send an article or PDF to my parents. Right now I have to send that through email individually in yahoo because I don’t want them to see the other folks’ emails. Is there a way to do this?
When you send a group email through GuidedPath, the recipients do not see each other's names or emails. To attach an article or PDF to any message, first save it in Dropbox (free account available), then select that file as an attachment when creating the message.
15. How does the program place those choices in those 5 areas
When referring to the 5 steps of the GuidedPath process, GuidedPath provides dashboards and tools to interact with students in each of the steps. As a counselor interacts, the system will provide support and automation for tasks that you would have done manually before: reminders for assignments and appointments: reminders for test registrations, updates on task completions, and many other interactive processes within each step, making the job of the counselor easier.
16. Is the list drawn from one source or an aggregate of multiple sources?
GuidedPath includes many ready made, tagged lists. These tagged lists are offered by expert consultants or pulled from multiple resources.
17. Do you as the consultant enter the application plans for the student' colleges or do you expect the student to update that information?
The application plan can be updated by either the advisor/consultant or by the student themselves. Many consultants update the application plan together during a meeting - it is a good time to discuss expectations, methods for applying ,deadlines, etc.
18. How does the student progress on applications populate the software?
An advisor or student can update the "progress" for a specific application milestone to either "not started", "in progress", or "completed". A summary of a student's progress can be seen on the Application Dashboard. In addition, detailed progress can be viewed on the Application >> My Progress (by deadline, by college, by milestone) pages.
19. How many colleges are you recommending for your students to apply to in 2016-2017? It can get out of hand and lots of work for students with additional essays. I understand the different groups. Thoughts?
The FAFSA has space for only 10 colleges. I find that is a good number of colleges for my student to shoot for. Unless the student has extenuating circumstances, I tell them the limit is 15 schools to apply to. I have a meeting with parents (the "reality check" meeting) to cross schools off the list if it is more. But with athletics, performing arts or other special circumstances, the list can be longer. One of my athletes is applying to 22 schools this year.
20. Please explain the private FAFSA?
It is the Profile, by the College Board. Many colleges want to spread their institutional aid to as many students as possible. They use the profile to determine financial need from a different perspective than the FAFSA does. In particular, the Profile will often count in home equity, business and farm assets. The FAFSA excludes these assets. There are other differences between the two. Here is a help article with more information:
21. Can int’l families apply for Fed Financial aid?? I thought only Americans can.
International families cannot apply for federal financial aid. They can apply for Institutional Financial Aid, using the College Board Profile.
22. As Guided Path is linked to Google, can our int’l families change the language from English to their native language? I know that another program allows me to write in Chinese but when I send emails it comes out as gibberish emojis: &^%*( . It would be wonderful for foreign parents if they had that option. 🙂
Although Google Chrome can translate the pages for your families, there is not a way to automatically display all pages in a language other than English. In Guidedpath, you should be able to type messages in another language (using your US-international keyboard drivers for all the different symbols).
23. Are the test dates automatically entered, and are they national or local?
Links to the registration pages for ACT allow students to go to the International section to register for ACT. Student can mark in GuidedPath the location of their tests too!
24. What is a superscore?
A super score is the combination of the best scores from each section, from multiple testing times. This will often raise the total score of the student (or composite for the ACT).
25. How does a student/counselor know if the test scores are in the 25th pct/average, etc?
Using the My Chances in the Colleges section of GuidedPath, counselors/students can see where a student scores compared to other, enrolled students. If the score is in the red part of the graph, the student is in the bottom 25% of the students.
26. What do the stars mean?
The "definitions" for the stars on the Net Price Estimates page and the Cost Comparisons page can be viewed by hovering over the title at the beginning of the row.
27. Is it true that the higher the test scores the more schools that would be a match?
In general, yes. If both test scores and grades are high, that increases their chances even more. The most important factor is the rigor of the curriculum.
28. What if the Fiske Guide doesn’t contain the schools you are interested in (for example, there seem to be few performing arts schools in the Fiske)
Use the tagged lists in GuidedPath to find schools for specialized programs such as performing arts, or specific majors, such as accelerated BS/MD, and other factors to be considered for students/counselors.
29. Is there a way to search by disability service options?
We have a four tagged lists that are available for learning disability support. They are available in the GuidedSearch section, under the Social category. If you have already completed research on schools that provide good disability service options, you can create your own custom tagged list to be used in searches.
30. Could you please show the ‘my chances’ piece again and how that shows up?
View the My Chances for a single student for all their colleges by using the Colleges >> My Chances menu. To see the My Chances for a single college, open the College Information Page for that school.
31. Does the need met include loans and work study as well as scholarships and grants?
Yes- need always include student loans (Stafford and Perkins) and workstudy. It should not include Parent Loans.
32. Does the merit scholarship for academic only or does it also include music and arts scholarship information?
Merit scholarships can be for anything. Many schools offer more merit awards for music than sports.
33. So in this case where she has some green, yellow and red, how would you determine which type (reach, target, etc) you would place her in?
Red = Reach, Yellow = Target (especially in the upper part of the yellow chart), Green = Likely. This needs professional consideration at times. I have students who place in the yellow or green on UCLA or UC Berkely- but I always put them as "reach" to manage expectations.
34. Are chances only based on test scores (not rigor of coursework, gpa, etc)?
The scores on the My Chances are based on test scores. You can adjust the admissions expectations based on as many factors as you would like to use.
35. Does the other column include audition deadlines?
You can add your own audition deadlines as the student deadlines; or add a special milestone and add the audition milestones with dates.
36. Can you create messages based on reports?
Many of our reports can be saved as a pdf or excel file. These files can then be saved in Dropbox and attached to messages for your families.
37. How can I use the EFC with international families? Does it only work for US students?
The EFC will give International families an understanding of how colleges assess financial strength. They can use it for the Profile at the schools that allow the International Profile.
38. What is the difference between the SAT and the Intl SAT? can I just schedule it as an SAT?
The International SAT and SAT are the same tests. The difference is in the registration deadlines. The deadlines for SAT International are typically farther out than the regular SAT. You can use whichever test you prefer.
39. Does the My Matches take into account the major the student entered on their profile? Or just the criteria? Like, if I do SAT match how does it find it in terms of region etc? Or does it only look at the my colleges/interested colleges
Our GuidedSearch is quite robust. It will allow you to search our entire college database, or limit it to the schools on a students "My Colleges" or "Interested Colleges" list. The My Matches feature will allow a search based on field of study, which is broader than a specific major. You can add on as much criteria as you want to narrow down a list. For example, you can use My Matches to match on SAT scores, but then also limit that search to just schools in Colorado. We currently don't have a "region" filter, but that is on our list of future enhancements.
40. Is the need base potential for US students or does it look at int aid too? Need base Int financial aid?
Both International and domestic students can have need calculated. The difference is in how need is met. Domestic students can have need met through federal programs. International students have need met through college and private scholarship funds.
41. Do you have plans to provide an area where we can post documents / flyers we want to make available to our families?
Right now, the best place to "post" or share documents is in the resources section on a student's dashboard. The document can be stored in dropbox or google drive and you can link to it on the Resources section. Read about linking to Dropbox documents from Resources.

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