How does enrolling in PrepWell Academy differ from hiring a private college counselor?
I strongly support the work of private college counselors and work with them regularly. I am a college admissions counselor myself and enjoy working one-on-one with students. Private counselors are great for offering local expertise about high school-specific issues and local college knowledge. However, this option comes with some limitations: (1) cost: some students can't afford one-on-one sessions with private counselors, (2) timing: advice is often dispensed in large doses that don't always allow students and parents to digest and implement the advice in a timely fashion. PrepWell Academy addresses these issues and more:
- Pacing: delivery of relevant information only as needed (no need to cram months of information into a few meetings).
- Accessibility: review weekly lessons anytime, anywhere, on any device (no need to squeeze in another activity to your already busy schedule).
- World-class advice: Phil Black shares valuable personal development strategies that will last a lifetime no matter what path your child chooses.
- Cost: affordable monthly subscription options (private counseling can cost thousands of dollars for a handful of in-person meetings).
- Continuity: our program begins freshman year and continues through senior year, providing a thoughtful and coordinated approach that leaves nothing to chance.
- Chunking: smaller bits of information delivered at regular intervals allow students and parents to understand and digest information more easily.
- Perspective: Phil Black shares insights gained by real-world experience as a Division I College Athlete, Yale University and Harvard Business School graduate, Wall Street Investment Banker, Navy SEAL, Firefighter, Entrepreneur, Shark Tank contestant, husband, and father of four children.
- Shared platform: parents and child have access to the same material in order to share ideas, questions, and progress.
- Options: bonus lessons available for students considering athletic scholarships, service academies (e.g. Naval Academy, West Point, etc.), or ROTC.
Is PrepWell Academy only for kids who want to go to elite colleges? No. Certainly, the goal of the program is to provide students with the knowledge, advice, and resources to allow them to succeed at the very highest levels. However, we encourage students to "do their best" versus "be the best". I share the secrets of success that few people expose teenagers to. Yes, this program will attract the best and brightest who want to learn what it takes to succeed at high levels, but the curriculum is not geared to be a factory for only uber elite students. The program delivers timely advice, suggestions, recommendations, and insights no matter what your child's next step is - elite university, state university, service academy, gap year, or even the trade schools. Along with providing important deadlines, sign-ups, and milestones tied to the college admissions process, our Lessons go beyond these checklist items. We provide strategies for studying, networking, self-reflection, life skills, business etiquette, interpersonal relations, dealing with self-doubt and much more.
Do I need PrepWell Academy if my child goes to an elite private high school that prides itself on readying its students for college? It depends on your child. There are many private high schools that do a terrific job preparing students for the college admissions process. What these schools can't provide, however, is the unique set of experiences and insights that I share during the program. PrepWell Academy provides more than a checklist of things to-do to enhance your child's resume. PrepWell provides vision and perspective from someone who has experienced success at high levels of athletics, education, military service, civil service, entrepreneurship, and private sector business. If your child has a remote interest in college sports, military, entrepreneurship, firefighting, banking, investments, consulting, or other demanding careers, these are not necessarily areas of expertise for most private high school guidance counselors.
Doesn't my child's high school guidance counselor cover all of these topics? Theoretically, guidance counselors are responsible for providing answers and/or resources related to the college preparation process. However, the ratio of students-to-guidance counselors (often 500:1) can leave guidance counselors with little time to do more than the bare minimum to ensure that all students have the essentials taken care of. Even at well-resourced high schools, there is simply not enough time in the day for even the best guidance counselors to provide the type of timely, relevant, and actionable information required across today's diverse student populations.
When is the best time for my child to enroll? The sooner the better. The earliest a student can enroll in PrepWell Academy is after 8th grade graduation. This is an ideal time to start, as it delivers the flow of information and awareness at a smooth and even pace. It's never too late to get started, however - even if you are just beginning junior or senior year.
What if my child is still in middle school? Sign up here and we will make sure to get back in touch with you when the time is right.
Is this program for my child or me? Well, it depends. The lessons are for your child, but many parents follow-along so they know what's going on. By staying in the loop, you will be able to stay engaged in the process and can determine if your son or daughter is staying on track or drifting. How involved (or not) you get in this process is based on the needs of your child and your parenting philosophy. Either way, if your child is enrolled, you know for sure that they are receiving the guidance and mentorship that they need to make smart decisions.
What are the lessons like? The lessons typically fall into five categories: (1) advice, (2) deadline reminders, (3) life skills, (4) inspiration, and (5) projects. Most lessons take fewer than 10 minutes to complete. Some "projects" will take longer. Here are some snippets from a few popular lessons: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
How much does it cost? The monthly subscription cost varies based on which Plan you select ($14.95 - $24.95). The Basic Plan provides a foundation for success for every grade 9-12. The Athlete and Military/ROTC Plans include the Basic Plan, but also provide additional, specialized information for those looking to secure athletic or military scholarships.
Will this program cover all of my college preparation needs? Yes, PrepWell Academy covers everything you need to know to prepare well for college. However, there are areas where students search for additional and complementary support: college essay review services, standardized test prep classes, and financial aid counseling. We provide a list of suggested partners that deliver great value for these additional services.
What is the return policy? You may cancel your subscription at any time with no questions asked. (Note: access to your personal "Locker" that includes all of your lessons, activities, and videos will be closed at the time of cancellation)
Can I check on my child's progress during the program? As a parent, you will receive your own username and password to access the site under your own credentials. To check on your child's progress, you would need to sign-in with their username and password. Once in their "Locker" you will be able to see how many Lessons they have completed.
Will I get access to the lessons? Yes. As a parent, you will receive your own username and password to access to all of the lessons in "Your Locker." This access is empowering because it lets you know where you are in the process and provides a great excuse to open a dialogue with your son or daughter about how the process is going.
What if my child is already halfway through the school year? Is it too late? No. If your child is already well into the school year, simply enroll in the current year's Plan and you will automatically get access to all of the previous lessons for that school year. We encourage parents and students to quickly review the past Lessons to ensure that they have not missed any time-sensitive projects or deadlines.
How do you gauge student success? Importantly, I do not measure success by how many PrepWellers get into "highly selective" schools. My job is not to maximize the number of students who get into brand name schools. My job is to steer students to make smart decisions about their future (e.g. high school, gap year, college, job, career, calling). I do not post a list of where PrepWell Academy students have been accepted even though many have been (and will be) accepted to highly selective schools. This is not the point. The selectivity of a school is not the most important measure of student success for me. I measure student success by how a student is doing 6.5 years after graduating from high school. For those who attend four-year colleges, that gives them 2.5 years to put their education into practice. For those who choose a shorter stint in college, they get a few more years to find their path. I measure success by whether a 25-year old is (1) gainfully employed, (2) enjoying their work, (3) sees a bright future, and (4) is not unduly burdened by finances. These conditions can be met under infinite scenarios from a student who skips college to become a plumber's apprentice to someone who wins a Rhodes Scholarship upon graduation from Princeton.