College Planning Specialists

July 16, 2008

Web 2.0 Learning Revolutionary Mike Wesch: “Media Literacy” What’s Wrong With Our Educational System Today

Kansas State Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology Mike Wesch, author and creator of the hit youtube video The Machine is Us/ing Us fame, has done the improbable–he has literally become the voice for millions of frustrated students across the nation.

The following video “A Portal To Media Literacy” is the MOST IMPORTANT video you will ever watch in regards to your educational experience, learning tendencies, and overall happiness with your institution of “higher learning.”

5 Questions To Ask Yourself

1. Do you have the time to research your own future even if it takes 1hour and 6 minutes?

2. Do you spend the time to understand why you dislike your institution’s methods of “information dump” aka teaching?

3. Does your ego driven faculty, more concerned with their own authoritarian agendas than your overall education, stunt your desire to learn in and out of the classroom?

4. Are you fed up and aware that the content of your learning may not have any basis in the REAL WORLD?

5. Do you feel that your college-university’s goal is to generate revenue, by adding unwanted and irrelevant curriculum forcing students into 4 year commitments, rather than to teach and prepare students for their futures?

Watch this video and NEVER feel the same about your learning expectations again!


November 15, 2007

San Francisco Bay Area: One of the Highest Quality Education Centers in the Universe


The quality and quantity of educational institutions in the Bay Area are two of the driving factors for many home buyers in today’s Real Estate market. With the recent college loan scandal hitting the front pages all over the country, a renewed emphasis is being placed upon real estate agents to act as valuable sources of information during the home buying process.

Agents in the Bay Area are becoming “experts” on school systems, high schools, colleges, & universities within the areas they are selling real estate. The following is a reminder of the Bay Area’s quality educational opportunities at the university & high school levels:

*Stanford University: Palo Alto, California–Stanford University has long been considered one of the elite educational institutions in the United States. Stanford’s proud tradition places it on the same level as the best Ivy League schools. The Stanford blog is a great resource for incoming students. Some of Stanford’s academic credentials (National Rankings) as provided by US News & World Report:

Law school rank #3 ; Business school rank #2

Engineering rank #2 ; Biological Science rank #1



*University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley, California–Another titan in the scholastic world, U.C. Berkeley has long been considered one of the preimenent breeding grounds for future legal and business professionals. With a long history of social and political activism the university is a unique institution. The following are national rankings provided by US News & World Report:

Law school rank #8 ; Business school rank #8 ; Engineering school rank #3

Sciences (Biological) rank #2 ; Psychology (Clinical) rank #2

*University of San Francisco: San Francisco, California–USF is one of the highest ranked medical institutions in the country. USF is a cutting edge leader in medical research. US News & World Report national rankings for USF:

Medical Research rank #5 ; Primary Care rank #8 ; Internal Medicine rank #3

Drug & Alcohol rank #3 ; AIDS Research rank #1 ; Women’s Health rank #2

The Bay Area is also home to Santa Clara University; Saint Mary’s; San Francisco State University; San Jose State; and a rich Junior College system numbering 22 campuses throughout the region.

The region supports a vast number of outstanding college preparatory high schools. The following is a small sampling:

*The Branson School: Ross, California–Branson is considered one of the finest prep schools in the nation; tuition weighs in at $28,575 making it one of the most expensive high schools as well.

*University High School: San Francisco, California–University High School established in 1973 has a well earned reputation as a supreme academic prep school. Tuition is in the Branson range, $27,300, and so is it’s reputation for excellence.

*Bentley School: Lafayette, California–Bentley is a progressive institution with split campuses. One campus is for grade school level and junior high students; the high school prep level students reside on another campus. Tuition for grade 9-12 is $22,995.

Although this is a tiny sampling, it is representative of the quality of education that is attainable at the prep school and the university levels in the Bay Area. Consult your local Realtor for more information about the schools available in your community of choice.

October 18, 2007

College Planning Specialists: What the Nation’s 6 Largest Student Loan Providers Do NOT Want You To Know

In my last article, I began the process of throughly outlining what is one of the most overlooked yet greatest methods of financing a college education: College Planning Specialists. In previous months I have reported on the banking scandal that rocked University of Texas and other large institutions. This scandal involved the use of kick backs and illegal perks or payments made to large university student loan counselors. The trade off being those university officials would “steer” students and families into a loan program, from the kickback inducing bank, that was detrimental to the family.


In June of this year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York outlined and implemented a Code of Conduct plan for the 6 largest student loan lenders. Cuomo’s plan includes the following 7 provisions:

1. Ban on Financial Ties. Lenders are prohibited from giving anything of value to any college in exchange for any advantage sought by the lender. This severs any inappropriate financial arrangements between lenders and schools and specifically prohibits “revenue sharing” arrangements.

2. Ban on Payments for Preferred Lender Status. Lenders may not pay or give colleges any financial benefits whatsoever to get on a college’s preferred lender list.

3. Gift and Trip Prohibition. Lenders are prohibited from giving college employees anything of more than nominal value. This includes a prohibition on trips for financial aid officers and other college officials paid for by lenders.

4. Advisory Board Rules. Lenders are prohibited from paying college employees anything of value for serving on the advisory boards of the lenders.

5. Call-Center and Staffing Prohibition. Lenders must ensure that employees of lenders never identify themselves to students as employees of colleges. No employee of a lender may ever work in or providing staffing assistance to a college financial aid office.

6. Disclosure of Range of Rates and Defaults. Lenders must disclose to any requesting school the range of rates they charge to students at the school, the number of borrowers at each rate at the school, and the lender’s historic default rate at the school. This will ensure that schools will have the information they need to select preferred lenders who are best for students and their families.

7. Loan Resale Disclosure. Lenders shall fully and prominently disclose to students and their parents any agreements they have to sell loans to any other lender.

Look at these provisions carefully. Would you want to collaborate or become a customer of an organization that is being reprimanded for provisions 2 and 3. Essentially these are rules against kickbacks. Does it not make sense to search for an alternative to the stratospheric, exorbitant costs of college tuition loans?

What would you rather have as your plan to finance a student’s education: a high interest rate and long term loan that creates financial unrest for your family for years or a financial plan that allows you to take advantage of the millions of dollars of government financial aid that goes untapped every year?

Stay tuned as the series about College Planning Specialists continues with a closer look at the services and value they provide.

October 11, 2007

College Students Preparing for Work Life: “Consulting” (Entrepreneurial Career) Can Be Lucrative And Absurd

Courtesy of

You have spent the majority of your life learning, preparing, and fretting over the next step: work life aka “real world.” In that time you have concentrated your studies on a major-minor core curriculum. While you were performing your best work, you kept an eye on your eventual job prospects. Summertime was for internships and making business connections so that your transition from college life could be a smooth and rapid one. Finally you girded yourself for the possibilities that you will have to look long and hard for the job and career you want.

After all of this preparation, I bet nobody informed you about the world of “consulting.” It is entrepreneurial and it’s main requirement is that you have “expertise” in a specific field. This knowledge and your ability to bring this knowledge forward in a manner that is instructive are the major necessities to becoming a consultant-and hanging out your own shingle.

Now the fun part. The following story is true and it was reported in the October 11, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle “Bay Area” section of the paper-the headline reads:



“Officials at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law spent nearly $25,000 on a branding consultant to help them give the school a new name: ‘UC Berkely School of Law.’ . . . “Dean Christopher Edley Jr. said the money was-spent because people will now understand that the law school is tied to UC Berkeley.”

HUH? WAH? You mean to tell me one of the preeminent academic officials in one of the most respected universities in the world deemed it necessary to hire a “consultant” to formulate that brand name? How utterly absurd is the thought that all of this brainpower at the disposal of UC Berkeley through administrators, professors, and students was never tapped?


Why didn’t the UC Berkeley brains behind this branding move simply poll their professors, adminstration, alumni, and current students? Why not open it up as if it was a “Branding” contest: Winner receives a $10,000 grant?

Instead Marshall Strategy Inc. was handed a $200,000 contract to “design the school’s magazine, Web site and brochures for fundraising and student recruiting.” Within this $200 “large” was the $25k fee for the “name.”

Even more disturbing is the fact that UC Berkeley has allowed a wonderful opportunity in public relations and recruiting slip through it’s fingers. How great a tool would it be for the university to have tasked it’s Business school and Law school with the jobs of branding, media brochure materials, publicity, and marketing?

Why not give the consulting contract to it’s own students? Why not keep the money in-house? Why not use this type of project as a senior thesis which could provide real world experience a graduate could point to when interviewing for a position?

Finally why not bring the component of blogging into the picture? Blogging or citizen journalism would be a wonderful course that every business school should, unfortunately administration does not get it, provide in it’s curriculum.

Incredulous is the idea that anyone with half a brain could have come up with this “branded” moniker. What is wrong with this picture besides the fact that it must make every UC Berkeley student wonder where their hard earned tuition fees are being spent?

So there you have it in a nutshell. Consulting is a business and it is lucrative. It does not necessarily require brains or even expertise. It requires the skill of being able to sell even the most absurd idea to the smartest people without those smart people pushing back your idea.

Go forth and conquer! Young consultants unite and prosper.

August 1, 2007

University Charter Academy High School of Oakland Forced to Close Under Avalanche of Pressure

Filed under: Colleges,High Schools,SAT Testing,Scandal — deansguide @ 1:59 am

In a follow up story to the controversy and questions surrounding Oakland’s University Charter Academy high school, the governing board for the school voted 3-1 to close the school down. The vote, amid allegations of cheating on test scores, manipulation of student grades and transcript, and fraudulent collection of state funding, sealed the fate of the troubled institution.

Now deposed founder Isaac Haqq had no comment to this latest announcement. Haqq’s resignation on July 12 fueled the storm of controversy that Uprep was never able to overcome.

In a previous notice, Oakland Unified School officials threatened to repeal the school’s charter if the Uprep governing board didn’t fix a avalanche of problems which included violations of California’s public meeting laws.

For further information regarding high school or college financing contact Dean Guadagni at

How Previlent are College Scholarship Scams?

College tuition costs have been running out of control for decades, as students and parents search for answers to how they will finance an education. The sheer desperation of this problem has spawned a growing concern amongst families: the college scholarship scam. The Federal Trade Commission along with the Department of Education have been attempting to police this growing problem. Part of their program is to raise awareness of the scams, what to look for in a scam, and how to avoid these predators.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), any good “huckster” worth his sleezy salt will tryout the following lines in order to get into your pocketbook:

* “You can’t get this information anywhere else!”

* “Your a finalist”. . . in a contest you never entered

* “We will do all the work”

* “I just need your credit card number or bank account number to hold this scholarship”

* “The scholarship will cost some money”

* “You have been selected by a ‘national foundation’ to received a scholarship”

* “The Scholarship is guaranteed or your money back”

If you or your family decide to attend a seminar on college financing or scholarships be aware of the following steps which may help you from making a big mistake:

* “Do a background investigation, via Google and other search engines, on the company providing scholarship help. Interview a financial adviser or guidance counselor. You may be able to get the same help for free.

*Take your time at the seminar, don’t rush to sign a contract on the spot, and remember that “great opportunities” are those that are not sold on a rakish pressurized basis. *

*Be wary of “success stories” or testimonials of extraordinary success. Stories related at a seminar are just unsubstantiated rumors. Ask for a list of at least three local families who’ve used the services in the last year.

* Do not purchase from salespeople who are unwilling or vague when answering your questions. If it feels funny and sounds funny it most likely is not right.

*Ask the cost of the service, the types of services performed, and the company’s refund policy. If this information is NOT in writing it is worthless to you the consumer.

The FTC recommends that parents consult a Certified Public Accountant before agreeing to any “scholarship” or group which claims to help students receive scholarship monies. Their preferred company is College Parents of America at

If you have any questions please contact either Dan Evertsz or Dean Guadagni at

July 23, 2007

“Doctored Grades Scandal”: University Preparatory Charter Accused of Transcript Tampering!

Filed under: Colleges,High Schools,Preparing for College,Scandal — deansguide @ 7:38 pm

University Preparatory Charter Academy of East Oakland, California has been charged with falsifying student grades and tampering with the transcripts of five students in an effort to “give them a leg up in college.” According to “The founder and director(Isaac Haqq) of an East Oakland charter school has resigned amid mounting evidence of cheating, falsifying course credits and other unethical conduct.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Haqq, a former Pasadena city councilman known in the early 1990’s as Isaac Richard, suggested in a letter that racism was at play in the accusations.” Haqq is quoted in the article as saying “Historically, successful people of color must periodically challenge those who call that success into question. . . It has been that way for a long time. Unfortunately, not much has changed.”

The Chronicle’s retort to this assertion is that the accusations are backed by college transcripts, for five students in the class of 2007, supporting the accusations which were brought forward by University Prep teachers themselves.

An example of the fraud was outlined by Bob Martel a math teacher who was fired from the school in May after alerting the state Department of Education. “A student gets a D in math. On the report card, both the grade and the name of the course are changed. Go to the transcript, and it’s all A’s and B’s. That’s the fraud.”

Make no mistake about it-University Prep is big business. With an enrollment of 475 students, the school received $3,000,000 in public funds. To this date University Prep Charter is under investigation by the California Department of Education.

July 20, 2007

New Scandal Rocks Brooklyn, New York College: Students, Teachers, and Administrators Guilty of Selling Fake Degrees

Filed under: Colleges,Scandal,Technology — deansguide @ 10:37 pm

Ten people were indicted on tampering charges for breaking into the Touro College computer system to change grades and award fake degrees in exchange for money. “The fees ranged from $3,000 to $25,000 for better or deleted grades and bachelors and masters degrees according to District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.” At least 50 people were “clients” of the group.

The most dangerous aspect of the scheme was fake degrees being sold to unqualified “physician’s assistants” who obviously could put patients at risk. Morgenthau advised employers to double check any recent Touro hire records to verify their qualifications.

Admissions Director at Touro College, Andrique Baron, was identified as the mastermind behind the scheme. It was estimated that he had been selling degrees and tampering with records as far back as 2003. Baron’s accomplice was, the former Director of the Computer Center at Touro, Michael Cherner. Of the ten people indicted, four remain at large.

As unbelievable as this crime sounds, even more unbelievable is the fact that none of the indicted can face more than 4 years in prison on their charges. Contrast this with the possible damage to life and limb that the “unqualified” degree holders may cause in the future, and you have a recipe for frightening results!

Blog at