Expert Tips for Navigating the College Planning Process

by Katherine Stievater, Founder, Gap Year Solutions

About this time last year, Gap Year Solutions co-hosted a presentation with some colleagues from across the spectrum of college planning and other college services. While preparing a presentation for an industry conference later this fall, I came across a page of closing thoughts that we offered up to our audience of college-bound students and families.

As I read through them, I realized that they a) were timeless and just as relevant this year, and b) deserved to be shared with a broader audience! So with great thanks to my co-presenters from last year, here are our expert tips for navigating the college planning process:

Don McMillan, CEO, McMillan Education

  • Start early and cast a wide net
  • Focus on what you can control: The Subjective Elements!

Katherine Stievater, Founder, Gap Year Solutions:

  • Keep educating yourself about the Gap Year option
  • Successful Gap Years are intentional and have a plan (which may change!)

Elizabeth Pyle, Founder, College Success Plan

  • Plan for where you want to be at the end of the semester
  • Structure your week and assess weekly goals

Moira McCullough, Founder, College Scoops

  • Picking the right college requires authentic information from students’ perspectives
  • Understand the vibe of the entire college and community as a whole

We summarized four key takeaways from Don’s comments and interviewed Elizabeth and Moira for our Blog in the fall of 2020 (click on links above). We hope you find these tips helpful, and as always please reach out to us at or our Contact page for more information.

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