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SmartPlanForCollege reviews

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5 reviews
8775 Centre Park Drive
Columbia, MD 21045, US
Tel: +1-410-715-3710

5 Reviews From Our Community

5 stars
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All Reviews

1 review
3 helpful votes

I bought an executive plan and found it very disappointing. I specifically bought this for the one on one time Jean would spend with my son and assist with his college essay. The essay she assisted with was so poorly written it was atrocious. Myself , my sons peer group and his HS teacher ripped is up and certainly is was recontructed.

3 reviews
5 helpful votes

My husband and I attended the free class at my son's high school. Like another reviewer, I have to agree -- there was some "scary" information in the presentation. But I found it to be true information and the part that a lot of the schools were leaving out.

We did decide to obtain services. In the level of services we chose, our son got help with creating his applications. He is not a natural writer, but at the end of several rewrites, thanks to the feedback he received, the essay was ten times better and it was HIS writing and HIS voice which was so important.

When we signed up for services, everything was clearly spelled out in terms of how to schedule sessions with Jean, what was included and not included in the level of services we had chosen. In fact we deliberately chose a "higher" level of service to ensure we got the answers when we needed them. The only time we experienced a delay in getting a session was when we tried to schedule a session at the last minute because we forgot. While we couldn't get a 45 minute session, we were able to get a 15 minute session fairly quickly -- like within 3 days of the request.

We did receive way too much marketing email in the beginning but when we contacted the Client Care team about it, they took care of it.

Overall, the advice we received about the colleges, how to boost our son's profile, and assistance with the financial aid forms was sound. We did experience some minor customer service issues with the support staff, but once we brought them to Jean's attention, they were corrected.

When it came time to file for financial aid, this was where the services were so helpful. We filed our paperwork in January using our previous year's tax return, and then updated with our actual information when we completed our taxes later in March. Which is totally allowed and made sense. I would've never done that on my own and would have likely missed the financial aid deadlines otherwise.

Our son was accepted to his top choice college and received a healthy scholarship that is making the cost of his private college close to what the public university would charge us. We felt that was a great deal.

My cousin asked why we just didn't figure it out for ourselves. And honestly, sure, I could have. But quite frankly I didn't have the time to read countless books, research stuff etc.

Tip for consumers: The best tip I can offer is there is a lot of great information available on the website for free. You don't HAVE to use their services. We did not feel pressured AT ALL to sign up. But if you don't have the time, inclination or if you feel that college is just too important to leave to chance, then it might be a good fit.

1 review
5 helpful votes

This person does not have a counseling degree, or even went to college herself. How can she tell you she will help you. Run fast and save your money, what a scam artist.

1 review
4 helpful votes

OMG. Went to the free "information" session. It's 90 minutes if half truths designed to work you up into a fear frenzy so that she can come and save you.

Let me be clear. This 90 minutes contained ZERO useful information. If you are worried about college costs and helping you child get into college this will further enhance your worries and fears. That is what it is designed to do.

All she is selling is piece if mind so you can say you got "expert" help. But you can do the same or better yourself reading poor yahoo news articles, let alone doing some research. Spend your 90 minutes doing some research rather than spending time here.

Making it worse is now I need to spend time explaining to my family why it was wrong and a waste of time.

1 review
14 helpful votes

Once you get on Jean Keller's email list, she sends you email after email telling you that if you don't hire her to help you through the college application and financial aid maze, what you don't know could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars. So you buy in to the hype and plunk down $2-5K in hopes of saving $20-80K on your kids' education. Well, she might know her stuff, but her delivery is sooooo bad, that I probably would have been better off buying a book for $20.00 on Amazon to help me instead.

I got way too much email, including her marketing stuff (I already purchased-- take me off that list!) as well as stuff that applied to a child graduating in a year that did not apply to my family (in spite of several emails asking them to fix the error).

Then I received a 68-page document to weed through that was supposed to help me fill out the FAFSA and CSS. It didn't help at all because it was based on my tax return estimate that I had to give to her six months before the end of the tax year. It was useless.

My "coaching sessions" had to be scheduled weeks in advance in order to get on her calendar. Who really wants to wait two weeks to ask a question? Most of my questions were time-sensitive, so after reviewing the availabilities on her online calendar, I usually just proceeded without getting any advice from her.

When I had a critical point of indecision and did get her on the phone, she would not give me her opinion. She kept telling me that "it was a risk" either way. I thought she had expertise that I was paying her to share with me?

Multiple email and phone inquiries went unanswered. And if I did get an answer, it was only after I sent at least two (usually three) follow up emails.

She did have a monthly group Q&A that I could have participated in, but it was always on the same day of the week, and I have an unmovable commitment on that day; not her fault technically, but wouldn't it make sense to vary the schedule to accommodate everyone?

I received multiple requests telling me I had to update them on my status. Each time I was reminded that I had to enter ALL of the information I had previously submitted in addition to the updates because any new information would overwrite anything previously submitted.

In the end, I don't think her service saved me one red cent. My son got in to his first choice college, and got a nice scholarship. But I don't think that I did anything different with Keller College Services that I would have done without it. A complete waste of money.

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