how we help 

Comprehensive advising services 

Resources, experience and

Guidance through each step of the 
college search process 


where we serve

New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Other (Inquire)




Thank you for visiting! Learn our approach to navigating the college search process and how we assist students in Maine, Massachusetts, and elsewhere with college application preparation, including college essays, and help parents and students integrate all key criteria (academic, social, AND financial) into college planning that is grounded in the realities of today's college admissions landscape.
College Search U Special Bulletin:
January 27, 2016: College Search U and Goldman Financial Planning (Falmouth, ME)  have teamed to provide a college planning solution called College Liftoff for parents. Combining a practical and insightful approach to the college search and application process with a realistic financial planning methodology to fund college within family financial goals, College Liftoo is available to families in Maine and New England.
College Liftoff brings clarity to the college search and application process with reality-based information from seasoned experts in the college-planning field. The program cuts through the misinformation and anxiety surrounding the financial aid process and funding college, while addressing -through the advisory services of Goldman Financial Planning - money management, insurance, debt reduction, retirement, and other essentials of family financial security.
College Search U Special Bulletin:
5 Tips to Get You Started in the Financial
Aid Planning Process

#1.  Don’t Wait.  There is a lot of dated and misleading information that perpetuates the myth that it’s fine to “apply first, then leave financial considerations until the end,” to quote the website of a nationally known university. Admission today in no way guarantees that the college will provide sufficient aid to make enrolling financially wise. The onus is on families to understand and prepare for this reality, and that means starting the financial aid planning process as early as possible.

#2. Find out your estimated family contribution of “EFC.” Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid according to federal or institutional formulas for determining aid eligibility (through FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE respectively), you should still find out your federal EFC by using the FAFSA 4caster or similar calculator ( Anyone filling the FAFSA can qualify for unsubsidized Federal student loans even if unqualified for receiving any grant aid or other type of federal loans. 

#3. Familiarize yourself with FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE methodologies for determining aid eligibility. For example, among the key components of the federal/FAFSA methodology is the age of the oldest parent and the number of children in college. Another example is that the base year used by the federal (FAFSA) methodology to determine aid eligibility will change to “prior prior year” for students starting college in the fall of 2017 and after. This means that the financial information collected through the FAFSA form will be based on the IRS return for the tax year ending in December of a college-bound student’s junior year of high school.

#4. Recognize the difference between ABILITY to pay and WILLINGNESS to pay because colleges most definitely have.

#5. Integrate affordability with other central criteria in exploring colleges. If paying for college is a concern, look for colleges with lower potential net cost that also represent a potential right fit with the student’s admission profile, academic and extracurricular interests, and career considerations.

College Search U Special Bulletin:
Why we established College Search U:

With over 30 years of direct college admissions experience, we are deeply passionate about higher education and the promise it holds for students everywhere. And we, like others in our profession, are increasingly concerned by how many high school students and parents feel overwhelmed by the college search or even afraid of making wrong decisions – a fear that is amply fed by media hype, rumors, and misplaced priorities. 

We began College Search U to serve as a trusted and expert partner to students and their parents during the college search and selection process. We filter the noise and the rumors. We keep everyone focused on who the student is and is becoming. We focus not so much on “getting in” but on getting it right. Through our approach, we believe students and families can take much greater control of the college search, reduce stress, actually save money, and derive sincere enjoyment during the journey.  

We charge the same flat fee for our services whether you get started during sophomore, junior or senior year of high school. So there’s every incentive to start taking greater control of the college search NOW!

Contact Us for more information.










Bill McMurray is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, a non-profit, international professional association representing experienced educational consultants. [learn more


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