The Key College Planning Strategy That Most Surprises Parents

Recently, a school district that’s bringing me in to speak interviewed me so that students and parents could get to know me better. This article includes the best portions of that interview.

To zoom straight to the key college planning strategy that most surprises parents, scroll to #4, below.

college planning

1. Jeannie, what originally inspired you to want to help parents get their kids through college debt-free?

I think you’re asking me what lit a fire under me to write my book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward. Is that right?

This one’s easy.

For over 25 years, I’ve been an academic strategist at In this work, I help college students set extraordinarily high goals for themselves, and then plot out the fastest, least expensive way to get there. If you’ve got a kid applying to law, medical, business, or graduate school, for example, you hire me to help him or her look fantastic in that grad school application process.

When I saw so many of my clients struggling—suffocating—under completely unnecessary student loan debt, I knew I had to write a book for their parents that would help families make excellent decisions starting as early as middle school—decisions that would result in kids completely debt-free, thriving in jobs they love after college. And completely ready for the medical and grad school application process, just in case that ever turns out to be a goal.

2. I know that this book, LAUNCH, is right at the center of what you do to help families. What’s been the response to it so far?

The best way to see the response to LAUNCH is to look at its more than fifty 5-star reviews on Anyone can look at them at any time at It’s clear that this material meets a deeply felt need for parents, that’s for sure.

3. Is LAUNCH mainly about applying for scholarships, and saving up money to pay for college?

No—not at all. Those things are just too hard for many families. LAUNCH is about other, easier, more clever strategies for getting kids through college debt-free and into jobs they love afterward.

4. OK so tell me, what’s the key college planning strategy that most surprises parents?  

If parents want to save $50,000 or more on college costs, the #1 best thing they can do is have their kids take three specific career assessments in January of 10th grade—or as soon as possible after that.

Not the little computerized career quizzes offered at the high school—I’m talking real career assessment work that is done with the assistance of a real, trained, career clarification coach. I don’t do this kind of work myself, I refer out to others who do it. But I’m convinced that this is the one, main thing parents can do to save themselves $50,000 and boatloads of heartache later on. I cover this in every class I teach, and I explain it all in detail in chapter 13 of my book, LAUNCH.

5. Parents tell us that they find your speaking to be incredibly inspiring. Where can people hear a sample of your speaking right now? 

Thanks for asking this! Anyone can hear samples of my speaking at There are over 100 testimonials from students ages 12–26 and their parents on there, there’s a great 3-minute video where I teach a revolutionary time management strategy, and there’s also a link to a podcast where I was interviewed by a Loyola Marymount researcher who specializes in teen thriving and parent/teen communication. It’s an inspiring interview—very highly recommended for listening on a car ride, or when getting ready for work in the morning.

6. Is there a free way for parents to get ongoing help from you?

Yes! All parents need to do is sign up for my free weekly email updates. It’s easy. Just look around on this website for this:

Parents will get a great article from me in their email inboxes every Monday morning, plus they’ll be the first to know when I’m in their area speaking in person. Parents just need to be sure to add me to their “safe senders” list using the instructions here so that what I send goes straight to their primary email inboxes, rather than accidentally getting misdirected into folders they never check.

My email subscribers never miss a thing.

If you’ve found valuable info in this article, please help me by tweeting it out to the people who follow you.

I’m Jeannie Burlowski, and I’m the author of the comprehensive guide to getting kids through college debt-free and into real careers afterward:

It’s a reference book, so nobody reads the whole thing cover to cover. Pick out what you need to read in it using the fast-paced, 10-minute video instructions here.

You can see more than 100 reviews of it on Amazon at:

(Tell your friends.)

You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCHhere.

You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCHhere.

Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

Take a step on this right now. Get regular, inspiring help from me—every Monday morning.

Subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter here.

Do you have specific questions for me about debt-free college and career for your kids?

It’s my members that get most direct access to me. Doors to my membership open each year for just 5 days in March, and 5 days in September. It costs just pennies per day, but space is limited. Join the Waiting List here.

Did you find this article through a Facebook post?

Please click the SHARE button on that Facebook post right now. You’ll be helping me get this info out to lower-income families who might never otherwise find out about it.

What about you?

What surprising strategies have you found for getting kids through college debt-free, and directly into jobs they love afterward? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26 and their parents and grandparents. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, Parents Magazineand US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.