Bulgarian immigrant published a book in Chicago for prospective students

Studying in college doesn’t have to be overwhelming! That’s why “Destination College” puts their 12+ years of experience into college planning, simplifying the admissions process, getting financial aid, eliminating stress, and avoiding costly mistakes! Whether you’re starting as a freshman or a senior, there’s a solution every step of the way!

We bring to the attention of the readers of “Bulgaria SEGA” newspaper an interview with Lora Georgieva – president of “Destination College” on the occasion of the publication of her book “What Ohers Don’t Tell You About College Planning”:

Why did you decide to start a college planning business?
While I was working as a financial planner, I engaged with a lot of clients who were confused about the college admission and financial aid process. That’s why I decided to expand my knowledge in that field by attending college planning seminars and receiving a Certified College Planner Designation. Every problem creates an opportunity for growth, and that’s why I decided to focus my efforts in that field. I was the 11th Certified College Planner when I received my designation in 2011. Most families are concerned about how to navigate sending their kids to college, and that was such a big opportunity to pass.

What is the amount of the student loan debt in the US?
The student loan debt at this point is over $1.75 trillions. Every year, the cost of tuition goes up by 7%, while the federal and state student funding remains almost the same. That’s why students, and mostly their parents, are facing enormous amounts of student loans in order to receive college education. And why does the US have such high student loan debt??? For the simple reason that there is no government regulation of how high the cost of attendance of public universities can go, and because there is no borrower’s credit and income verification and also no limit on the amount of the Parent Plus Loans that parents can borrow. Every parent can borrow a loan up to the cost of attendance at the university as long as they don’t have any creditors trying to collect money from them. But what most borrowers don’t understand is that the Parent Plus Loan is currently at 8.05%, plus additional 4% origination fee, and the government has the right to put a lien and collect the amount of the loan from their assets and social security.

What kind of clients do you work with: Americans, immigrants…?
I work with all kinds of nationalities. My goal is to help each student who has the ambition to receive higher education and realize their career goal by recommending the best admission and financial aid solutions. I work not only with Domestic students, but also with students from all over the world who want to study in the US, or Domestic students who want to study outside of the US.

One of my most successful college planning stories is a student who is a refugee from Sudan, who got admitted to Harvard with 2.7 GPA and a full scholarship. Currently, he is studying at Harvard Law School to become a lawyer, and his goal is to return back to his country Sudan, and fight for justice and freedom of human rights.

What are the most common college planning mistakes students make?
I don’t know where to begin from :). These are the common mistakes students and parents make:


* Most students apply to college test optional. Yes, it’s true that most colleges don’t require the submission of the ACT/SAT test results, but in order to get a substantial amount of scholarships and to get admitted to selective colleges, the submission of the ACT/SAT test results is recommended (with some even still mandatory). For example, Florida public universities require the submission of test scores. It’s recommended that the student takes the ACT/SAT test at least 3 times, because every time they retake the test most likely will lead to achieving a higher result.

* Most students don’t engage with enough activities such as clubs, summer camps, etc. in the field of their career choice. For example if the student commits most of his time to athletic/music activities and does not choose to continue with that activity professionally while in college, then the student would rather engage in activities that will boost their college admission chances. For example, if the student would like to study business major, it’s recommended that the student engage in business classes and clubs such as Future Business Leaders of America, Business Professionals of America, Investment Club, Entrepreneurship Club ….

* Most students take the minimum credit (2 years) requirement for Foreign Language. If the student decides to take more than 2 years of Foreign Language, they will have competitive advantage among other students. If possible the student should take the Seal of Biliteracy, or pass an AP Foreign Language test and receive a 4 or 5 on the test. The Seal of Biliteracy is a certificate of language proficiency that will help the student not only with boosting their admission chances but also with finding better job opportunities.

* Most students are confused about what is the best career field for them. When I work with students, I always start with recommending a major assessment test to guide them with their best career choice which later would lead to a better lifestyle choice as well. Choosing the right major reduces the stress and anxiety and helps with selecting the appropriate classes and clubs during their high school in order to boost their college applications.


* Not filing FAFSA and CSS Profile Form on time. It’s recommended that both forms are filed in the month of October, because the federal, state and institutional funding get distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. If the forms are filed after November, the students might potentially lose funding due to the later filing.

* Most students don’t apply for university and local scholarships. This week one of my students won $6,000 from the Rotary Club, and additional $7,000 from another local scholarship. We applied for a significant amount of local scholarships, and that is the key to success of winning those local scholarships. When you put in the necessary efforts, the results always follow.

* Negotiate the cost for college. YES, you can negotiate the cost for college. When you receive your financial aid award, always try to negotiate it. This is not the university’s final offer. Another successful story I would like to share is helping a student of mine last week receive an additional $6,000, just by negotiating the cost.

How can your published college planning book help students and their families?
My book can help students and their families navigate the college planning admission and financial process by creating clarity and individualized plans during their high school education so they would avoid making the mistakes listed in the higher paragraphs. I offer a free consultation to evaluate my clients needs and provide custom college planning solutions.

The Ukrainian society is one of the largest in North America. There are a lot of Ukrainian families needing your services. When is the best time to start working with you?

I am grateful to work with a lot of Ukrainian families, and It’s my pleasure to help students who have the ambition of building a successful career. I work with students starting in 8th grade up to graduate/medical/law school.

How do you evaluate the quality of education in the US?
From my personal experience, the students who are recent immigrants are much more advanced in the field of math and foreign languages. I have a student from Israel who is proficient in 5 languages, including Mandarin. I helped him with his admission essays and college applications. I am proud to share with you that he is currently studying at Georgetown University, a very selective and prestigious university.

Education in the United States has a lot of advantages. The students have the choice to select their classes based on their intellectual interests, and are not forced to study subjects they have no interest in. The education system is centered around the talents of the students.

How important is higher education in order to become a successful entrepreneur? Is it a good investment of time and money?
At the moment there is a huge demand for trade workers, and they usually get paid $75/hour or above. Most jobs require the completion of 2 year trade school, without the burden of obtaining hundreds of thousands in student loans. Not everyone needs a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. But some professions require it. Not every entrepreneur needs higher education, but also not every entrepreneur has the discipline and vision Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have. Receiving higher education is not a guarantee for success, but higher education plus ambition is definitely a guarantee for success.

Elon Musk shared in one of his interviews that information nowadays is easily accessible and affordable, and that college education is not needed for acquiring skills. He recommends instead spending more quality time with like minded peers. Do you agree with that?
I don’t agree with that. Every university has a curriculum to prepare the students with the needed knowledge to succeed in their career fields. Also universities offer participation in research labs, study abroad and leadership opportunities, and departments that support innovative projects and ideas. A lot of today’s innovations have been initiated at different universities.

Information is easily accessible and everyone decides if they want to use it efficiently or waste their time. For someone information can be a source of starting a new business, and for another a source of playing video games. In both ways someone is benefiting, but in the second scenario it’s the person who developed the video game.

Artificial intelligence is taking over and threatening millions of jobs. How can we protect ourselves from that?
We can’t protect ourselves from AI, because AI is the future. We need to learn to work with AI, and use it to our advantage. A lot of universities started offering “Artificial Intelligence” majors. Every problem creates entrepreneurial opportunities. The faster we learn to work with AI and not against it, the more successful we can become in our career fields.

Svetlozar Momtchilov
“Bulgaria SEGA” newspaper

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