Thomas Broderick

How to Pick a College

When it comes to college admissions, the problem you don’t want – a problem that you’ve probably considered numerous times – involves not receiving an acceptance letter from any of your top-choice schools.

That would stink.

But there is another problem, one that I would bet has yet to cross your mind.

What if all of (or most of) your top-choice schools accept you?

Yes, for some of you, there will come a day when you open your digital or physical mailbox and find it stuffed to the gills with acceptances. It didn’t happen to me, but I’m sure your first emotion will be sheer giddiness.

But after the excitement fades, you’ll be faced with a unique problem – which one do you choose? You’ll have 30 days or fewer to make up your mind. Additionally, let’s not forget that during that time, you’ll still have to study for a slew of exams, including AP/IB.

That’s a lot of stress.

In this article, we’ll discuss the three most vital things to keep in mind as you weigh your options. 

Academic Offerings

Let’s discuss your future academic major. Now, you may not know which one you’ll pick, and there’s always the chance that you’ll change your mind halfway through freshman year. Even so, it’s time to compare what each of your top schools offers.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that most top schools feature the same majors. That’s not much help. What can help is when you deep dive into each program’s academic requirements. Here are some questions to keep in mind while performing research. (Note: You should ask these questions not just for each school but also for each major you’re considering.)

  • What are the graduation requirements?
  • What electives/concentrations/specializations does this program offer?
  • Does this program have a special feature, such as a unique study-abroad program?
  • If I select this major, can I perform research as an undergraduate?
    • This question is REALLY important if you want to go to graduate school.
    • Related question: What is this program’s graduate school acceptance rate?
  • Can I complete a second major or a minor in a different area?
  • What career services does the school offer?

If you can find answers to these questions, the differences between your top schools should become more apparent. In other words, you’ll know how each school meets your academic needs and expectations.

Cost

After academic offerings comes cost. Top schools often charge top dollar, and although you won’t know about financial aid for a while, it’s time to run through a few hypotheticals. Here’s what you can do now.

  • Find out exactly how much – if anything – your parents will contribute to your college education.
  • Start researching your top school’s scholarship websites. Many have a search engine with the latest scholarship opportunities, requirements, and deadlines.
    • If possible, begin preparing scholarship application materials even before you know about an acceptance. Many schools have similar requirements.
  • Research what current students are saying online.
    • How much institutional financial aid did they receive?
    • What are the best scholarship websites?
    • What are the worst financial aid traps?
    • Do current and former students regret attending because of the cost?

As you perform these and other tasks, keep in mind that in the vast majority of cases, it is not worth going into debt to attend college. So, if you don’t want to say no to your dream school, start racking up the scholarship and grant dollars ASAP.

Personal Preference

So, let’s get back to the beginning of this article. All of your top schools said yes. Also, potential majors look good at all of them. Additionally, these schools are offering you a full ride, or you have attained the necessary scholarships and grants. If all of these wonderful things should happen, what do you do then?

Besides flipping a coin or throwing a dart at a board, it’s once again time to dig deep and consider your personal preferences. Maybe some of your high school friends are attending School A, while at School B, you wouldn’t have to have a roommate. Maybe School C has pleasant weather all year round.

In other words, if all of the choices are great, it’s up to you, which, at 18 years old, can seem like an impossible decision. Even if it’s just between two schools, go with what feels right. Yes, you’ll set aside a whole world of possibilities by saying ‘no’ to one or more great schools, but you’ll also be saying ‘yes’ to what I’m sure will be an incredible four years.   

Final Thoughts

Let me restate this article’s most important point – think about these ‘what-ifs’ now. As with anything college application-related, the sooner you start putting in the work, the easier the process becomes.

Lastly, wishing you a mailbox full of ‘fat envelopes’ this spring.

Handling Admission Deferrals

Getting into your dream school is great!

Getting rejected stinks!

But what about a deferral?

You probably haven’t considered how you’d react if a college told you, “Well…maybe. We’ll get back to you in a month or so. Until then, enjoy being on the waitlist. Laters!”

Okay, colleges don’t say that last part, and, to be honest, it’s no fun waiting to see if a spot will open up.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can handle admissions deferrals in a positive way that preserves your sanity and ensures that you finish your senior year strong.

Don’t Overanalyze It

First off, let’s make sure that a deferral doesn’t send you to a dark place. It would be far too easy to think, ‘Oh, if only I had been just a little bit better…earned one more good grade…studied more for that one AP Exam…et cetera ad infinitum.’

Take a deep breath. You’ll never know exactly why a school put you on the waitlist. Instead of the negative examples the previous paragraph highlights, maybe your dream school had a surplus of highly qualified candidates, you included. And maybe, just maybe, you are at the top of the waitlist, virtually guaranteeing an admission letter in May.

My best advice would be to allow that self-doubt to wash over you for no more than five minutes. It’ll happen no matter what, so get it out of the way early.

After that… 

Continue on Business as Usual

As you can’t change what will happen at this point, do your best to push the situation out of your mind. There’s still plenty to do between now and graduation day:

  • Final exams
  • AP/IB test
  • Making some good memories with friends
    • That’s important, too 🙂
  • Etc.

Focusing on what’s still on your plate will make time go faster. It really works.

A Bird in the Hand….

Now, I have my fingers crossed really tight that as you’re waiting to hear back, you’ll receive one or more acceptances from other schools. Hopefully, these letters will boost your spirits and make you feel better about yourself.

However, at this point, you have a dilemma. There’s at least one school that wants you, and one that hasn’t made up its mind. Do you go for the sure thing, or see what happens with the school that waitlisted you?

Before you decide, determine if you can wait it out. Maybe you’ll find out if you got off the waitlist before any other school’s deadline to commit. If so, waiting it out is no big deal. I recommend it.

But if deadlines make waiting it out impossible, it’s time to make a hard choice. If you have one or more ‘birds in the hand,’ do you let it go to wait on the one still hiding in the ‘bush’? In this case, I’d recommend choosing one of the schools that accepted you. Yes, it’ll be a bummer to let your dream school go, but you’ll be doing the right thing.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of uncertainty in these times, and I know that a deferral can make things even more stressful – stress you don’t need. So, if it happens to you, take a step back, set it aside, and push on.

Fingers crossed that only acceptances arrive in your mailbox this April.

Transitioning to College in the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought innumerable challenges to American life, too many for any one article to list. For high school students such as yourself, classes may have gone online or stopped altogether. So much seems up in the air right now.

And what about college in the fall? What’s going to happen then?

In this article, we’ll take stock of the situation – examine a few ways that the current pandemic will (and might) affect your life in the coming months, as well as discuss how you can react healthily.

AP/IB Exams

The College Board has risen to an immense challenge by revamping its AP Exams so that students can take them from home. As information might change, please use this link to receive the most up-to-date information about each test’s new format.

Additionally, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has canceled all May 2020 exams for high school juniors and seniors. The IBO will award diplomas to seniors based on the grades a high school reports.

What You Can Do: If you still have AP Exams in the future, keep studying for them. Although they’re shorter this year – and maybe next year – the graders will have the same high standards when they review your work over the summer.

Graduation Day

When I think about all the teachers out there working tirelessly to ensure that students can keep up with schoolwork at home, I know they haven’t forgotten you and all that you’ve accomplished over the last four years. However, large gatherings are likely out of the picture for the next few months. The following are two ideas that your school might adopt to ensure that you’re recognized on graduation day.

Going Digital

Some countries battling COVID-19 have already adopted elaborate virtual graduation ceremonies. Although these ceremonies are pricier than what your school may be able to afford, who knows. Also, don’t expect your entire senior class to have to call into a Zoom chat on graduation day. Even if one chat could handle that many people at once, it would be impractical, to say the least.

One option that comes to mind is that teachers create a series of videos that not only mimic the traditional graduation experience but also give each teacher the chance to address and recognize students that he/she knows well.

Your school may have other plans for a digital graduation. But if you liked my idea – or come up with a few of your own – feel free to contact your high school principal.

Delay

The other option is that some schools might schedule a graduation ceremony at a later date. At that time, your principal may decide to host multiple ceremonies – each would recognize a small group of seniors to limit the number of people in attendance. Additionally, your school might forbid guests and instead steam the ceremony live so family members can view it at home.

What You Can Do: Recognize that graduation day won’t be what you and your family imagined. If this fact makes you sad or angry, that’s okay. You and your immediate family members can still celebrate your accomplishment at home, and once it’s safe, celebrate with others.

Fall 2020

With all that’s been going on, Fall 2020 – your first year of college — may seem like a lifetime from now. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that by the time August rolls around, the situation with COVID-19 will be a lot less scary, but not completely safe yet. That brings us to…

Fall (and Maybe Spring) Semester at Home

There’s a good chance that the online learning colleges and universities are mandating now will still take place during the fall semester. The main issue is space – cramped dormitories and lecture halls are the perfect environment for a virus to spread (Why do you think you need a meningitis vaccine before going to college?). As a result, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be staying at home for your first semester as an undergraduate.

How about spring 2021? That depends on how much COVID-19 infections change during the winter months – a time when other viruses like the flu and colds reach their peak. For now, all I can say is, “We’ll see” and “Hope for the best.”

What You Can Do: If you know which college or university you’re going to attend in the fall, keep up to date with their COVID-19 policies throughout the summer. As always, be sure to reach out with questions if you have them.

Final Thoughts

These are trying times, and, regrettably, the milestones you had looked forward to for so long will not be what you expected. If nothing else, take solace in the fact that the college experience you want will happen. You might arrive on campus a few months later than you anticipated, and campus life may be a little different than what you thought. But it will happen. That, I guarantee.

But for now, stay inside and stay safe.

Virtual College Tours and You

COVID-19 has disrupted college life more than any event in recent history. The last few months have seen college dorms empty, professors learning to teach courses online, and undergraduates adjusting to a new and uncertain academic environment. However, colleges around the nation still strive to provide essential services, including recruitment.

Traditionally, campuses invite prospective students to take an on-campus tour. However, with schools likely closed through the summer, admission officials have thought up new ways to give you a taste of on-campus life without putting you or family members at risk.

In this article, we’ll examine three topics:

  • How colleges and universities throughout the country are launching virtual tours
  • How the experience differs from an in-person tour
  • How to make the most of your virtual tour experience

How are Universities Responding?

If you go on a college website these days, you’ll likely find a link at the top of the page that goes into detail concerning that school’s COVID-19 response. There, you’ll discover similar information no matter the school – the campus is closed, student and career services are now entirely online, etc.

While some schools have quickly developed a virtual college tour, others lack the resources to create one or don’t have them ready yet. If schools you want to know more about do not offer a virtual tour, you can still create your own using the steps ACT recommends. Other reputable organizations provide valuable tips, as well.

Don’t forget that you can always learn more about a college or university by contacting professionals in the admission department. Although these individuals are working from home, they can still answer your most pressing questions.

What’s It Like Going on a Virtual Tour?

Let’s focus on one excellent example of a virtual tour – Seattle University. As the institution is located in the heart of the COVID-19 epidemic, school officials have launched a virtual tour platform to give you the on-campus experience at home.

Using a smartphone or computer, you log on to the Seattle University tour. The tour consists of a prerecorded tour guide who takes you through the campus’ main buildings. Using the arrows at the bottom of the screen, you can take a ‘stroll’ through campus while learning valuable information. Seattle University’s virtual tour also includes a checklist that shows which campus highlights you have already reviewed.

Finally, even if schools on your shortlist have not yet developed a virtual tour like Seattle University’s, be sure to check back often. They should have something in place soon.

How Can I Make the Most of the Experience?

Unlike a traditional college tour, a virtual tour gives you the chance to backtrack and revisit at your leisure. While viewing the tour, be sure to take notes of your first impressions and any questions that come to mind (i.e., These are things you should do anyway during an in-person college tour.). Afterward, follow the same steps you would take after an in-person tour – email admission department advisors with your question.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, in the coming months, college campuses will once again open their doors to current and prospective students. Even when that happens, though, virtual tours will remain a pillar of each college’s recruitment drive. After all, not all high school students and their families have the time or money to make the trip.

So, in the meantime, enjoy your virtual tours, reach out to a school if you have questions, and stay safe indoors.

Beach Party

Maintaining Your Grades After You’re Admitted to College

You’ve gotten your letter. You’ve been admitted to college. In a millisecond, that great physical and mental engine that you’ve been revving for the last four years – the one dedicated to getting into the best college – shuts off. The chaos is over, and you can use that now-cooling engine’s remaining momentum to coast over the finish line that is high school graduation.

There’s a terrific contradiction at the heart of each college-bound high school student’s senior year. On the one hand, it’s a time of tremendous work and worry. You have college applications, honors and AP courses, and who knows what else to juggle.

And then comes the moment you know which college you’re going to attend.

The work is over and you just want to coast.

Doesn’t that sound absolutely glorious?

Indeed, it does.

However, this appealing mindset gets more than a few high school seniors in trouble each year. For some, it means attending a few too many high school parties, getting into trouble, and losing a college acceptance. For others, it means letting their grades and test scores slip and losing a scholarship.

Let’s talk about that second trap. Even if you have an acceptance in hand – which is amazing – it’s time to live up to that acceptance by finishing strong academically. Any financial aid award you’ve received may be contingent on maintaining your grades. Also, finishing strong in AP classes may let you skip freshman classes in college. Let’s talk about how you can keep your focus and finish strong.

Put (Most of) It Away

When you get that acceptance, you’re faced with a lot of new work. There are forms to fill out, housing to apply for, etc. When you receive an admissions packet, do take the time to read everything carefully. Note each important deadline. Anything that’s due between now and when you graduate high school, stay on top of it.

But for everything else, put it away until after graduation day.

I know that ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ won’t work entirely. You’ll be excited about the future, and that in itself will be distracting. Still, find a folder – physical or digital – where you can place your acceptance materials and ‘to do’ list until June.

Maintain Your Study Schedules

Just because you’ve been admitted to college doesn’t mean that those upcoming AP/IB tests (and let’s not forget your final exams) disappear into thin air. They’re still approaching on the horizon, and although the score you receive won’t affect your future college’s opinion of you as a potential student, don’t forget the biggest reason these exams are important:

Time & Money

Wouldn’t it be nice to save some money on college, maybe graduate early? Wouldn’t it be nice to skip the packed-to-the-gills intro-class lecture halls your freshman year? I think you would agree that the answer to both questions is ‘yes’.

So, keep your eyes on the prize. Maintain your study schedules. Your future self will thank you.

A Little Meditation Never Hurt

Finally, let me provide some personal advice. The spring of your senior year represents what I’d bet is the biggest transition period your life has thrown at you so far. Things are ending, and others beginning. And although a lot of pressure is off, it can still take a lot more effort to stay centered.

That’s why I’d recommend some meditation. Now, don’t go out and buy a giant book on the topic. There are plenty of free apps that have 1-5-minute meditation sessions. If it works, great. If not, no big deal.

Final Thoughts

Well, I hope my three pieces of advice help you maintain your grades and test scores now that you have been admitted to college. Everyone’s situation is different, so I wanted to provide the best general advice possible. If you, a teacher, or family member has something better to say on the subject, please take it. I won’t be offended whatsoever. As long as you try a few things, I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

And congratulations on getting into college.

Cartoon of 10 people in varying career uniforms

Using a Personality Assessment to Select a College and Major

If you’re an ambitious high school student – which I assume you are since you’re reading this article – you have a lot on your plate. There are your classes, extracurricular activities, standardized test prep, and so much more.

And then there’s getting ready for college.

With so much going on right now, it can be tough to find time to think about your future college and major. ‘Where and what do I want to study?’ is one of the most important questions you’ll answer at this point in your life. As a result, you need to take it seriously and give it due consideration.

However, the question should not add stress to your life.

In this article, we’ll discuss a tool that can help you make these important decisions just a little bit easier – personal strengths assessments.

Personal Strengths Assessments and You

Personal strengths assessments, also known as personal interest inventories, have been around probably as long as the printed word. After all, it’s human nature to want to identify our strengths, weaknesses, preferences, dislikes, etc.

What can a personal strengths assessment tied to college and career aspirations do for you? In short, the results can give you a new perspective on what you want at this point in your life. Things may change in the future (e.g., You switch majors in college.), but as you must make some big decisions during your junior and senior years of high school, a personal interest inventory can make some things clearer.

An Important Disclaimer

Before you start looking up personality tests, I want to give you a disclaimer in the form of a short story. Back in my teaching days, my principal was a huge fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, one of the more well-known personality assessments. “Broderick,” he would tell me, “you’re such an INTJ.” When I finally got around to looking up what ‘INTJ’ meant, it bummed me out for a lot of reasons, mainly that my boss was boiling down my personality into four letters.

What made me feel better was learning that Myers-Briggs is, to put it mildly, a flawed instrument that has no basis in psychology or human development.

A lot of personal strengths assessments are the exact same.

My story has two takeaways. First, research a personal strengths assessment or interest inventory before putting any stock in the results. Second, although today’s assessments have come a long way, I want you to remember that results aren’t perfect. They exist to give you guidance, not pigeonhole you into a type of college or career path. In other words, if a result doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.

Even so, if an assessment gives you a result you didn’t expect, it doesn’t hurt to research that possibility. Maybe you’ll discover a college or major that matches your evolving interests.

Final Thoughts

MyKlovr is partnering with an acknowledged expert to launch its own personal strengths assessment and career interest inventory shortly to help users like you make better-informed decisions. When that day comes, we encourage you to answer the questions honestly and consider the results a valuable tool as you prepare for your life’s next stage.

But please, with our personality assessment or any other, take the results with a grain of salt and trust your – and don’t forget your family’s – best judgment.

Using myKlovr as a Retention Tool

As of the writing of this article, the economy is booming. That’s great for many reasons. However, for employers, a strong economy also means that employees might start looking for a more lucrative position at a different company. Additionally, with a smaller-than-average labor pool, competitors raise wages and improve benefits.

When an employee leaves a position, they might also leave a professional association. In this scenario, both employers and professional associations lose out, especially when they could have taken steps to increase retention.

In this article, we’ll explore how using myKlovr as a retention tool can reduce employee and membership turnover during a strong economy.

myKlovr: A Brief Primer

Over the last few years, we at myKlovr have developed and launched a first-of-its-kind college counseling app that helps high school students identify their academic strengths, research colleges, and create an action plan for college admissions success. Another one of our service’s exciting features is that users can invite trusted adults – parents, teachers, guidance counselors – to review progress and verify milestones. This way, the people who care about the user the most have real-time information about what the user still needs to accomplish before applying to college.

We are also partnering with outside companies to increase the number of benefits users receive. These services include debt advising and a marketplace that showcases the best online tutoring and test prep services available. Additionally, we offer these extra resources at no extra cost.

For Employers

The work landscape is changing, and as a result, employers must try new strategies to attract and retain top talent. Millennial workers’ growing families will include high school-aged children in the next few years. This fact gives employers the perfect opportunity to provide benefit options that target employee’s children’s needs.

Besides helping student users, myKlovr can increase a company’s retention rate in two essential ways:

  • Offering myKlovr shows that employers care about employees’ well-being outside the office.
  • Once employees see myKlovr’s value, they will want to continue receiving it at the discounted price their employer provides.
    • Of course, an employee’s child can continue using myKlovr if that employee changes jobs. However, he or she will pay the full price for our service.

For Professional Associations

Voluntary benefits are arguably more important for professional associations, as members inherently have less motivation to remain compared to a paying job. That’s why associations must offer unique benefits that prospective and current members cannot find elsewhere. In addition to the reasons mentioned in the previous section, professional associations should consider offering myKlovr if they meet the following criteria:

  • They appeal to mid-career professionals in any field.
  • Their membership primarily consists of education professionals.

Let’s take a brief detour to discuss non-professional and pre-professional associations that cater to young adults (e.g., scouting, honor societies, etc.). These associations, too, should consider offering myKlovr to increase enrollment and retention. This way, members gain both the life skills the association instills as well as myKlovr’s expert college planning advice. That’s a recipe for academic and professional success.

Final Thoughts

myKlovr may not match every corporation and association’s needs, but for some, the benefits are clear. Please contact us if you believe that your company or association could increase retention by offering myKlovr. We look forward to working with you.

myKlovr: A Short Primer for Benefits Brokers

By Thomas Broderick

As a benefits broker, you give one or more clients expert advice on how to provide the best benefits at a cost affordable to employees, answer employers and employees’ questions, and stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations. As a result, you need to keep on top of the rapidly evolving benefits landscape to succeed at your job.

In this brief article, we at myKlovr want to introduce you to our employee and member benefit, one that appeals to mid-career professionals with middle and high school-aged children. We feel confident that by the time you finish reading, you will recognize myKlovr’s value and want to offer it to your clients.

What Is myKlovr?

MyKlovr answers a question many high school students have: ‘How do I get into my dream college?’ Unfortunately, high schools across the country lack proper college counseling resources, and the best private college admissions counselors charge as much as some lawyers. Many families go into the process blind, and without help, prospective college students cannot attend the right school.

To help families in need, myKlovr developed a first-of-its-kind virtual college admissions counseling service that combines seven key functions:

  • A student portfolio where users can curate their best academic and extracurricular work
  • Personalized goal recommendations (e.g., improve a grade, join a club) that align to the user’s top college picks
    • Users can modify these recommendations, also known as an action plan, at any time
  • A progress dashboard that visualizes users’ accomplishments
  • An advanced college finder with multiple filters
  • A support network wherein users can invite trusted adults (e.g., teachers, parents) to offer advice, keep up to date with progress, and confirm milestones
  • Specialized courses that teach users how to create college-friendly social media accounts
  • Financial education modules that provide valuable information on how to pay and save for college

Users receive all of these services the moment they sign up for myKlovr. Once they input personal and academic information, they can begin improving their chances of college admissions success.

How Does Offering myKlovr Differ From Other Benefits?

You’ve likely come across dozens of voluntary benefits that appeal not only to employees but also their families (e.g., public transportation passes, discounts on entertainment, gym memberships, etc.). myKlovr stands apart in one crucial aspect – cost.

Our low cost not only attracts new users but can help your clients, as well. Unlike with other, more expensive traditional and voluntary benefits, your clients can offer myKlovr at any time of year. Without the need for an open enrollment period, new employees in our target demographic can sign up on their first day of work. Your clients can use this fact to their advantage as they try to recruit the best talent.

Final Thoughts

Please visit our website to learn more about myKlovr and how it helps students and their families. Also, feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like to start offering myKlovr to your clients.

We look forward to working with you.

How myKlovr Can Integrate With Your Company’s HRMS

When we developed myKlovr, a first-of-its-kind virtual college counseling service, we knew we wanted to have companies offer it as part of their benefits package. To help companies integrate myKlovr into their Human Resource Management System (HRMS), we developed different methods applicable to your systems.

In the following paragraphs, you can learn more about our integration goals and the ways you can make myKlovr part of your HRMS. If you have questions after reading this article, feel free to reach out.

Integration Goals

No matter how you integrate myKlovr into your HRMS, we want to make sure the process is a successful one that achieves the following:

  • Employees can view their myKlovr benefits on your company’s benefits portal.
    • Employees can use this same portal to cancel myKlovr or view their billing history.
  • Signing up for myKlovr creates an account for an enrollee’s child or beneficiary (e.g., grandchild, nephew, etc.) automatically.
  • If an enrollee cancels myKlovr, the child/beneficiary has the option to continue using myKlovr at the standard per month rate.
  • Your company’s HR staff can update multiple employees’ enrollment status simultaneously.

Once you decide that myKlovr would be an excellent employee benefit for your employees, we will first determine pricing and set up service levels. When we finish the prep work, we can help you decide how to integrate myKlovr into your HRMS.

How to Integrate

To make sure that your company can meet its integration goals, we offer seamless methods you can use for your HRMS. The following sections provide a non-technical explanation based on technical documents myKlovr developed. We would be happy to share these documents with your HRMS professionals during the integration phase.

API-Based

An application program interface (API) allows your company to create a custom interface that HR professionals and employees use to manage the myKlovr benefit. Although your company would have more control over this system, API requires that your HR professionals have a high level of technical expertise.

Flat File Transfer

Flat file transfer provides companies the freedom to decide when to update enrollees’ information, a boon for companies who allow employees to sign up for myKlovr at any time.

If you prefer to use flat file transfer when updating enrollees’ information, we have prepared a simple six-step process that involves minimal work on your end and near-instantaneous confirmation concerning any requested changes. Also, we take care of the job of informing your employees about the latest modifications to their myKlovr benefits.

We have a host of resources that make this process as easy as possible. As a result, even HR professionals not formally trained in flat file transfer should be able to implement it successfully.

Final Thoughts

Even after integration, we at myKlovr want to make sure that your company’s HR professionals can manage enrollee information in a timely, accurate, and, most importantly, secure manner. As a result, we not only want to help you integrate myKlovr but also forge a productive and long-term business relationship.

We look forward to responding to your comments and inquiries.

How myKlovr Can Bundle with Other Voluntary Benefits

By Thomas Broderick

As voluntary benefits become more popular in the workplace, employers are often given the options of choosing benefits that are bundled together in order to save time and money.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros of benefits bundling,  and how myKlovr can bundle with complementary benefits.

Bundling vs. No Bundling

The most significant advantage of bundling involves cost. In a bundle, employees pay less for each benefit than if they had selected them individually. In voluntary benefit bundles, employees pay less and receive the same great benefits.

So, how do companies decide whether to bundle or not to bundle?

What Companies Can Do

When it comes to bundling, companies should turn to the experts – their employees. To understand their employees’ wants and needs, employers can hire survey researchers. These highly-trained professionals perform in-depth research into a company’s history, culture, workforce, turnover, performance, etc. Using this research, they design unbiased surveys (e.g., forms, one-on-one interviews, etc.). After obtaining the results, they present findings and recommendations to senior management.

By asking outside, impartial experts to uncover whether bundling meets employees’ needs,  managers can make an informed decision on whether voluntary benefits bundling works for them.

How myKlovr Can Bundle

When we developed myKlovr, we thought about more than just our primary audience – high school students. We knew that parents would play a vital role in both reviewing their children’s Individual Action Plan and verifying accomplishments. In other words, parents and other trusted mentors play a significant role in helping student users succeed.

For this and other reasons, myKlovr can bundle effortlessly with other voluntary benefits that appeal to mid-career professionals with middle and high school-aged children. The following are just a few of the voluntary benefits that employers can bundle with myKlovr:

  • Discount on a gym membership, local entertainment, etc.
  • Additional medical coverage (e.g., dental insurance that covers braces and other orthodontic services that young adults typically need)
  • Life insurance policy
  • College-savings plan
  • Automobile insurance discounts – a boon for families with young, inexperienced drivers

Final Thoughts

Finally, please keep in mind that if you make surveying your employees part of your company’s culture, you can promote both workplace satisfaction and employee loyalty.

How myKlovr Can Benefit Homeschooled Students

By Thomas Broderick

As of 2013, approximately 3.4% of all U.S. K-12 students were homeschooled. And each year, the percentage of homeschooled students continues to grow. Parents who choose to homeschool their children do so for many reasons (e.g., concerns about school safety, desire to provide a unique educational experience, having a child with special needs, etc.).

Fortunately, over the last 20 years, the internet and software have radically changed homeschooling. Parents can research the best resources, and students can go more in depth with the material than their peers who attend a traditional public or private school.

Although these advancements have made it possible for more students to receive an excellent education outside the school setting you may have experienced, attending college presents unforeseen challenges for homeschooled students. For example, even if a student plans to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree online, these programs use an application process designed for applicants who attended a public or private high school.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the many barriers homeschooled students face when applying to college. We’ll also explore how myKlovr, our first-of-its-kind virtual college counseling service, can make applying to college a less confusing and frustrating experience.

For Homeschooled Students, Why Is It So Hard To Apply To College?

First off, no one thinks that applying to college is an easy process. Like filing tax returns, the process is bureaucratic, and making a simple mistake could cost you everything. Traditional high school students, even those in schools with inadequate counseling resources, have two advantages that their homeschooled peers do not.

Grades

When it comes to what college admissions counselors value over all else, grades are paramount. Yes, counselors take a holistic approach to every application, but grades are the first thing they review. However, for homeschooled applicants, grades are not a simple matter.

Some states require that parents who homeschool submit grades for their children each year. But how does an admissions counselor view an ‘A’ from a homeschooled applicant when that counselor has no information about the quality of education that the applicant received? And when there are no grades, the process becomes even harder.

For applicants who attended a traditional school, the process is much simpler. High schools often send colleges and universities a fact sheet describing the school’s academic offerings (e.g., number of AP/IB courses), student body demographics, and average and median GPA. With that information in hand, counselors can quickly make a reasonable conclusion about what an applicant’s grades really mean.

Unfortunately, these same difficulties surface when homeschooled students apply to merit-based scholarships, ones that require high school transcripts or use GPA cutoffs.

Counseling Services

Although many traditional high school students throughout the country lack proper college counseling resources, they typically have some access to knowledgeable professionals who can provide help applying to college. Homeschooled students and their families, lacking these resources, must spend precious time researching the best advice on how to apply to college and gain admission to the best school.

How myKlovr Assists Homeschooled Students Apply to College

When we developed myKlovr, we had traditional high school students in mind, those whose college counselors could not provide the time and attention students needed to help them gain admission to a dream college or university. However, our service can offer the same valuable benefits to homeschooled students, as well.

Application Information

After users answer a series of questions concerning standardized test scores, personal interests, extracurricular activities, and academic achievements, we save this information so that they can track their progress over time. This tool can help homeschooled students stay on top of their accomplishments, a useful resource when filling out college applications.

Student Portfolio

College applicants are more than a series of letter grades and test scores. In the Student Portfolio, users input examples of their best academic and extracurricular accomplishments. This way, they can access these examples as they write college essays – telling a unique story to stand out from the hundreds or thousands of other applicants. Also, by creating a portfolio, college applicants improve their organizational skills, something all college students need to succeed academically.

Goal Recommendations

myKlovr’s software uses users’ data to make academic and extracurricular recommendations, a boon for users who have little to no idea how to improve their chances of college admissions success. Adults in a user’s support network (e.g., in the case of homeschooled students, their parents) verify accomplishments as they happen. Goal recommendations tie into myKlovr’s Advanced College Finder.

Advanced College Finder

myKlovr offers users much more than a college search engine. Using users’ data, we recommend a list of College Match schools – colleges and universities that users have an excellent chance of attending if they follow their goal recommendations. We are so confident in our ability to match college applicants with schools that if a user achieves his or her goal recommendations but does not receive admission to a College Match school, we will refund the entire subscription fee.

Financial Fitness Modules

Finally, we understand the difficulty that all students face when searching for and applying to financial aid opportunities. Our financial fitness modules help homeschooled students and their parents explore college savings plans, loans, scholarships, and work-study programs, among other financial aid opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Whether they learn at home or at a high school, students can gain an advantage over other college applicants by using myKlovr. This advantage is especially crucial as many families lack the financial resources to afford professional college admissions advisors, many of whom charge hefty fees. By leveling the playing field, we hope to ensure that all young adults can attend a college that matches their academic interests and career aspirations.

How myKlovr Can Complement Organizations’ Membership Benefits

By Thomas Broderick

Professional and civic organizations connect groups of like-minded people throughout the United States. As you’re reading this article, you or someone in your family is likely a member of one of these organizations. Many of these organizations provide tangible benefits to their members.

When an organization decides which benefits to offer, it considers options that can both address members’ current needs and potential ways in which to attract new members. For this reason, let’s discuss how all organizations should offer myKlovr no matter which age group they target.

Here are a few examples:

Ages 14-18

  • Scouting Organizations: Scouting includes more than just the big-name organizations you may have been involved with as a child. Since 1907, the Scout Movement strives to instill positive qualities (e.g., responsible citizenship, personal growth, and community involvement) in children and adolescents.
    • MyKlovr’s mission dovetails with the Scout Movement’s goals in many ways. Both encourage adolescents to take on personal responsibility, plan for the future, and develop interpersonal skills.
  • Honors Societies: In high schools throughout the nation, academically gifted students can join one or more honors societies. These societies are much more than a resume booster. Members often participate in service-learning (e.g., raising money, volunteering) and other projects.
    • Honors societies attract college-bound high school students. MyKlovr can help these dedicated students create an action plan.

Ages 18-25

  • Trade Unions: Trade unions and apprenticeship programs allow high school graduates to obtain a fulfilling career. However, many of these trades require years of training, a time when young professionals make much less than their mentors.
    • Many excellent community colleges boast one-year certificates and degrees in areas such as HVAC, welding, and carpentry. To help young union members advance faster, unions can offer myKlovr to help these professionals so they can explore educational opportunities.
  • Gig Economy Worker Associations: As the American economy evolves, more young workers are part of the gig economy. Although these jobs provide flexibility, they often do not pay way well nor offer benefits. However, in recent years, these workers have banded together to demand greater rights.
    • As the gig economy does not translate into economic stability for employees, many gig workers wonder whether attending college can improve their career prospects. The organizations that represent these professionals should consider myKlovr for its affordable price and college-search functionality. Like with high school-aged users, young adults can also benefit from our counseling service and success steps.

Ages 25-65

  • Corporations: Employees’ benefits need to evolve each year after they have children. For this reason, your company should continuously monitor employees’ satisfaction with their benefits and research new ones you can offer in the coming years. Not only do benefits for working parents increase employees’ satisfaction and loyalty, but they can also, through word of mouth, help your company attract top talent.
    • The complexity surrounding college admissions can put undue strain on parents and negatively affect their work performance. This challenge is one of the reasons that we at myKlovr designed the first virtual college counseling service that provides students personalized goals aimed at increasing their chances of college admissions success. Employees can review their children’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments at any time.
    • Social Worker and Counselor Organizations: When young men and women need help, social workers and counselors step in to uncover problems and propose solutions. These solutions may involve collaborating with children’s teachers. The organizations that these professionals join emphasize professional development and resources.
      • MyKlovr can help social workers and counselors forge a stronger relationship with the adolescents they serve. For example, a high school student may not have any trusted adults who might support them on their myKlovr journey. Counselors and social workers can use myKlovr to communicate with and help these students.

Ages 65+

  • Retirement Associations: Retirement associations claim millions of members ages 65 and over. They spend much of their resources advocating for lower drug prices and strengthening Social Security.
    • At first glance, it seems that retirement associations and myKlovr would be an odd mix. However, consider retired Americans with grandchildren ages 14 and up. If a retirement association offered myKlovr, members could gift it to their grandchildren. Also, student users could invite grandparents to become part of their support network. In this way, myKlovr has two benefits. Students gain expert college counseling advise, and retired individuals have a new way to interact with their grandchildren.

Final Thoughts

As myKlovr has grown, we have realized that people of all ages can find value in our service. We think that myKlovr would be an excellent addition to your association or organization’s benefits package. Please contact us to learn more about myKlovr and how it can help your organization or association.

Why High School Counselors Struggle (And What We Can Do About It)

By Thomas Broderick

I spent my entire K-12 education attending public schools in the same district. I received excellent academic support services from my schools’ counselors, without which I would have never been able to attend Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate.

Years later, I returned to my old school district – one of the richest in the United States – to teach at a high school just down the street from the one where I graduated. Over the next four years, I saw a different side of education, one where students lacked the counseling resources that had helped me succeed.

Many of my students, not knowing much about higher education, wrote off college as an unattainable dream. Also, they had no time during the school day to explore career-preparation programs, trade schools, or other educational opportunities that could have prepared them for the next stages of their lives. These issues were not entirely the fault of the counselor. Yes, you read that right. The entire high school, one that catered to at-risk students, had only one counselor.

Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon in the United States. The average high school counselor works with approximately double the recommended number of students that the American School Counselor Association recommends. And in many parts of the country, the counselor-to-student ratio is growing.

In this article, we’ll look at how proper counseling can help students, why this isn’t happening, and how myKlovr has stepped up to provide a service that assists high school students with college admissions and makes counselors more effective professionals.

The Challenge High School Counselors Face

In a perfect world, counselors would have time to analyze students’ academic – as well as emotional and social – needs. Counselors would meet with students at multiple points throughout the year to discuss progress, challenges, and goals. Finally, counselors would have detailed notes to refer to before working with a student – much like a patient file a doctor uses during a checkup. In this world, high school students would not only receive excellent advice but would also have a solid action plan for after high school.

However, the typical high school counselor is responsible for nearly 500 students. This workload leaves them little time to address students’ needs, let alone learn names. As a result, students spend only a few minutes each year with a counselor.

Sadly, too few counselors working with too many students is only one part of the problem that 21st-century counselors face.

Only So Many Hours in the Day

School counselors’ job responsibilities extend much further than what most people realize, and when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)in 2001, counselors found themselves with an even larger job description. Before NCLB, high school counselors were responsible for administering some high-stakes standardized tests (e.g., AP, ACT, SAT). In the district where I grew up and taught, each of these tests took place during school hours, further reducing counselors’ time for other activities.

By the time I started teaching 10 years after NCLB became law, my school’s counselor was responsible for state- and district-level assessments. There were pre-assessments, formative assessments, and benchmarks sprinkled throughout the year. Although teachers administered these tests, it was the counselor’s responsibility to analyze the data, further taking time away from students.

Besides additional responsibilities, counselors are some of the first targets when a school or district tightens its budget. Districts make this choice despite overwhelming evidence that reducing the number of counselors increases the dropout rate.

Although some school districts have embraced change and hired additional counselors, most counselors still struggle with finding time for their primary duty: serving students. For this reason, counselors need resources that can make their limited time with students more efficient and effective.

One such resource is myKlovr.  

The myKlovr Advantage

Our goal at myKlovr to provide college-bound students with personalized college admissions advice. Our service helps students identify their academic strengths and weaknesses, create an action plan, and research colleges that would be a good fit. Concerning the latter, we develop a College Match for each user – a list of schools that a student would have an excellent chance of receiving admission if he or she followed the action plan we recommend. Parents, counselors, teachers, and other trusted adults can stay up to date with that student’s academic and extracurricular progress by receiving notifications or accessing the student’s profile.

Final Thoughts

High schoolers throughout the nation suffer from a lack of counseling resources, and counselors are overburdened to the point where they cannot provide their limited resources effectively. MyKlovr aims to close the gap. Students receive individualized advice, and counselors can keep up to date with their students’ evolving needs.

Understanding Millennial Employees’ Benefits Needs

By Thomas Broderick

In 2019, millennials became the largest living generation in the United States. Their ages range from 19 to 37, and overall, they possess many liberal economic and social views. On the job, they want to apply their talents toward producing meaningful work.

Economically, most millennials lag behind the previous two generations (e.g., generation X and baby boomers) due to the “Great Recession” that began in late 2007. This two-year recession and the long recovery stunted many millennials’ career opportunities and salary potential. The recession’s lingering effects have a continued impact on millennials’ earning power.

When considering these challenges under a benefits microscope, two words come to mind: stability and opportunity.

In this article, we’ll explore both traditional and voluntary benefits that appeal to millennials. We’ll also consider how millennials’ benefits needs might change in the coming years.

What Young Families Want

Although millennials differ from other generations, they still value traditional benefits packages. Millennial employees are marrying and starting families, meaning that they put a priority on careers that offer good medical and life insurance policies. Both provide young families – many of which are still adjusting to new financial realities – the knowledge that sickness or death will not cripple them financially.

Yes, millennials greatly appreciate traditional benefits, but their generation also values their families’ well-being over all else, including their employers or careers. This desire to provide their spouses and children with the best quality of life makes it easier for millennials to switch companies if they can attain a better benefits package.

For this reason, companies are offering voluntary benefits to attract and retain employees. Let’s look at some of the voluntary benefits that align with millennial employees’ short- and long-term needs.

The Best Voluntary Benefits for Millennials

Millennials, whether they have families or not, generally want a voluntary benefits package that boasts flexibility, encourages peace of mind, includes their family, and promotes personal fulfillment outside the office.

  • Gym Memberships: Gym memberships represent an excellent supplement to a traditional health insurance policy. Exercise not only improves health, but many people report that it also affects mental well-being. Also, as gym memberships can extend to family members, healthy spouses and children translate into happier employees who can focus on their work better.
  • Financial Literacy: Financial literacy resources can include courses at your job site, apps, and other online tools. If your company adopts financial literacy courses as a voluntary benefit, choose a service that emphasizes 529 plans (i.e., college-savings plans), retirement savings, and student loan repayment strategies. These services best match millennials’ most pressing needs.
  • Additional Paid Time Off: In recent years, companies have used unlimited PTO as a way to attract highly-trained professionals. With more time off, employees can spend more time with their families and feel higher loyalty toward their employers.  Even if your company does not offer employees additional vacation days, ensure that employees feel safe in taking time off.
  • myKlovr Virtual College Counseling: MyKlovr has developed a first-of-its-kind virtual counseling service to assist high school students and their families navigate college admissions. Students receive personalized advice that helps them improve their chances of college admissions success.

Looking to the Future

Although millennials’ children will not enter high school for a few years,  the myKlovr employee benefit can be extended to siblings or even nieces and nephews who are in need of specialized tools to help them gain admission to a good college or university. We at myKlovr also believe that this benefit can be extended to workers who may have taken time-off from studying after high school,  and are currently employed but enroll in college.

Our program works by asking students a series of questions concerning their academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and college preferences. MyKlovr turns this information into success goals that students can achieve throughout high school. If students meet these goals, they can obtain letters of admission from the colleges and universities that myKlovr recommends. We call these recommendations a College Match. In fact, if none of a student’s College Match schools admit the student, we gladly refund the entire subscription fee (terms and conditions apply). That’s how confident we are in myKlovr’s ability to help high school students attend college.

Final Thoughts

Whether through fitness incentives, financial literacy courses, PTO, or myKlovr, your company can attract and retain millennial employees by offering voluntary benefits that match their evolving needs.

Why Your Company Should Offer College Admissions Counseling as a Voluntary Benefit

By Thomas Broderick

Voluntary benefits provide employers an excellent, low-cost method to attract and retain the best talent. With so many options, however, human resources departments may find it challenging to determine which benefits best match their employees’ needs. Also, a benefit that employees value in 2019 may lose its luster in 2020.

When employees lose interest in a voluntary benefit, that fact does not automatically mean that the benefit in question has lost value. Every time you hire an employee, your employees’ demographics shift ever so slightly. If your company experiences moderate to heavy turnover, expect that your employees’ voluntary benefits preferences to change. For this reason, companies should curate a broad selection of voluntary benefits that they can either offer all at once or rotate as their employees’ needs evolve.

We at myKlovr created our virtual college counseling service for the large percentage of American families who cannot afford the high prices that professional counselors charge. In this article, we’ll discuss our voluntary benefit and how it can help your mid-career professionals become more effective and loyal workers.

Your Target Audience

Before discussing myKlovr’s college counseling service, let’s determine whether your company’s employees might be interested. Our service benefits high school students and their families. As a result, if Millennials make up a majority of your workforce, it may be too soon to make myKlovr a pillar of your company’s voluntary benefits package. Millennials have young families whose children range from infants to late elementary school students. However, it’s never too early to start surveying these employees on whether they would want myKlovr as a future voluntary benefit.

How myKlovr Brings College Admissions Counseling to the Masses

Over the last few decades, college admissions have become more competitive than ever. Parents with means turn to private college admissions counselors to help their children explore colleges, improve their grades and extracurricular activities, and write excellent application essays. The best counselors charge over $100 per hour, putting their fees on par with some lawyers.

We at myKlovr created the world’s first virtual college counseling service to help high school students from all socioeconomic backgrounds increase their chances of college admissions success. The service works in much the same way as hiring a private counselor. After setting up an account, students take a lengthy survey that allows our software to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and college preferences.

Students receive a list of custom-tailored academic and extracurricular goals, as well as a college match – a list of colleges where they have the best chances of gaining admission. Parents and other trusted adults (e.g., teachers, high school counselors) that students invite to view their profiles receive updates on students’ progress.

Students’ profiles also provide a dedicated space where students can curate their best academic work. They can then reference these accomplishments in their college admission essays. At the same time, teachers can review this work when writing college recommendation letters.

Finally, we are so confident in our program’s ability to help students succeed that we offer a College Match Guarantee. If a student follows the academic and extracurricular recommendation we suggest and does not gain admission to any schools on their college match, we will refund their entire subscription cost.

What You Can Expect

The college application process takes an emotional toll on students and families. Also, most parents feel great anxiety at the prospect of their children moving away. These combined stresses can negatively affect employees’ work performance. Although myKlovr cannot eliminate stress from parents’ lives, it can assure them that their children are receiving excellent college admissions advice. This peace of mind can help your employees focus on their work better.

Final Thoughts

If your company employs primarily mid-career professionals, consider surveying them on whether myKlovr matches their families’ voluntary benefits needs. myKlovr offers a competitive rate for subscribers who purchase our service through a company-wide voluntary benefits package.

Benefits for Working Parents

By Thomas Broderick

Every day they go to work, working parents sacrifice time that they could have otherwise used to make memories with their spouses and children. In return, they expect their employers to provide not only a salary but also benefits that help them and their families.

As benefits play such a vital role in employer/employee relationships, working parents should not only understand the benefits they and their families receive but also demand that those benefits match their families’ needs. At the same time, employers should take note of employees’ life situations and craft unique and attractive benefits packages that blend both traditional and voluntary options.

Traditional Benefits

Traditional benefits are those that many employers began offering in the years immediately following the Second World War. As employers shoulder the financial burden, employees receive these benefits at no cost.

Health Insurance

The most significant traditional benefit, health insurance protects employees and their families by paying for many medical services. Expecting parents should research their companies’ health insurance policies to ensure that their children have coverage from the moment they are born. Signing children up for dental or vision insurance may require additional forms.

Paid Time Off  

Paid time off benefits working parents in many ways. For one, working parents can use this time for vacations or other significant events in their children’s lives. Most employees gain additional paid time off each year that they stay with the company. 

401(k) or Other Retirement Plans

Although retirement plans benefit parents rather than their children, some retirement plans can reduce employees’ tax burdens, ensuring they have more money for their growing families.

Voluntary Benefits

Working parents with children of all ages appreciate when their employers offer voluntary benefits that improve their children’s lives. Unlike traditional benefits, employees – and not their employers – pay for them. However, as employees receive a group discount, they can both save money and choose the services that their families need.

Supplemental Health Insurance

Health insurance may cover most expenses, but up-front costs (e.g., premiums, the need for out-of-network specialists, travel, etc.) can still put a tremendous financial strain on families. Supplemental health insurance policies close the financial gap. Many policies allow enrollees to select the specific health benefits that match their financial and health needs.

Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance policies reassure employees that if something should happen to them, there will be money to take care of their surviving spouse and children. However, once an employee has children, the costs of these policies jump significantly. A cheap, long-term life insurance policy can put your employees’ minds at ease and increase their loyalty to your company.

College Counseling

Although employees may keep their supplemental health insurance and life insurance policies as their children become high school-aged, the complexity surrounding college admissions can put undue strain on parents and negatively affect their work performance. This challenge is one of the reasons that we at myKlovr designed the first virtual college counseling service that provides students personalized goals aimed at increasing their chances of college admissions success. At work, employees can review their children’s academic and extracurricular accomplishments at any time.

Final Thoughts

Employees’ benefits needs evolve each year after they have children. For this reason, your company should continuously monitor employees’ satisfaction with their benefits and research new ones you can offer in the coming years. Not only do benefits for working parents increase employees’ satisfaction and loyalty, but they can also, through word of mouth, help your company attract top talent.

Voluntary Benefits That Attract Top Talent

By Thomas Broderick

Voluntary benefits help companies diversify their benefits offerings and tailor them to the talented professionals they want to attract and retain. As companies and employees’ needs change, so can voluntary benefits.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most popular benefits that attract top talent, including myKlovr’s affordable college admission-counseling service.

Family Benefits

Many traditional benefits (e.g., health insurance) already help both employees and their families. However, as millennials who enjoy voluntary benefits start families, they will want voluntary benefits that help their spouses and children. Employers that offer these benefits can forge a deeper connection with their employees, reducing the odds that those employees will leave for other opportunities.

Voluntary benefits that help families come in many forms:

  • Public Transportation Passes
    • Employee benefit: Employees who take public transportation have more energy when they arrive at work.
    • Family benefit: Spouses and children can save money on travel in their local communities.
  • Gym Memberships
    • Employee benefit: Employees maintain good health, which saves employers money on health insurance plans.
    • Family benefit: Families can bond through physical activities.
  • Additional Health Insurance
    • Employee and family benefit: Families can save money on unexpected health emergencies.
  • Life Insurance Policies
    • Employee benefit: Employees, knowing that the policy will take care of their families if the worst should happen, feel higher loyalty toward their employers.
    • Family benefit: Families do not have to pay as much for life insurance policies.

Like with all voluntary benefits, employees pay a reduced cost compared to if they had obtained these services on their own. However, when it comes to providing voluntary benefits to employees with children, employers must consider not only how many employees have children, but also those children’s ages. As children age, so do parents’ priorities. Employees with young children may sign up for a life insurance policy, while employees with high school-aged children may desire something different.

That’s where myKlovr comes in.

How myKlovr’s Voluntary Benefit Meet Employers’ Needs

MyKlovr’s revolutionary voluntary benefit provides employers a new and unique way to attract and retain employees with high school-aged children. For a low monthly rate, students can make a custom profile, and after answering a few simple questions, receive individualized college admissions advice.

The system works by helping high school students create a series of academic and extracurricular goals for their freshman-senior years. Parents and other trusted adults (e.g., teachers, counselors) can view these goals at any time and keep track of when and how students complete them.

Students’ myKlovr accounts also boast a portfolio wherein students can curate their best academic achievements (e.g., research papers, projects, awards, etc.). This way, students do not have to rummage through four years’ worth of work when it comes time to write college application essays and ask teachers for recommendations.

Final Thoughts

To attract and retain the best talent, your company should offer voluntary benefits that positively impact employees and their families’ well-being. Start by researching your employees’ family lives and preferences. And if myKlovr doesn’t meet your employees’ needs at this time, keep us in mind as your employees’ children reach their teenage years.

Your employees – and their families – will thank you.

Six Rising Trends in Voluntary Benefits for 2019

By Thomas Broderick

Voluntary benefits have shown great promise in supplementing traditional benefits packages that include health insurance and retirement savings plans. However, attracting top talent means that companies must continuously refine which benefits they offer employees and how they roll out these benefits. For this reason, employers must keep up to date with the latest trends in voluntary benefits – trends that have a significant impact on employee retention.

That said, let’s look at six rising trends that employers should pay close attention to for the remainder of 2019.

Voluntary Benefits Are Expected Benefits

The first trend is not so much a type of voluntary benefit but an essential fact that all employers should know. By the end of 2019, most employees will want to work for companies that offer flexible benefits packages that provide some choice. Voluntary benefits provide employees agency, and even the smallest amount of agency can forge a bond between employees and their employers. 

Student Loan Relief

Students loans take years if not decades to pay back, and the stress of paying off loans can have a detrimental impact on your employees’ work performance. Also, consider retention. Employees burdened with loans are more likely to leave for another company that pays them a higher salary.

To offer student loan relief, your company matches student loan repayments up to a set dollar amount. The system works in much the same way as retirement matching. A student loan relief program can instill employee loyalty, as employees can pay off their loans faster than they would have been able to otherwise. Your company can also supplement this benefit by holding seminars on student debt – educating employees on other strategies they can use to pay off their loans and build excellent credit.

Financial Guidance

Young employees have more financial difficulties than student loans. Many employees struggle with saving, budgeting, and other skills. An automated savings plan costs your company very little and can go far in convincing employees that you have their best interests at heart.

In addition to savings plans, professional development courses and other tools can help your employees build their financial skills. No longer worried as much about savings or debt, they can focus more on their jobs.

Multi-Generation Support

In the generations since the Second World War, companies that offer childcare services have attracted employees with young families. However, as America ages, more and more employees find themselves caring for elderly parents and grandparents, as well. These responsibilities can negatively affect even the most talented and hard-working employees.

You can offer multi-generation support through discounts on elder care (e.g., nursing services, physical therapists) and additional financial assistance for employees who act as a family member’s sole caregiver.

Multi-generational support means much more than aiding employees’ infants and elderly family members. It also means helping employees’ school-aged children.  myKlovr created our virtual college counseling service as a voluntary benefit that prepares high school students for college admissions success. Employees receive this benefit at a low cost and can use the app to check in on their children’s college preparation goals at any time of day.

Professional Development

Employees in hundreds of professions take professional development courses to maintain their professional licenses. These courses can cost hundreds of dollars a year, even if employees receive other discounts through professional organizations. Employers who provide group rates on professional development courses can save not only their employees money but also time. Employees without their employers’ support often waste hours researching professional development courses that meet recertification requirements. By helping their employees save time and money, employers can further raise their employees’ loyalty and job satisfaction

Keep Employees Informed

Making voluntary benefits a success at your company requires much more than a company-wide email or form. To ensure that voluntary benefits become a cornerstone of your company’s corporate culture, you have to invest the time and money to ensure that all employees understand voluntary benefits and stay up to date with the latest benefits your company offers. Consider investing in professional development, seminars, videos, and simple ‘how to’ guides. Once employees become acclimated to voluntary benefits, you can release more periodic updates.

Finally, keep prospective employees up to date by prominently displaying your latest voluntary benefits on your company or organization’s website.

Final Thoughts

Trends evolve, which means that companies must update their benefits every year to meet employees’ changing needs. This way, companies never lose out on attracting and retaining the best talent.

Voluntary Benefits: A Primer for Employers

By Thomas Broderick

From catered lunches to flexible work schedules, employers are doing everything they can to attract top talent away from other companies. Although attractive to employees, these benefits and perks can cost employers a tremendous amount of money. Also, not all employers can afford these services, especially when they already pay for traditional benefits packages. However, in this era of record-low unemployment, all employers must experiment with new and unique benefits. One such option involves voluntary benefits.

What Are Voluntary Benefits

The following chart breaks down some key differences between traditional and voluntary benefits.

Traditional BenefitsVoluntary Benefits
Employees receive them automatically.Employees select some benefits from a list of options.
Employers pay the cost.Employees pay the cost, but a much lower price as they receive a group rate.
As every major employer offers them, companies do not stand out to prospective employees.By curating a unique list of voluntary benefits, employers can target a particular group of professionals (e.g., millennials with young families) they want to recruit and retain.

Now that you know how traditional and voluntary benefits differ, here are some popular voluntary benefits that companies are offering their employees:

  • Identify theft protection
  • Critical-illness insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Student-loan refinancing
  • Public transportation passes

To create a benefit for employees, companies partner with a second company — a benefits broker or professional employer organization (PEO) — that manages the benefit. The two companies agree on how the benefit will work and how much employees will pay. This process costs the employer very little; the company offering the benefit knows it will make its profit from the other company’s employees. Companies can offer their employees as many or as few voluntary benefits as they please.

Should My Company Offer Voluntary Benefits?

Voluntary benefits provide a host of advantages with little to no drawback for your company. By researching the most popular voluntary benefits and surveying your employees, you can determine which benefits would best attract and retain talented professionals.

If your company has never offered voluntary benefits, employees will need to learn how these benefits can complement their traditional benefits packages. You might consider holding a company-wide seminar or training session to educate employees about voluntary benefits.

After you roll out voluntary benefits, be sure to judge your employees’ reactions and adjust benefits accordingly. Just because employees responded positively to a benefit in a survey does not automatically mean that they will stay with your company if they should receive a better offer. In other words, providing the best voluntary benefits requires continuous fine tuning, especially if your company experiences moderate to high turnover.

MyKlovr’s Unique Voluntary Benefit

The best college admission counselors often charge over $100/hour for their services, making them out of reach for most families. Since 2017, myKlovr has striven to create an affordable virtual college admission advising program for high school students and their families. For a flat monthly fee, students receive expert, tailored advice to help them raise their chances for college admission success.

Our benefit appeals to employees who could not otherwise afford college admission counseling for their high school-aged children. As of the writing of this article, myKlovr has partnered with the following companies to bring our service to families in need:

By selecting myKlovr as part of your company’s voluntary benefits package, you convey to employees that you care about their lives outside of the office. With their children’s college advising in good hands, employees can direct more energy toward their work.

Your Next Step

Now that you understand voluntary benefits and how they can help your company, consider hiring a consultant – preferably a survey researcher — to determine which benefits best match your and your employees’ needs.

How to Make the Most of Summer to Prep for College Admissions

By Thomas Broderick

It’s late May, which means summer vacation is right around the corner for millions of high school students like you. As both a former student and teacher, I remember those days fondly. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel. Just hang on a little longer and I’d be rewarded with nine glorious weeks off.

Yes, I expect you to use this upcoming summer break to get a little R&R. However, if you’re a rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior, I encourage you to spend a little time over the following weeks to prepare for college admissions.

That said, let’s dive into what you can do to make the most of this summer while still leaving you plenty of time to relax.   

If You’re a Rising Sophomore

Now that you’ve completed freshman year, you should have a decent understanding of your academic strengths and weaknesses. You also (hopefully) found at least one extracurricular activity that you enjoy. Let’s turn this new knowledge into an action plan.

What You Should Do

  • If struggled with English or math your freshman year, spend 2-3 hours a week reviewing lessons on Khan Academy. Using Khan Academy or a similar service will both improve your English/math skills and prevent you from forgetting what you learned.
    • If your parents can afford a tutor, that works, too. 🙂
  • Spend about 7-10 hours over the summer researching colleges online. Here are some potential Google searches:
    • Colleges that have strong [Insert the name of your favorite subject here] programs.
    • Community colleges in [your state].
    • Best public colleges in [your state].
    • Colleges that award scholarship for [your extracurricular activity/high GPAs/good test scores].
  • As you research potential schools, you’ll notice that a lot of them come with big price tags. Talk to your families about what the can/will contribute to your college education.

What You Could Do 

  • As you’ll take either the PLAN or PSAT test during your sophomore year, you need to decide whether you are going to prepare for either test. Many students take these tests ‘cold’ so they can understand their natural strengths and weaknesses. This is fine, but if you are aiming for a National Merit Scholarship, you’ll need to put in some PSAT prep.

If You’re a Rising Junior

Becoming a junior is a big deal. You’re an upperclassman now, and college is just two years away. This summer you’ll need to take a more active role in preparing for your future. 

What You Should Do

  • Go on at least two college tours.
    • By researching colleges online, you should know already have a few that interest you. It’s time to hit the road with the family and see these colleges up close.
  • Decide whether to prepare for the ACT or SAT.
    • You’ll likely take both of these tests during your college admissions journey. However, as many students discover that perform slightly better on one test over the other.
  • Curate scholarship opportunities.
    • Continue your research from last summer and select 5-10 scholarships that you can apply to now or when you become a senior.
          • Although application deadlines might not be for another year, researching now means that you still have time to improve your grades/increase your volunteer hours/etc.
  • Sign up for challenging classes.
    • No, I don’t mean ‘take all AP courses.’ Yes, for some students, that’s challenging. For others, it’s a recipe for burnout/failure/etc. You need to choose a curriculum that’s challenging for you.
    • In other words, if you made an A in a non-honors course, consider taking the honors course in that same subject area as a junior.
      • The same advice applies if you did well in honors courses as a sophomore. Maybe it’s time to take 1-2 APs your junior year. 

What You Could Do

  • Take an ACT or SAT prep course.
    • Standardized tests like the ACT and SAT are a milestone for high school juniors. By preparing for these tests now, you might earn a good enough score that you do not have to retake them later.
  • Intern or volunteer.
    • There are plenty of internship or volunteer opportunities in your local community. Find one that represents a cause or issue you believe in and spend 5-10 hours each week interning or volunteering. 

If You’re a Rising Senior

College admissions season is coming up fast, which means that this summer you’ll decide which colleges you’ll apply to in the fall. The following advice should help you make up your mind and put the final touches on your application packets.

What You Should Do

  • Take additional college tours.
  • Prepare to retake the ACT or SAT.
    • You took one or both of these tests during the spring. Now that you have the results, you can create a study plan that involves tutors or free Khan Academy resources.
    • I’d recommend spending 1-2 hours a week on test prep. This way, you can retake the ACT or SAT in late August or early September. These test windows are excellent as you’ll have your results in hand before college applications are due. 

What You Could Do 

  • Start application essays.
    • It’s never too early to start your application essays. See my article on the topic for more information.
  • Keep interning or volunteering.
    • If you interned of volunteered last summer, keep up the good work by trying a new experience this summer.

Final Thoughts

Summer is a great time to relax. By all means, stay up late, sleep in, and have a good time with your friends. But remember that time is a resource like any other. This summer, invest some time in your future by preparing for life after high school. Future you will thank present you.

 

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