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Who We Are

Hi, I’m Micheal McKinnon.

An independent educational consultant, college admissions advisor and master financial aid strategist dedicated to assisting your student to get into a great-for-you school at a reasonable cost and with minimal (or no) debt. My heart goes out to parents today. Colleges do NOT make entry a pleasure or an ease. Often, a college education is the second largest expense for a family undertakes. But it doesn’t need to be.

Our promise is simple.

We will guide you through a proven, five-step proprietary system so your college admissions experience is calm, streamlined, clear and focused. We give families options, tailored to their exact situation. Plus, we’ll help your student with whatever their future goals include—internships, grad school, international study and/or securing that first “real” job.

Stop the guesswork, endless stress, and nagging.

College should be the most rewarding, enjoyable and rich period of your student's educational career. Trust College Planners of America to help make this a reality for you.

Who We Work With

I tell every family I meet with that two things have to happen for us to work together:

alt tagYou’ve got to like me alt tagI’ve got to like you.

The path to college is like a fine dining experience.
There are a dizzying array of delicious courses available
(test prep, college visits, deciding a major, and more). 

College Planners of America knows "eat-and-run" or "buffet-style" 
college consulting just leaves families with a bad taste in their mouth. 

You and your family deserve a long-term, five-star partnership that
answers your every question and directs you on the most efficient
and effective path to college. 

We serve up world-class assessments, proven test prep, effective systems 

and deep conversations to ensure we all – parents, students, and consultants alike –

enjoy the process from start to finish, and get results 

that leave a good taste in the mouth.


We work with local (and not-so-local) college-bound students who:

  • Will attend the right college for them

  • Are willing to work a coach to navigate their college process efficiently

  • Follow our suggestions to increase their test scores and to maintain or even improve their GPA

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We work with parents who:

  • Know the value of working with a coach to ensure their student  finds a right-fit college from the start 

  •  Plan to pay for college without “breaking the bank” or emptying their retirement accounts 

  •  Are open-minded, coachable, and clear in communicating their own needs and desires

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Although it’s counter-intuitive, colleges intentionally create a series of barriers and roadblocks to entry. Their over-complication creates a “win” for them as big businesses, but a “loss” for you as a consumer.

We level the college admissions playing field through a series of time-tested strategies, earning a “W” for our families. Most services assist either the parent(s) OR the student. We watch out for both the interests of those writing tuition checks and those seeking a degree and a future career.

As a full-service college planning organization, College Planners of America knows:

  • There are two ways to pay for college: your money or someone else’s. We assist you to keep as much of your hard-earned money in your own pocket as possible.

  • There’s no one “perfect” college. The right school is one where a student can be happy, successful and graduate in four year (or less) with a marketable degree at a reasonable cost and minimal debt. Everything else is of secondary importance.

We assist our client families to navigate the path to college and beyond in a sane, orderly, efficient manner, customized each family's time constraints, individual needs, and budget. For more info on the process, click the “Find Out More” button below. If you’re ready to have a conversation about your specific situation, concerns and needs, click “Schedule Your No-Cost Meet & Greet” or give us a call now.


1401 Branding Avenue, Suite 290

Downers Grove, IL 60515-1197




"I felt so relieved working with Mike. He was an awesome guide for myself and my daughter. It was like having an experienced captain navigating our ship instead of us paddling around willy-nilly in our own make-shift ...
Jeanne P., Hinsdale
"Working with a professional has been so cost effective. We saved on unnecessary travel expenses (because we had a highly-targeted list of just-right-for-my-son schools from the start). We saved on admission expenses....
Dan N., Glen Ellyn
"My son’s father has researched local college planners for months. He found the College Planners of America website and liked what he saw enough to sign up for a free Meet & Greet Session. He and my son atte...
Molly P., Winnetka

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Monday 10:00AM - 8:00PM

Tuesday 10:00AM - 8:00PM

Wednesday 10:00AM - 8:00PM

Thursday 11:00AM - 9:00PM

Friday 10:00AM - 5:00PM

Saturday 8:00AM - 4:00PM


Sunday by appointment only.