When it comes to starting and running your own business as an independent college counselor, it's important to have the necessary tools in order to succeed. One such resource is college planning software, a comprehensive program with built-in toolsets that make planning, scheduling and organization simple and efficient. 

When it comes to comparing the best college planning software, it's important to dig deep into what each one offers. The needs of independent college counselors vary, so naturally, their needs will vary, too. CollegePlannerPro and GuidedPath are two software programs available for consultants to put to use. 

CollegePlannerPro vs. GuidedPath Overview

CollegePlannerPro and GuidedPath appear similar on the surface because they're tailored to the same audience. However, there are some distinct differences that set the two apart. 

Key Features Offered by CollegePlannerPro vs. GuidedPath

Consultants looking to compare CollegePlannerPro vs GuidedPath should consider the features that differ between the two. While both are equipped with the basics to manage their student list and business, the extra features are what really make the difference. They can help advisors stay on top of upcoming appointments and tasks, as well as adequately manage their workloads, which is critical to business success. 

Time Trackers

One of the core features that consultants and advisors can benefit from is a time tracker. CollegePlannerPro offers a time tracker that tracks the hours and minutes spent with each student, as well as the ability to add entries, mark whether the time is billable or not, and update the payment status. 

In addition to the time tracker feature, CollegePlannerPro has a billing and invoicing interface that tracks all invoices, the status of payments and also makes it easy to send out invoices to clients quickly and efficiently, without needing another payment tracking software. 

College Profiles and Searches

Having access to college information at your fingertips is a must when working with students. You want to be able to not only provide clients with information, but you want it to be up to date as well. Both CollegePlannerPro and GuidedPath include college data profiles within their platforms.

CollegePlannerPro breaks the information down in an at-a-glance format that displays tuition information and other costs, admissions requirements and stats, and deadline information to name a few. 

GuidedPath offers a built-in college search feature that lets its customers download into a spreadsheet to create comparison charts. Like CollegePlannerPro, GuidedPath makes it easy to present the information to students. 

Where CollegePlannerPro goes further, though, is in its capability to create college reports that can then be printed and distributed to students. These reports contain all of the information that students and their families need to make educated decisions. 

Messaging Options

Staying in touch is essential, and both platforms come with a variety of ways to maintain contact. GuidedPath has a central message center where consultants can send group or individual text messages to both students and parents, and keep them all in one place for easy reference. Here, they can also attach documents to emails, as well as appointments and assignments.

CollegePlannerPro has a communication hub as well, which combines text messages, email and notes. The broadcast email function makes it easy for consultants to send out announcements with attachments and even track who has opened them, for more insight. Even the calendar can send out messages to parents and students about upcoming appointments via email and text. 

CollegePlannerPro vs. GuidedPath Subscription Plans and Pricing

The subscription plans vary between the two software programs. CollegePlannerPro offers six tiers, while GuidedPath offers five. Each tier allows for a different number of active students. Prospective students are free for both companies. Prices below are as of December 2019 and are subject to change.

CollegePlannerPro has a level for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and an unlimited number of active students. To compare, GuidedPath has tiers for 2, 15, 40, 100 and 500 students. Both offer a 30-day free trial and free support, which benefits its users. However, CollegePlannerPro is the winner when it comes to overall pricing, especially when you weigh the features that it offers. 

Members of professional organizations including the IECA, HECA or NCAG, receive 25% off CollegePlannerPro subscription plan pricing for all tiers. GuidedPath only offers $15 off each level. CollegePlannerPro’s unlimited level for those with a specific association membership is $141 per month. Compared to GuidedPath's $265 per month for up to 500 students, the savings are significant. 

CollegePlannerPro vs. GuidedPath Resources

Both CollegePlannerPro and GuidedPath offer resources for members and students. 

Member Resources

If you're an independent educational consultant, you need a way to keep everything in one place to stay organized. CollegePlannerPro is a great tool for this because of the number of resources it offers. Not only do consultants have access to their own dashboards, but they can also view their students' dashboards. GuidedPath offers the same capability, but with fewer features. 

Other member features for CollegePlannerPro include access to assessments for personality, intelligence, skills and learning, and productivity. GuidedPath has survey tools that test personality, and offer additional insight into college affordability. GuidedPath members can also build their own surveys to help them get to know their students better. 

Both have a Knowledge Base and a help section where members can find answers to questions about operation and functionality.

Student Dashboards

Students need to stay organized, too, especially when considering multiple schools. CollegePlannerPro makes that simple with the CustomCollegePlan dashboard. Here, students have multiple tabs that break up the information so it's easy to browse through and digest. The dashboard showcases a to-do list, upcoming meetings and recent messages. The other tabs cover testing, applications, colleges the student is considering, files, emails and a calendar for tracking everything. 

CollegePlannerPro vs. GuidedPath Member Ratings and Reviews

Since both programs are loaded with features for independent educational consultants, it should come as no surprise that both have impeccable reviews and ratings from their members. 

CollegePlannerPro members cite its ease of use and the ability to access it from anywhere as bonuses, and they've given the software 5 stars reviews on Facebook and Google as a result. 

GuidedPath doesn't have nearly as many member ratings or reviews on their Facebook page or website, but the ones they do have are positive. Opinions cited include the enjoyment of "all the bells and whistles" the software offers both its members and students. 

CollegePlannerPro seems to have more reviews and ratings than its competitor, plus they date back a few years, establishing this software as the clear-cut winner among consultants who choose to leave reviews.  

Why Choose CollegePlannerPro

When faced with making a decision between the two, it comes down to the number of features and the ease of use.

Independent educational consultants who intend to start their own college planning consultant business can benefit from the sheer amount of business management tools such as the invoicing, scheduling, and ability to stay in contact with active and prospective students and their families. The features are more robust and the resources plentiful, plus while the monthly costs may be less, it's not at the expense of the software itself.