College Planners of America, Ltd.
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.
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You have a student bound for College. We have ways to get there

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Services Offered

The independent educational consultants (IECs) at College Planners of America are passionate about preparing each of their students for success. Laying the foundation for a rewarding academic career ideally begins in 8th grade so that both students and their parents feel confident and are well prepared for the choices made upon graduation five years later. No matter when your family begins to work with College Planners of America, our IECs will help you with the transition from high school to higher education and beyond.

Our services are unique in two ways.

First, we work with both the student and the family to ensure a straightforward transition into higher education. We realize that the myriad of choices which need to be made, the nearly-endless forms that must be submitted and the amount of money involved can be overwhelming. College Planners gives you the roadmap your entire family needs to efficiently navigate the path ahead.

Secondly, we support the student and the family with many options to lower the cost of college. Many of these are little known, proven strategies that go way beyond the basics of obtaining financial aid or applying for every scholarship a family can find. Our recommendations are tailored to the unique situation of each student and family. We lay out all the available options (with all the pros and cons) and each family then selects the precise strategies that are best for their situation.

Our students and families enjoy unlimited phone and in-person consultations. We give each of our clients the specific support they need, when they need it. 


Complete Application Package

Essay Assistance

Reference letter

Interview Preparation


Essay Assistance

Reference letter

Interview Preparation

Complete Application Package

College Matching

High School Counseling


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.

After leaving higher education, Mike opened McKinnon Travel Services. His group travel business allowed him to travel to Europe and the Middle East over 100 times. Mike also became part-owner of the AAA Chicago Lions football team of the Northern States League which won the 1982 championship. In addition, Mike began to buy, restructure and sell numerous pizzerias. Furthering engaging his entrepreneurial side, Mike got involved in the long distance telecommunications industry as it was just expanding. In 1996, Mike founded College Planners of America, Ltd. He brought all his hard-earned understanding of tax law to bear for parents of college-bound students.

Mike was on the Board of Trustees of College of DuPage for 12 years, serving four years as Chairman. He is a past member of the Executive Board of the NICCP and a member of the Junior College Football Hall of Fame. He is married to the former Judy Bazelon and resides in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Mike has also been featured in Frank Bruni’s 2016 best seller, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.” In the author’s words: “A conversation with [Mike] McKinnon is an eye-opening, option-diversifying revelation.” (p. 144)

“I truly have a passion in working with students and parents. I really feel their pain in trying to navigate a system that changes constantly (and with every change there seems to be a higher cost associated with it!) Nothing beats the satisfaction I feel as I see our students succeed, growing from a teen with no direction into a young, contributing adult.”


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