WICHITA — Parents helping their children choose colleges can sometimes have a difficult time guiding them.
Don Hapward wants to help.
Hapward spent more than three decades doing college admissions work across the country.
He’s now starting College Connections of Kansas to help families in the greater Wichita area through the college application process.
“I can see it from the other side,” Hapward says of handling applications. He’s seen “thousands of them over the years.”
When Hapward and his wife came to Wichita several years ago, his plan was to retire. Instead, he found himself teaching at Wichita Collegiate School, where he still helps coach golf and bowling.
Parents of Collegiate students are who encouraged him to start his business.
“There are so many people who would like to have your expertise,” is something Hapward says he’s heard a lot.
“I’ve just heard that desire from a lot of parents. ‘I just wish we had someone we could go to.’ ”
Hapward also wants to help students navigate their initial months in college.
“They go smiling, but they go with a great deal of tension,” he says of kids leaving home for the first time.
Hapward plans to charge a flat rate of $1,250, which he says is significantly cheaper than what his counterparts charge in larger cities.
He adds that the flat rate can especially be a bargain for families of younger high school students who hire him early — say, when the students are sophomores — and he works with them for years.
Hapward is still tweaking his new website, www.collegeconnectks.com, but he’s ready to accept clients.
“Clients” may not be the right word, though.
“Admissions to me was never a job,” Hapward says. “It was getting to meet the families from all walks of life.”
That’s how he views his new job, too.
“I want to do this also for a lot of fun.”