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About Us

We’re Dija and Robert, the founders of Parents Planning 4 College.

I’m Dija and I’m originally from South Africa. (Trevor Noah – watch out!) Back then, I was a mother of two – both of who are now in their twenties and are for the most part on their own.  So I was in South Africa minding my business and along came Robert.

I’m Robert. Yes, then along I came. I was involved in Christian ministry helping families and met the love of my life. Robert and DijaAfter being in South Africa I returned to Madison and within two years my wife and two kids were the central part of my household. (That’s my short version.)

Dija: Our kids were in grade school and middle school – and Robert is talking about preparing them for College! Unbelievable. Let them be kids! And then he started to explain to me how “preparing for college” is about the right, appropriate perspective on our parenting. Above all, preparing for college is much more than just saving money (but that is a whole other topic).

Robert: An observation – all these organizations are helping the children: primarily the schools, the boy and girls scouts, the sports and fine art clubs, etc.  Everyone is overlooking that the most important “centers of influence” in the process: the parents!
So this is parent-centered college planning – because we as parents are the ones who have to help our kids! No one is helping the parents in an on-going way! We started our college consulting business back in 2010.

Dija: I asked around the schools and I realized just how right Robert was. Since then we have been on a mission to help parents get their minds and hearts in the right place!
Many of you may wonder what else we do. Professionally I’ve worked in the field of public accounting for places like Deloitte, and then later for a Fortune 500 companies as an analyst. Actually, in this capacity with Parents Planning 4 College, I’m the one who adds the “woman’s touch” to all of Roberts insights and ideas (and bring in a bunch on my own!). On the side I love to cook and try new recipes. I’m big into fashion, love to knit and go to my Pure Barre classes…. Oh and we both love to travel.

Robert: And me? Well, I’ve got a knack for listening, seeing the big picture, and pointing people in the right direction.  I do have some experience with college – having attend college for over 10 years – with more than half of this time at a University in Münster, Germany.
I was involved in Christian ministry for over 15 years. Thereafter I managed a Panera Bread Bakery-Café in Madison. I returned to the world of finance (I have a background in Economics and Business) and am a financial advisor, as well as a Certified College Planning Specialist. Our college consulting originated from our unique perspective and thus, along came Parents Planning 4 College. We provide individual college consulting services here in Madison and for those who wish to participate throughout the country, via SKYPE sessions.

We are excited to have you here with us and we’d love to hear from you! Spread the word about college planning: first we have to be parent-centered so then we can truly become student-centered!

Dija and Robert DeCock