I began writing this column on September 12, 2003, and we have posted it on our Web site each and every Friday ever since.

What we’ve noticed about our web traffic during the same 15-month period, however, is that most of you are using our site early in the week, in the Monday – Thursday timeframe, and then traffic declines somewhat on the weekend.

I hope the weekend decline in our web traffic has not been due to my column, and my small, but merry, band of colleagues has convinced me it is not.

What they have convinced me of is a discernible trend that you are coming to this site early in the week in order to pick up important, easy-to-understand information about the process of supporting your children in the preparation for, application to and financing of college.

I have been assuming all along that you are looking for useful and practical information to help you cut through the daunting maze of deadlines and decisions that you face – with your child – as he or she progresses from the seventh grade through college graduation. I also assumed because you have busy lives, with work to do, mouths to feed and bills to pay, that you would be coming to our site in your free time on the weekend, when you finally had a moment to catch your breath and focus on these important college-related issues.

Of course, if your weekends are anything like mine, you probably are serving as driver of kids and runner of errands, and not necessarily able to wrest the necessary time on the computer to visit Web sites such as collegeparents.org.

So since you are tending to visit us most heavily on Mondays, and then staying with us strong every day through Thursday, I am no longer going to try to swim against the grain with this column. Starting today, you will notice that it is posted for you each and every Monday morning, from now until. . .well, someone will probably have to pry my hands away from the keyboard.

It’s not just a new day for this column, it is also soon going to be a new day for College Parents of America. On Monday, December 27, we will be transitioning to a brand new look and feel for our Web site. We hope you will like it; I am confident that you will.

While my column on that day will give you a more complete tour of the features and benefits of our newly designed site, I wanted to give you quick heads-up on some of the new functionality that we plan to put in place.

First, with respect to the home page of our site, you will see a much clearer delineation of what information is provided exclusively for members of College Parents of America, versus what is available to the general site visitor. More of our partner companies, and the discounts that they offer, will be up and running in the Members-Only area, allowing you to save at least 10 times the price of your membership, even if you were to take advantage only of two-thirds of the discounts that we have negotiated on your behalf.

As for our Decade of Decisions library, with its vast array of information organized for you in a chronological fashion, you will, on December 27, have complete access to all 40 editions of this customized newsletter, which is intended to provide much-needed support as you journey from anxious 7th-grade parent to proud parent of a newly minted college graduate. Please sign up for Decade of Decisions, if you have not already. I think that you will find its helpful tips and “best-of” web content to be extremely valuable information.

This newly redesigned Web site is made possible because of the remarkable support that you as parents have shown for College Parents of America in general and for Decade of Decisions in particular. A quadrupling of College Parents of America membership has occurred since the first of this year and, since launching Decade of Decisions as a free e-newletter on Monday, June 14, more than 16,000 subscribers have signed up.

That is a sweet 16,000. The number represents parents from all over the country, from Maine to southern California, from Miami to the Seattle suburbs. But, as you well know, that number only scratches the surface of the millions of people just like you who want the best for your child when it comes to college options, who are willing to put in the leg work it requires in order to find those options, and who realize that an annual membership price of $36.50 is a low cost, but high value when it is made either a precursor or as a companion to a four-year college investment ranging from $40, 000 – 50,000 for a four-year public school to $125,000 or more for a four-year private institution.

With so many more College Parents of America members, and so many new subscribers to our quarterly newsletter, we are taking steps to invest in the future of this organization, assuring that it will even more firmly assume its rightful status as a peerless – and fearless – advocate on behalf of current and future college parents in Washington, DC and, eventually, in state capitals, a trusted purveyor of “must-see” content for the same audience and, as our numbers grow, a potent economic lever providing for you the best possible prices on all the ancillary spending that you undertake because you either have, or are about to have, at least one child in your home going off to college.

We are excited about our prospects for 2005 and hope that you are too. Thank you for your continued support, and best wishes for the holiday season which, since Chanukah comes early this year, is sneaking up on us very fast. And so is the release of the new FAFSA, but I will tell you more about that next week.