Welcome to SAFE Steps™ a unique E-Learning System that empowers and inspires individuals to Dream, Plan and Live a life full of opportunity and excellence.


Families everywhere are asking the same question,” How does anyone get a college degree today without going broke?”

Fortunately, there is hope and it’s called the SAFE Steps™. College today is a game that takes knowledge, a solid understanding of the rules and teamwork to win. At the SAFE Steps™ our mission is to show families how to maximize college and career opportunities through a proven, online step-by-step process. We are passionate about helping families stay on course by teaching:

  • What to do
  • How to do it
  • When to do it

Do you want peace of mind so you can enjoy this ride?

​The Bicycle is a metaphor for every family. The college or career planning process is like riding a bicycle - the front wheel is the student who, in order to be successful needs to have a clear focus and direction on their “Why” for attending college. Selection and Acceptance are the key steps to establish the “Why” and “Where” for each student. Without clear direction, the front wheel wobbles and causes the bicycle to fall over and crash.

The U.S. Department of Education reports that  54% of incoming college freshmen will transfer or drop out within their first two years on campus.

The back wheel of the bicycle is reserved for the parents. This is where their support, expectation and guidance come into play. Parents understand the potential value that a college education has in the outcome of their child’s life. The back wheel provides the momentum and represents the parent’s role of the Funding and Execution steps of the process.


The Process

For Students:

Highly effective people begin with the end in mind.

At the SAFE Steps™ we are passionate about helping each student discover their own individual passions and values on what matters most and connecting them to a career that fulfills their aspirations and dreams. The SAFE Steps™ system utilizes online tools designed to give each student access to current information and resources they need to successfully navigate their journey to college and beyond. Our process helps identify career positions where personal fulfillment is attained and our integrated calendar keeps families on track so they don’t miss any important steps.

For Families:

Since 2010 SAFE Steps™ has proven to help parents save time and money through unique educational curriculum and proprietary e-learning tools. We assist families how to position their student as the most desired candidate for college and career opportunities while showing parents how to receive the most financial aid available to them. By using our proven formula parents and students learn how Selection, Acceptance, Funding and Execution work together to form a simple, yet necessary strategy on how to find the right college, at the right price in order to transition into their ideal career.

The SAFE Steps™ Process:

SELECTION: We use software programs to align a student's talents, values, interests and personality to career destinations. This gives each student their reason "Why" to attend college or to move into a professional career. Having and knowing a "why" establishes a clear purpose and direction for life after high school.

ACCEPTANCE: Competition for attendance is increasing every year in the U.S . SAFE Steps™ software improves the understanding of how an admissions committee evaluates applications. This knowledge gives our students a competitive advantage by enhancing their ability to accurately select schools that fit and match their career goals.

Learn how to establish the value of each student based on these evaluation points.

  • Awards (Leadership)
  • Academics
  • Activities (Volunteerism)
  • Arts (Talents)

FUNDING: Understanding and exploring all the sources of available funds for college is critical in making higher education affordable today. Funds for education are available from the government, institutions of higher education, private sources, and parents.

EXECUTION: Knowing the critical timeline gives parents the confidence to take control of the admission process, leading to predictable results and peace of mind for everyone.

SAFE Steps™ Benefits for School Counselors:

SAFE Steps™ is a valuable asset to High School Counselors because of its ability to save an important resource, TIME! Utilizing the program will increase productivity, and more importantly the quality of guidance given to individual students.

The SAFE Steps™ e-learning system produces up-to-date, data driven results that streamline the college planning process for school counselors.

Through proprietary software programs, SAFE Steps™ uncovers in-depth information about the individual students’ goals and interests related to post secondary options. Connecting the student’s passions with education and career opportunities is a proven formula for success.

The SAFE Steps™ programs allow Counseling teams to design effective ways to address and meet the Academic and Career Domains required for accreditation. This simultaneously provides students and parents with a tool to help find the best postsecondary fit and match available.

Through coordinated efforts with high school counselors, SAFE Steps™ is able to improve the outcomes for all high school graduates.

The Book That Built a Company

SAFE Steps™, Inc. was founded in 2010 by Dave Smith, 2-time best-selling author of College Without Student Loans. This extraordinarily powerful book is designed to inform, enlighten and inspire parents and students with winning strategies to succeed at the "Game of College".

You will learn the process required to Attend Your Ideal College and Avoid the Debt Traps that Snare Most College Students. The SAFE Steps™ is a proven formula both parents and students utilize to select the right college, at the right price in order to transition into an ideal career.

Based on a promise made to his mother on her deathbed, in 2005 Dave developed a system that has helped over 1,400 families realize their dreams of a relevant and affordable college education. His time tested strategies, verified methods and innovative software programs are the foundation for the SAFE Steps™ E-Learning System..

About the Author:

I was born in Southern California in the middle of the baby boom of the 1950s and was raised in a household like most middle-class families. My parents were honest, hardworking and living the American Dream.

Education was the key to getting ahead in life and this, coupled with a strong work ethic, was my formula for success. The day I turned 16-years-old I was offered my first job as a box boy in a local supermarket. The flexibility of this position allowed me to earn a decent income as a high school student while reaching the honor roll each semester. When, due to a severe injury, I could no longer play collegiate sports, my path led me to attending classes at a local state university. During my sophomore year one of my professors requested for me to meet during his office hours.

Why did he want to meet with me? Could there be a problem? My mid-term test was an “A” and my attendance record was perfect. Dr. Brickman met me later that day and to my amazement he came right out with, “I want to sponsor you for an international scholarship. It is my recommendation that you should study abroad for a year.” After nearly fainting from relief, I accepted his offer and then went on to study in Europe for nearly two school years. The experience of studying at the famed University of Uppsala in Sweden - founded in 1477 - exposed me to different ways and customs of others, which turned out to accelerate my maturation process. Accepting the offer was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

This diverse education fostered my belief that there are many different ways to accomplish a goal. I learned that my beliefs in our free enterprise system had deep roots and carried the label “capitalist”, which I wore with pride. Returning to the United States, it took me six months to earn a business management degree from a highly-ranked state college, and then begin my career.

Starting in the medical device industry, I found sales stimulating because everything I did was focused on solving a problem that my clients were experiencing. Business problems are just puzzles that need a solution. I became very good at providing solutions, which led to me being promoted rapidly up the corporate ladder.

The more puzzles I solved the more success came my way, a pattern that has been a constant in my life. An early mentor, Zig Ziglar had a motto, “You can have everything in life that you want If you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This has been so true for me.

After 20 years in the medical industry, with always-increasing responsibility, my sights were set on operating my own business. My first venture was a successful executive search firm where my company would build sales and marketing teams for companies that fueled their growth and profits. Then the unthinkable occurred. The 9/11 attack caused economic upheaval throughout the United States, including the eventual closure of my business.

My focus at that time was on my mother and her battle with cancer. On December 21, 2001, she asked me to ensure that all of her grandchildren would have the opportunity to graduate from college and not be burdened with student debt. This was the start of my journey to find the formula to benefit my family, and which has resulted in the creation of this book.

Her last grandchild is entering college this fall and his path to a debt-free education has been assured because of the steps outlined in the previous pages.

Now that my family has been taken care of and all their needs met, I now turn to teaching 24 others about how to implement the SAFE Steps. My mission is to serve more than One Million students by the end of 2020.  You are invited to join our revolution.

Dave Smith, best selling author

College Without Student Loans

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