The key to helping your junior get in and get money for college

Parents of juniors…I want college admissions to be a stress-free process for your teen. Don’t see how that’s possible? Let me share some intentional things you can do to support your teen’s success to help them (and you!) avoid stressing out. The key is to approach the process in a way that makes sense for your teen, beginning with ownership. 

Own the Process 

First off, having your junior own the process (being engaged, responsible and accountable) will take a lot of pressure off you as a parent. But it goes deeper than that. I know from the research, and from experience with my own children that when your teen takes ownership of the process, they:

  • are much more successful in the college admissions process and more likely to get into the top colleges on their ist
  • can be sure they are a good fit for the college, and as a result, 
  • end up getting scholarship money. 

 

The key takeaway is to be sure your teen is in charge so that they are owning the process

 

Now that we’ve established that, where can you and your teen start with finding money for college?

 

External Scholarship Opportunities 

Let’s talk about external scholarships, which are scholarships that are not from the colleges, but from external sources. Oftentimes families are unaware of the other resources that are out there. This year especially, you want to be intentional around external scholarships. Here are five in particular that you may not have considered. 

 

1. Scholarships from Companies

Many companies, including law firms, major restaurants and retail companies offer scholarships. One widely-known example is the Coca-Cola scholarship for seniors which is a very large scholarship. However, your junior can position themselves to compete for that scholarship going into senior year. Also look at some of the companies in your own community that offer scholarships, which you can often find on their websites.

 

2. Scholarships from Civic Organizations 

Another great resource is civic organizations and foundations. Sometimes they are need-based (which require you to provide proof of need) while others involve a contest, where you complete an application with an essay to qualify. Now is a good time to research the civic organizations in your community that offer scholarships.

 

3. Scholarships from Credit Unions 

Credit unions are wonderful community neighbors, and they often will have scholarships as well. Sometimes, there are additional offerings for members of that credit union. If you’re a member of a credit union, definitely check that out! I recommend that you look into these opportunities in junior year; some of the requirements are junior-year specific.  Another note regarding credit unions: if you know that there is a credit union that offers a scholarship and you’re not a member, now is the time to become a member. If you plan ahead your teen can position themselves for that particular award now. 

 

4. Scholarships from Your Employer 

There are a lot of employers that offer scholarships. I believe that NiSource, the energy company here in Columbus, offers scholarships. See if your employer offers scholarships as well. Again, junior year is the time to look into the criteria. 

 

5. National Merit Scholarship Program 

Most students take the PSAT in junior year and their score will determine whether they qualify for national merit. One thing to know regarding the PSAT, is that it is not really considered for college admission. However, when your junior takes the PSAT and scores in the 99th percentile, then they qualify for a national merit scholarship. Have your teen research the criteria for the National Merit scholarship. 

 

Who Can Apply for External Scholarships?

Although you have a junior, be aware that you can apply for an external scholarship beginning at age 13 (keep that in mind if you have younger children as well). If your child wins a scholarship, that money is held and then sent to the college when they enroll. I encourage families with younger teens to apply for scholarships. Not only does it develop their resilience, it also helps to instill that growth mindset that we want our students to have. Plus, they will be adding to their portfolio of writing samples as well.

College of the Week: University of Michigan

University of Michigan, one of the nation’s elite public universities, strives to offer its students a balance of academics, athletics, and social activities. On its 3200+ acres on the main campus (be prepared to use your GPS to get around!), you will find a world-class university with outstanding faculty and top-rated programs designed to make its graduates ready to compete in the 21st century job market. 

Here are a few quick facts about University of Michigan:

4-year Graduation rate: 79%, 6-year: 92%

Acceptance: 23%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 45%

Most popular majors: computer science, business administration, psychology, and economics

Student Community Diversity: 4.5% Black, 6.6% Latino, 7.3% International

Housing: The dorms at University of Michigan are described as “mostly comfortable and well-maintained.” Despite being a large campus, only 32% of students reside there. Freshmen are guaranteed housing, but not all sophomores will get a spot, and almost no juniors or seniors live on campus. So where does everyone else live? Many who have pledged live in one of the  fraternity or sorority houses. There are also a large number of college-owned and private co-ops and plenty of off-campus rentals. 

Academics: UM boasts 600 degree programs, which includes 250 undergrad majors as well as individualized concentrations. There are no courses that are required of all freshmen, but all students must complete coursework in English (including composition), foreign language (UM offers over 40, including several that can’t be found at many other institutions), natural science, social sciences and humanities. Students describe courses as being challenging, but not cutthroat. The engineering and business programs are well-respected across the country, and programs in health-related fields are also top-notch. There is excellent academic and career advising for those who seek it, and the Campus Career Center works with 950 companies in their recruiting efforts.

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford, Cornell

Social: While Detroit is less than an hour away, many UM students flock to nearby Ann Arbor, which has more of a “college town feel.” The Huron River, as well as many lakes and swimming holes are a short drive away for those who like to get outdoors. You will find a large Greek party scene although only about 17% of men and 25% of women “go Greek.” 

In the fall, you can expect Division I football to overshadow nearly everything else. Attending games and cheering, “Go Blue” is a pretty integral part of the University of Michigan experience, with the Little Brown Jug football competition with Minnesota and games against Ohio State being the most popular. Several teams have brought home Big Ten championships in the past year, among them men’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, as well as women’s field hockey and gymnastics. For those looking for a more casual form of athletics, there are plenty of intramural sports, which were invented at University of Michigan. 

Financial: University of Michigan offers hundreds of merit scholarships, averaging $5,600 as well as 711 athletic scholarships in 27 sports. Average percent of need met is 91%, with 71% being fully met. UM is the only public university in the state that meets the full demonstrated need of in-state students, and Michigan residents whose families make $65,000 or less qualify for free tuition. Although the tuition and fees are $31,000 for in-state and $68,000 for out-of-state students, the average financial aid package is $27,000. Out-of-state admits with a family income of $90,000 or less can expect to have the full demonstrated need met. 52% of students receive scholarships, averaging almost $18,000 per student. 

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College of the Week: Florida State

Looking for a relaxed, cheery atmosphere where you can learn from a Nobel laureate, study in one of the finest science facilities in the southeast, or give your political career a jump start by networking at the state capitol, all while getting your fill of the blazing Florida sun? Look no further than Florida State University, located a mere half hour away from the Gulf of Mexico, and described by one junior as the “cool, laid-back friend of the Florida university system.”

Here are a few quick facts about FSU:

4-year Graduation rate: 66%, 6-year: 83%

Acceptance: 37%

Freshman retention: 93%

Freshmen out of state: 12%

Most popular majors: finance, international affairs, biological science, psychology

Student Community Diversity: 8.7% Black, 21.5% Latino, 1.7% International

Housing: While 82% of freshmen live in the dorms, which get mixed reviews, by the way, only about 20% of all undergrads live on campus. One student commented that living on campus makes for a “smoother” freshman year, but afterwards most students move into one of the plentiful apartments or houses within walking distance of campus. An efficient city and campus bus system is available to those who live a little more of a hike away.

Academics: FSU offers nearly 200 undergraduate degrees with its most outstanding programs including music, drama, art and dance. Engineering and the sciences are also solid programs, not to mention that communications, statistics, and business all have strong reputations in the southeast, and a new major has been added in entrepreneurship. Not impressed yet? Well, how about the fact that the English department and the College of Motion Picture Arts have consistently won national and international awards?

As part of Florida State’s liberal studies curriculum, freshmen take an E-series course that studies a particular question or issue from multiple perspectives. Other requirements for freshmen include fulfilling a diversity requirement and taking two Scholarship in Practice courses, where students apply their learning to produce an original project. FSU also offers honors courses for gifted students (Note: this is limited to 25 students) and some are even able to complete their degree in three years.

Outside of the classroom, there are internship and political jobs available with the state capitol and Supreme Court nearby, as well as research opportunities, even for freshmen and sophomores. Want to get a little further away from the compact 450-acre campus? Be among the 15 percent who participate in a wide-range of study abroad programs offered.

Similar colleges to consider: Indiana University, Michigan State, Iowa State

Social: When not studying, students have many options for entertainment, including films, concerts, and parties in the dorms or off campus. Tallahassee offers plenty to do with its cafes, bar patios, art parks, and club scene, for those who like the nightlife. Greek life attracts 19% of men and 24% of women. If that is not your scene, there are about 800 organizations, so a wealth of ways to get involved.

Seminoles compete in Division I Atlantic Coast Conference. School spirit runs especially high during football season (can you hear the beating of the campus spirit drum?). The football team won two national titles in the 90s and won again in 2013, while 2018 was a great year for women’s sports – the women’s soccer and softball teams were national champions that year. One-third of students participate in the school’s more than 40 intramural sports and 40 sports clubs

Financial: Florida State offers both need-based and merit scholarships. The average percent of need met is 81%, with 21% being fully met. Although tuition and fees are $23,000 and $37,000 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively, the average financial aid package is $16,600. About 96% of incoming freshmen receive some type of financial aid, the majority of which comes from scholarships and grants, including 1% of students receiving sports scholarships.

College of the Week: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

If you are looking for a college where motivation, ambition, and self-direction are key to your success, and long to be instructed by faculty members who have real-world experience, including being a Nobel Prize winner or a former NASA astronaut, look no further than Georgia Institute of Technology, aka Georgia Tech. Found in the heart of Atlanta on a 450-acre campus that showcases a rich architectural history, you will gain valuable experience at “Ma Tech.” 

 

Here are a few quick facts about Georgia Tech:

4-year Graduation rate: 40%, 6-year: 87%

Acceptance: 23%

Freshman retention: 97%

Freshmen out of state: 39%

Most popular majors: computer science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering

Student Community Diversity: 7.2% Black, 7.3% Latino, 8.3% International



Housing: While living on campus is not a  requirement (51% of all undergraduates and 56% of freshmen live on campus), all freshmen are guaranteed a room. According to students, conditions vary from nice, new, apartment-like to “foul dungeons.” Off-campus housing is available and is generally comfortable. Safety is a concern in a large urban setting, and campus security does patrol regularly and responds quickly to reported incidents.

 

Academics: Courses are described as “extremely rigorous” and grading on a curve has led to a hyper-competitive environment. No matter what major you pick, students must complete credit hours in social sciences, math, science, English and humanities, US or Georgia history, US and global perspectives and wellness. The course selection process can be frustrating and getting into required courses at times can be an issue, so be advised. Another challenge is that freshman math classes are typically taught by TAs and 26% of undergrad classes have more than 50 students. One student does have a word of encouragement though, “Things get better as you progress and get to know professors.” 

 

Most students take 5-6 years to finish their degree due to the demanding workload, but delayed graduation does have some positives for Georgia Tech students. Many students are able to earn money for their education while gaining job experience through an internship with one of more than 700 organizations worldwide. Georgia Tech also boasts 90 exchange programs and 30 faculty-led study abroad programs. By the time they graduate, 52% of students have had an international study or internship experience. 

 

Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Indiana at Urbana-Champaign

 

Social: While there is not much to do on campus outside of Greek life, which attracts 26% of men and 30% of women, students will find plenty to keep them busy in surrounding Atlanta and the Buckhead district. Tech’s Division I varsity sports teams, the Yellowjackets have become big time in the South with men’s swimming, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and golf experiencing success in recent years. Forty percent of students participate in 43 clubs and 20 intramural sports. 

 

Financial: Georgia Tech offers both need- and merit-based aid, with 74% of tuition being covered for Georgia residents who graduate high school with a B average as long as they keep their grades up in college. Georgia Tech has also eliminated loans for Georgia families who make less than $33,000 a year. The average need met is 66%, with 29% being fully met. While the cost of attendance for in-state students is $29,000 and $50,000 for out-of-state, the average financial aid package is $16,000. 24% of out-of-state students receive scholarships.

 

How to Stay Healthy in College: 5 Top Tips

How to Stay Healthy in College: 5 Top Tips

You won’t be surprised to hear that healthy college students will be more successful and productive. That’s why, today, I’m sharing these 5 top tips for how to stay healthy in college.

You’ve done the hard work of preparing for and getting into college. All of the testing, tours, interviews, applications, and volunteering have paid off. But once you begin your college education, it can be easy to fall into the trap of too little sleep, not enough water, and other unhealthy habits.

Healthy college students.

Being healthy in college includes the health of your body AND mind.

Understandably, your freshman year of college can be an overwhelming time. The stress of exams, classes, and other responsibilities can take its toll. It’s important to keep your mind and body in tip-top shape to ensure a successful college experience.

The truth about the “Freshman 15”.

When you think of college freshmen and their health, the term “freshman 15” might come to mind. This refers to new college students gaining 15 pounds in their first year of school.

It’s typically associated with eating college cafeteria food, not exercising, consuming high-calorie beverages, inadequate sleep, and other unhealthy habits.

In fact, studies show students aren’t likely to gain this much—if they gain at all. Ohio State researchers found most students don’t gain as much as 15 pounds during ALL four years of college. In their study, female students gained an average of 8.9 pounds while men put on an average of 13.4 pounds. Again, this is over four years, not just freshman year.

How to stay healthy in college.

When it comes to how to stay healthy in college, there’s so much more to focus on than your weight and avoiding the freshman 15!

Have a look at these 5 top tips for feeling your best during your academic adventures so you can be a productive, happy college student and get the most out of your experience.

1. Get help.

Most colleges and universities have several resources in place to help students with a multitude of issues. Particularly important are the mental health resources many schools offer.

When college students feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to turn, these counseling and support resources can mean a world of difference. For example, Cornell College’s Counseling Center offers a variety of services, including online screening, education, counseling, and much more.

2. Utilize free resources.

The free resources your college offers will vary by institution.

For example, some offer free laundry for students. This is a time and money-saving consideration for college students that shouldn’t be overlooked. I talk more about colleges with free laundry in this post.

 

Most colleges offer free gym memberships for current students to use their on-campus facilities. Take advantage of this service while you have access to it! Keeping active during college will help keep your mind and body sharp. If your school doesn’t offer a free gym membership, look into the discounts offered to college students at off-campus locations.

Speaking of off-campus life, have a look at these pros and cons for living off-campus during college.

3. Eat at regular intervals.

Have you ever had your head buried in a textbook, only to find you haven’t come up for air in hours? During this time, you’ve likely neglected to eat. Then, you might be tempted to reach for the quickest, most convenient options to satisfy your hunger.

Unfortunately, these quick options don’t tend to be the most nourishing choices. Do your best to schedule regular meals and stick to this schedule as much as possible. Planning your meals ahead of time and keeping healthy snacks nearby is another way to achieve this goal.

Some students find it hard to eat healthy on a college budget. The truth is, there are plenty of healthy, low-cost foods available. Sometimes it just takes a bit of research to find the right ingredients and recipes that suit your budget.

Quick Tip: If you’re regularly eating college cafeteria food, start each meal with a serving of fruit or vegetables and you’re less likely to fill up on less nourishing options.

4. Stay hydrated.

Have you developed the habit of grabbing a soda from the vending machine rather than visiting the water fountain? Over time, this choice can have a dramatic effect on your health. To make sure you’re getting enough water, invest in a good quality reusable water bottle to keep handy at all times. This is one of the 7 college essentials worth investing in for your freshman year.

5. Prioritize sleep.

Unfortunately, sleep is often at the bottom of the list of priorities for college students. Instead, things like studying, school work, and social activities take precedence.

While all of these elements are important, you simply won’t be as successful at any of them if you’re sleep-deprived.

Setting up a sleep schedule and sticking to it can be challenging at first. But once you find a pattern that allows you to get enough rest while also fulfilling your other commitments, you’ll find your productivity soars.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What have your biggest health challenges been during your freshman year of college? What did you find helped you stay healthy during your time at school?

If you’re looking for one-on-one guidance to help you get into (or pay for) college, click here to learn more.

Want to see more posts like this? Don’t miss these:

Choosing a college: How to find the right academic fit
Top 10 must-dos for college-bounds juniors
7 ways to support your child during the college application process

Got AP exams this week?

Is your student taking AP (Advanced Placement) exams this week?

Well, they are not alone . . . last year, close to a million students took at least one AP exam. AP exams are developed by College Board (same people behind the SAT) and delivered by approximately 125,000 trained high school teachers. The AP tests that students take during the first two weeks of May each year are based on the curriculum taught during the year.

In the last several years, there has been a bit of controversy over the “formulaic” nature of AP exams, with fewer colleges awarding college credit. For example, at Pomona College, students can only get credit for a maximum of 2 classes. Other colleges, like Dartmouth, state that no college credit will be granted for AP classes.

This really sends a mixed message to students. On one hand, students should take AP courses to show exposure to a rigorous curriculum. However, colleges vary in the acceptance of AP scores for college credit.

I digressed a bit . . . Although the AP tests can seem very stressful, remember that the usual test-taking tips still apply for your teen. They should:

  1. Get plenty of rest the night before.
  2. Eat a well-balanced meal the morning of each exam.
  3. If possible, exercise for about 10-15 minutes on the morning of the test!

3 SAT Myths that Every Junior Must Ignore

During this time of year when juniors are registering to take the SAT, there is a lot of misinformation about what they should should and should not do. Before you start your test prep or sign up to take the SAT take heed to these myths:

Myth #1 – It’s OK to take the SAT “cold”, i.e. as a practice testsat or act

REALITY: It’s a waste of your time and money to take any standardized test for the sake of seeing what your score will be! Students often assume this myth because they’ve heard that the colleges will only see certain scores. That really depends on the college where you apply. Likewise, on the Common Application, students self-report ALL test scores. When you sign the Common Application, you’re affirming that ALL information on the application is true.

Best BET: Take an online practice test to see your score, not an official test!

Myth #2 – It’s better to take the SAT than the ACT.

REALITY: All colleges will accept either test. Translation: Take the test that’s best for you. The SAT is different from the ACT, and usually students will score higher on one over the other.

BEST BET: Take a comparison test to find out which test fits you best! If you do not have access to a comparison test, you can also compare your PLAN and PSAT scores to determine which test is best.

Myth #3: I don’t need to take a Subject Test.

REALITY: Depending on where you’re applying and the major that interests you, 1 or 2 subject tests may be “Recommended.” (“Recommended” is another word for “Required”.) When it’s “Recommended” it is highly likely that the majority of applicants to that college will submit Subject Test scores. Unfortunately, when all competing applications include these Subject Test scores and your does not . . . OUCH!

BEST BET: Take Subject Tests that correspond to any Honors or Advanced Placement classes that you take during sophomore or junior year of high school. If you are enrolled in a Pre-Calculus course, then you should consider taking the Math II Subject Test at the least.

Group Coaching for Parents of College-bound Teens

November 11, 2014 – November 11, 2014

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Description:

Did you know that the wrong college choice can cost your family an extra $35,000?? 

Let “The Education Doctor” help you make the right decisions so you don’t go broke for college 

 

Join “The Education Doctor” (Dr. Pamela) on a group coaching call as she helps to clarify the college process for parents. Group coaching is a way to not only gain the expertise of a private college counselor but also to demystify the college admissions process as you’re working with your teen. Learn from other parents of college-bound teens, gather tips and strategies for choosing right-fit colleges, getting more scholarship dollars, and helping your teen manage their time!

 

Group coaching will be conducted via conference call and is designed to provide a forum for information sharing. You will gain insight to help your teen get into their dream college. All calls will be recorded and emailed to participants.

 

The calls are for one hour and cost $39. Seats are limited, so sign up quickly!

 

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This Stanford Alum loves University of Dayton

This evening in the NCAA Sweet 16, Stanford University will face off against University of Dayton . . . for the first time! The city of Dayton is abuzz just as I know Palo Alto is.

In today’s Dayton Daily News, there was a special pull-out section and full coverage on how Stanford is different from University of Dayton:

 The University of Dayton’s Cinderella story continues today as the men’s basketball team takes on Stanford University in the Sweet 16, a matchup pitting UD against one of the nation’s most academically elite schools.

But UD and Stanford University actually do have a few things in common: they’re both private schools; they have about the same number of undergraduates; and their basketball teams are both high seeds that scored a couple of upsets to get to the NCAA Basketball Tournament’s “Sweet 16.”

Beyond those similarities, however, the two schools’ paths diverge rather sharply. In many ways, UD is David to Stanford’s Goliath — and we’re not talking about the basketball matchup.

Stanford, for example, has the fifth-largest endowment among U.S. colleges and universities, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. UD ranks 164th.

Between 2011 and 2014, according to USASpending.gov, Stanford received more than $3 billion in federal grants and contracts. UD received $166 million.

Stanford’s most recent fund-raising campaign spanned five years, ended in early 2012 and generated $6.2 billion. Its athletic department spends $90 million a year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. UD, which doesn’t have a Division I scholarship football program, spends about $21 million.

On the academic front, Stanford is among the most selective schools in the country: 96 percent of its incoming freshmen graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class. At UD, it’s about 24 percent. . . .

via Dayton Flyers to face Stanford in Sweet Sixteen game | www.daytondailynews.com.

The only difference they forgot to mention though is that Stanford is in California and University of Dayton is in Ohio. Many teens decide on a college based on the location and interestingly enough 46% of Stanford students are from California and 57% of UD students hail from Ohio.

This comparison between the 2 campuses brought to mind to me that there are so may great colleges in the US and several good fits for every college bound teen. I’m from Memphis, Tennessee but studied at Stanford University and now live in Dayton, Ohio. I have had some wonderful experiences with the University of Dayton and recognize that it’s a great fit for many college-bound students. My experience as an undergraduate and graduate student at Stanford was also a wonderful experience and I recognize that it’s a great fit for many college-bound students!

So, for tonight’s game, I’m rooting for . . . . both teams –  Go Stanford Cardinal! Go Dayton Flyers!

 

Class of 2015 College Apps and Essays Workshop

Essays Workshop

August 5, 2014 – August 7, 2014

3490 S Dixie Dr, Ste 225

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Fun, fast-paced, and just enough information to put you ahead of the admissions game in the senior year! In this 3-day camp for Class of 2014, you will

•Finalize “best fit” college list
•Create winning essays
•Develop activities resume worth reading
•Develop time-saving application strategy
•Get personalized guidance from an admissions pro

Testimonials

  • “…a great stepping stone to the admissions process.  The skills and tips she provides allowed our son to prepare his essays with confidence.” – Parent
  • “…extremely helpful in providing input on essays and clearing up confusion with the application process.”
  • I feel much better prepared to write both my Common Application and supplemental essays following the Workshop.
  • “…very helpful in that I could have my own personal questions addressed and answered in a way that was very informative and beneficial to me.”
  • “I feel much more confident in my application process.”

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