How to Use Social Media Like a #KARDASHIAN to Get Into College

#kardashian and social media

#kardashian and social media branding

To be clear, the only Kardashian with a college degree is KOURTNEY #kourtneykardash. This blog post is not how to use social media to take a bunch of selfies and become rich and famous but rather a lesson in how to BRAND YOU, LIKE A BOSS!

Let’s just start off by saying what this blog is NOT suggesting. We are NOT suggesting that you spend all of your time on social media tweeting about what you had for lunch or even about the hair products you use. We ARE suggesting that you use social media to your advantage by crafting your own BRAND/storyline/image that reflects your values in a positive manner using the same tactics that all of the Kardashians use.

First, gather an amazing team of people around you that will promote all that you do. Most celebrities have publicists, managers and assistants that promote them to their loyal followers on social media. Your goal as a college-bound student is to have your TEAM promote all your activities, achievements and accomplishments on social media and share it with others. This does not stop at parents but should also include teachers, counselors, coaches and mentors. For example, create your own website to house all your videos such as WIX (especially if you are an artist and need to showcase your work). Another suggestion would be to take pictures and post them of your community service projects or if you are an athlete, that great score you made in the game (your highlights on YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM)

Second, align yourself with other cool brands and your “star power” instantly increases. All of the Kardashians (Kim, Klohe, Kourtney, Kylie & Kendal) (#kardashianpedia) get paid a lot of money to endorse other brands. Those brands instantly see an increase in their products’ popularity. One way to use this tactic is to get VERY VERY familiar with the college that you are interested in attending by researching all there is to know about the school. Make sure their mission aligns with your career goals. By attending their events (with your pics of their open house, sports games or other activities) it shows your commitment to their community, and they take notice of that.

And finally, contribute to the conversation. Many people want to know what the Kardashians have to say. A single tweet from them can be worth millions to a brand. What do you have to say? Engage in conversation with the college. They want to communicate with you over social media. Comment on their blog posts, retweet their information to your friends, give them your feedback on a relevant topic related to your intended major etc… These are all ways that you begin to express yourself. It is not about being right or wrong. It is all about them getting to know you more and more.


Ep. 79 Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free

College Debt Free

Jeannie Burlowski

I am quite sure most parents wish their child could get through college debt free. The challenge in today’s economy is how to pull it off successfully. Our guest on the podcast, author, speaker and academic strategist Jeannie Burlowski  tells us how to do it. She recently released her latest book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward which is available on AMAZON now.

Jeannie’s writing and speaking helps parents set their kids up  to graduate completely debt free and move directly into career they excel at and love. Her mission is to help students identify extraordinary goals and put together a road map to achieve those goals.

The goal of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is to guide parents step-by-step, grade-by-grade and provide over 50 strategies that they can use to get through college debt free which means that’s hundreds of hours they won’t have to spend searching for ideas on the internet.

For example, a busy mother of a 10th grader will just fly to the chapter she needs right at that moment, note a few tasks that would be a good idea to do right then and not come back to the book for two months.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Article: “5 Reasons “T-Shaped” is Better  Than Well-Rounded”

“Do What You Are…” by Paul D. Tieger

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dual Enrollment Programs

Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey)

Follow her on Twitter – @JBurlowski

Follow her on FACEBOOK – @jeannieburlowski

Ep. 78 Track & Organize You Way Into College

OrganizeTodd and I have a great conversation with Jordan Schanda of SCHOLAR PREP, a college planning system to organize and document activities, achievements and courses. She starts off talking about her journey into college (University of Arkansas), how she was focused from the beginning and realized early on the benefit of organizing all of her information. When she graduated, she created a “binder” to help her younger brother whom she knew was not like her and needed a way to organize his information as an athlete wanting to go to college. The birth of the SCHOLAR PREP Organizer System.

This system now has an online companion course as well as a curriculum for schools and counselors to follow for students to get on the right track towards college.

If you are a counselor, we are aware of your limited time available to spend with each student.  This curriculum is the perfect compliment to your guidance or you can give this to the student for them to utilize with their parent as a supplement to the other college prep information that you share.

This system is designed to for the student/parent to be self sufficient in the college admission process. It guides you weekly an monthly in terms of what the student should be focusing on and not get overwhelmed. It has a timeline that you follow all four years of high school or pick it up anywhere in between.

Grab your copy of this college planning/tracking/organizing system or course. Click on the image to get your SCHOLAR Prep System.


Other Links mentioned in this episode:

Virginia Tech #HokieVisit

Kean University #KeanUniversity

University of New Haven #UNewHaven

Rowan University #RowanPROUD

Lack of Community Service May Be Keeping Your Child From Getting Scholarships

community serviceWe can all agree that participating  in community service is a good thing, for everyone. Does your child understand how vital it is to getting scholaships? Most foundations or non-profit organizations that administer scholarships are looking for students who are service-minded, who care about others and put the time toward charitable causes.

The other benefits of community service are character building traits such as compassion, empathy and leadership. These traits help shape your child into a responsible, caring global citizen.

If you are the parent of a junior or senior you might be thinking that it is too late for them to make a difference. It is not too late to have them involved in community service. There are various ways to incorporate service into their busy schedules. They can become a member of an established club such as boy/girl scouts or something more simple such as participating in a neighborhood clean-up or community garden.  There are endless volunteer opportunities in most cities that can accommodate youth who want to serve. They can select one or two activities per month and have the organization keep track of their service hours and prepare a letter  to submit with their scholarship application.

Community service or volunteer experience is one of the most effective ways to differentiate your child from the other applicants. It helps them shine above the rest along with great test scores, challenging coursework and great communication skills.


Ep. 76 Lead the Way: How to Build Character & Get Into College (PLUS: Charlie’s Test Scores)

CharacterIn today’s episode, we talk in detail about how to build good character in a student throughout their high school years. Character is one of the four core principles of getting into college. The other three are communication skills, coursework and community.

Character is not something we are generally born with. It is molded and developed over a period of time and shaped based on environment and life experience. A student can build upon their character through participation in programs that give them an opportunity for leadership, community service and extra-curricular activities in school.

If your child participates in a club such as boy scouts, girl scouts, 4H club, any youth auxiliary of a church, sorority or fraternity (such as Kappa League or Zeta Archonettes #ZPHIB1920) provides them with an opportunity to hone their leadership skills though projects and working with other youth.

Every city or town has plenty of community service opportunities for our youth. They have to pick one that interests them. It also helps if parents model this behavior by participating themselves in either a nursing home, soup kitchen, canned food drives, recue animal shelter etc…

I talk about a friend of mine whose child is a graduating senior with very good grades but absolutely no  school or outside activities in the past four years. This sends the wrong message to colleges. They appreciate a well-rounded student that is able to manage their time between activities. It shows them you have mastered discipline, commitment, dedication, time management and character development. My friend even mentioned that they could have gotten more merit aid if her son had more to offer (in terms of his profile or resume). DON”T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE.

Foundations that give out scholarships look for the same stellar character as colleges do. It tells them that you have not just focused on grades (which are important) but can also represent their organization by how you show up in the world.


We also have a bonus appearance from Charles Lovett. He talks about his leadership skills, extra-curricula activities and volunteer service. He also talks about  his recent test scores from the ACT & SAT. We end our conversation talking about the importance of improving his grammar and writing skills as it relates to test taking. The best way to do this is through READING MORE BOOKS! (womp womp womp…)

Ep. 59 Scholarship Success Story – Pam Andrews, The Scholarship Shark

Imagine having enough money in scholarships to cover your college and graduate school education, twice.  That is exactly what happened to Pam Andrews (The Scholarship Shark) and her oldest son.  With the tenacity, relentless pursuit and focus of a shark, keen

The Scholarship Shark

The Scholarship Shark

organizational skills and her son’s commitment to the process, they were able to secure over $700k in scholarships.  He is now attending his dream school in Florida, pursuing his animation/art college education.

This episode is an in depth conversation with Pam about their journey which started with the decision she and her husband made to homeschool all four of their children and encourage the benefits of education.

Pam talks about the challenges she faced all along the way and did not begin the scholarship process until her son’s senior year.  It was at that time that they teamed up and put together a plan to not only search for colleges, but pursue scholarships as a way to pay for them.

Her motto is: “Don’t just get in, get it financed!”

“Schools don’t want well-rounded kids, they want a diverse student body.  Be the best YOU!”

Here are her tips for parents of High School Juniors:

  1. 3-layer approach: Look for schools that offer Merit Aid/Merit Awards, then those that meet 100% of “UN-MET NEED” and then every eligible private scholarships.
  2. Get Organized! Go to local library and use the books there that list scholarships/reference
  3. Identify what your child wants to do (career exploration)
  4. Begin developing relationships with colleges that you want to or have visited
  5. Attend pre-college programs.  Great way to experience the campus and courses
  6. Start searching for scholarships NOW!
  7. Be intentional with your child’s last two years – find volunteer opportunities related to their career
  8. Watch those deadlines! Aim for two weeks before REAL deadline to get all of the info needed.

Links mentioned in this episode:

ACTION ITEM: TEXT  Money4College to#44222-

to get on her email list for the upcoming book & e-Course


Ep. 57 College Applications: Early Action, Early Decision or Regular Decision


College Applications

College Applications can be time consuming and very overwhelming, especially if you are just getting started. In this episode of the podcast we discuss some new terminology in college applications as it relates to admission: early decision, early action and regular decision.

Here is an infographic which explains what the different terms mean to you and the college or university.

Each one of these decisions can impact your college career. Choose wisely!

Links mentioned in this episode:

College Greenlight blog

Princeton Review (discount on test prep courses)
$100 Off Ultimate Courses & Private Tutoring


Ep. 54 College Diversity & Fly-In Programs: Have You Considered Attending One?

DiversityOn this episode of The College Money Maze, we talk all about college diversity and fly-in programs.

The programs are often called various things at various colleges: (INSERT SCHOOL NAME) College Diversity Day, Leadership Weekend,  Future Achiever’s, Overnight Program, Multi-Cultural Weekend, Explore Weekend, Discovery Weekend etc…

The list of names goes on and on.

This concept of college diversity & fly-in programs was first introduced to us by a friend of the show – Ms. Tamara Jones (you can listen to her episode here).  She found out about them when researching different schools for her daughter. They took advantage of this opportunity to visit a school, stay for the weekend to get more of an up close and personal feel for the campus to see if it was a good fit. AND IT WAS!

The College Greenlight blog publishes a list of the programs each year.  I am sure it is not an all-inclusive list because new ones are always added.  Also in the comments section of that blogpost, several people mention additional schools.

The other interesting fact is that they will often reimburse you for visiting the school (especially if you are accepted as a student). All you have to do is ASK.

After reviewing the list of college diversity programs, something was glaringly obvious.  These schools are mainly PRIVATE ELITE/IVY COLLEGES.  That tells me that they have created these programs to deal with their “lack of diversity” on their campuses and attract high achieving multicultural students who may not have them on their radar.

If you think that your local state University would have this type of program – THINK AGAIN. Your state University probably does not have a diversity problem.  They probably attract a wide variety of students. You be the judge and let us know what you think.

Links mentioned in this episode:

(Related Episode) Ep. 16. How To Start Planning for College…

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Ep. 52 The College Money Puzzle Part 1: EFC & Net Price Calculator

The College Money Puzz;e 1The College Money “PUZZLE” consists of four pieces – EFC (expected family contribution), Net Price Calculator, Financial Aid and Scholarships that when used “strategically” can help you figure out how to pay for college. This begins our two-part series to talk in depth about these pieces of the puzzle that are uniquely intertwined and interconnected. We will begin with Expected Family Contribution and Net Price Calculator.

 According to this January 31, 2014 Forbes article by Tony Onink, you
can have a household income up to $425,000 and still qualify for some financial aid.
  It is just a matter of the number of dependents and type of school that you apply to, either public/private as well as two-year vs four-year college or university.

In this episode, we discuss why you should know your EFC (expected family contribution) and use the Net Price Calculator to find out the “true cost” of the college that you are looking at.  Every college and university has some sort of calculator on their website, you just have to find it.  They don’t really want you to know what it will cost.  The “real cost” consists of tuition + room & board+ fees – EFC- Merit Aid/scholarships= balance or gap.  This gap is what you have to be worried about.

Your EFC will usually not change from year to year.  If you have more than one child in college, your EFC is split between the children.  That is a good thing because you will likely receive more financial aid as a result.  Stay tuned for Part 2 next week: Scholarships & Financial Aid.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Ep. 25 FAFSA Pt. 1: Getting Organized

Ep. 26 FAFSA Pt. 2: EFC & CSS

Net Price Calculator

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Ep. 51 Top 5 Tips for the Student Athlete

This episode of the podcast is a conversation with an experienced high school counselor, Student Athletestudent athlete consultant and business owner, Sonya Duval of Achievement Matters Consulting. She talks in detail about her experience working with students, her passion of helping them become “student loan/college debt free”, scholarships and gives tips for the student athlete.


Top 5 Tips for the Student Athlete

  1. Recruitment starts in the 9th grade for a student athlete (and even in middle school in some areas).  Do well all four years of high school as well as on your SAT & ACT tests. Grades are very important in the college admission process. There is a difference in being looked at by coaches versus getting accepted into college.
  2. Work on your athletic skills at the same time. Go beyond the everyday practice with the coach, put in the extra work to become stronger, better at the sport which shows your self-discipline.
  3. Ask your student athlete what they want to do in terms of their career before the junior year (major).
  4. Learn to NOT be a “REACTIVE” student athlete player. Instead, be PROACTIVE and seek out the schools and coaches that interest you. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to notice you.
  5. Develop an EXPOSURE PLAN. This is a plan to get YOU in front of people who could potentially offer you an athletic scholarships. Put together a PACKAGE which contains your athletic profile, your letter of interest for that school and highlight film.  This PACKAGE should be sent out in spring of their junior year (she gives an example of a email blitz of a student’s package to 70 coaches).

“Leadership and Character Does Count!”

Links mentioned in this episode:

Achievement Matters College Admissions Consulting

Follow Sonya Duval: Twitter, Facebook


TCMM Podcast Episode 15 – What it takes to be a Gates Millennium Scholar

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards – For Outstanding Volunteer Community Service

NCAA Guide for Collegebound Student Athlete




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