Ep. 48 The Summer Guide for Seniors


Ultimate Summer Guide for Seniors


HELLO SENIORS! SUMMER IS HERE!  What are you and your friends doing this summer? Are you maximizing your time to get ahead of the other seniors at the beach and prepare for the college admission madness? THIS IS THE ULTIMATE SUMMER GUIDE FOR SENIORS. Here is a general list of activities that we suggest your or your high school senior consider this summer:

  1. Narrow down the college lists
  2. Conduct your final college visits
  3. Search for and secure that internship
  4. Take another SAT/ACT practice test
  5. Begin your college applications and essays
  6. Are you considering early decision? THEN YOU MUST complete your applications NOW!
  7. Consider observing someone you admire or that is a mentor in their job
  8. Study all things college finances: FASFA, EFC, NET PRICE CALCULATOR, Compare costs of schools to see what your budget will allow
  10. Volunteer for more community service experience and opportunities to add to your “profile”

Tell us in the comments below what YOUR SENIOR is doing this summer!

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NEW WORKSHOP – Craft A Winning College Application August 13 – August 14 

A college application and essay writing workshop – for more info, CLICK HERE

Ep. 46 What Does It Take to Become a Citizen Scholar?

Are you a citizen scholar?

Are you a citizen scholar?

It is graduation time, school is finishing up and are you wondering if your child has demonstrated leadership and excellence to become the schools newest citizen scholar? Does your child have the magic formula or profile?

I came across a pull-out section – “Citizen Scholar 2016“from my local newspaper – The Intelligencer­. This really caught my attention in that this newspaper, along with the Bucks County Courier Times gives out these awards to the best and brightest students in the county.

The criteria is that the guidance counselors from each high school would nominate three students and the judges on the panel would make the final selections. The judges selected one person from each high school in Bucks County.  There are about 34 students that are profiled in this insert section, each with a picture and summary of their background, accomplishments and future academic endeavors.

What we talk about in this podcast are the qualities, characteristics, behaviors that all (or most) of these students have that is noteworthy for students beginning their journey onward and upward.  For example, many of the students:

  • Play one or more musical instruments
  • Participate in one or more school clubs or organizations
  • Have made community service a priority with consistent participation
  • Many are athletes that compete in different sports
  • All of excelled academically with a minimum GPA of 3.8+
  • And one student is in the JROTC program

High School can be really hard for some students.  Those that excel find a way to get it all done.  They are organized, passionate about what they do and focused on their goals of higher education.  This is their time to explore different interests, showcase their talents & skills and find ways to give back to others.  This is what makes for a great “profile” to college admissions and scholarship committees who are looking for well-rounded students that can handle challenges and have something to offer.

Ep. 45 Gap Year, Alumni & What If I Lose My Financial Aid?

gap yearHave you considered taking a gap year? Today’s episode is a Q & A session with Mr. Thomas Holmes, a retired college financial aid administrator.  We ask him several questions related to a student taking a gap year, how do alumni advocate for their students and what happens if a student loses their financial aid?

His responses to our questions provide insight into the mindset of college admission and financial aid administrators.  He explains it from their perspective and gives you, the listener food for thought.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Malia Obama & A Gap Year

Gap Year & Financial Aid

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Harvard & their alumni power

Work Study

Ep. 44 10 College Expenses You Didn’t Expect


Ep. 43 Selecting A College Despite Your Food Allergy

Food Allergy

College and a Food Allergy

Do you have a food allergy? The prevalence of people with a food allergy is more than you think – to the tune of 15 million in the United States.

Today’s episode is with Dr. Monica Randall an expert who specializes in assisting students in getting into college, navigating the college admissions process particularly those with some type of allergy/sensitivity to certain foods.  She talks about 8  major foods that can cause allergy symptoms.

May is Food Allergy Action Month.  You can find more information about activities this month on the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) website.  The Empire State Building was lit in teal on May 8th in honor of Food Allergy Awareness.

Dr. Randall’s tips on how to find the “BEST FIT” college:

  • Academic fit
  • Socially fit
  • Financial fit
  • Health fit

If you are putting together your college list, where do you start? Dr. Randall suggests that you contact the school directly or look on their website:

  1. Contact the colleges’ Disability Services or Student Services department
  2. Find out what is the schools food allergy policy
  3. Get to know the dietician & visit the school

Links to contact Dr. Monica Randall:


Twitter – @bridge2colleges




Scholarship SpotlightSamsung American Legion Scholarship. This scholarship is sponsored by electronic company Samsung. High School Juniors are eligible who are participants of their American Legion Boys State or Auxiliary Girls State and must be a direct descendant of a wartime veteran who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war (World War I,World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Lebanon/Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf War as well as Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom & War on Terrorism).  Awards vary from $852-$20,000. For more information contact scholarships@legion.org. @samsungmobile

Ep. 42 How to “DO” College, Design Your Career with Internships & Dump the Debt

All about internships

All about internships

This episode is all about internships.  We talk with an expert – Sharise Kent.  She is the author of the book – The Internship Manual.

She talks extensively about her philosophy of how to “DO” college the correct way (i.e. get out in 4 years or less), use internships to design your career and dump the college debt.

Her journey includes having 6 internships as an undergrad student and 2 more as a graduate student.  All of the above at the same time that you continue your studies and have fun.



Sharise talks at length about students being very deliberate in their approach to college and knowing how to play the game.  For example, taking 15 credits instead of the standard 12 credits (as well as summer & winter sessions classes) will ensure that you graduate within 4 years but also saves you money.

When you first attend school, sometimes you have no idea what you want to study.  Take the time the first year to explore topics. Changing your major choice more than once can be very costly (approximately $43k each time).  The cost adds up in delayed graduation, additional tuition and lost employment.

There are a number of companies that have internships for freshman:



NBA Internships

Huff Post Article about Graduate School

Blog article: Tuition is Due and You Are Broke!

Shari’s Top 5 Resources for Internships:

  1. On Campus – Career Services Office
  2. Ask Around – Family, Friends, Parent connections
  3. Local small businesses and nonprofit organizations
  4. Online – Internships.com,
  5. Organizations dedicated to youth development, mentorships (T. Howard Foundation)

Other Links:

The Internship Manual Book (Amazon)

Sharise Kent.com


Scholarship Spotlight: Healthy Eating Scholarship Sponsored by Nuts.com.  They award three scholarships $500- $1500 to eligible high school seniors, undergrad or graduate students. Submit an essay.  DEADLINE May 15, 2016.

Ep. 40 Selecting the Right College: Using Data to Make Better Decisions

Selecting the right collegeThis episode is an interview with Bill Phelan, co-founder of College Factual to discuss how data can help a student make a better decision by selecting the right college. This site is a data driven website that allows you to discover your unique strengths, matches you with the best major and begins selecting the right college according to that information. They publish significant data on their site for athletes, first year students as well as work with the Veteran’s Administration to identify veteran friendly colleges (@studentvets).

“An adult can make a bad decision and file for bankruptcy. A student at age 18 that makes a bad decision can’t walk away from their debt, student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court”.

The goal is to have the most updated information about the true cost of a college, determine the value of selecting that major and what are the best colleges for that major and the outcome of your earning potential. This is also a great resource for Asian students since they have an office in #Beijing for the Chinese parents and students.

Changing the course while in college can be costly. The latest statistics suggest that 76% of students change their major once and then 50% of those students change their major for the second time.  The COST of each change is about $45,000

Links mentioned in this episode:

The College Money Maze MASTERCLASS – May7, 2016 (for those in the NJ area)

College Factual

Contact them:  FACEBOOK, Twitter, LinkedIN

USA Today College Rankings @USATodayCollege


Scholarship SpotlightThe Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship (in honor of Beyonce’s new album – Lemonade)

They offer varies scholarships for students up to the age of 25.  You must be at least a high school senior, received a GED, undergraduate or graduate student, U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a 2.0 GPA to qualify. @beyonce @S_C_



Ep. 39 Winning $1Million in College Scholarships, Without Being the Cream of the Crop

Scholarships Ep. 39Today’s episode of the college money maze is a discussion about college scholarships, specifically about a young man (Blake Dawson) in high school who won over $1million to date. There was a recent video and article posted on our facebook community page for The College Money Maze. The video and article first appeared in the Courier Journal.

A student who focuses their efforts on finding college scholarships, wanting to be student loan debt-free can achieve that goal. He and others are living proof of that. There are a couple of key points that he makes and the writer of the article underscores:

  1. Getting and staying organized from the beginning of the process.
  2. Being diligent and researching each school on his list to see what college scholarships are available that he may qualify for. Many of them are not advertised on the general scholarship search websites.
  3. Great quote from him – “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know”.
  4. His parents set the expectation early on that it was his responsibility to find money to pay for his college education. Have a mindset of “excellence”.
  5. He treated this just like a part-time job, setting aside a few hours on a Saturday to complete essays or during his study hall time at school.
  6. He asked for help from his counselor and parents.  They reviewed his essay and helped with his applications.
  7. He did not let hearing the answer “NO”, deter him from applying for others.
  8. He has not only earned a “Full Ride” for college, he has tens of thousands of dollars for all of the additional expenses that he will incur.
  9. Completing the FAFSA puts you in a position to be eligible for institutional aid.
  10. Being part of a debate club helped him market himself, especially in interviews with colleges.


College Money Maze MASTERCLASS (in NJ) for Parents of incoming HS Juniors. For more information/register for class, CLICK HERE.


Scholarship Spotlight

All about Education Scholarship – This is located on the Unigo.com website. Deadline April 30, 2016. They are awarding a $3000 scholarship to a student 13+ at time of application who can answer the question – How will a $3000 scholarship for education make a difference in your life?

Create Real Impact Contest – Sponsored by Impact Teen Drivers. They are awarding up to $1500 for a student between the ages of 14 and 22 years of age. Student must submit an original work (video, music, creative writing or artwork) showcasing their idea for a solution to the very real problem of reckless and distracted driving. Deadline April 29, 2016

Denny’s Hungry for Education Scholarship – Sponsored by the Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities.  They are awarding $1000 to any student k-12, undergraduate or graduate with a minimum GPA 2.5.  Applicant must submit an essay on how Denny’s can impact childhood hunger in their communities. Deadline is April 29, 2016

Dunkin’ Donuts South/Southwest Florida Scholarship Program – they are awarding $1000 to a high school senior at designated (see website) high schools in the Florida Palm Beach Treasure Coast area, the greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, and the Greater Ft. Myers-Naples area.



Ep. 38 Admitted Student Day and Why You Should Attend

Yu have been accepted to college. Congratulations! Should you attend Admitted Student Day? ABSOLUTELY! This episode of the podcast talks about why you should attend the Accepted or ADMITTED STUDENT DAY at the college(s) that have sent your student acceptance letters.  Those of you (of a certain age, 50ish) may not be familiar with this term because it was not around in the 80’s or 90’s when you or I went to college.why you should attend admitted student dayThis is a day in which the college invites all the students they have accepted to come to the campus, spend the day, take a tour and take this opportunity to ask additional questions or rule out all other options.  This is before freshman orientation. The checklist and reasoning for attending was first seen on another website collegeparentcentral.com and we discuss it here.

If your student is thinking about blowing off Accepted or Admitted Student Day because he/she doesn’t know what it’s about, think again!  This is the perfect opportunity to give them a fresh look at the school without the pressure.


Are you a PARENT OF A INCOMING JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLER? Do you live in NJ? You should attend our MASTERCLASS. This is a class designed especially for parents of students that will be a junior in high school in September 2016.  This is an opportunity to get organized, get a game plan, get information about scholarships and colleges.  Join other parents, share resources, network and get scholarship strategies NOW!

Date: Saturday May 7, 2016 6pm FEE Required at event. RSVP 732-754-8635 ASAP!

Links mentioned:




Ep. 36 Have You Considered An Online College Degree?

online College degree

Online College Degree

This episode is a deep dive  discussion about an online college degree and the value of this choice for your education. Our guest, Kimberly Wetter is the Marketing Director for SR Education Group and they publish the websites onlineu.org, guidetoonlineschool.com and grad reports.com.

We cover the whole gamut when talking about pursuing an online college degree, from financial aid, scholarships to lecture format to how they rate these colleges and universities.

We also discuss the differences between “for-profit” vs. “non-profit” colleges and the various types of accreditation. She provides some tips on how to distinguish which schools are a safe bet and which are “questionable”. Did you know that many well-known colleges have online degrees as well as brick & mortar buildings on campuses?

Here are a couple of universities that she mentions for you to consider – Western Governors University. Their concept revolves around the less time it takes you to complete your degree, the less money you have to spend.

Southern New Hampshire University has expanded their online presence and is rated very high by these websites.


Scholarship Spotlight – SR Education Group Scholarships – they offer two scholarships: $2500 for those attending community college (deadline July 16, 2016) & $5000 for teachers enrolled in a graduate program (deadline May 30, 2016)

Scholarship Spotlight – Babe Ruth League Scholarship – $1000 scholarship for high school seniors and current college students who have participated in a Cal Ripken Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball or Babe Ruth Softball League during the ages of 4-18.  Deadline July 31, 2016.

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