Ep. 74 Website Review: The College Board

The College BoardThe College Board website may be frequently used by some of you but I would venture to guess that a large part of you have no idea how vast and comprehensive this site is. This episode of The College Money Maze Podcast does a review of The College Board website.

Some would argue that although The College Board is a nonprofit organization, in terms of its’ overall structure, it has some tools, resources and services that is marketed to others at a cost.  Some might even say that it has a dual identity: one side is for educators, colleges, school counselors and the other side is for students and parents.

Let’s look at each side. First the professional services side for educators provides instructional programs, curriculum development services, materials, lesson plans etc… for educators. They also have content to help guidance professionals assist students with the application process and prepping for college. These would be best used by teachers of 6-12 grade students or high school counselors.

The higher education services is provided to help college admissions, financial aid administrators and those that are into recruiting to plan, coordinate and track all of their information in one software application.  They also provide data reports about PSAT/SAT trending to help direct marketing.

One of the final sections of the website is for the CSS Profile. This an additional form that is required by a number of universities in addition to the FAFSA for consideration of not only financial aid, but institutional aid (or non-federal aid) awards. This form asks additional asset and resource questions so that the admissions and financial aid administrators can make better decisions based on the resources available.

The other side of The College Board is a “sub-site” called BIG FUTURE. This is the section that is directed toward college planning, career exploration, career development and organizes information for students that are applying for colleges. First and foremost, you can access the PSAT/SAT/CLEP practice tests as well as register for the actual tests from this section. This is very user friendly for students and parents to access.

A little known feature is their college search database which guides you step by step to compile your college list. You can search for colleges and universities by acceptable test score, which ones give out merit scholarship, those that are ranked nationally by division (and filter by sport) etc…  There are several videos of students who have used the site and provide testimonials.

Connect with them:

Twitter – @CollegeBoard @OfficialSAT

Facebook – @TheCollegeBoard

Ep. 61 Success Principles 4 Life: Michael Jones & The I CAN Foundation

The I CAN FoundationThe I CAN Foundation (and the success principles 4 life) is the second foundation that we spotlight here on The College Money Maze. We want our audience to get up close and personal with the organizations that award college scholarships and hear the story behind  the message.

Michael Jones is Founder and President of The I CAN Foundation as well as an entrepreneur.  He talks at length about his principles for success and what services the foundation provides for the youth of North Plainfield, NJ and the surrounding communities.

The I CAN Foundation empowers our youth and community with the “I Can” attitude by providing free services geared toward middle and high school students, completed by family-oriented programs for the community. TCIF’s services and programs include tutoring, mentoring, NJ PARCC & SAT Boot Camps, Hoops 4 a Cause event and an Annual Black History Extravaganza

The Foundation also awards a $2000 scholarship to a high school senior.  The qualifications are as follows:

  • Graduating New Jersey High School Senior (NJ Resident only)
  • Complete a 750 word essay
  • Two-Three letters of recommendation
  • 2.5 grade point
  • Extra Curricula Activities

Success Principles 4 Life: Spirituality, Family, Education & Recreation

Success tips for high school seniors:

  1. Choose a college wisely
  2. Practice positive study habits
  3. Get to know your professors to build a relationship

“Don’t study what you know – study what you don’t know!” – Michael Jones

Links mentioned in this episode:

The I CAN Foundation Scholarship

Mirror Image Barber Shop

NJIT

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

North Carolina A & T State University

Independent Beauty Supply

 

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

SAT Registration

ACT Registration

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Bonus: Super Scholarship Secrets from The College Savvy Coach

The College Savvy Coach

The College Savvy Coach

We have a special guest for this BONUS episode – Sia Knight, The College Savvy Coach. She is a former teacher, counselor, administrator turned entrepreneur (founder of The College Savvy Coach) and educational consultant. She brings us some “pearls of wisdom” about scholarship and college admission in general. She has a FREE webinarSUPER SCHOLARSHIP WEBINAR on February 4th, 2016 8pm EST (check FACEBOOK page for additional dates).  You can register HERE for the webinar.

We are very fortunate to have her as a guest.  She gives us a sneak peak into the webinar and share some of those secrets with us such as how to maximize your HS counselor to your advantage, how to compose an application strategy for college and some of the biggest mistakes that lead to less money for college.

[spp-tweet tweet=”It’s not Who You Know, it’s really WHO KNOWS YOU!”]

Register for the webinar TODAY!.

Tips from The College Savvy Coach:

  1. Get to know your H.S. Counselor. When they need to recommend someone for a scholarship, let it be you.
  2. Teach your child to be their own best advocate.
  3. Start your child with an internship or leadership building activity in middle school or early high school.
  4. Teach your student to foster relationships early with other volunteer organizations if you are not that academic super star (to leverage later for scholarships). An example would be Boys & Girls clubs, Urban League or youth groups of fraternal organizations.
  5. How to be a GREAT student – Good isn’t good enough! Colleges are looking for GREAT students: Grades, References, Extracurricular, Avatar (online presence) & Test Score.
  6. Take courses in high school that are rigorous enough to let colleges know you can handle challenging courses.
  7. Get recommendations from school counselor and supplementary ones as needed.
  8. Don’t rush senior year and load up on extracurricular activities. Plan for that earlier in high school.
  9. Believe that college reps do look at your online (google, Facebook, instagram etc…) image!
  10. Be aware of the upcoming changes to the SAT and ACT.

How to contact Sia Knight:

website – Sia Knight, The College Savvy Coach

Twitter – @SiaKnight

 

Ep. 13 Which Colleges Require You Take the 50-Minute SAT Essay?

50 minute SAT essay test

50 minute SAT essay test

In this episode, we discuss current events in the college admission industry. There were two articles of interest, the first one from a Washington, D.C. news site (examiner .com) that talked about which colleges would be requiring that students take the “optional” 50 minute SAT essay.   As if the testing changes were not confusing enough. Many schools have a “wait and see” attitude towards the new SAT, its’ sub-scores and how they will be interpreting that information. Other schools have made a definite policy decision whether or not they are requiring the optional writing section. The ACT and COLLEGE BOARD have charts on their websites with the colleges that have reported to them about this issue.

The other article from Forbes.com unveiled a little known fact that FAFSA and the ACT report to the individual colleges where they are “ranked” on your application or test. This information is critical to the schools who are always looking for an indication of how a student perceives them. Unknowingly to you, they may make critical decisions on your admission with this information. You may not have intended it the way it is being interpreted. The suggestion for a resolution is to list your schools on the FAFSA or the ACT in alphabetical order.

SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The CHOBANI Scholarship $5,000 awarded annually (non-renewable) given by New York Women in Communications, Inc.

Other Links discussed:

PSAT – National Merit Scholarships Qualifying Test

Scholly App (in ITunes)

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., National Education Foundation

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Foundation

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Ep. 6 Scholarship Success Story: Michael & Michele Christian

Scholarship Success: The Christian Family

Scholarship success: The Christian Family

One of the newest features at The College Money Maze Podcast is our Scholarship Success Stories. We will be profiling parents and students who have successfully navigated this college journey and were able to obtain a scholarship (or many) to fund their own or their child’s education. When Todd and I came up with the concept for the podcast, this topic was the main thing I wanted to do. I thought to myself, why not highlight successful people who have paved the way so others can benefit from their wisdom. There is no need in reinventing the wheel!

Our first set of parents is Michael and Michele Christian. In order to be totally transparent, Michele is a friend of ours from our home town in New Jersey. She is married to Michael and they have two children together, Brandon and Brianna. Michael has an older daughter, Alexis from a prior relationship. Brianna is their oldest daughter who graduated from high school this year and will be attending Rutgers University – New Brunswick Campus (GO SCARLET KNIGHTS!) in the fall. Michele graduated from Seton Hall University and Michael is from the west coast and is an alumna of California State Polytechnic University.

Their top tips for other Parents/Students:

  1. Start looking ASAP! ideally, as soon as they start high school
  2. Good idea to start studying for the PSAT/SAT as soon as possible, preferably in junior year.  Sometimes you get better scores when there is no pressure.
  3. Work hard on the college essay, it is very important.
  4. Listen to your child.  Don’t try to control them or the process.

Links mentioned in this episode:

George School

A Better Chance Program

Johns Hopkins University

Rutgers University, New Brunswick

PSAT, SAT

Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think about this episode. Join our FACEBOOK COMMUNITY – The College Money Maze Community – to get first access to the scholarships and resources that are posted.

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