BONUS BEST: Selecting the Right College: Using Data to Make Better Decisions

Selecting the right college

NOTE: This is a “BONUS BEST” episode to start off 2017. ENJOY…

This 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:

College Factual @CollegeFactual

Contact them:  FACEBOOK, Twitter, LinkedIN

USA Today College Rankings @USATodayCollege

*************************************************************************

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

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. 53 The College Money Puzzle Part 2: Financial Aid & Scholarships

The College Money Puzz;e-2

This is the second and final part of our series on The College Money Puzzle.  In this episode, we focus on the fundamentals of financial aid and scholarships.

Mostly, this will give you the last two pieces of the puzzle to gain a thorough baseline understanding of all of the money factors with getting into and paying for college.

Financial aid can be awarded in the form of State Aid or Federal Aid. The most important first step is understanding that completing the FAFSA is the only way to find out if you qualify for any type of financial aid and even some institutional scholarships. Here are our best suggestions about money, financial aid and scholarships:

  1. Complete the FAFSA entirely, correctly and timely (or early starting in October 2016).
  2. Be consistent with your information from year to year.  Your money situation may change for any number of reasons.  If so, be honest and clear and provide supplemental documentation if necessary.
  3. Find out if the school(s) you are interested in are also requiring you to complete the CSS PROFILE.  This is an additional financial form which asks more specific questions about assets, investments and household income or resources.
  4. The Common Application is a great way to say money by avoiding the additional application fees when applying to multiple schools. You pay one fee and apply up to about 10 schools at the same time (saves money) with only one or two essays to complete. Now high school juniors can create an account, save their data and update it when they are ready.
  5. The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success application has more than 90 member colleges (most elite, private schools).  Double check your colleges for which application they accept.
  6. The Common Black College Application is available for those that want to apply to HBCU (Historically Black College and University).
  7. For Scholarships, start early and local.  There are many private foundation, local clubs and organizations that offer scholarships. Search where you live first.
  8. Have your student develop a close relationship with their guidance counselor who is often the gatekeeper in the high school when it comes to scholarships.  They often recommend students for local scholarships for various reasons.
  9. Check with your employer, especially if you work in corporate that may offer scholarship money to the community and to the children of their employees.
  10. If you are not a member of a fraternal organization, I am sure you know someone who is.  Minority Greek-letter organizations focus on education and offer scholarships to youth.
  11. Do a general search on the internet by topic (Math, Biology, English, etc…). Use a major search engine to narrow down the focus.
  12. Try not to disqualify your scholarship application by not filling it out completely, answer all of the questions.
  13. Do not go over the word count. Have someone else review the essay.
  14. Finally, commit to at least 1 hour each day or time on the weekend to search and complete scholarship applications. Act like it’s a PT JOB!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Brown School Senior Wins $1 Million in Scholarships (Check out the video)

Ep. 50 Unique Summer Scholarships

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

Ep. 41 Why Millennials can’t get State Financial Aid

Ep. 39 Winning $1 Million in Scholarships (Without being the cream of the crop)

Ep. 31 How to Win College Scholarships

Also listen to our 4-Part FAFSA Series (Ep. 25- Ep. 28)

Program Partners & Affiliates

Ink Cartridges (Back to School Sale)
InkCartridges.com

Dr. Eric Thomas, Motivational Speaker (check out this YOU TUBE video)

The Secret to Success Podcast (w/Eric Thomas & CJ)

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 50 – UNIQUE SUMMER SCHOLARSHIP BONANZA

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

NAIA

 

 

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.

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. 24 Review of Scholarship Search Websites

Review of Top ScholarshipSearch Website

Today’s episode is a continuation of our series on scholarships.  We review several of the top scholarship search websites for you to save you time and aggravation. Your welcome.

We cover a total of six of the major scholarship search websites that are more well-known.  This is not an exhaustive list but a condensed list in which we talk honestly about how to navigate each site as well as the pros and cons.

What they mostly have in common is that you have to create a login/password, usually answer several questions to complete your profile and sort or filter your search.

NOTE: If you are interested in working with us one-on-one to help you (as the student) or your child, search for, complete and secure scholarship, contact us HERE.  We are offering our consulting services to ease your frustration, save you time and be the ones to follow-up with the student.  We are also developing workshops presentations.  If your group is interested in having us present scholarship information to them, contact us HERE.  We will be posting more about this not he website soon.

Our series on scholarships:

Ep. 22 Money for College

Ep. 23 Jack Kent Cooke Scholar Program

Scholarship search websites mentioned in this episode:

UNIGO.com

  • review of college statistics
  • matches you to your ideal college
  • matches you to internships
  • has a section for textbooks for sale or rent

ZINCH/Chegg.com

  • Book section to rent, buy or sell
  • Study section to ask questions of experts on any college topic
  • matches you with subject matter tutor
  • listing of internships
  • listing of pt/entry-level jobs for college students
  • streaming music section

myscholly.com

  • lead app developer/creator was seen/funded on “SHARK TANK
  • downloadable app in ITunes
  • $2.99 fee for app and website access/membership
  • very large database of scholarships

fastweb.com

  • receive email notifications when new scholarships are listed that fit your profile
  • very large database of scholarships including “generic” criteria

cappex.com

  • large database and listing of merit scholarships
  • great selection of categories to filter and refine your search

scholarship.com

  • most well known site with largest database
  • comprehensive in scope of information
  • resources and tools for high school guidance counselor or youth counselor
[spp-player]

 

 

Ep. 21 Financial Aid Myths & Tips

Today’s episode is with a retired Rutgers financial aid administrator who helps to debunk Debunking Financial Aide Myths
college financial aid myths and gives valuable tips toward paying for college. Mr. Thomas Holmes retired from Rutgers University in 2010 and has started his own educational consulting business, Powerful Visions, LLC. This is somewhat longer than our usual episodes but well worth listening to from beginning to end.

Myth #1 Parents have to wait to file their taxes in order to complete the FAFSA.

WRONG. The FAFSA will be available beginning January 1, 2016 (and thereafter available as early as October) and you can use the previous years tax info to “estimate” what your tax liability will be.

Myth #2 You HAVE to take out a student loan to pay for college.

WRONG. An offer of a student loan can be part of the “financial aid award package” from the colleges that you apply for, especially if your need exceeds the cost of college admission (tuition + room/board/fees).  You can actually turn down a student loan if you have secured enough money to meet your financial need from outside sources such as scholarships.

Educator, Entrepreneur & Community Activist

Thomas Holmes, Educational Consultant and CEO Powerful Visions, LLC.

For example:

$30,000 is the cost of college

$5,000 is your EFC (expected family contribution) subject from above =

$25,000 is your financial need

$20,000 is the max you may be offered from federal and institutional aid=

$5,000 is the amount you are short to meet the cost of college.

It is at this point you may be offered a subsidized loan (interest free until graduation)

Myth #3 I can’t or shouldn’t apply for financial aid because my grades are not that good. Grades are not a prerequisite for getting financial aid. They are important when maintaining credit and satisfactory progress while in college.

Myth #4 I can’t change how much financial aid that I am awarded.

WRONG (Sometimes). You have the ability to file an appeal with the school and have them reconsider the amount of aid that is awarded. They may not have any control over the “state aid” but given certain circumstances, may award you more federal or institutional aid.

Myth #5 We make too much money to get financial aid, plus it is too much of a hassle.

WRONG (Almost). Everyone is “probably” eligible for something even at higher incomes such as over $200k, depends on what kind of school you are applying to.  The FAFSA is easier and simpler than ever to complete online.

Mr. Holmes’ tips for students/parents:

1. States may audit you and require additional info related to your assets before they award you financial aid.

2. Be smart about your assets, “[spp-tweet tweet=”if they can see, they will count it”.”]

3. Be aware of outside sources (scholarships) and how it will affect your award.

4. Start being intentional with your child’s academics and extra activities while they are in middle school to build up your “profile”.

5. Take your children on college tours while they are a freshman to get used to the concept.

[spp-player]

Ep. 20 Road Trip: Philadelphia College Fair

This episode is a recap/debrief of our recent road trip to the College Fair in Philadelphia.  The college fair is sponsored by NACAC – National Association of College Admission Counselors. They have a complete listing of college fairs across the country for the fall and spring season every year.  This was my first experience and my brother’s second with his family. There were well over 800 colleges in attendance at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.College Fair

I try to describe it for you but you must attend one local to you atlas 2-3 times between sophomore and senior year of high school. The first time attending a college fair with a sophomore (or younger) is just to get them used to the concept.  The second time you attend with your child should be between 10th and 11th grade.  They most likely have more of a focus or an idea of what they want to major in. If they are interested in sports, they will be attracted to those schools and teams that they have heard and/or seen on TV.  By senior year, they will be laser focused when attending and only visit the top 5-10 schools of their choice and spending more quality time with the admissions person to show their genuine interest.

There is a lot of literature, brochures, cool stuff that they give away.  The schools that caught our interest were:

Rutgers (of course!)

Arcadia University

Virginia Tech

Rowan University

We also discuss the various workshops that we each attended.  There were representatives from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).  They answered questions about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarships etc…

Other financial aid resources:

FAFSA.gov

studentaid.ed.gov

StudentLoans.gov

FAFSA4caster.ed.gov

collegecost.ed.gov

nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator

Scholarship resources:

EducationPlanner.org

FinAid.org

fastweb.com

[spp-player]