*POCSmom’s DIY College Prep Insight: College Bottom Line is Finish Line

Cliché: Crossing the finish line.    
POCS Reality: In order to earn the maximum benefits of going to college, students must earn a college degree and graduate.


To the victors belong the spoils and studies show this applies to educational achievement. That means if attending college is a race, graduating is crossing the finish line.


College degree benefits include better jobs, money, and knowledge. Dropping out drawbacks include loss of educational investment and student loan debt.

POCSmom’s DIY College Prep Insight: Finish what you educationally start. If your initial choice isn’t working out:

  • Think why- adapting to college life issues, too much partying and not enough studying, work load too difficult, can’t afford the expense?
  • Seek help- depending on the reason, different professional sources are available on and off campus to help you succeed including counseling, tutoring, and financial aid staff.
  • Transfer- because sometimes to succeed, you have to take another path. Another school may be a better fit now based on your program, activities, location choices and budget concerns.

The earlier you recognize you have an educational problem, the faster you can correct it. No one asks where you started, just where you earned that college degree. Get the maximum college payback: finish college and graduate.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: To Go College or Not To Go To College

Cliché: School of thought.    
POCS Reality: Although it pays to go to college, it pays more to go to the best fit and affordable school.

To go to college or not to go to college? How would Hamlet answer that question?

The case for and against college is revealed in a series of 10 interesting charts:


  • 5 charts show the value of college is growing because of the close relationship between education and employment.
  • 3 charts show the value of college growing but slowing.
  • 2 charts show the value of college is falling because of lower wages and higher student loan debt.

POCSmom’s DIY Insight: The value of education can be measured in numbers (financially) and in knowledge (insight).  Employers know this, studies show this. To maximize the financial benefit of a college degree, college-bound students should consider the cost of borrowing and repayment amounts prior to taking out education loans.

As for Hamlet, to go or not to go to college? Before he died, he attended school in Wittenberg.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student


*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: College-Bound Stress and the Stress-Buster

Cliché: Stressed out.    
POCS Reality: POCSmom is a college-bound stress-buster.


Sky rocketing college costs, complicated admission and financial aid processes, rules that can change at any time. No wonder parents and their college-bound students are confused, stressed, and having trouble partnering in the college process. 

For best chance of future college success, it takes a village, or at least parents and students working together. How will you handle the hot topics of money, high school senior year expectations (senior privileges, SATS/ACTs, AP/IB classes, prom) and college prep (lists, college visits, admission applications, financial aid applications)? How will you deal with outside influences and weigh opinions of well-meaning family and friends, counselors and other experts?

It’s POCSmom to the rescue-partnering with Certified Parent Coach Kay Kimball Gruder and presenting a FREE one-hour webinar:

Beating College-Bound Stress: Strategies & Tips for Better Parent-Student Communication

Monday, Sept 26 form 9-10 pm EDT.

Register http://SuccessfulCollegeParenting.webex.com

This is no ordinary chat. We will be giving specific how to’s on the 3 hot topics of $, high school senior year, and college-prep and taking questions from participants. We will talk about the quality of college-bound info (sources, expertise, and how current the info is). It’s all about how best to form a parent/college-bound student partnership for best chance of college process success.

POCSmom’s DIY Insight: The best way for families to navigate the college process is by working together with the knowledge to plan and make college affordable. Then parents and their college-bound students can lose the stress and find the fun to enjoy the wonderful college years.

POCSmom, the college-bound stress-buster will lead the way.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: College-Bound Advice

Cliché: Expert Advice.   
POCS Reality: The college process is complicated, costly, and constantly changing so get current info that is from a knowledgeable source.


Which is the college-bound truth:

  1. The financial aid process starts after the admission process.
  2. The more colleges students apply to the greater their chances for getting in.
  3. College costs are rising higher than the rate of inflation.
  4. None of the above.
  5. All of the above.

If your answer is “3” you aced this college knowledge test. The annual U.S. Inflation Rate for the 12 months ending in July, 2011 was 3.63% but tuition and fees at private nonprofit institutions are increasing an average 4.6% for the 2011-12 school year and over 5.6% for state public schools.

Colleges decide which financial aid forms they require and about 400 of them want the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®, a form that is available for filing starting October 1st, months before students usually submit college admission applications.

It’s not a numbers game when it comes to chances for college acceptance but it can deplete the bank account with application fees averaging $60 a pop. To increase chances for getting in, create a strategic successful college list filled with 6-8 colleges that have the programs, activities, and location the student wants and colleges that want what the student has to offer. And don’t forget to include the Affordability Factor.

POCSmom’s DIY Insight: Consider the source, the expertise, and how current the info is when considering who to rely on and by how much. For more college-bound facts, truths, and insights, go to www.pocsmom.com.

College-bound stress-buster POCSmom provides DIY (do-it-yourself) tips from forming a college list to attending college graduation. POCSmom Wendy is also the College Insights Expert for CollegeExpertPanel.com.  

New schedule for POCSmom’s blogs:

When parents and their college-bound students have the knowledge to plan and make college affordable, they can kick out the stress and enjoy the college years ahead. POCSmom and CollegeExpertPanel.com will show you how.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: College Admission Directors

Cliché: Seek and ye shall find.    
POCS Reality: Colleges recruit students but students make the final decision of whether or not to attend.   

What are college admission counselors looking for in an applicant? The 2011 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Directors completed in early September, found that the answer is increasingly- money.

Recruitment strategies included providing financial aid to needy middle and low income students and recruiting more students who could afford to pay the full college bill. The importance of these methods varied according to the college source: public, private, and community colleges: 

                       Rating Importance of Admission Strategies

Admission Strategy


Community Colleges

Public colleges

Private colleges

Providing adequate student aid for low- and middle income students




Recruiting more full-pay students




“The actual survey sample included approximately 1,840 two- and four-year colleges and universities that enroll 5.00 or more students. A total of 462 senior admissions and enrollment management officers completed the survey by September 3, 2011.”

POCSmom’s DIY Insight: This is just another reason for students to carefully craft a college list to include financial safety schools and to select the college to attend after comparing financial aid awards from schools that offered admission.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student


*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: College Perks

Cliché: Perk up.    
POCS Reality: Colleges compete to attract students.      

What’s free at your college?  Laundry service, concerts, or may be a laptop? These are some perks being offered at campuses across the country.

Business Insider describes “9 Awesome College Perks.”

Combine increasing tuition and fees with growing competition to attract students and you have fertile ground for eye-catching campus bonuses.

POCSmom’s DIY Insight: Don’t let a school’s perks distract you from focusing on what you want from a college education: quality academics and career opportunities.

Which do you want your college dollars to pay for: knowledgeable professors teaching in state-of-the-art classrooms or an indoor lazy river in the gym?

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: College Lists and Student Loans

Cliché: Default on.    
POCS Reality: Colleges and the government keep track of student loan defaults.      


Horrible. Disturbing. Frightening. I’m talking about the growing student loan default rate. When forming a college list think ahead so these words don’t apply to your situation.

The Department of Education’s latest figures show a 2003 low default rate of 4.5% rose to a 2009 8.8%:  


Although the late 80’s and 90’s had double digit default rates, they fell steadily until 2003. Now they’re at a 12 year high:


and bankruptcy is growing among college grads:


POCSmom’s DIY Insight: Choose colleges that are affordable for your family now and after graduation. Add up available savings but don’t raid retirement funds. Project potential income and length of time to secure employment. College is supposed to help not hinder a student’s financial future.

If you need to borrow, choose a federal education loan not a private loan or home equity loan. Federal student and parent loans are regulated by the federal government, have special terms and interest rates, unique loan forgiveness programs, and do not require collateral.

Before borrowing, calculate monthly repayment amounts including the amount borrowed (principal) and borrowing costs (fees and interest). Make sure you can afford any loans.

Note: student loans are treated differently from other consumer loans under bankruptcy laws and it is much harder to obtain a discharge.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s DIY Insight: Global College Ranking List

Cliché: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.    
POCS Reality: There are dozens of college ranking lists but your own one is the most important for you.      


This college ranking list is not out of this world but it comes close- it’s out of the country. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development compares higher education degree completion by 25-34 year-olds around the world and found the U.S. has slipped to #16 out of 37 developed nations:


To read for it yourself, select your country and the source of comparison, then choose “Comparative” at the bottom.

Why has slippage occurred?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/us-falls-in-global-ranking-of-young-adults-who-finish-college/2011/08/22/gIQAAsU3OK_story.html :

“The stagnant U.S.performance on this key international benchmark reflects at least two trends: the rapid expansion of college attendance in Asia and Europe, and the continuing emphasis on four-year degrees in the United States while other nations focus far more on one- and two-year professional credentials.”

College Prep Expert Suzanne Shaffer puts the domestic ranking craze into perspective with a U.S.-China infographic comparison created by OnlineUniversityRankings.com:


While U.S.student degree attainment may have dropped, U.S.universities continue to rank high as some of the world’s best schools (find the list under Comments):


POCSmom’s DIY Insight: Ranking? Enough already. The most important ranking list is your own college list.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s Insight: College and Social Media

Cliché: Spread the word.    
POCS Reality: Colleges and college students increasingly use social media.      


What’s spreading like wildfire throughout college campuses? If your answer is social media, you are right according to this cool Infographic with these stats:


For example, to get 50 million users, radio took 38 years but iPod made it in 3 years and Facebook got a whopping 200 million users in less than one year.

Colleges are also reporting great user gains with all colleges using at least one form of social media and almost half have a social media policy.

College students favorite social network is Facebook with YouTube and Twitter flying close behind.

POCSmom’s Insight: Increased use of technology through social media reaches students and parents before, during, and after college. They can be great networking tools for social, educational, and business relationships. Use it wisely for virtual enjoyment and don’t forget to find fun in the real world, too.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student

*POCSmom’s Insight: New Way College Professors Teach

Cliché: Old school.    
POCS Reality: College professors use new methods and social media to enhance learning.      


What’s the best way to learn? According to this research, it’s not the lecture way most of us have been taught:


The teacher standing in front of the class and writing on the board is so old school because it relies on short-term memory.

To maximize conceptual thinking, peer teaching is a new approach.

It’s teach by questioning, not teach by telling.

Here’s how peer instruction works:

  1. Students read class material before class and answer questions including what confuses them
  2. In class prof gives brief explanation of material and asks a question
  3. Students answers go directly to prof’s laptop via mobile device
  4. Students talk/instruct to each other about the question
  5. Prof asks students to answer the same question again
  6. Repeat process

Watch the video about Harvard Physics Professor Mazur and his interactive teaching method.

POCSmom’s Insight: What’s old is often new again in the teaching world. The Socratic Method, named after Greek philosopher Socrates, used questions to encourage critical thinking and enlightenment.

The important thing is for students to get their money’s worth from their college education. That means they are interested, excited, and motivated to learn and the professor is willing, able, and understands how best to communicate his knowledge.

*POCS: Parent Of a College Student