4 ways colleges can prep you for Valentine’s Day

Cliché: A labor of love.    
POCS Reality: College can help you prep for a lovely Valentine’s Day.     

Every Feb 14 is a celebration of love. Whether you are a born romantic or don’t know where to begin, college can help you prepare for a lovely Valentine’s Day.

According to holidayinsights.com

The roots of Valentine’s Day goes back to ancient times, when people paid honor to the Roman God of Fertility. This was known as the Feast of Lupercalia, and was celebrated even then on February 14th.

Here are four ways college can prep you for Feb 14:

  1. Look good, feel good One reason colleges are so costly is their amenities-especially the sports kind. If you are not on a team but want to stay fit, check out a college gym or pool for Intramural sports, exercise classes and personal exercise equipment use. Memberships and day passes may be available for both students and the public.
  2. Let your inner poet out Take a college poetry course and commit a couple of romantic poems to memory to recite at the appropriate time. Take a creative writing class so you can make your own thoughtful cards and letters.
  3. Dine fine on a budget Many colleges have a wide choice of fast food eateries along with a cafeteria. Why not order take-out and plate it yourself for a romantic meal at home.
  4. Do something special Colleges host a wide variety of entertainment options including art exhibitions, plays, movies and concerts. Check out the campus events calendar and attend your favorite with your beau.

Some activities and facilities are only for enrolled students and others are open to the public. Check prices because many events are free, low cost or have reduced rates for students, senior citizens, alumni, staff/faculty.

POCSmom’s College Prep DIY Insight: Who said studying the humanities wasn’t practical? Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

College Goal Sunday

Cliché: Help is on the way.    
POCS Reality: College Goal Sunday helps the college-bound file FAFSA for financial aid.    

Attention college-bound: If you need help to fill out your FAFSA for financial aid to help pay for college, College Goal Sunday is coming to your area. The national event is staffed with financial aid volunteers ready to answer your questions and help you complete and submit your 2012-13 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Under FAFSA, colleges award eligible students federal grants, student loans and a job through the Federal Work-Study program. States may require FAFSA before students can submit an application for their state financial aid program. Colleges can use other forms or just use FAFSA to determine awards from their own institutional funds. Check with your state and college for FAFSA filing deadlines.

College Goal Sunday is held in 40 states and the District of Columbia. It started in Indiana to help students and families complete financial aid forms, focusing on low-income, first-generation families.

Applicants will need to bring some important information to complete their FAFSA:

  • Social Security Number for yourself, and parents if providing parent info
  • Driver’s license, if any
  • Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • W-2 forms
  • 2011 federal tax returns for yourself (and spouse if married), and parents if providing parent info
  • Records of 2011 untaxed income including Social Security benefits, welfare benefits, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), veteran benefits for yourself, and parents if providing parent info
  • Bank statements
  • Current business and investment mortgage info, business and farm records, stock and bond investment records, for yourself, and parents if providing parent info
  • FAFSA PIN to use as an electronic signature for yourself, and parents if providing parent info. Apply for one in advance at the U.S. Department of Education PIN Web site.

You can estimate how much financial aid you may receive and your expected family contribution (EFC) to college costs at FAFSA4caster.

To preview the types of questions you will be asked, go to the FAFSA on the WebWorksheet or look at the paper FAFSA

Gather your documents necessary to complete the FAFSA and mark your calendar to attend College Goal Sunday.

POCSmom’s College Prep DIY Insight: If you need money to pay for college, file your FAFSA yourself or with help.

College scandals and success stories

Cliché: Ups and downs.    
POCS Reality: The college-bound should stay current because education news is constantly changing.


Scandal, success story, scandal, success story. Welcome to extreme college news 2012 for the good, the bad and the ugly: 

False data and college rankings Claremont McKenna College submitted false SAT scores used in computing college rankings to publications including U.S. News & World Report. The responsible administrator has reportedly resigned. Claremont McKenna is ranked #9 for National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

According to The New York Times, “Iona College in New Rochelle, north of New York City, acknowledged last fall that its employees had lied for years not only about test scores, but also about graduation rates, freshman retention, student-faculty ratio, acceptance rates and alumni giving.” Iona College is ranked #30 Regional Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

College endowment returns swell The Wall Street Journal Market Watch reports 2011 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments found “College endowments returned an average of 19.2% (after fees) for the year ended June 30, 2011.” Harvard University heads the list of its The 25 largest college endowments.

Mistaken college admission offers Vassar College, ranked #14 for National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, accepted then rejected 76 early admission applicants. Similar errors have occurred at other colleges, too.

Recent college grad wins $25,000 Adelphi University grad who studied film entered and won Chevrolet’s Route 66 ad contest. The commercial is slated to air during Super Bowl XLVI. Adelphi is ranked #152 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

SAT cheating scandal There have been at least 20 arrests of SAT test takers and test hirers on Long Island, New York and the NY Senate Higher Education Committee is holding hearings to address test security and cheating penalties. Because of the large amount of fees involved in the scam ($1,500-$3,500), new legislation may provide penalties for parent involvement as accomplices.

Intel competition awards scholarships Among this year’s winners for their science research projects is a homeless college-bound high school senior from Long Island, New York. In addition to being an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist, she is awarded a $50,000 scholarship from AT&T Aspire program on the Ellen DeGeneres show.  

POCSmom’s College Prep DIY Insight: Whoa – we are only 34 days into 2012. Education news is a wild ride for the college-bound. Take a deep breath and stay focused on your part in the college process.