Scholarship Mom Alert: Amazon Student Scholarship

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships can help pay the college bill but students have to apply or they lose their chance to win. If your student is planning on attending college full-time in the fall of 2015, check out the Amazon Student Scholarship.

Be mindful of the selection criteria for this merit-based scholarship contest. College scholarship expert Monica Matthews points out the specifics along with her must-read winning tips:

AMAZON STUDENT COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP

There’s a lot of money at stake and not a lot of time to prepare. “Amazon will award $250,000 in scholarships and $25,000 in text book gift cards. The due date for this scholarship is November 20,” Monica says.

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Pick a club but not any club

College-bound: Pick a club but not any club. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College-bound: Pick a club but not any club. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

When it comes to college admission, extracurricular activities matter. Colleges want students who have focused on a particular area or two to achieve higher competency, show leadership, and display maturity and commitment. Students may not know what they want to major in but they can demonstrate focal points of pursuits. Selecting the right one is like finding a friend.

A year ago, I explained the importance of Adding the extras because, “Colleges want interesting, motivated students who show commitment to their passions and will not just fit in but will contribute to their campus.” I provided ways parents can help their college-bound develop interests, talents, hobbies, volunteer and job experience.

Not all activities and not all levels of participation will help the college-bound. To help your child pick a club, use these five lessons learned from choosing a friend:

1. You have something in common. Teens are often drawn to a particular club either because of an interest in participating in the activity or because they want to join other club members. They stay in it and get the most out of it when the two combine. Give it a good try when mixing new or old passions with new or old friends because student interests can change.

2. You want to spend time together. It can be challenging or comfortable but the activity chosen should make the student smile. Students should enjoy participating and look forward to spending their free time there.

3. You want to give as much as take. It is better to be an active club member of one or two activities than a passive brief contributor to many. Use the opportunity to grow in the organization, hone skills and polish leadership abilities.

4. You can count on it. To be most rewarding, the club and its members have to be reliable. Even if it is a seasonal activity, students have to be able to count on certain events and other club members for doing their part. When students put in their time and dedication, they should expect reciprocal support.

5. They bring out the best in you. The goal is to grow, thrive and mature in the chosen environment. Like hanging with a bad crowd, a club that doesn’t suit the student should be ditched. The best clubs and activities can help the student reach new heights and accomplish more than he could on his own.

Don’t worry if your teen is not a joiner. There are plenty of solo activities and sports that fill the role of a club. Students can use the above lessons to help them choose.

Read Suzanne’s post: Wednesday’s Parent: An Extracurricular Match Made in Heaven

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund

American flag. Photo by Mitchell Gaines

American flag. Photo by Mitchell Gaines

Over a dozen years has passed since September 11, 2001 but the memory is still fresh. For those college-bound dependents of 9/11 victims, college scholarship expert Monica Matthews is sharing information about the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.

The fund provides scholarship money to financially needy high school, college, and adult students who are dependents of 9/11 victims.

“If you or someone you know is a dependent of a 9/11 victim, please share this link with them and encourage them to apply for this scholarship,” Monica says. I join her in urging you to share this valuable info.

Read Monica’s post: September 11: Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund


Wednesday’s Parent: Choose a mentor in 3 steps

Choose a mentor carefully. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Choose a mentor carefully. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Earn while you learn explains the popularity of apprenticeships to employees and internships for college students. For the college-bound, a mentor can supplement classroom learning and provide enrichment in  understanding. Who to choose as a mentor is not always an easy choice because there is a lot riding on the consequences of taking a mentor’s advice.

Mentors can serve as advisers, guides, gurus, counselors, consultants, confidantes, trainers, teachers, tutors, and instructors for any part of the college and career prep and process. As experts in their field, they can share valuable insider tips, tricks and insights. They can furnish introductions through networking opportunities and serve as role models. Here is my three-step method to choose a mentor:

1. Do a big picture analysis. The first step in choosing a mentor is to determine which position a student needs a mentor to fill. In my article, It takes this village to get into college, I explained six different roles students look to for counsel. A mentor can fill more than one part and students can have more than one mentor for different reasons. Use the parent-student team to explore the areas a student could benefit from extra guidance. Since college prep is preparation for achieving success in college and beyond, take both a short and long view. As objectively as possible, analyze together the student’s current academic and extracurricular interests, skills, abilities and talents. Let the student lead the discussion on future plans and dreams. Compare the two to determine the qualifications of a suitable mentor.

2. Brainstorm candidates to serve as a mentor. A mentor’s academic and life experience may relate to a particular profession, business, or membership. The person may be a prior or current teacher or school counselor, family friend/colleague or someone from a club or organization the student or parent knows. A mentor usually comes from a direct connection but doesn’t have to. Recommendations may come from others. It is worth doing some research to find the best match and double-check reliability. Students will be trusting the mentor’s judgement. Read How trustworthy is your college info source? for what to watch out for.

3. Make the first move. Whether it is someone the student knows already or comes by way of recommendation, the approach is the same. Start the mentor relationship on a higher plane by being professional. Students should be prepared with an elevator speech about themselves, what they want, and how they believe the person can help as a mentor. The key is to explain why they are worthy of the mentor’s valuable time and knowledge. Be respectful and prepared by bringing a resume similar to the one I suggest be given when requesting teacher recommendations. A conversation about how the mentor experience fits in will follow naturally.

Read Suzanne’s post5 Qualities a Mentor Should NOT Possess

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound. 

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Birthday Mail Scholarship

Scholarship Mom Alert: Birthday card and scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert: Birthday card and scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

A scholarship that provides a double benefit is what college scholarship expert Monica Matthews, author of How To Win College Scholarships, has found. When entering the $10,000 Everyone Deserves a Birthday Scholarship from DoSomething.Org, applicants have a chance of winning money to help pay for their higher education and make a birthday card for a child experiencing homelessness. I explained other ways “Volunteering is a double benefit to the college-bound when they help themselves by helping a charitable cause they care about” in College-bound volunteers get double benefit.

Monica shares the details for applying and her tips for winning this scholarship in her must-read post:

$!0,000 Birthday card college scholarship

Be sure to enter before the October 17 deadline.

Good Luck!!!

 

Wednesday’s Parent: 3 sure-fire words to adjust to new routines

New routines disrupt patterns. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

New routines disrupt patterns. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

There is comfort in knowing the pattern. It makes meeting expectations easier. Alterations mess with predictability and wipe out the ease of habit. Fortunately, there are tips to smooth the adjustment to new routines.

A new school year represents big change for students and their parents. Students must adapt to new schedules, classrooms, activities, teachers and classmates. Parents have to merge their child’s schedule with their own. Time pressed, added responsibilities and increased workload can stress families to the max. Perhaps the hardest part is getting to know new people or reacquainting with those one hasn’t seen for a while. Or maybe it’s adding all the extra things to do for college prep.

As students and parents get familiar with the new rules, it’s is helpful to review my 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage. To this I add my three easy to remember S-words to spark the adjustment to new routines:

Sleep Never underestimate the power of getting enough rest. Sleep improves mental and physical abilities. It is a biological necessity that is often not respected. Without adequate rest, it’s more difficult to think and act clearly and efficiently in the best of times let alone dealing with new situations and people. A nap may help but make getting sufficient zzz’s each night a priority.

Study This is two tips in one word. First, get full value out of an education by learning the material and not for the sake of a test. Plan for study time and create a quiet place to do it. Tap available resources in or out of school when additional help is needed. Second, refine observation skills. Notice and remember details about people, places and things. Making studying a priority will help navigate the school’s halls as well as remembering facts like a new friend’s name (see also first reason).

Smile Don’t be afraid to say hi first and smile when you do it. Smiles are a two-way street with double benefits. Most times they are automatically reciprocated. Simply turning the corners of one’s mouth upward can become an ice-breaker while reducing stress. Smiling can be a mood lifter. Just think about a happy memory or future event and gain confidence by making smiling a priority.

Read Suzanne’s post: Establishing a Back to School Routine

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Tweet for Success Scholarship Contest

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Does your college-bound student have time to write a tweet? If so, he can apply for the Tweet for Success Scholarship Contest.

College scholarship expert Monica Matthews, author of How To Win College Scholarships, researched and found this quick and easy scholarship that does not require a long essay but merely the length of a tweet of 140 characters or less.

Monica’s Winning Tips are a must read for scholarship applicants. The deadline is September 18 so read her post Tweet for Success Scholarship ASAP.

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: School counselors and the parent/student team

Meet with your school counselor. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Meet with your school counselor. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

School counselors are often the first professional who introduces the college process to students and parents. They may bring outside speakers in to supplement their own in-house programs about admission and financial aid. With cutbacks in education funding, there is even more pressure on high school counselors, college-bound students and their parents to find expert info to navigate the complicated college process.

When I speak at high schools, middle schools, public libraries and private groups, my favorite part is the Q&A session. The comments reflect parent and student consistent concerns. They are worried about the coming changes, stressed about the increased to-do list, and scared about the financial and emotional costs.

When the parent/student team partners with a school counselor, they have access to a valuable resource. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) explains the credentials of professional school counselors, formerly referred to as guidance counselors, as state certified/licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling. As vital members of the education team, they can help students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development.

School counselors may meet with students alone and/or with their parents to form a plan of classes, programs and services to satisfy student immediate needs and future goals. For the college-bound, school counselors play an important part. They are often responsible for submitting school transcripts, general school information and specifics about class ranking, and teacher and school recommendation letters to the colleges students indicate they are submitting admission applications.

When going to any professional for advice, it is helpful to prepare. Use the parent-student team meeting to brainstorm questions and think about different scenarios. School counselors have limited time to spend on an individual student so maximize the chance to pick their brain.

Here are ten questions and topics for the college-bound to ask and explore when meeting with their school counselor. The last one is a biggie:

  1. How can I improve my academic standing, extracurricular choices, and college admission chances?
  2. I don’t know what to study in college. Please help me match my interests and skills to career possibilities and colleges with the best programs for me.
  3. What websites and other resources should I use to help form a college list?
  4. I prepared this resume of my skills and accomplishments in addition to what is in my school records. Please look it over and ask me any questions before writing the school letter of recommendation about me. What are your suggestions for teacher recommendations?
  5. What local and other scholarships do you recommend I apply to and have a good chance of winning? Any tips?
  6. Please proofread my college and scholarships essays.
  7. I am so stressed and pressed for time. Can you offer any guidance on study strategies, stress management and test preparation?
  8. When attending school sponsored college fairs and information sessions, what questions should I ask?
  9. What else should I do to prepare for college?
  10. How can my parents and family best help me?

After the meeting, the parent-student team may discuss the school counselor’s suggestions and form their own plan of action. As the college process moves forward, students can assume increasing responsibilities and leadership. They can keep the counselor updated on their progress and continue to ask questions.

Read Suzanne’s post: Cultivate the Counselor Relationship

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Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, August 27, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Shelley Kraus @butwait about the role of school counselors in the college process. Shelley served as director of admissions at @PreviewingPenn,  associate director of admissions at @TCNJ_Admissions and is in her tenth year as a member of the college counseling team at @RutgersPrep, New Jersey’s first independent school. She is the lead curator of collegelistswiki.com, a counselor ­curated collection of over 250 college lists. Please join us and bring your questions and comments.

UPDATE: RECAP (For those who missed the chat or want to review the important tips shared). 

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

 Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Winning scholarships can help pay the college bill and add to a student’s resume. College scholarship expert Monica Matthews, author of How To Win College Scholarships, helped her son win over $100,000 and is sending POCSmom readers a specific alert to learn her tips for applying and winning college scholarships.

“The Xerox Corporation is once again offering generous amounts of college scholarship money with their Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship,” Monica says. Qualified minority students who are enrolled in a technical degree program at the bachelor degree level or above may apply to win awards ranging between $1000 and $10,000.

Go HERE to read Monica’s great tips for winning scholarships and HERE for her special “Winning Tips” for applying to the Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship. Hurry up because the Xerox scholarship deadline is September 30!

GOOD LUCK!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: YOU want ME to recommend you!?!!

There is no easy button to press for a great recommendation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

There is no easy button to press for a great recommendation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

People rely on the opinions of respected others. When presented with several choices that are equally unknown, it makes sense to choose the one someone more familiar with highly recommends.

That’s why celebrities are paid big bucks for their endorsements. You may vote for a particular candidate, buy a particular toothpaste, see a particular show because someone you trust provided a testimonial about it.

That’s why advisors urge job applicants to network. Opportunities may pop up unexpectedly and indirectly. Employers pay attention when a candidate is glowingly recommended by a connection.

That’s why colleges and scholarship sources seek recommendations about applicants. With so many qualified prospective students to choose from, references provide critical additional information about student academic performance, interests and personal qualities that may sway the admission and/or money offer.

Getting a great recommendation is not as easy as pressing a button. Students should have a reason why they are asking a particular individual for a recommendation and how they hope it will enhance their application. The details aren’t always obvious so let who are asked in on this.

Some recommenders don’t have to be asked because their job requires it. School counselors submit recommendations along with high school transcripts to those colleges students tell them they are applying. Whether students and counselors know each other very well or not, pay particular attention to #3 below. This is also good for those the student asks but suggest the student write a first draft.

Here are five ways parents may help their college-bound get great letters of recommendation:

  1. Start the search. As part of your parent/student team for college prep, let your student know colleges require recommendations from school/guidance counselors and teachers. Research the requirements for number of letters required from each school and if recommendations may also come from others such as employers and mentors.
  2. Brainstorm possible references. There are a lot of possible choices but not all will be able to provide the best recommendations. Select those who want to be a reference, think highly of the student and are able to clearly and concisely convey their reasons in writing before deadlines.
  3. Prepare a resume. Some people are extremely busy. Others are unsure of what to say. Make it an easy and simple favor by giving examples in a succinct student resume filled with bullet points of character traits and accomplishments they demonstrate. Personalize each according to what the reference personally has seen and hand it over at the time of the recommendation request.
  4. Time it right. Let’s say the student drew up a great resume and the recommendation writer is eager and knowledgeable. However, the student waited too late to ask. Maybe the writer is going on vacation or has already committed to do this for others. Be courteous of the writer’s time, give plenty of advance notice and provide a deadline before the date actually needed. That way the student may provide a gentle reminder before time runs out.
  5. Have a back up. There are times when Plan B’s are necessary. Unforeseen circumstances may waylay the best intentions. If this happens, don’t panic. After #2 brainstorming and #1 selections, go back to the list and ask someone else.

Thank the recommendation writers after they have written the reference even if you don’t get a chance to read it. School letters are usually not available for student review.

Read Suzanne’s postWill You Write a Recommendation Letter? 

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.