Scholarship Mom Alert: ScholarshipRed for Redheads

Scholarship for Redheads. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship for Redheads. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Some college scholarships are based on physical attributes beyond brain power. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is showcasing a great example. If your college-bound high school junior or senior has natural red hair, take a close look at ScholarshipRed. Monica describes the other qualifications along with her special Winning Tips in her post:

ScholarshipRed: The College Scholarship for Redheads

Monica uses her expertise and experience to analyze the best strategy for winning. Students will want to pay careful attention to her advice.

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Enrollment management and college admission

Enrollment Management and college admissions. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Enrollment Management and college admissions. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

While students are busy beefing up their qualifications to increase their chances for college admission, colleges are strategizing to find the most attractive candidates to send acceptance letters. That’s what enrollment management is all about.

“Enrollment Management (EM) is a strategy used to recruit and retain the best-fit and right amount of students to a college,” Enrollment Strategist Karen Full (see Twitter chat guest info below) explains. To do this, institutions of higher learning integrate data from several departments including “Admissions, Financial Aid, and Records, with Marketing and University Relations, Enrollment and Marketing Research, Career Services, and Employer Relations,” David Kalsbeek, vice president for Enrollment Management at DePaul University said. Colleges invest a lot of time, money and expertise to get students to apply and select those to attend who will raise the school’s status and keep it financially healthy.

Students don’t have the same resources to find colleges that will best help them achieve personal and professional goals. However, they can use some published data and statistics to help form a good college list. The college-bound can check out the graduation rate to see how long it takes the average student to earn a diploma. The longer it takes, the more time for college costs to accumulate. The retention rate will show the percentage of students that return the following year. Students can also investigate how many students go on to graduate school or find employment within six months of graduation.

Perhaps the savviest thing students can do is to be a smart higher education consumer when faced with slick advertising and marketing. Compare a college’s admission requirements with student qualifications to be realistic about admission chances. Visit good on paper colleges to see if they live up to expectations. Make the college choice about finding the most logical place for the next phase of education based on academics, programs, extracurriculars, finances and location. Then match the fave picks with the degree of connection felt on campus and in the surrounding area. Students are more likely to do their best when they are motivated and invested in the college they attend.

Read Suzanne’s post: Colleges Want YOU!

READ MORE:

Is college a love match or a consumer purchase?

Two necessary steps before searching for colleges

Learn how to participate in Wednesday’s Parent Night on #CampusChat!

RECAP:

Don’t worry if you missed any great insights about Enrollment Management and College Admissions from our chat. We have a transcript of #CampusChat Recap 3/25: Enrollment Management with Karen Full on storify

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Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, March 25, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Karen Full, former college admissions director, now enrollment strategist with Longmire & Company, about enrollment management and college admissions. Karen has counseled many students and families on choosing a college. Please join @SuzanneShaffer and me-@pocsmom with our guest @KarenAFull and bring your questions and comments.

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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 http://www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com and vice versa.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Dr. Seuss’ Kid You’ll Move Mountains Scholarship

Soar to new heights and move mountains! Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Soar to new heights and move mountains! Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Dr. Seuss books spark the imagination of many a parent and young child and now the Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is sponsoring a college scholarship with extra benefits. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains there are three money prizes but the grand prize winner also is awarded a ride on the Goodyear Blimp and a Universal Orlando Resort vacation for four!

Monica also explains how students as young as five years old and STEAMing ahead (excelling in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math) have a chance to win. Read her don’t miss Winning Tips in her post:

Dr. Seuss’s Kid You’ll Move Mountains College Scholarship 

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 ways to maximize the advantages of studying abroad

Maximize the advantages of studying abroad

Maximize the advantages of studying abroad

Study abroad was not common when I went to college but a foreign language requirement was. Back then, there wasn’t much talk about a global economy although we did often say, “It’s a small world.” Today, students need soft skills, hard knowledge, and practical experience to set themselves up for success. If done right, ubiquitous study abroad programs can deliver all of these. Plus parents can benefit too if they visit, in the form of a family vacation.

A recent survey of freshmen found, “In terms of personal goals, keeping up to date with political affairs and influencing social values are more important to those who believe there is a very good chance they will study abroad.” I discuss this and other findings in my article 9 college prep insights from Freshmen Survey Part 2. It seems just thinking about the study abroad possibility prompts more civic responsibility.

Benefits continue to grow when students merge and take seriously travel and studying. They can develop independence, self-reliance, and communication skills. Living another cultural lifestyle can lead to greater understanding, patience and tolerance. Combined with academics, the experience becomes a practical skill-builder worthy of a prominent place on a grad’s resume.

Here are five ways to maximize the advantages of studying abroad:

  1. There are different costs depending on the study abroad program sponsor so shop around. Compare programs offered at the student’s college with those offered by home and other state schools. Students may be able to participate in another college’s program, too. Just make sure the credits are accepted by the student’s college.
  2. Financial aid can follow the student’s educational program. Based on foreign education and living expenses, costs may turn out to be the same or cheaper than attending a semester at the student’s college. Make sure the program is properly approved.
  3. Plan college courses on campus carefully so studying abroad won’t delay graduation. Watch out for prerequisites and compare when courses are given so they don’t conflict with when students desire to study abroad. Even adding one more semester can be a budget buster.
  4. Plan college courses abroad just as carefully to make sure they fulfill necessary graduation requirements and enhance class selections towards the diploma. And check out internship options.
  5. Although personal travel time and excursions may be offered, study abroad programs are not vacations. Choose both the country and program based on how they fit with personal, educational and career goals.

The parent-student team can have the study abroad talk and touch on the above five points. Beware the fifth one. Extra expenses from excursions and personal travel can be significant. Students must know the rules, regulations and laws so they act appropriately. It’s a good idea to learn about medical care available, room and board options, and transportation from living quarters to classroom. Students should understand that studying abroad is a privilege and a responsibility that requires thoughtful preparation to maximize it’s advantages. They should also understand the timing both for what they are getting as well as what they are giving up on campus.

Read Suzanne’s post

Read more:

Using Your High School Study Abroad Experience as College Prep 

Use Federal Financial Aid to Pay for College Abroad

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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: Hungry to Lead College Scholarship & 2 others

One scholarship application can be lead to more than one chance to win. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

One scholarship application can be lead to more than one chance to win. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Some scholarships offer multiple awards like a race with first, second and third place winners. One example is The Amana Leadership Scholarship ($2,500), The Hungry To Lead Scholarship ($2,500) and Leadership Recognition Award ($500). One application is an entry to all three.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has studied the eligibility and application requirements and is offering her special Winning Tips to those students interested in the food service or hospitality fields. Before applying, read her article:

Hungry to Lead College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Yikes! Scholarships can be lost

Yikes! Scholarships can be lost. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Yikes! Scholarships can be lost. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships can be won but did you know they can be lost? There’s no such thing as a free lunch and this applies to scholarship and grant awards, too. So-called college free money comes with strings attached. When broken, the money either isn’t sent or must be paid back. It’s essential for families to prepare themselves to avoid a nasty financial surprise. Here are four ways to prevent losing scholarships and grants:

Know the strings. Students should carefully read the eligibility requirements for directions when they win. Some awards have strings requiring the winning applicant to do something next like promoting the scholarship or writing a thank you note by a particular deadline before a check is sent. Thanking the sponsor is a good idea even when not required.

Keep the strings intact. Students should know what they must do to keep the grant or scholarship after it’s awarded. The free money may be tied to maintaining a minimum GPA (grade point average), keeping a major, playing an instrument in the band, or being on a sports team. Students must commit to the strings and be sure they have the time and passion to maintain them.

Use the money correctly. The free money may be designated for certain educational expenses only like tuition. Be careful not to spend it on specified non-qualifying costs like food and travel. This may be turn that portion into taxable income according to an article in Huff Post Financial Education.

Buy some time. Things can go south that cut the scholarship and grant strings like injuries and changing interests. The grant or scholarship may have an appeal process or offer a brief extension to give the student a chance to regain compliance.

Don’t bank on free money without knowing and being prepared to follow the strings attached. It’s also a good idea to keep searching and applying. Read the posts under College Costs on my blog for Scholarship Mom Alerts filled with scholarships and important info.

Read Suzanne’s post: Scholarships with Strings Attached

Read more:

Wednesday’s Parent: 4 strings attached to FREE financial aid 

Scholarships, grants, crowdfunding and other college finance self-help 

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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: Virtual Business Scholarship

Some scholarships require  the applicant to be nominate or recommended. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Some scholarships require the applicant to be nominated or recommended. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Most of the time students decide which scholarships to apply to but sometimes they have to be recommended first by another individual. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews found the The Virtual Business Scholarship from Knowledge Matters that requires a teacher to nominate a student. Monica’s clever Winning Tips will give students an edge. Read them in her post:

Knowledge Matters Virtual Business College Scholarship

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 questions to ask about financial aid front loading

Front loading financial aid awards. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Front loading financial aid awards. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

If you think your washing machine is the only front loader, watch out because your college may be taking you to the cleaners. Front loading happens when colleges make their most generous financial aid award offers to applicants as a lure to attend. When students return the following year they may find their school has dropped their previously awarded grants and scholarships. Thousands of dollars may have been lost to the common practice of front loading.

“About half of all colleges front-load their grants, according to financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, who analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistic’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System,” according to DailyFinance.

The lesson for parents and their college-bound students is to carefully scrutinize, analyze and question each item in their financial aid awards before bothering to compare one college’s offer to another. It may turn out that freshman year is a best deal at one place but if the total years until graduation are tallied, another choice may be the better bargain. Here are five questions to ask the college financial aid officer:

Is the grant/scholarship renewable and if so for how many years? What you want is the money to continue until the student graduates. Bear in mind it is taking longer, four to six years, for those who graduate to do so. Find out the maximum number of times the award will be made.

What are the strings attached to keeping the grant/scholarship? It’s important to understand the terms of receiving free money awards before acceptance to make sure the student can and will perform them. He may have to keep his grades up, play an instrument, or be a member on a team. Find out the eligibility requirements each year including any additional paperwork necessary to keep them.

If the grant/scholarship is lost, what will replace it? Often student loans are the college’s substitution plan. However, there may be other grants/scholarships available. Ask about them and the application process. Be prepared to continue searching for these and have a college finance Plan B.

Will the college bill increase in following years and if so, by how much? Those renewable grants/scholarships may no longer cover the same portion of college costs if tuition rises. See what if any cost components like tuition/fees and room/board are capped or held at the freshmen level.

Will the grant/scholarship be increased to keep pace with any raised college costs? Be aware most colleges will not match tuition increases or increase free money aid when tuition rates increase. However, the college bill must continue to be paid.

Read Suzanne’s post: It’s Financial Aid Award Season

READ MORE:

Finding and winning scholarships hiding in plain sight

3 Flavors of FREE College Money

Wednesday’s Parent: Cost, loan-fearsome four-letter college words

Wednesday’s Parent: 4 strings attached to FREE financial aid

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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: Life Lessons College Scholarship Program

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College prep is about opening a teen’s eyes to future possibilities. The last thing the college-bound want to think about is human mortality. Sadly, there are college-bound students who are preparing for higher education after the loss of a parent. They encounter another layer of stresses and issues on top of the usual college prep anxiety.

College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews has found a scholarship that can can alleviate some of their financial pressures. She says, “A total of $225,000 in scholarship money is available.”

Read Monica’s post:

 Life Lessons College Scholarship Program

for details about eligibility and the application. Pay close attention to her Winning Tips. Fortunately, most students do not qualify for this scholarship. If you are one of these, please share this info with someone who does.

Good Luck to all applicants!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Getting the best out of college visits

Campus this way. Pjhoto by Wendy David-Gaines

Campus this way. Pjhoto by Wendy David-Gaines

The purpose of a college visit is to decide whether or not to attend if given the opportunity. It can help refine the college list, determine whether to submit an admission application, and choose to accept an admission offer. It can improve chances for admission by demonstrating interest in a school and provide fodder for essays asking students to explain why they want to attend. It’s also why college visits are best when students and parents linger longer and go back to revisit.

Such plans often go awry because students can react emotionally. They may want to leave the college tour after the first stop or announce the school is off the list before you have a chance to park the car. They may change their mind later and want to go back because they re-researched after they chose a different major or decide their original second choice college is now number one after Admitted Student open houses.

Don’t expect a reasonable explanation. Ask your student why and he’ll probably just shrug. How does a teen tell mom that the campus gave him the creeps or dad there was not one current student who shared her views that a fave campus activity was lame? Or that firmly voiced beliefs did a 180 in a matter of months?

Smooth this bumpy ride with a frank parent-student team college visit talk. Each family member can describe expectations and brainstorm ground rules. Here are some more helpful tips:

A better way to visit colleges

Top 10 nonacademic reasons why parents and students visit colleges

Top 10 questions to ask on college visits

Wednesday’s Parent: Parent role in college visits

Wednesday’s Parent: Collegecations

Read Suzanne’s post: My College Visit Experiences

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Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, February 25, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Z. Kelly Queijo, Founder and President of Smart College Visit and #CampusChat and our team of college parent experts. Please join @SuzanneShaffer @collegevisit and me-@pocsmom and bring your questions and comments.

RECAP: Don’t worry if you missed any college visit pointers from our chat. Read our transcript: #CampusChat Recap 2/25/15: Planning the Perfect College Visit.

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 http://www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.