Scholarship Mom Alert: Scholarship Points

Trading scholarship points for dollars. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Trading scholarship points for dollars. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Outside private scholarships are contests with set rules for winning. A typical scholarship requires an application and an accompanying essay that must be submitted by posted deadlines. College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews found a different way sponsored by ScholarshipPoints.com.

The Scholarship Points program offers its applicants the chance to earn points to enter into scholarship drawings. Opportunities to acquire points are often based on activities that also benefit the site such as students clicking on links, entering promoted scholarships, and completing surveys.

Read Monica’s winning tips to find out the advantages and disadvantages for trying to win college scholarship money via earning scholarship points:

Winning College Scholarships with Scholarship Points

Remember to check the odds for winning when deciding how much effort to dedicate. Good luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 3 ways to consider college location

3 ways to consider college location. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

3 ways to consider college location. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Like for real estate buyers, location is a main issue for the college-bound and their parents. Location affects costs and desirability for both house and college hunters. However, for those composing a college list, there are three different ways to consider college location.

1. Consider college location as neighborhood opportunities. Urban, suburban and rural communities offer different chances for internships and employment, depending on local businesses and government offices. Student housing options are affected by on and off-campus residence choices. Cultural opportunities and social events vary with nearby attractions, museums and theaters. Recreational and sporting possibilities depend on terrain including nearby arenas, slopes, parkland, forests and water. Weather may create seasonal activities.

2. Consider college location as ease of visitation. Distance and position between home and campus impacts travel arrangements for students coming home and parents visiting the college. Cost and time for traveling also varies by method used like train, plane or motor vehicle. Then there are the added expenses of meals and lodging. Every location has different options that can accommodate certain numbers of people. Family Days, moving in/out and graduation may limit available resources.

3. Consider college location as relocation. Only 59% who started in a four-year Bachelor’s program in 2006 graduated by 2012, six years later, according to the latest government study. After spending up to half a dozen years learning, socializing and working in one place, many students grow attached to that community. They may also have developed networking relationships with mentors and local businesses. When a job offer is extended, many accept.

College location is important on many different levels. It is one of three main criteria for forming a great college list. Casting a college application vote explains the necessity for the college-bound to find their college PALs. The “L” in college PALs stands for Location.

Read Suzanne’s post: My Daughter Chose a College by Location

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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.

Planning a Budget for Grad School

 Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank by Jenny L. Maxey

Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank by Jenny L. Maxey

When and how should students going to college plan a budget for graduate school? That’s the question author and blogger Jenny L. Maxey returns to answer for POCSmom readers. Take a look at Jenny’s two prior guest posts, also packed with great info: 7 Tips to Help Your Child Decrease Their Loan Debt BEFORE Graduation Day and The Political Side of Student Loans. Higher education is a huge investment that requires careful planning:

College students can prepare themselves financially for grad school in many of the same ways they budgeted for their undergraduate degrees.  However, a few new problems may arise that make it more challenging.  While there are still many scholarships available for graduate students, scholarships for a particular area of study will be narrow, which means more students gunning for the same scholarships.  Further, those applying for grad school are those that are more academically successful as undergrads.  This means that the competition is fierce for those scholarships.  Moreover, income from part-time work may also be hindered as grad school takes up more time during the school year and some programs even have work-hour caps, causing budgets to be less flexible than during undergrad.  Not to mention, you’ll find costs for grad school to be generally more expensive such as tuition, textbooks, professional networking groups among other miscellaneous costs.

It may seem easiest to just throw your hands up and give in, relying on more loans or credit cards for financial assistance.  Although the budget may be a little tighter in grad school, try to resist this urge because there are ways to continue to save.

Begin planning during the final year of undergrad.  There will be admission exams (GRE, MCAT, LSAT) to pay and prepare for.  Keep track of deadlines and take advantage of early bird discounts.  Look for free resources to help with preparation for the exam, personal statements, and building up résumés.

Continue to apply for scholarships.  Look for need-based and merit-based scholarships during the admission process, but don’t stop there.  Apply for scholarships for each year of graduate school.  For example, employers and agencies offer scholarships for reaching a certain level of grad school (i.e. a scholarship specifically for a second year law student).  Some schools even give scholarships based on academic performance throughout the duration of the program.  For instance, most law schools award students with scholarships for achieving a certain rank within their class (such as the top 10%) after the first year.

Review the school’s valuation of costs and don’t accept it “As Is.”  Visit your school’s financial aid website or office to locate the estimated costs.  There are fees that count towards the cost of tuition, but can be opted out of.  If your student prefers to jog instead of using the gym, try to opt out of the gym fee.  Or, did your student get a new computer for an undergrad graduation gift?  Opt out of the computer lab fee or the cost allotted for the purchase of a new lap top (which is included in most grad school costs when calculating the loan).  Every school is different, so be sure to check with the financial aid office to determine what can be cut.

Multi-task experience and income.  Have your student look for opportunities to multi-task.  Building a résumé with experience is a must in this job climate even with a graduate degree.  Positions such as a teacher’s assistant can offer experience and an income, and are generally flexible with school hours.  In law school there are search engine and bar preparation student representative positions, which allow students to receive an income plus discounts on study materials and programs.  If students can receive course credit for internships that also come with pay, definitely jump on the opportunity.

Make sure undergrad loans are deferred.  Most federal and some private loans will allow for continued deferment of payment if the student is enrolled in grad school (varies on full or part-time enrollment).  Make sure the loans are deferred.  This allows the payments to be delayed without interest accruing (although you’ll need to look at your specific loan agreement because terms can differ).  If the loans are in forbearance then interest will accrue, which causes you to pay more over the life of the loan.  If you haven’t talked to the lender about repayment, then payment may become due and may set your student into default if they cannot pay – so make sure undergrad loans are situated!  If your student is able, try to make interest payments on loans, even if not required, in order to keep the outstanding balance low and the amount paid over the life of the loan less.

Create the budget.  Once you and/or your student have implemented these tools to carve out a little more flexibility in a budget, it’s time to set the budget.  Look at spending for a few weeks to a month to see where it’s all going and determine areas that can be cut back.  Ask upperclassman for unexpected costs they came across so you can be prepared for them.  Use student ID cards to get discounts on food and entertainment.  Purchase used books, eBooks, or use books from the library to get textbooks at a lower rate.  Use Microsoft Excel or free smartphone apps to create a budget that is easy to enforce.  And, if the budget goes belly up, don’t quit!  Keep at it until it becomes habit.

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Jenny L. Maxey is the author of Barrister on a Budget: Investing in Law School…without Breaking the Bank, which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on November 17, 2014. Visit www.JennyLMaxey.com for more information.

Scholarship Mom Alert: Veterans and their families

Scholarships for Veterans and their families. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarships for Veterans and their families. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Recent high school graduates aren’t the only students attending college. Campuses around the country are welcoming veterans returning from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, “resulting in a significant surge in college enrollment,” according to WORLD News Group on Nov. 11, Veterans Day 2014.

Colleges saw a similar scenario on a larger scale before World War II ended via the G.I. Bill. Then, “2.3 million veterans attended colleges and universities,” WORLD reported. Under the new Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, “877,000 people, mainly veterans and their dependents, have received $23.7 billion in education benefits.” WORLD gets the latter stat from The New York Times.

The result is more colleges are establishing veteran’s centers with support services and there are more resources for veterans and their families. For a list of ten military and veterans scholarships, read

College scholarships for U.S. veterans and their families.

Happy applying and Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 3 ways to prep middle schoolers for college prep

3 ways to prep middle schoolers for college. Photo by Wendy-David-Gaines

3 ways to prep middle schoolers for college. Photo by Wendy-David-Gaines

If your teeny bopper is anything like mine were, college is an unformed dream without tangible reality. It may be taken for granted as a future educational goal, but high school has more allure and meaning to a middle schooler. Parents can grab this as an opportunity to prep for college prep.

Work load increases and studies go more in depth as students switch from one classroom with a sole teacher to many classes taught by experts in each subject. How young teens handle the transition can lay the groundwork for higher education.

It’s human nature to do one’s best when vested in the process. Failure to do this can be extremely costly in time and money during the college process. So here are three ways parents can prep their middle schoolers for college prep:

Establish a work ethic: All the business attributes apply to the job of “student” including being conscientious, meeting deadlines, and having pride in doing quality work. Families can agree on and set reasonable expectations, rewards and consequences so everyone is on the same page.

Use intrinsic self-motivators: Sleep is a huge motivator for thinking clearly and creatively. Electronic media, caffeine consumption, and early wake-up disrupt natural sleep patterns of adolescents putting them at risk for depression, obesity, delinquent behaviors, depression, impaired judgment, and psychological stress according to a report released in August by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Adequate sleep and rest must be a family priority.

Form a parent/student team: Parents and students can form an organized and routine way to communicate, work toward and accomplish what is needed. The object is to formally focus on students achieving their educational and career goals. Creating regular meeting times and ground rules like listening and respecting everyone’s opinion goes a long way to reducing emotion and nagging. Don’t forget to make celebrating accomplishments part of the deal!

The next step is planning academics. Read Suzanne’s post for important details:  College Prep in Middle School

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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.

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READ more: 

Wednesday’s Parent: Using irony and a proverb as self-motivation for your teen

Wednesday’s Parent: Emotion management 101 

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage 

When tech helps/hurts college prep

Scholarship Mom Alert: Innovation in Education Scholarship

 

Monthly Innovation in Education Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Monthly Innovation in Education Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Deadlines are the college-bound’s worst enemy so wouldn’t it be wonderful if a scholarship was available more than once in a calendar year? Even twice would be nice but how about twelve times! Yes, the Innovation in Education Scholarship offers a monthly scholarship contest which translates into a dozen different deadlines!

Leave it to Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews to feature this scholarship gem along with her vital winning tips in her must-read

Innovation in Education Scholarship

Missing deadlines can be disastrous. Read Here’s the dish on college deadlines for why. Many deadline choices make it so much easier to fit into a busy college-bound schedule. It also alleviates some of the stress from the pressure of one set deadline especially when something else comes up to rearrange the priority list.

So hurray to Monica for highlighting the monthly Innovation in Education Scholarship!

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Choosing an admission program is like buying a mattress

Choosing an admission program is like buying a mattress. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Choosing an admission program is like buying a mattress. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

A college admission program has to fit a student comfortably like a customer finding the right mattress. In the end, both will be making their own bed and lying in it, even if one of them is in a dorm bunk bed. I was thinking of the similarities as I tried out a few in a local store.

There are lots of choices but the comfort and cost vary. A wrong decision can cause sleepless nights, a hefty blow to the pocketbook, and change the course of the next umpteen years. The pressure is on to make good choices.

My need for new sleeping arrangements coincides with the November deadline for college applications under early admission programs. That means the college-bound and their parents are under pressure, too. First they have to find out which admission programs colleges on their list offer. Second they have to decide which one offers the best chance of admission and suitable financial aid package.

The possibilities include Early Decision (ED), Early Action (EA), Restricted Early Action (REA), other hybrid ED-EA, or not apply early at all and go with Regular Decision (RD). Those that can’t decide now may also submit when they are ready via Rolling Admission (RA).

Q  Who benefits most from each admission program? 

A  ED allows colleges to fill up their classes early with students with the strongest credentials and finances who declare a college as their one choice. EA demonstrates the students’ strong interest in a college while keeping the option to compare other offers of admission and financial aid. RD enables students to submit additional months of senior year accomplishments to supplement their application and compare other offers. Check the school’s rules for REA and other admission programs to determine which early or non-early admission program benefits you.

I don’t know whether a few minutes of lying down will be good enough for me to test whether or not I will get a solid eight hours (Ha!) of rest. Neither do most 17-year-olds know at the beginning of their senior year what their 18-year-old selves want as they near high school graduation. Whether it is a change of my body or the student’s heart or mind, doesn’t matter. We both have to make a decision based on our research now and what we want to achieve in the future. We will deal with the consequences of our decisions and move on.

To help me decide, I reread 7 Shakespearean steps to good decision-making. Students and parents can also reread College Application & Early Decision and College Admission Applications.

Read Suzanne’s post: EA and ED–Just Get It Over With (and other reasons) 


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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.

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READ more: Early admission applications sent, now 7 things to do 

Scholarship Mom Alert: Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship

Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

What better way for the college-bound to celebrate Halloween than applying for the Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship? Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews explains how there are few requirements besides a creative essay about Zombies that will net the winner $2000. Read Monica’s post:

Zombie Apocalypse College Scholarship

Her winning tips are a “DON’T MISS” for all scholarship applicants. Get started on this ASAP because Monica warns, “This scholarship is submitted online only and ends October 31 at 11:59pm, EDT.”

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 4 college prep nightmare scenarios

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 8.06.23 PMDoes the college process scare you and your student, stress you out until your hair stands on end, and keep you up at night with worry? It could be the beginning of a long nightmare ending in a poor college choice, transferring and losing credits, dropping out altogether and huge student loan debt with no degree to show for it. The frightening part of these nightmare scenarios is parents may be the ones that set the plot into motion if any of the following seem familiar. The good news is it’s not too late to rewrite your story! Here are four college prep nightmare parent roles and the scenarios:

Frankenstein’s Father: Projecting their desires and expectations onto their offspring is the skill of Frankenstein’s Father. He knows what he wants and what he wants for his teen. What his teen wants is not his concern.

Mummy Mom: All wrapped up with her own troubles, it’s almost impossible for the Mummy Mom to move. Thoughts of college costs and parent-student separation anxiety freeze her into inaction.

Werewolf Parent: The way Werewolf Parents deal with the unknowns of college choice and costs is by using their animal enhanced sense of hearing. Instead of getting the facts from expert advice, Werewolf Parents heed the opinions of whoever they overhear while standing in line at the market or getting a hair cut.

Zombie Parent: Unfilled dreams motivate Zombie Parents to seek fulfillment through living their college-bound’s lives. They take over the college process, want to write the college essays, dominate college visits, and constantly contact college representatives.

By empowering students to figure out their academic, extracurricular, career and lifestyle goals, parents can turn nightmare scenarios into attainable college dreams. When students are motivated to lead the college process, they become vested in the outcome and more likely to do their best.

Read Suzanne’s post: Are you afraid of college prep?

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Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, October 29, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Paul Hemphill, College Admissions Counselor and TV personality, about the scary side of college prep. Paul, a Vietnam veteran, has a degree in philosophy and over thirty years experience in marketing. He has been “selling” students to colleges for the past thirteen years. Paul has authored two books and two DVDs on college. Please join @SuzanneShaffer and me-@pocsmom with our guest @vCollegeAdvisor and bring your questions and comments.

RECAP: Don’t worry if you missed any great tricks or treats from our chat. We have a transcript of #CampusChat 10/29/14: Scary side of college prep with Guest: Paul Hemphill, College Admissions Counselor and other college experts, parents and students.

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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!

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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.

Read more:

Scholarship Mom Alert: MathMovesU Middle School Scholarship

College Scholarship in Middle School. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College Scholarship in Middle School. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

One of the biggest scholarships myths is college scholarships are only available to high school school students. Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is showcasing a $1,000 scholarship opportunity available to math-loving middle school students. “The MathMovesU Scholarship is open to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who are U.S. citizens or legal residents,” Monica explains.

It’s never too early to start college financial planning. Parents can use the use the MathMovesU Scholarship as a chance to inspire their young teens and start vesting them in the college process.

Read Monica’s post:

MATHMOVESU MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP

for more information and her special winning tips. The deadline is February 7, 2015 so start preparing now.

Good Luck!!!