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!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: 7 ways to get the best out of group projects

Group projects. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Group projects. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

There’s a reason students are asked to work in groups. It helps develop the soft skills of collaboration, cooperation and communication that colleges and employers want. The trouble is students give up a lot too such as the clock and control.

It’s hard enough to manage busy schedules of family members but group projects must consider the available time of others. Substituting others’ choices over one’s own is never easy.

I remember how devastated my daughter was when a particular group project left at a classmate’s house was altered without her knowledge. There were other times when certain members didn’t pull their own weight in contributions, personalities clashed more than they agreed or got along so well focus was lost to fun. All of these impacted the enjoyment, quality and length of time it took to complete the project.

Going to school is a student’s job so It helps to treat a group project like a business assignment. Here are seven ways to to prepare and get the best out of group projects:

  1. Consider the logistics of when, where, and how long the meeting(s) will be. Pad the time frame to allow for chatting, mistakes and a Plan B.
  2. Exchange contact information. No one should be left out of the loop during the group project.
  3. Decide on what materials are needed and who takes responsibility for bringing and paying for what.
  4. Brainstorm together giving everyone a chance to voice their opinion. A timer can be used to keep track of time.
  5. Put personal feelings aside and concentrate on good ideas that will make the project better. Everyone benefits from this.
  6. Make a plan to ensure everyone is on the same page and work is equally distributed. Each member should understand the project goals, the steps involved to achieve it and who does what, when.
  7. Having trouble? Ask the teacher for help but don’t wait until the due date. Give her plenty of time to make suggestions and the group to deal with changes.

Group projects foster both teamwork and individual leadership abilities. The college-bound can use the opportunity to practice their soft skills. Check out how parents can help.

Read Suzanne’s post: The Dreaded Group Projects 

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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: Frame My Future Scholarship Contest

Double benefit scholarship opportunity. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

Double benefit scholarship opportunity. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

Double benefits are rare and when one pops up for the busy college-bound, grab it! Two big college issues are how to pay for it and how to get the most out of it. Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews is showcasing a scholarship opportunity and a chance to focus on the why of attending college rolled into one Frame My Future Scholarship Contest.

All too often important introspection is lost in the flurry of studying for college admission tests, searching for colleges, and doing what high school requires. Frame My Future Scholarship gives entrants a chance to win $1000 and figure out “what you hope to achieve in your personal and professional life after college,” Monica explains in her article

Frame My Future College Scholarship 

Students can show the scholarship judges and themselves they are ”success driven” and college ready. That’s a great double benefit.

As always, Monica includes her special winning tips. Read it now and start creating before the March 3, 2015 deadline.

Good Luck!!!

READ more about college-bound double-benefits in College-bound volunteers get double benefit. Learn how volunteering is a double benefit when students help themselves by helping a charitable cause they care about.

Wednesday’s Parent: Hobbies can lead college prep

Hobbies can lead college prep. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

Hobbies can lead college prep. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines.

There are many reasons people have hobbies but for the college-bound, these interests may drive the college process right to admission, through graduation and into a job. That’s because hobbies are fueled by passion and passion can make work feel like a hobby – - something your student can’t wait to do.

“It makes hard days easier, and your efforts and successes will be a hundred times more satisfying,” Alex Mooradian, CEO of Readyforce, says in the Mashable article, Career Considerations for College Seniors: Resume-Building Begins Now.

Majors and minors,” is what Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of ad agency Translation,  describes the difference between a day job and a passion. He goes on to say, “Allowing your employees to be able to use their talents and passions to move the business forward is an incredible thing. It gets everybody to feel like they have the opportunity to help be a part of the problem-solving for our clients.”

The same reasoning can be applied to higher education. I have written about the reasons for Adding the extras and now it’s time to focus on the extracurricular activity of a hobby. Parents can share theirs, help their children discover an enjoyable hobby or develop an existing one to start the following benefits flowing:

Benefit #1  Hobbies can lead to self-motivation by inspiring students to want to learn more.

Benefit #2  Skills are developed from exploring an interest. The expertise and knowledge from hobbies can be listed on a resume for college and a job.

Benefit #3  Hobbies can show off leadership qualities that colleges are looking for.

Benefit #4  There may be a market for goods made or talents perfected by hobbies. They can be turned into a lucrative business that can help pay college bills.

Benefit #5  Hobbies may be shared with others, delved into alone or divided between the two and easily fitted into busy schedules. It can complement both introvert and extrovert personalities as well as personal timetables.

Benefit #6  Both academic and life skills can be learned via hobbies. “Hobbies can be one of the best avenues to help kids practice what they learn in school and continue learning outside of the classroom,” according to http://houndahobby.com.

Benefit #7  Hobbies can supply a natural connection and conversation starter among family members at home or extend outside between the college-bound and college/employer interviewers.

Whether a life-long interest or a passing fancy, hobbies are leisure activities that bring richness as an avocation that can also lead to college preparation and beyond.

Read Suzanne’s post: Turning a Hobby Into a Resume Rave

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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: Comcast Leaders and Achievers College Scholarship

No essay scholarship means no excuses! Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

No essay scholarship means no excuses! Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

No excuses is music to a parent’s ear and applying for this scholarship falls under this category for eligible students. The Comcast Leaders and Achievers College Scholarship program is all about asking to be nominated.

“The beauty of this scholarship opportunity is that students are nominated by their high school principal or guidance counselor. (Meaning:  NO essay, NO application, and basically NOT a lot of work),” says College Scholarship Expert Monica L. Matthews.

Want to increase chances for nomination to win $1000 and possibly more from the Gustave G. Amsterdam Leadership Award and the Comcast Founders Scholarship that provide higher awards from the eligible pool of local winners?

Read Monica’s winning tips in her must-read article:

Comcast Leaders and Achievers College Scholarship

Don’t delay because the scholarship deadline is December 4.

Good Luck!!!

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

Fearsome 4-letter college words. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Fearsome 4-letter college words. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Cost and loan are four letter words that draw sharp reactions from college-bound families. The truth is loans are the way most people pay for big ticket items. People take out auto loans and home mortgages routinely. What makes assuming debt for a college education so scary is not properly addressing the issue of affordability.

It’s no surprise that too many lack the essential skill of college financial literacy. Before higher ed commitments, high finance is usually something students watch in movies or T.V. shows but don’t directly experience. Parents getting ready to focus on retirement will find college costs have changed substantially since their own attendance. So has the average length of time taken to graduate.

There are government and private loans for student or parent borrowers. Usually students take federal financial aid loans first before considering other types because of their favorable terms. However, the amount offered may not satisfy the college bill. Parents often opt for the federal PLUS loan to make up the difference rather than mortgage their home and risk losing it. Private loans usually require more in depth credit checks and students may need a co-signor. It is always wise to compare and contrast terms, loan forgiveness features, repayment plans and interest rates.

Families may use the parent-student team to meet the monetary challenges ahead. They can balance two facts-there is no loan for retirement and starting a career is different than being in the middle of it. Read the articles for details but here are four points to get a plan going now:

  1. Have a college cost talk. The key is for parents and students to get on the same page about the concept of affordability because most teens’ ideas about money are very different from the adults who support them.
  2. Check out college affordability options. Because of need-based and merit financial aid awards, college sticker price is rarely what the college bill will be. Learn how to estimate your costs and ways to reduce them. (Check out my POCS COA for a more realistic formula of expenses not included by colleges.)
  3. Borrow only what you need and can afford to repay. No one can predict the future, but students and parents can estimate what monies they will need to maintain a particular lifestyle and if their chosen profession will provide enough income. It’s about being prepared, saving where possible, and making smart choices.
  4. Never default. When a car loan isn’t paid, the vehicle can be repossessed. When a home mortgage isn’t paid, the home can be foreclosed. No one comes to take away a diploma when there is a default on a college loan. Instead, credit can be ruined, job opportunities lost and dreams smashed.

Read Suzanne’s post: Avoiding Student Loans 

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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: James Alan Fox Photojournalism Scholarship

Photo and video scholarships by Wendy David-Gaines

Photo and video scholarships by Wendy David-Gaines

I love mixing business with pleasure and finding the fun in college prep. College scholarship expert Monica Matthews did her research and found a scholarship that blends these two things smoothly.

The James Alan Cox Foundation for Student Photojournalists sponsors a scholarship of particular appeal to photography and video buffs. “The James Alan Cox Foundation helps support students in their photography endeavors by providing several college scholarships and monetary awards for photography equipment,” Monica explains. For details and special winning tips for applicants only Monica supplies, read her article:

James Alan Fox Photojournalism Scholarship 

Remember to have your fun and submit your application by the November 15 deadline. Good luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: Emotion management 101

Emotion management 101. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotion management 101. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotions can drive action forward or into the ground. This one insight defines how I described the parent role in the parent-student team approach to college prep. Surveys and scientists explained how emotions can help or hinder students to achieve their college and career dreams.

Parents cannot expect their students to do their best if they are not vested in the college process, I have said and written many times. “The best educators know that for students to achieve meaningful, lasting success in the classroom and beyond, they must be emotionally engaged in the educational experience,” Gallup notes.

Negative emotions can lead to huge setbacks like burnout. A developmental psychologist and research affiliate of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a psychoanalyst and associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence joined together to write an interesting article in OpEd Project’s Yale Public Voices Fellowship program, reported The Washington Post.

They found, “many college students are struggling, even suffering.” High school students and their parents can be so focused on doing what is necessary to get into college that they don’t ready themselves for the emotional challenges of adjusting to a new job as college student, moving to a new place, and meeting/living with new people. That’s a lot of change to deal with.

Good-bye comfort zone and hello loss of security. Educators may step in to help. However, parents can start now to assist their students in developing skills of emotional intelligence to reason with and about emotions to achieve goals and thrive. Here are five ways to begin:

  1. Offer encouragement. There is a big difference between being supportive and taking over.
  2. Provide expectations. Clear understanding enables students to rise to the occasion and recognize limits.
  3. Give freedom to fail in a safe way. Slowly turning over the college prep leadership role enables students to learn from their own mistakes and gain confidence from making good decisions.
  4. Self-check. Parents can put aside their own anxiety so they don’t transfer their own feelings of worry, disappointment and anger.
  5. Listen carefully. Establish an open and regular communication policy. Look for the cues when your child is anxious and pressured. Does he or she know what to do to lower their own anxiety? Do you both know where to go for more help?

Read Suzanne’s post: 6 Emotional College Prep Tasks

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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: Horatio Alger College Scholarships

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Scholarship Mom Alert, Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Would you encourage your student to invest time in applying for a scholarship worth $22,000? How about if you had some extra helpful tips to get your student started and increase chances of winning? College scholarship expert Monica Matthews is making it easier for students to learn about the Horatio Alger College Scholarships and she offers her special winning tips.

Get all of Monica’s important information, see if you qualify to enter, and complete your application by the October 25th deadline:

Horatio Alger College Scholarships

Good Luck!!!

Wednesday’s Parent: High School courses and college admissions

Choosing level of difficulty of High School courses. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Choosing level of difficulty of High School courses. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Picking clubs are a piece of cake compared to choosing high school courses. You can adapt the tips I provided in Pick a club but not any club to select electives, especially the fifth one about personal growth. It gets a little trickier for required core classes because the choice isn’t about subject matter but level of difficulty. The dilemma is balancing that with degree of course completion success displayed as grades on high school transcripts.

Advanced classes come in many forms. Highs schools may have their own Honors classes for more in depth studies. They may offer special curricula via AP or IB programs that many colleges consider either for increased admission chances or college credit. They may have an arrangement with a college to provide dual enrollment in certain classes for college course credit. How a college treats advanced classes and accompanying grades vary so check first and research costs, if any.

Colleges want students to stretch academically and take rigorous course work to demonstrate college readiness. Students want to show themselves as good catches. College Admission Officers often recommend students take the hardest classes they can and do well in.

Should the college-bound risk poorer grades and take advanced classes or play it safe?

The problem is this is the question most frequently asked but it is the wrong one to focus on. The reason students seek higher education is for knowledge and experiences to prepare for the future as a contributing adult member of society. High school is the perquisite so use the opportunity to challenge the intellect and be prepared to put in the effort.

What happens when a student struggles?

This is the right question to ask because it it the Plan B every student should have no matter what course or job they undertake. Recognizing the need for help, knowing the available resources, and seeking the appropriate aid is not only smart but a major step toward maturity and independence.

Collaboration, communication, problem-solving, time management and leadership are soft skills colleges seek in their students that are not reflected in grades. They can be demonstrated in a recommendation letter by a teacher or tutor showing student dedication, determination and progress.

Parents can play an instrumental role in developing these important success survival skills. Parents may help their college-bound kids hone the top soft skills shows how.

Read Suzanne’s post: Choosing Courses to Impress Colleges

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Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, September 24, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Nicole Lentine @nlentine about choosing high school classes and college admissions. Nicole is an Admissions Counselor at and alumna of Champlain College. She is Co-Host of Admissions Live, a twice-monthly webshow on the #HigherEdLive network. Please join us and bring your questions and comments.

RECAP: Read this transcript because the tips and tweets were flying fast on this memorable ——> #CampusChat Recap 9-24: Choosing High School Courses with our guest Nicole Lentine, Admissions Counselor at Champlain College and other expert contributors, 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!

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.