Recent Blogs

10 Reasons Why National Merit Scholarships aren’t that Big of a Deal

student in rush of people represeting why national merit scholarship isn't that big of a dealStarting sometime in December of each year, you’ll see various College Confidential Boards, test prep websites, select parent support groups, and occasional independent college counselors start posting the minimum PSAT scores required by state to qualify as a National Merit Semi-Finalist. Depending on the venue, there will be some wailing of the unfairness of the system that allows students outside New York and Massachusetts to qualify with “much” lower scores. From the angst level, you would imagine National Merit Status confers students with full-rides and automatic admissions to the colleges of their choice.

It doesn’t.

Before you start ratcheting up the academic stress level around your household to qualify as a National Merit Finalist, you really need to know the following. Continue reading

50-50 Highlights: 29 Private Colleges to Target for Financial Aid Opportunities

Aiming arrow to represent targeting best colleges for financial aidI’ve talked about colleges most likely to provide merit aid before. In this post I’m going to focus just on 50-50 schools and consider all financial indicators. For example, in previous lists I didn’t take into consideration PLUS loans. I also limited schools by test scores which I don’t do in this list. Continue reading

15 Sample Athletic Resumes and Letters

kid holding baseball representing need for sample athletic resumes(Another year and another three resources have disappeared from the list. But I’ve added 5 new resources with some different sports as the examples so it should be easy to find different ideas–including phone scripts– to get started. If you don’t like any of the samples you see here, you can easily find others on the internet. )

There are plenty of samples of athletic resumes/profiles on the internet. After all, it seems just about every recruiting website has one posted. It’s just tedious going through all the search results to find something useful. Well, I’ve just saved you the trouble–you can thank me later.

And yes, you should have an athletic resume. If for no other reason, having the resume will allow you to easily complete all of the online profiles teams require prospects to complete. This way the information will be all in one place. Continue reading

The Most Expensive College is the One You Don’t Graduate From

College graduate representing college graduation ratesAssume you are buying a car. All other factors are equal. Do you pick the one that costs $15,000 or $30,000? Seems like a no-brainer–go with the cheaper one.

Okay, assume all other factors are equal. Do you pick the red one or the blue one? Now it depends on what colors you happen to like.

You pick the red one because you hate blue and would get depressed every time you even look at the car. Someone else picks the blue one because he thinks the red car just screams “give me a speeding ticket.” In this case, is one choice better than the other? No, it’s just a matter of personal preference. Continue reading

Facebook Live with

Attention Please sign for TuitionFit Facebook LiveParents of high school seniors and those who help them need to make the time to watch Monday’s Facebook Live with Mark Salisbury of

Why? Because this application is the first major shift in righting the information balance in paying for college.

Mark Salisbury, the founder, has found the key to making the sharing of students’ financial aid awards more than some version of “paying it forward” for the next generation.

The difference is that TuitionFit allows colleges to see what students have been offered as well. So, yes, you can find out if other students have better awards and if you should ask for more. But more importantly, colleges that you didn’t even apply to can see your award and offer you a better one. And that can significantly change your admissions prospects and budget AFTER you’ve already submitted your applications.

I’ve spent some time talking with Mark and asking him why colleges would bother with this. It’s simple-demographics. High school classes have been declining since 2011 and more colleges are starting to chase fewer students. This system provides colleges with a valuable tool to help them  fill their classes and get their finances in order. And, yes, for those who haven’t realized it yet, colleges are businesses that want to reduce uncertainty and lower the costs of doing business.

So make time to participate in the Facebook Live. It will be on the DIYCollegeRankings Facebook Page, Monday, January 21st, 7:30 pm CST. Get your questions ready and I’ll see you there.