Recent Blogs

5 Rules About Paying for College That Most Parents Don’t Know

Woman reading about paying for college If you want to get any financial aid, you need to submit college financial aid applications such as the FAFSA and PROFILE. This is obviously a critical step: no application, no aid. But if you want to pay less for college, it certainly isn’t the first step.

The fact is that the FAFSA is just one of the final steps of many in paying for college. I’m not talking about the savings account you were going to set up for your kids when they were little but never got around to. What I’m talking about are the things you need to know before students even start applying to colleges. Before you even start making a college search list, much less worry about completing the FAFSA, you should know the following five things about paying for college. Continue reading

50-50 Highlights: 100 Colleges for National Merit Scholars

student with money from colleges for national merit scholarsThe National Merit Scholarship Program seems like a great opportunity for test savvy high school students and their families to make a substantial dent in college costs. Well, it really all depends. Much to the surprise of many families, being a National Merit Finalist doesn’t mean a full-ride scholarship to the college of your choice.  Continue reading

11.7 Reality Check: College Baseball Scholarships

Baseball player sliding representing 11.7 Baseball ScholarshipsAt the end of my son’s last high school summer baseball season, I was struck by the number of players who had graduated and didn’t know yet where they were going to attend college. I heard a lot of talk from parents about “maybe walking on” to various teams and see what happens. These were good players, the majority better than my son who did know where he was going. Continue reading

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

How to Find Colleges that Give Tuition Coupons

woman entering coupon code representing colleges that give tuition couponsWhat, you say you’ve never seen a tuition coupon? Just because nobody has ever actually held one in her hands doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You know how you start getting coupons for movers and home stores when you change your address? Or after you visit a website online, you start getting discount offers from them in your Facebook feed? Well, it’s possible to get a coupon for $10,000 or $15,000 off your college tuition if you pick the right college. Continue reading

What High School Baseball Players Need to Worry About to be Recruited by Colleges

high school baseball player not worrying about recruitingIt seems that weekly, if not daily, you’ll come across another story about how today’s generation has been coddled with self-esteem trophies since their first little league game and have been told that their clay pots are special no matter how lumpy and cracked. This has an especially insidious strain in high school sports that can undermine a player’s chances of getting recruited to play college baseball.

Think about it, combine the me generation with a standout high school athlete and the too often accompanying egotism, you get a package of entitlement that will keep even the best players off a college baseball team. Continue reading

Have You had “The Talk” Yet?

alarm clock and money representing if you have had the college money talk yetAs families approach the college planning process, there’s one thing they need to do before anything else and that is have “the talk.” I know, parents have been putting it off because it can be embarrassing. Who wants to discuss such potentially intimate details with their teenagers? Besides, you’re pretty sure the school counselors have covered the topic so there’s no point in having to suffer through the rolling eyes and general awkwardness if you don’t have to.

Well, I’m telling you right now that you have to because “the talk” I’m referring to isn’t the “birds and the bees” but something just as important, “The Money Talk.” Continue reading

15 Sample Athletic Resumes and Letters

kid holding baseball representing need for sample athletic resumes (It’s been a little over a year since I’ve updated the resources, and wow, a lot of the more comprehensive planning guides have disappeared!  I’ve found replacements for them but they’re getting harder to find. There are still plenty of sample resumes and letters available so focusing on adding quality over quantity for my listing. 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.

Continue reading

Scholarship Search Toolkit Part 2: Scholarship Website Reviews

Part 1: Keys to Success
Part 2: Scholarship Search Website Review
Part 3: State and More Scholarship Resources


Scholarship Search Websites Review

tourist in a jeep looking at a review of scholarship search websitesThe table at the end lists 19 FREE scholarship search websites. Students need to be especially aware of privacy policies when they register on these websites. Basically, once the website has the student’s information, it can do with it what it wants.

Some websites will explicitly state that they will ignore “do not track” requests while others inform users that they will be contacted by marketing partners. Furthermore, some websites also claim the right to future use of any material the student may upload as part of a portfolio. Given that privacy policies can change at any time, take the time to review them before actually registering. Continue reading

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