Scholarship Friday: 10 $1000 Scholarships


This is a great way to start the weekend–10 $1000 scholarships for college. Encourage your student to apply to all of them. Some of them start at 13 years of age–start early!

$1000 scholarships1. CollegeWeekLive $1000 Monthly Scholarship

The CollegeWeekLive Monthly $1,000 Scholarship is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. students. Applicants must enroll no later than the fall of 2018 in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher learning (college, university or trade school). Applicants are eligible to win only if they register online at, login to CollegeWeekLive between the 1st and last day of the month, and visit 5 colleges (go to their page) to be considered in the month’s scholarship drawing.

2. Scholarship Detective $1000 Scholarship

To enter just complete this application including a 140 character or less statement on how you plan to use the scholarship money. We will be awarding one scholarship for the best reason. Deadline for entry is May 31, 2015.

3. Cappex $1000 Scholarship…/quickApply.jsp?scholarshipID=

Apply today for a chance to win a $1000 scholarship from Cappex by filling out an easy form. Applicants must be a current high school student. This is a monthly scholarship and the next deadline to apply is April 30, 2015.

4. Gen and Kelly Tanabe $1000 Scholarship

This scholarship is for 9th-12th grade high school, college, or graduate student including adult students who are legal residents of the U.S. and currently in school or planning to start school within the next 12 months. The application deadline is July 31, 2015.

5. $1000 Design-a-Sign Scholarship

“Design-a-Sign” $1000 Scholarship Contest from Signazon Let your creativity help pay for college with the 5th Annual “Design-A-Sign” contest. Applicants must be between 13 and 18 years of age. The application deadline is May 29, 2015.

6. MoolahSPOT $1000 Scholarship

The $1,000 MoolahSPOT Scholarship is sponsored by and helps students of any age pay for higher education. The scholarship is a competition based on a short essay. Students who are 16 or older can apply. Application deadline is April 30, 2015.

7. Sallie Mae $1,000 Sweepstakes Official Rules

Sallie Mae’s $1,000 Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents. Entrants may enter the Sweepstakes by completing the online registration form. This is a monthly drawing.

8. Noodle $1,000 College Scholarship

Enter for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must be 18 or older. Register on Noodle for a chance to win.

9. Chegg $1000 Weekly Scholarship

Chegg awards a $1,000 scholarship every week to one super student and choose the winner based on their 2-3 sentence response to the week’s question.

10. Niche $1,000 College Survey scholarship

College students review your school for a chance to win a $1000 monthly scholarship!

Wednesday’s Parent: Tax Filing Tips for Parents


A few months ago I wrote an article for University Parent to provide parents with tax filing tips. Here’s a repost of that article:

tax filing tipsThere’s no doubt — higher education is expensive. For the average family, like mine, paying for college can cause sleepless nights, especially if you haven’t planned and saved. With college costs rising every year, parents are searching for ways to offset some of the expenses.

Tax savings are one way to do this, and the federal government does offer some tax relief for parents. But understanding federal “tax speak” and applying it to your family can be confusing. Here are a few simple tax tips that should help when filing your federal return.

How are college savings plans such as 529s taxed?

If funds from the 529s or other college savings plans are withdrawn to pay for qualified education expenses, they are not taxed. Any money withdrawn beyond those qualified expenses will be subject to tax.

Are 529s in the student’s name provided by grandparents counted as untaxed income? Jodi Okun, of College Financial Aid Advisors, explains that any funds distributed from these plans are considered untaxed income and should be reported on the student’s income tax return if he is required to file.

Are financial aid grants and scholarships considered income? 

According to Ms. Okun, if the scholarship is made out to the student, it is considered the student’s income. Any money the student receives the student will have to report, but only when it exceeds education expenses. If your student receives scholarships and grants that exceed the costs of tuition, fees, books, and required course-related equipment and supplies, he is required to report the excess funds as taxable income. Funds used to pay room and board, travel, and non-required equipment and supplies are also taxable. Scholarship and grant recipients should retain fee statements, textbook receipts, and similar records to support their calculations of the non-taxable and taxable portions of their awards.

For instance, if your student gets several different scholarships that cover all of his qualifying expenses and has some money left over after paying qualified education expenses, that extra amount is taxable.

What other tax benefits are available to college parents?

The federal government offers additional tax breaks to families to help reduce the cost of college. You can read a detailed explanation of the benefits on the IRS website’s Tax Benefits for Education Information Center. Basically there are four options:

  • The American Opportunity Act — Up to $2,500 per student
  • The Lifetime Learning Credit — Credit of 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified tuition expenses or a maximum of $2,000 per taxpayer
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction — Taken as an adjustment to your income via a deduction
  • Tuition and Fees Deduction  Up to $4,000 based on your income

Ms. Okun points to a helpful Interactive Tax Assistant tool on the IRS website that parents and students can use to determine if you are eligible for higher education tax deductions or credit.

The tool walks you through a series of easy-to-answer questions, producing the information needed to file the credits you are eligible to receive. The exercise takes about 10 minutes. Time well spent!

What is the tuition and fees deduction?

Originally set to expire last year, this deduction has been extended again through 2014. You may be able to deduct qualified education expenses paid during the year and there is no limit on the number of years the deduction can be taken. The qualified expenses must be for higher education. The tuition and fees deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000.

According to the IRS, you can claim the tuition and fees deduction if all three of the following requirements are met:

1. You pay qualified higher education expenses.

2. You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.

3. The eligible student is yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

If you do not qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit or the Opportunity Credit, you may be eligible for this deduction.

What is a 1098-T and where will it be mailed?

Colleges are required to provide students with a 1098-T tax information form. This form reports amounts billed to you for qualified tuition and educational expenses, as well as other related information. If your student is a dependent, you will need this form when you file your taxes and claim education credits or the tuition-and-fees tax deduction. Some colleges mail the 1098-T to the student’s home address, but many are now providing the information online through the student portal. Ask the college which method they use, and follow up with your student.

Read Wendy’s post: Beating the Double Whammy of Taxes and College Costs


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy 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 Wendy 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 parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

Mom-Approved Tips: How Will You Make the Final College Choice?


final college choiceThe May 1st decision deadline is approaching and families are anguishing over that final college choice. The college your student chooses will be her home for the next four years. It will be her extended family. Her choice should take into consideration those two facts. But how will you make the final college choice?

Make another college visit

It’s time to revisit the colleges. This is by far the most important element of making the final college choice. If the college hosts admitted student events, your student should attend. This visit could have a profound effect on their decision. Spend as much time on campus as needed—talk with students, attend a class, talk with professors, and take your own campus tour.

Compare financial aid awards

After the visit, compare the awards. Who offers the best financial aid package? Will the awards carry your student through all four years of college (are they renewable?). Did the college include loans as part of the package? Was your student “gapped”?

Even if the college is your student’s first choice, the award should factor in to your decision. The last thing you or your student want is to graduate with overwhelming student debt. Trust me—she will thank you in the future for being the voice of reason.

Compare colleges who offered admission

In an article I wrote for University Parent, How Will Your Senior Decide?, I make these suggestions:

Begin by reexamining all the factors your student considered when applying. For each college or university, take a second — and closer — look at location, academics, the size of the student body, and other elements that made your student feel it would be a good fit. Review statistics including the freshman retention and four-year graduation rates.

It’s been months since she submitted her applications. If she got in, is she still in love with her first-choice college? Has she learned anything about the school since she applied that changes the way she views it? Has anything changed for her? Does the school still fit with her long-term academic and personal goals?

This is a good time for your student to gather information from a few trusted sources. She doesn’t need to invite everyone she knows into the decision-making process, but it can really help to consult with older siblings and friends, or teachers, coaches, or counselors.

Based on this research and reflection, make a list of pros and cons for each college and compare them side-by-side. The top two or three should be evident.

Before your student accepts a college’s offer of admission, take all these factors into consideration. You want your student to be happy, but you also want her to graduate with minimal debt.

Practical Ways to Help Prepare Your Child for College


college majorAside from your son or daughter’s academic achievements, what else do they need in order to help prepare your child for college? If your child’s lived at home until the age of 18, they may well need your support in learning a life lesson or two- particularly if they’re moving away from home for the first time. So how can you help? Check out the tips below to find out how best to support your child as they venture into further education.

Look at living options

Deciding where to live in the first year of college can be a tricky decision to make, especially if there’s a choice of living on campus, in a student house, or alone. Take a look at the different living arrangements available and do some research online, as student accommodation websites such as Uniplaces and Urban Student Life offer a wealth of information. Encourage your child to contact anyone they know who studies at the college they’re attending, or college representatives, who are often more than happy to give advice about the different types of accommodation offered.

The money chat

Before your child begins life at college, it’s worth sitting down to have a chat about how they will manage their finances, as a student budget is likely to be stretched.Before the start of term, encourage your child to shop around for a student bank account with low interest rates and an adequate overdraft. Together you could draw up a list of items they can sell? Old electronics, cameras and school books can be sold to gain a little extra cash. Discuss whether it would make sense for your child to get a Saturday job to earn money while they study, to help ease any financial pressure.

Course reading material

Text books are a costly expense to take into account, but remember your child doesn’t necessarily need to buy brand new course material. Often text books can be bought second-hand, either via an online book store or at a college book fair. Many colleges also have a ‘buying and selling’ page on their website, so it’s worth checking this out to see if books can be purchased here.

Cooking skills

Does your child like cooking? And more importantly, can your child cook for themselves on a daily basis? It’s likely that your son or daughter has not had to cook for themselves and for extended periods of time, so to help avoid any kitchen disasters (or endless days of baked beans on toast), why not do some cooking together, so that your child can learn a few basic kitchen skills? If you have any cheap, easy recipes they really like, you could compile a small recipe book together. Cooking from scratch, rather than buying endless takeaways, will help your child to save money and stay healthy.


Wednesday’s Parent: Should Your Student Consider Online Learning?


online learningOnly a few years ago, online education was the realm of the non-traditional student. Whether you were a high school dropout, a dad working three jobs, or a retiree who simply wanted to take some classes, chances were that you were not a typical college student if you were signed up for courses online.

In the last couple years, however, that has changed. In an era of tablets, smartphones, and omnipresent technology, it only makes sense that education – both traditional and otherwise – would gradually bleed into the virtual world.

Now, more than ever before, a high school student or even college student from a traditional university can be found taking classes online. Here, generally, is what prompts these students to do this:

The Motivated Student

This student is enrolled in a traditional university – or, perhaps, they are a high school student who is about to matriculate to one – and they seek an intellectual challenge they cannot find in the classroom. Their classes may be too easy or the subject they seek to study may not be offered; either way, this student is self-motivated enough to go online and find an alternative.

The Prerequisite Search

Imagine that you signed up for a course at your university that you need for your major, for graduation, or simply wish to take for your own enjoyment. Now picture that this course has a prerequisite that must be taken but does not fit with your schedule. Students in this position often turn to online classes.

Online programs encourage in-class participation

In a traditional classroom, the type of back-and-forth conversation that results in so many “eureka” moments for young learners. Because of the unique nature of the online classroom, students are actually able to participate more.

During a traditional class session, students are only able to contribute during small portions of the learning period — perhaps 15 minutes every hour depending on the course. During an online course, students carry on continuous conversations via computer which later spill into forum chats and Skype sessions.

Online programs include in-person lab components

Online courses do not eliminate the necessary in-person work; the courses simply allow students to complete several coursework components online. Then, as with any class, the lab work is completed on a traditional campus if necessary.

Online learning is here to stay. Advanced e-learning software and methodology makes studying for your certificate or degree over the Internet a hassle-free, timesaving option for higher education. The nature of online classes allows you to fit learning into your schedule on your own terms.

Read Wendy’s Post: 6 Key Online Learning Questions


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy 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 Wendy 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 parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

Dealing with SAT and ACT Anxiety


sat and act anxietyWhen it comes to standardized testing, SAT and ACT anxiety is the elephant in the room. No matter how thoroughly you address the material, strategic, and timing-based demands of these exams, the potential for anxiety-induced problems remains.

Many parents and students view testing anxiety as an “intangible” – an issue that can’t be addressed in any sort of reliable or systematic fashion. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. With the right knowledge and procedures, parents can easily make anxiety a non-issue for their children and set them up for the best possible chances of testing success.

A Quick Note: When Anxiety is Real

Everyone on Earth gets nervous. When you get anxious before a big exam, it means that you’re a human being and that your neural and emotional wiring are firing properly. However, some students do have legitimate, diagnosable anxiety issues – levels of anxiousness that become detrimental to normal functioning.

If you suspect that your child has a legitimate anxiety issue (and if you’re a parent, you’ll know), it’s best to consult a licensed psychiatrist or behavioral therapist to figure out your options.

For everyone else, read on!

The Four Factors That Kill Anxiety

  • Familiarity
  • Preparation
  • Keeping Things in Perspective
  • Having a Backup Plan

If you address all four, your kid will walk into the SAT or ACT cool as a cucumber. Let’s address all four in a bit more detail:


Have you ever been on a roller coaster? The first time you went on, it was probably horrifying. You didn’t know what to expect, you didn’t know if it was safe – and so you were terrified. By the third time you got on, you were bored. You needed to find a new ride just to maintain some level of excitement.

Tests are the same way. The more you take them, and the more you deal with them, the less frightening they become. Find me a kid who has never taken a full-length practice test before, and I’ll show you a kid who’s terrified of taking the real thing. On the other hand, find me a kid who has already taken ten full-length, timed, graded diagnostics, and I’ll show you someone who’s practically bored by the prospect of these tests.

And that’s what you want your kid to be! If you start the prep process early, and if you make sure to build timed, graded, realistic practice tests into the process, then you’ll build more than enough familiarity to axe anxiety.


This is just an extension of familiarity. Have you ever given a presentation without enough prep time? Sweaty palm city. On the flip side, have you ever been nervous to do something that you’d prepared for properly? I doubt it.

The more time you give your child to prepare, and the more consistently he or she studies, the less anxiety you’ll need to deal with. When it comes to these exams, you cannot prepare enough. This seems counterintuitive – don’t “tiger moms” make their kids study for hours on end!? And aren’t their kids nervous wrecks? Actually, the more studying you do, the less nervous you’ll be. “Tiger moms” get a bad rap for another reason, and this leads us right to element #3:

Keeping Things in Perspective

We all know that test scores are important. However, once you’ve set the proper goals with your child, you need to stop talking about them. Once your goals are set, you need to focus on consistent work and on the process, rather than on outcomes.

Want a miserable kid? Focus only on the end result. When he improves by 50 points, don’t congratulate him – just ask him “why he isn’t there yet.” Never reward consistent effort – just scold him for “not improving fast enough.”

If you want a relaxed, confident, and motivated kid, just convey the following:

You love him/her no matter what

You’re proud of all the work that he/she is doing

No matter what happens, he/she is going to get an amazing education

You know that he/she is going to do well!

That’s it. The SAT and ACT aren’t sports – you can’t scream and push your way to victory. These behaviors create adrenaline – fantastic for physical performance, and horrible for mental performance. Trust me: your kid is already feeling enough pressure. Your job is to be a teammate, not a boss.

If you reward consistent labor, keep things in perspective, and give your kid enough runway to get the proper preparation and familiarity built in, only one last element remains:

Have a Backup Plan

When you register for your SAT or ACT, make sure to register for a backup date. This is absolutely essential. Three reasons why:


  1. Insurance. Your kid might have a bad day – he might get sick, he might break up with his girlfriend the night before, he might pull an all-nighter studying for a chemistry test – who knows! You can’t tell the future, but you can get an insurance policy.
  2. Statistical variance. Some tests are easier and harder than others for the students who take them. For instance, one test might have more algebra, and another might focus more heavily on geometry – one is going to favor your child more heavily. By taking both tests, you have a better chance of catching the more favorable exam.
  3. Pressure reduction. Keep all of the points above in mind and you’re going to be dealing with a much more relaxed, centered student. Anxiety is real, but it doesn’t have to be a problem – and by following all these guidelines, you’re sure to keep it at bay!

Keep all of the points above in mind and you’re going to be dealing with a much more relaxed, centered student. Anxiety is real, but it doesn’t have to be a problem – and by following all these guidelines, you’re sure to keep it at bay!


Anthony-James Green is world-renowned SAT and ACT tutor with over 10,000 hours of experience teaching these tests, crafting curriculum, and training other tutors to teach their own students. He is also the founder of CNN recently named Anthony: “The SAT tutor to the 1%

Mom-Approved Tips: Art Imitating Life–The Financial Aid Award Letter


What’s more scarier and nerve-racking than waiting for the college decision? Opening the financial aid award letter. Families all across the country have been doing this in the last few weeks. Some with excitement…as in this video:

What’s scarier than waiting for your college admission letter? Watch a sneak peek from tonight’s new episode of #TheMiddle now!

Posted by The Middle on Wednesday, 1 April 2015


…and some parents are wringing their hands wondering how they will pay for the college that offered their student admission. Sometimes a little levity helps, but even in the hysterical way The Middle addresses it, there are underlying realities that parents must face.

  1. The college decision is first and foremost a financial one–I’ve said it before and I will say it again: have the “money talk” before you apply to colleges. This avoids any disappointment if the college does not offer enough aid to cover your costs.
  2. Even though a college offers admission, it doesn’t mean you will receive financial aid–Colleges use the money to attract the most desirable students. If they don’t consider that your student is desirable, they won’t offer aid or they will gap you.
  3. Families anguish over the high cost of college–College has become increasingly expensive and it’s clear that the decision to attend college is not based on the education alone.

Scholarship Friday: “Design-a-Sign” $1000 Scholarship Contest


scholarship contest

Let your creativity help pay for college with the 5th Annual “Design-A-Sign” Scholarship Contest! We want to see inspired banner designs that express your future dreams and goals you hope to achieve through higher education. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship to a college, university or trade school of their choice as well as a one year 10% discount for their high school! Second and third place winners will receive $200 and $100 scholarships respectfully.

Start Date:  Thursday, January 29th, 2015

End Date:  Friday, May 29th, 2015

How to Enter:  The students are encouraged to design signs that represent their dreams and goals. Students can submit their design online and share their entry to earn votes. The student’s goal is to propel their sign atop the leaderboard! The highest number of votes at the end of the contest wins the scholarship!

Scholarship Prizes:  $1,000 (1st Place), $200 (2nd Place), $100 (3rd place)

More details about the contest can be found at

Wednesday’s Parent: Don’t Be Fooled


don't be fooledToday is April Fool’s day. I have to admit, it’s not one of my favorite Hallmark holidays. I’m not much of a prankster and I always disliked being on the receiving end of a prank. None of us do. But colleges, all over the country, are pranking parents and students today. How? With the financial aid award letter. But don’t be fooled.

Colleges don’t back their admission offer up with money–if a college wants your student, they will back it up with a financial “reward”. No award indicates they are counting on your student declining their offer. Read this…

Colleges pack those letters with loans–a prank because every student and parent can get a student loan. Read this…

Colleges misrepresent their true cost on those letter–often leaving out expenses that should be considered and not giving the true cost of attendance. Read this…

Colleges “gap” students–they don’t award enough financial aid to meet the family’s EFC. This leaves a gap in the award and what the family has to pay. Read this…

Colleges consider it an award letter although there’s no award–even if all they offer is a student loan. That’s not an award. That’s not even an olive branch. It’s a slap in the face. Read this…

Be a wise consumer. Don’t be fooled by award letters. Do your due diligence and compare offers, crunch the numbers, and make a wise financial decision. Remember that part of the perfect fit college is the financial aspect. A college who won’t back their offer up with money isn’t a college you should consider.

Don’t be pranked by the colleges. I would never fool you; but Happy April Fools Day!

Read Wendy’s post: How a Joke Helps No Fooling College Prep


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy 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 Wendy 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 parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

Tips for Getting Off the Wait List


wait listThe life of a high school and ultimately college student is often filled with opportunities to navigate through new situations, learn new competencies and skills, and deal with problems that haven’t been faced before. Your chances of being successful and overcoming perceived barriers are entirely dependent on your ability to remain positive and take initiative to alter your outcome.

Take for example, the ever notorious college wait list. Students work hard to get advice from academic counselors regarding available options, explore different schools of interest, and work feverishly to complete the often rigorous process of applying. Then, the moment comes when you receive notification that you have been wait listed and will be contacted if and when any changes are made to your status. Rather than sit idly by, here are some proactive tips you can use to increase your chances of getting off the wait list a securing a spot on the college campus of your choice.

First: Know What NOT To Do

Have you ever tried to acquire a certain outcome only to discover your efforts have actually been counterproductive? In this specific situation, there are definitely behaviors that can come across as desperate, selfish, and even unprofessional which could potentially cost you an opportunity to become a student. These behaviors include:

  • Continuously contacting admissions counselors
  • Having your parents argue your case to the school
  • Compiling irrelevant or trivial messages and material to send to the school
  • Relying on gimmicks like gift giving
  • Recruiting alumni to write letters on your behalf

Second: Contact Admissions

An initial phone call to the admissions office may help reveal the reason you were placed on the wait list. Often, admissions staff is happy to talk with you and provide some insight into your academic standing. Once you have a better idea of why you were wait listed, you can make confident decisions going forward in your quest to be accepted.

Third: Be Informative and Honest

An excellent way to proactively move your way to the top of the wait list is to write a letter that clearly states your interest in the school, its extracurricular programs, and its relevance to your area of study. Be sure to include any updated information regarding awards you have received or recognitions you were given in regards to your academic successes. Speak with your school’s college counselors to learn if they have any insight; perhaps they’ve worked with students who have also been on your dream school’s wait list.


Your efforts to proactively work with the school staff will be far more effective than simply waiting and hoping for the best or being overly obsessive and making endless phone calls to argue and pester. With the right amount of determination, a professional demeanor, and a positive attitude, you may find success in working your way off of the college wait list.