Scholarship Friday: Boarding School Scholarship


boarding school scholarshipThird-year Phillips Academy Andover high school student and author of “The Boarding School Survival Guide” (Peterson’s 2014) Justin Muchnick is seeking submissions to award two $1,000 boarding school scholarships that are available to current or future boarding school students. “The Boarding School Survival Guide” – written by students for students – includes chapters written by current or recently graduated boarding school students from over twenty-five boarding schools across the United States. The book has been well received by student and parent readers who are interested in learning firsthand about the boarding school world from those who have lived it.

Muchnick has learned from experience that attending boarding school is not only a privilege, but also a financial burden on many families with children seeking a residential academic high school. Muchnick says, “Not only is boarding school tuition comparable to attending a private college, but factor in travel expenses, hotels, car rentals, books, and so on, and even with financial aid and scholarships, the endeavor can cost a lot. I wanted to offer my help in some way, so I am awarding two $1,000 scholarships to pay it forward.” Full details of the scholarship can be found here under the “Scholarship” tab.

Scholarship Contest Submission Guidelines

Prompt: Please write an essay of about 500 words offering your thoughts on why you want to attend boarding school (your reasons, desires, discoveries, etc.). Also, please address why this scholarship will be helpful to you in your boarding school process and journey or why you feel that you are a worthwhile recipient. Feel free to share personal anecdotes, too.

Please email your submission with the subject heading “Scholarship” to Justin Muchnick at:

Deadline: June 30, 2015.  Winners will be announced and contacted during the summer of 2015 to receive your scholarship award. The scholarship will be paid directly to your boarding school (or future boarding school) to be earmarked to defray the cost of tuition. All submissions become the property of Justin Muchnick, and any portion of your submission may be published in the future in a book by Justin Muchnick or in any media outlet when announcing the prize winners.

For more information,

A New App to Help With the College Search: 4 Year Trip


app to help with the college search4 Year Trip gives users more than just information about colleges. GPS technology sends notifications about nearby events, users gain rewards for using the app, and searching for scholarships is always a smartphone away.

Attending the right higher educational institution takes much research and planning. 4 Year Trip, a new iOS and Android app created by app development team, Droiple, aims to take a lot of the stress out of searching for the right college while adding incentives for searching.

4 Year Trip, a new app to help with the college search, recently launched in Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store on February 15, 2015. The app offers many perks to those who use 4 Year Trip as their search tool for local and out of state colleges and universities. By using the app, users have access to website links, phone numbers and other campus information to over 3,000 colleges and universities, right on their smart phones.

Beyond basic research info, 4 Year Trip also offers tools for:

  • Finding nearby college fairs
  • Finding scholarships
  • Using the “Wall” to see what others are up to
  • Finding a future roommate

and much more.

College can and should be memorable – filled with classes, studying, campus events, building friendships and lasting bonds, and for most students, the college years are the experience of a lifetime. This is what 4 Year Trip wants users to have, an experience of a lifetime by using the app to assist with starting the journey through higher education.

“We created 4 Year Trip because we saw a need for students to be able to make better decisions about attending college,” states Justin Yuille, Co-Developer. “We designed 4 Year Trip so students could take their time researching while having a good time doing so.”

4 Year Trip’s GPS technology will notify a user of any university or college event that is happening nearby. For example, while passing a local campus, a notification may sound with information about a college fair.

To help students with their search, 4 Year Trip also has a section named ‘Get Schooled Videos’ directly within the app. Watching the videos helps students learn what it takes for finding, applying, and getting into one of the colleges of their choosing.

The Rewards section on 4 Year Trip allows users to earn points every day for check ins, shares, and posting photos. Points are redeemable for prizes like SAT Prep, coffee, gift cards, tablets, and more.

Parents and students who are interested in turning the search for the right higher educational institution into a more enjoyable and stressless time, 4 Year Trip can be downloaded in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Wednesday’s Parent: Colleges Want YOU!


colleges want youOdds are everyone has seen the Uncle Sam poster recruiting men and women to enlist in the military. You could put the face of any college on that poster and get the same message. Colleges WANT You! Colleges are all about recruiting. You might not think they have to do much of it because students are breaking down doors these days to attend. But they take Enrollment Management (EM) very seriously. Even though your student goes to college to get an education, colleges are businesses seeking the best students who can present a positive image when marketing to future students.

What is Enrollment Management?

According to the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), EM encompasses four key areas: admission management, retention, research and marketing. It is the college’s response to the challenges and opportunities that recruiting and retaining the right student body present to a school’s financial health, image, and student quality. Quite simply, it’s the way a college gets (and keeps) its students. They invest time, money and resources to create their perfect freshman class.

This gives a whole new perspective to the college choice

Just as colleges WANT you, they want you to WANT them. When you see it in this light, it makes it easier to realize that YOU are the one making the college choice. You are the one they are trying to attract. You are the one they invest their time in to recruit you (and keep you) to add to their student body.

Quite honestly, the only time a college holds the power is making the decision to offer you admission. Once that decision is made, the power shifts back to YOU. If they truly want you, they will back it up with a strong offer of financial aid. At that point, you can choose to accept it, or accept a better offer.

Do your own EM

Colleges are marketing to you. You need to market to them. Present yourself in the best possible light. Focus during high school. Study for standardized tests. Round out your academics with strong extracurriculars and excellent recommendations. Research which colleges would knock down your door and market to them. Position yourself at the top of the applicant pool and put yourself in the position of power. After all, it’s your money, your investment and finally, YOUR decision!

Read Wendy’s post: Enrollment Management and College Admission


Tonight is Wednesday’s Parent night (the fourth Wednesday of each month) on #CampusChat, Wednesday, March 25, 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will talk with Karen Full, former college admissions director, now enrollment strategist with Longmire & Company, about enrollment management and college admissions. Karen has counseled many students and families on choosing college. Please join me– @SuzanneShaffer and @pocsmom with our guest @KarenAFull and bring your questions and comments.


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!

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.

Free Webinar: Hello College, Goodbye IEPs and 504s


If you’re a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD/ADHD, or Learning Differences, you know the IEP and 504 drill. But what happens when your child goes to college? How do you navigate through the college world while ensuring your child gets the same attention and consideration to achieve success?

Debra Schaefer, a Special Education Advisor has your covered on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 – 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT with a free webinar!

free webinarIntroducing D.I.Scussions℠, a series of webinars and online learning sessions presented by Debra I. Schafer, CEO, Education Navigation, LLC and Special Education Advisor.

High school graduation is approaching and so is the end of your child’s IEP and/or 504.  With this transition comes the start of navigating through the world of college, requiring new learning and new ways of ensuring your child’s success.

Join her for this free 30-minute “mini-webinar” to help prepare you and your soon-to-be college freshman to enter the world of college.  Accommodations, foreign language requirements, and support tools…just a few of the topics we’ll discuss.

Reaching this milestone has required many sacrifices and you and your child have reasons to be proud.  As our way of acknowledging your efforts, one webinar attendee will be awarded (through a random drawing) two $25 gift cards … one for you — Mom or Dad — to treat yourself to something special at Starbucks, and the other for your child to help purchase college supplies.

Please register by clicking HERE 

Mom-Approved Tips: How to Help Your Child Get Into College (Without Being a Helicopter Parent)


Today’s guest post is from Ryan Hickey, Managing Editor of Petersons & EssayEdge

how to help your child get in to collegeYour child is filling out forms, applying to schools, and getting ready to take the leap into the world of college life. As a parent, you may feel like your baby is slipping away, and as they begin acting more like an adult, your role becomes increasingly blurry. It’s not uncommon for parents to feel as confused, anxious, and overwhelmed as their college-bound kids.

The truth is, the college search process requires a delicate balancing act between parents and their children. As parents prepare to let go of their kids, they must offer their support and guidance while encouraging independence. In other words, show them that you trust them enough to make their own decisions, but be prepared to speak up when they make questionable choices.

Ultimately, establishing a parent-child relationship built on mutual respect and trust is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do for your offspring. By following these tips, you can help your child get into college, adjust to the coming changes and keep your sanity, making you proud of what you’ve both accomplished.

Set aside plenty of time and energy to focus on the college search.

Taking the time to really decide on a college is not a simple or straightforward process — for you or your child. In fact, it can be unpredictable and haphazard. Don’t put things off until the last minute, when you might be distracted by work or they’re just trying to get through exams. Instead, get started early; ideally, you should begin looking for schools at least in your child’s junior year. If you organize right and work together, you can get it all done during their senior year, especially if you start early in the semester.

Use the resources available to you.

Colleges and universities know that this can be a trying time for both you and your child, and they have numerous resources available. Even before your child gets accepted into a school, ask as many questions as necessary to your contacts in the school. Knowing the answers to your questions gives you a leg up on the future, as well as helping alleviate some of your fears. Find out what kinds of resources are available before your child starts class, and use them early and often. It’s important to keep your child up-to-date on any communications you may have with contacts at schools — they should feel just as involved in the process as you do. When they have questions of their own, guide them to the resources they need to find answers.

Let your child make the final decision.

You may have your own ideas about where you want your child to go, but remember that choosing is an important part of growing into an adult. Make them part of the process, helping them to identify what draws them to one school versus another. This can help you bridge the gap between what you both want. Showing support for such an important decision can also help you, as the parent, show that you trust your child, something that can pay dividends down the road.

These tips can help you get started, but it’s up to you and your child to keep the momentum going. By making the process a unified approach between yourself and your child, you stand a better chance of making everything come together when your loved one steps out of your home and into their first college classroom.


About the Author

Ryan Hickey is the Managing Editor of Peterson’s & EssayEdge and is an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants.

Scholarship Friday: Check Out Scholarship Mom’s Tips on Smart College Visit


The best scholarship advice often comes in little snippets: begin the search early, search locally, send all the correct documents, apply before the deadline, and so on. For parents and students, it’s often easier to digest these pointed tips than read an extensive hundred page book on how to win scholarships.

If this appeals to you, then Smart College Visit has got your back. Each week, their Scholarship Mom Monica Matthews shares her best tips and tricks for winning scholarships. Monica has condensed her expert advice into simple to read and understand snippets that she has been sharing for over two years. With all the mounds of scholarship advice out there, Monica makes it easy for parents and students to follow her guidelines and achieve success.

Here are just a few of her recent tips:

scholarship mom tips



If you like what you see, grab yourself a copy of her simple book–>How to Win College Scholarships: A Guide for Parents in 10 Easy Steps.

Wednesday’s Parent: Choosing a Study Abroad Program


study abroadNot all study abroad programs are alike. Some are for a semester while in college. Others are during the summer months. And still others offer study abroad for a year or more. With so many program types and destinations, it can be difficult to decide which program best fits your student’s needs.

Here are five things your student should consider when choosing a study abroad program:

Is study abroad right for your student?

Study abroad offers an opportunity to travel, explore other cultures, and gain experiences that can enhance your future career. But studying abroad is not necessarily a good fit for every student. Studying abroad is a unique and adventurous opportunity but can also be challenging for a student who isn’t comfortable being far away from home and away from their support system.

Where and when would your student like to study abroad?

There are so many destinations to choose from and so many options available. Do the research. Study the countries. Ask yourself questions about the length of study and whether or not you want to be in an english-speaking country. Follow student bloggers who are studying abroad and ask questions about the countries they are living in.

What programs best fit your student’s needs?

Once you decide when and where you want to study, it’s time to decide on a program. offers an interactive tool to help you pick the right program that best suits your interests and needs.

What types of programs are offered through your college?

Colleges typically offer study abroad programs to their students. Discuss with the program director the courses you will be taking abroad and how the study will affect your degree plan. Full year, semester and summer programs are typically available. Determine which program will compliment your degree focus and which program will provide you with not only the cultural experience but academic benefit.

How much will the program cost?

Many colleges allow students to apply their current financial aid package toward their study abroad programs. There are, however, additional costs involved: travel to the country of study and travel to other countries while abroad, daily living expenses, and of course any entertainment and souvenirs.

Studying abroad is worth exploring. Not only does it offer your student a wonderful cultural experience, it prepares them to work in a global community. This is a valued aspect of their final resume as employers are looking for attributes that set the applicant apart from others.

Read Wendy’s Post: 5 Ways to Maximize Studying Abroad


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: Skip the Wait List


It’s college decision time and there will be disappointed teens receiving those words from the college, “You have been placed on the wait list.” You might think it somewhat softens the blow of the rejection, but does it? What are the odds that your student will be taken off the wait list and offered admission?

My advice: skip the wait list. Why? Getting off the wait list is like playing the lottery. Here’s are three examples of wait list statistics taken from the College Board’s website:

University of Texas

wait list

Stanford University

wait list

University of Michigan

wait list


(Note: To see any college wait list statistics, click here, type the college name, and select “applying” for the specific college)

As you can see, the odds are NOT in your student’s favor. And for highly selective colleges like Notre Dame and Dartmouth, the number is zero. Students who place all their cards on the table for their wait list schools are often disappointed. They reject offers of admission from perfectly good colleges hoping against hope that they will be taken off the wait list.

Instead of playing the wait list odds, take a second look at your second choice colleges. Read my list of 5 Good Reasons to take a look at your 2nd Choice College.

Colleges who offer admission want your student. They see potential and have offered them a spot in their freshman class. And if a college backs that up with an excellent financial aid package, all the more reason to reconsider your options.

Why do colleges use the wait list?

Lynn O’Shaughnessy on The College Solution blog, explains the college’s rationale when using wait lists:

Schools use their wait lists as a way to manage their admission yield. They’d rather put more students on a wait list and pluck teens off as needed than accept more students and then see too many of these teenagers spurn their admission invitation.

Schools want to be in control of saying, “No.” And when they say no to more students, they look more selective which appeals to families looking for elite schools.  And U.S. News & World Report’s also rewards schools that reject more applicants.

One major reason why highly ranked schools are placing more students on wait lists because admission administrators are stressing out that ambitious applicants are applying to a very large number of elite schools and they can’t get a handle on which teens would accept an invitation to their school.

With help from the Common Application that makes it easy to apply to many schools, some high-achieving, affluent students are treating college admission to elite schools like a high-stakes lottery. The application mania also explains why prestigious private schools are accepting more early-decision candidates whom they can lock up early.

Using a wait list is also a way to reject students without completely demoralizing them. It can be a helpful tool, for instance, to turn away students of alumni, who are not desirable candidates. Some students see an invitation to a wait list as something to even brag about. I’m not joking.

The wait list also allows some schools to generate more revenue by not offering financial aid to anyone rescued from their lists.

Don’t fall prey to these tactics. Encourage your student to consider the colleges who have offered admission. In the long run, it will probably be the best decision you ever make.

Scholarship Friday: Young Animators $25,000 Scholarship


young animators $25,000 scholarshipNickelodeon and the Get Schooled Foundation have teamed up to find the next generation of animation storytellers by offering a young animators $25,000 scholarship. Together they are inviting animators aged 17 to 24 to submit an animated short in any format for the chance to win a $25,000 scholarship.

The goal is to encourage up-and-coming artists, says Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s president of content development. “With a rich history of championing artist-driven shows and shorts, Nickelodeon is on a mission to bring these ever-growing, young animators to the forefront.”

In a separate competition, aspiring animators aged 13 to 16 are invited to submit a theme-based looping animation for the chance to win prizes, such as a tablet with animation software.

Get Schooled is a national non-profit, co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Nick’s parent company Viacom, promoting media, technology, and popular culture as a means to motivate and inspire young people.

More information about the scholarship is available on the Get Schooled website, with full guidelines available in April. Winners will be announced in summer 2015.

Wednesday’s Parent: Scholarships with Strings Attached


scholarships with strings attachedEveryone knows that you must do something to win a scholarship: write an essay, complete an application, or simply enter. Scholarships won’t give you money for nothing. Some scholarship sponsors ask for more, and these are scholarships with strings attached to the award. gave these examples:

Required Job or Career Commitments

Many scholarships require that you work for a number of years in a certain field, such as healthcare or teaching, once you graduate. If you don’t provide evidence of such employment, the sponsor will usually recover the scholarship money. Some scholarships require you to work for the sponsor, such as the military, after graduation. If you don’t follow through on your agreement, sponsors will recover the money or treat it like a loan and add interest to the amount to be repaid.

Sole-Source Scholarships

Some scholarships aim to be your only source of funds for a particular project or for your participation in a certain major. For instance, if you received a scholarship for an independent study project—and then received another grant or scholarship for the same project—you might be required to return the first scholarship.

When You Must Go Home

You may be required to return to your hometown or state after graduation, no matter what career you pursue. Proof of your residency after graduation may be required.

The Washington Post gave this example:

Scholarships with Rigid Requirements

Some scholarships have rigid requirements—moving beyond the typical GPA or test scores. Take this unusual scholarship for instance:

Joseph H. Deppen, a 1900 graduate of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, established a scholarship in the name of his sister, Gertrude. He asked that his money go to students from the sparsely populated borough of Mount Carmel who “are graduates of Mount Carmel Public High School, who are not habitual users of tobacco, intoxicating liquor, and narcotics, and who do not participate in strenuous athletic contests.”

You may find what looks like the perfect scholarship and then discover “the catch.” Before you sign on the dotted line, check the terms of acceptance carefully to see just what you are promising to do—and then decide if you can live with it.

Read Wendy’s Post: Yikes! Scholarships Can Be Lost


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.