Scholarship Friday: How to Find Scholarships Online


scholarships onlineThe full title of this book is Get a College Degree Without Drowning In Debt: How to Find Scholarships Online. This is NOT your average scholarship book. While many scholarship books list the names and details of the scholarships, this book takes a different approach by providing you with the search sites and ranking them. With so many scholarship search engines available this will save your college-bound teen valuable time and energy.

What makes How to Find Scholarships Online unique is:

  • The internal links that send you directly to the search sites.
  • The scholarship search engine ratings.
  • The extensive list of scholarship search engines.
  • The step-by-step guide on how to begin your search.
  • The list of online resources related to scholarships: blogs, podcasts and videos.
  • Demographic search links (i.e. military scholarships, minority scholarships, etc.)

Authors Gyan Devi and Myrriah Lavin explain their detailed reasoning behind spending time on scholarships with facts and figures, ending with this statement:

. . .  spending 450 hours applying for and winning scholarships takes substantially less time to pay off your student debt than the 2,940 hours at a part-time undergraduate job, or the 1,470 hours working full time after graduation. The choice is yours. Wouldn’t you rather work for 450 hours at a job where you set your own schedule and the better you are at your job, the more you’re paid?

Scholarship research and writing is a part-time job that pays you handsomely and allows you to work from home, in your jammies, on your own schedule. But, more importantly, it gives you financial freedom upon graduation to live debt-free and make decisions about your life that aren’t driven by monthly student loan payments for the next 20 years!

In a world of so much information and very little time to assimilate it, Gyan does all the leg work for you. She has followed these steps herself to pay for her own education and has proven her technique personally. The great thing about an ebook is that it provides you with an online copy, allowing you to go directly to the links provided.

Interested? If you are (and you should be) today is your lucky day! Gyan is providing my readers with a coupon code good until May 31st to download the book for FREE. That’s right: FREE. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Just follow the link below:

Get a College Degree Without Drowning in Debt: How to Find Scholarships Online

USE COUPON CODE: SL92E at checkout


How Do You Choose a College?


choose a collegeTeenagers. They have such a simplistic view of life. When you ask many of them about college, they reply, “All I need is a degree”. They don’t know where they want to attend or how to choose a college. Many haven’t even thought about it until senior year.

How DO you choose a college? Do you choose it with your heart and not your head? Partially. Is it all in a name? Not necessarily. Is about going to a college close to home? Possibly. Is it about finding a college with Greek life? Could be. All these factors could play into your student’s college choice, but before you randomly choose a college that is famous; or that your student’s friend is attending; or is affordable, you need to do your research.

Here are some key factors you should consider before you make that college list.

The cost

The cost of the college is certainly a consideration. However, it should not be the only one. Most college sticker prices are not the cost you will pay. Expensive colleges aren’t necessarily the best fit for your student. Before you make that college list, however, discuss with your student what you will be willing to pay and add colleges that fall close to or below that figure. Applying to a college that is beyond your family’s reach financially will only cause heartache if your student is accepted and you can’t afford to pay.

Financial aid

If financial aid is a concern, you should search for colleges that offer high percentages of financial aid, such as Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, offering financial aid to 84% of undergraduates, with the average financial aid package around $20,090.1 Facts and figures like this can narrow down the choices. Colleges that offer very little financial aid might not be a good fit for your student who needs help with college costs.

College majors offered

Your student may be interested in studying Asian History (like my son did); but is that a major that will be employable after graduation? For my son, it was not. Some may say that a degree is a degree, and on some levels many companies are simply looking for that diploma. But why spend four years studying something you won’t be able to use when you pursue a career?

In the current issue of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges 2014, you will find “11 Hot Majors That Can Lead to a Great Job.”2 If your student leans in any of these directions look for a college that has degrees in these fields:

  1. Biomedical Engineering
  2. Biometrics
  3. Forensic Science
  4. Computer Game Design
  5. Cybersecurity
  6. Data Science
  7. Business Analytics
  8. Petroleum Engineering
  9. Public Health
  10. Robotics
  11. Sustainability

Exploring the ROI (Return on Investment) of various careers is an important part of choosing a college.

Professor to student ratio

If your student has trouble focusing in class, is intimidated by large crowds, and needs more personal instruction to be academically successful, a large state university might need to be ruled out. There are plenty of small liberal arts colleges with great academic records and majors that would be a better fit for your student. When my daughter was choosing a college, our decision was highly dependent on this factor alone. Once we had found colleges that had low professor to student ratios, we were able to look at other key factors in making the decision.


Let’s face it. Everyone wants to go to Harvard. It’s the oldest and most prestigious university in the country and it is #2 in U.S. News rankings. Its name is instantly recognizable and equated with excellence. Unfortunately, Harvard is highly selective. The college offered admission to 5.9% of applicants this year. If your student doesn’t have all A’s and perfect SAT scores, Harvard is not for him.

However, there are many fine colleges that give credence to hard work and commitment. W. Kent Barnds, vice president of enrollment at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where the average GPA was 3.17, makes the point:3

I think really, to be quite honest, most colleges and universities are delighted to work with the student who has a good work ethic and has taken difficult classes and has earned that B average.

College truly is for everyone. If your student is an average student, don’t despair. Look for the colleges that will recognize his potential and see him as a viable applicant. Better yet, look for the colleges that he would be a top applicant in the applicant pool. This translates into more merit aid in the financial aid package.

What else should you consider?

In addition to these key factors, you might also want to consider location, student services, graduation rates, alumni network, study abroad programs, and available internships.

There is the emotional factor as well that responds to the college surroundings. Rebecca Ridings, class of 2013 says, “I followed my sister to John Brown University and was struck by the beauty of the campus’s blooming dogwoods and its peacefulness”. Yet another current college student, Isha Pandya, class of 2016, notes when speaking of Bryn Mawr College, “The school’s beautiful 19th-century stone buildings, green lawns and cherry blossom trees help to create a welcoming environment.”4

Even with all the right information in place and gathering facts and figures, choosing a college is more than just a college on paper. Most students will tell you that they just “knew” when they set foot on a college campus that it was right for them.

For my readers—if you’re interested in purchasing a copy of U.S. News and World Reports Best Colleges 2014, use the coupon code: SCHOOL25.


Best Colleges 20141. Excerpted from “Directory of Colleges and Universities”: in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2014. Available at Copyright © 2013 U.S. News & World Report, L.P.; 2 Excerpted from “11 Hot Majors That Can Lead to a Great Job” (which provides additional information, including leading colleges that offer majors in these fields); 3. Excerpted from “What If You Don’t Have All A’s?”; 4. Excerpted from “Why I Picked . . .” All quotes Used by permission of U.S. News & World Report, L.P. All rights reserved. U.S. News allows republication of this excerpt without specific written permission or payment of royalties, provided that the excerpt is republished in its entirety without any modifications and includes this notice. Please contact with any questions.

This is a paid sponsored post.


Wednesday’s Parent: With Freedom Comes Responsibility


responsibilitySince I was a child, my parents have reminded me that freedom has a price. To secure our freedom, many men and women have lost their lives–a possibility for any serviceman when they enlist. But do your teens understand the concept? Have you taught them when granted freedom, they are responsible for following the rules and behaving appropriately. With the freedom to choose, comes the responsibility for your choices and your actions.

Bad scenarios

One of the first things we learn growing up is that all of our actions have consequences. If we pull a glass of water off the table, it will spill all over us. If we touch a hot burner on the stove, it will burn. If we pick up a knife on the blade, it will cut us.

Unfortunately, many teenagers don’t carry that knowledge into adulthood as they begin to make choices that are life changing and life altering. They become consumed with their newfound freedom. They don’t rationalize that sleeping with someone they just met in a bar can have consequences: sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, pregnancy, rape and even at the very worst murder. They don’t think that cheating on a test in school, even if they don’t get caught, robs them of an education and learning. They don’t comprehend that having 20 credit cards that are maxed out will put them so deep into debt that for some the only solution is suicide. And they don’t think that marrying the wrong guy could put them at the bottom of San Francisco bay like it did Laci Peterson.

Functioning in the present

When you’re young and your whole life is ahead of you, you tend to function in the present. Twenty or thirty years from now seems like an eternity to someone in their teens and twenties. But time has a way of catching up with us and every choice we make when we are young has both good and bad consequences. The trick is to know when those consequences aren’t worth the risk. And the other trick is to pause long enough before taking those risks to weigh both the good and the bad.

A free choice with negative consequences

During my son’s senior year of high school, he wanted to join the military. As his parents, and with an underage teenager, we met with the recruiters prior to him signing up. They assured us that he could attend college while serving in the Corps, that he could be assigned to his choice of duty stations, and that he could pick his specialty because of his high test scores on the entrance exam. However, we were skeptical about the promises they were making. But once he turned 18, he would be free to make the choice, so we gave our permission.

Upon arrival at boot camp after high school graduation, he quickly discovered that all the promises were just ploys to get him to sign on the dotted line. Needless to say, he learned a very difficult lesson: every decision has consequences. He served his time in the military, traveled, and made some great friends. But his dream to be a lifetime soldier was affected by his distaste for the unfair treatment he received in the Marine Corps. His decision altered his future goals and sent him on a very different path than he had originally planned.

Lessons learned

If you get anything from this bit of advice, let it be this: teach your teenagers to take time to think before they act. Weigh the good and the bad consequences. Then once they decide, make the best of their decision and swallow the good with the bad. Every path they will take in their life has the potential for greatness. Help them see before they head off to college that freedom brings responsibility –responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions.

Read Wendy’s post: Passing the Responsibility Torch


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 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 parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

5 Free Apps for College-Prep Organization


College-bound students have so many tasks to complete and remember during the college-prep process. Luckily, there are apps for college-prep organization. This is great news because teens live and die with their smartphones. Having these tools at their disposal should help.

Here are five apps that will help your college-bound teen stay organized during those labor-intensive college-prep years.

1. Evernote

college prep organization

Free online tools like Evernote can also help your student keep things organized. This downloadable tool can be easily accessed, so you can access and edit your college application notes whenever you need to. Soon-to-be college students can use Evernote to create virtual notebooks for each school, organize important deadlines and track key documents such as transcripts, test stores and recommendations.Sound complicated? Don’t let its complexity turn you off. Mashable created a beginner’s guide to using the app.

2. GoogleDrive

organization app

GoogleDrive gives students the tools to get things done. Create new documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on your own or share and collaborate with others in real time. You can access your documents anytime, making them always available. All your changes are saved automatically in Drive. There isn’t even a save button. Connect with others by chatting right inside Docs, Sheets, and Slides, or leave comments on files and images. Add a + in front of an email address in a comment and Drive will send them an email so they know to follow up.

3. Naviance

college prep organizationStudents can now take Naviance on the go with the Naviance Student mobile App. Improve collaboration and help students stay organized with an easy-to-use college research tool. Students can also see upcoming deadlines and set reminders to stay on track. Naviance Student is fully synced with the Family Connection so students will have all of their most important information wherever they may be—at school, at home, or on their phone.

4. Remember the Milk

college prep organizationTake your to-do list anywhere with this feature-packed app; never forget the milk (or anything else) again. Remember The Milk (RTM) for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad connects with the popular online service of the same name. With millions of users worldwide, Remember The Milk is everywhere you are: from mobile to the web to apps including Outlook, iCal, Gmail, Google Calendar, Twitter, and more. Key features allow you to add and complete tasks; sync with your online account; organize the way you want to with priorities, due dates, time estimates, repeating, lists, tags and more; get reminded via email, SMS, and instant messenger.

5. inClass

college prep organizationinClass is here to help you survive school. No matter how complex your school schedule is, inClass will help you keep track of all your courses. Not only that, but it will help you keep track of your tasks by reminding you that one is due soon. On top of everything inClass will help you take notes way more efficiently than ever before. Video notes, audio notes, photo notes! You name it! Just take out your iPhone or iPod Touch and start taking notes. inClass will even know which class you are in!

Mom-Approved Tips: Know When to Hold’em; Know When to Fold’em


making college decisionsIt’s coming down to the wire for making college decisions and you and your teen have to decide on a college by the May 1st deadline. For some families, it’s easy. For others, it’s emotional and gut wrenching. If your student got into their dream college and the money is there, congratulations. If your student was waitlisted, or there’s a financial issue, or they didn’t get an offer of admission to their first choice college it’s time to examine the deck. By doing this, you can help your teen make the best decision.

The wait list card

If your teen gets waitlisted, it’s time to fold. Even though some students do get off the waitlist, it’s too much of a gamble to take; especially if other colleges are offering admission. The risk you take is not worth the reward. Toss in the card and move on to the next hand.

The rejection card

Nobody likes this card. It’s a deal-breaker and you have no choice but to fold and move on. It’s disappointing but there is a better card in the deck.

The admission card

This is the payoff. With these cards you have a full house. Hold on to them and treat them as they are—winners. There are no losers with admission cards and even if they weren’t the cards you wanted they will reward you in the end. It’s from these cards that your teen will pick the college they attend. Evaluate their worth and look deeper into their face value. Your teen might discover a wild card in the bunch that trumps all the other cards in their hand.

The financial aid card

This is the high card, or the ace, because it improves your hand and increases your winnings. When colleges send this card to accepted students, the amount on the card is a direct indication of how much a college wants you to accept their offer of admission.

When your student mailed off their college applications, it was a gamble. They were all in and now it’s time to claim the winnings. The right college for the right price is a jackpot.

Scholarship Friday: Top 10 Scholarship Posts


top 10Today I’m sharing my top 10 posts about specific scholarships, the scholarship application process, and scholarship tips. If you haven’t looked at them before, this is a good time to check them out. Sit down with a cup of coffee and be prepared to be informed!

1. Scholarships for special groups

This is a recap of some previous posts about college scholarships for special groups. If your college-bound teen fits into any of these groups these posts should help you find scholarships.

Read more . . .

2. Minority scholarships

Your cultural heritage, your sex, and your sexual orientation could end up paying for your college education. There are scholarships and grants that are reserved for specific minority groups. You don’t need to be a first generation immigrant to qualify for these scholarships; you just have to prove that you are indeed a member of the minority to qualify for the awards.

Read more . . .

3. How to apply for scholarships

There are many scholarship opportunities that anyone can apply for. Some are merit based, meaning you need to meet particular standards, some are based on financial need, and there are many for having a certain background. They can be awards of a few hundred dollars or can cover all of your tuition costs, but whatever the amount, they will decrease the price of your education. How do you apply for scholarships?

Read more . . .

4. Go local

Consider going local. Unearth local scholarships in your own community. The applicant pools for these scholarships are smaller and your chances of winning them increases. You will be surprised at the local scholarships that are often overlooked and no scholarship money is dispersed.

Check out these resources and add them to your scholarship search criteria:

Read more . . .

5. Merit Aid

Financial aid is always on the minds of parents and students, especially when they begin to research college costs and their financial aid statistics. The terms can be a bit confusing and today I want to discuss merit aid and answer a few questions about what it is, how do you find it, and how do you apply for it.

Read more . . .

6. What are the odds?

Most students hope for some sort of scholarship for college. Few are able to pay for the entire four years. Parents dream of getting that letter in the mail that says, “Congratulations, you have won a full ride for four years.” It happens, but it’s not the norm. The students who receive scholarships work hard and spend time searching and applying.

Read more . . .

7. Ask an expert

My commitment has always been to provide parents with the best information available to help with the college process. I recently listened to two podcasts on How to Pay for College HQ about scholarships. The guest was Elizabeth Hartley, owner of Scholarship Gold Consulting. I thought the information was so valuable, I wanted to share some of the excerpts with you. Make a point to listen to both complete interviews (you won’t regret it and you will save money paying for college) via the podcasts.

Read more . . .

8. 10 Scholarship summer prep tips

For students, summer vacation usually means sun, beaches, and fun.  For parents of the college-bound, however, summer means one step closer to college tuition bills and students loans.  There are a number of things students can do to get a jump-start in the college scholarship process during the summer, while at the same time saving time for fun in the sun.

Read more . . .

9. 10 Easy Scholarships

What could be easier than winning a scholarship and you didn’t even have to write an essay and/or fill out a long application? There isn’t. The rewards may not be as big as those long, involved essay scholarships, but 10 $1000 scholarships add up to $10,000. That’s not chump change! Most of them just take a few minutes to enter:

Read more . . .

10. Should your college-bound student apply for scholarships?

There is great discussion among parents about whether or not scholarship applications are worth it. I happen to be one who believes they are. My daughter attended an expensive private university based on the scholarships she won from outside sources and from the university itself. Those scholarships allowed her to attend a school that was financially out of reach. Hence, I’m a firm believer in the value of scholarships.

Read more . . .

Making the Final College Decision


college decision

photo from Zinch at

May is quickly approaching. In just 20 short days your student will be required to choose which college they will be attending. For many, the choice is easy–they received an offer of admission from their first choice college. Or is it? Are there things you should consider? And what if your student didn’t receive an offer of admission from her first choice college? What are her options? How can she choose the right school for her and be happy? And here’s a kicker–what if she received an offer of admission to her dream college, but the money to pay for it just isn’t there?

All these questions, and more are answered in an article I wrote for Zinch about weighing your college options before making your final college decision. Following are the topics covered:

    1. Compare the financial differences
    2. Discuss the decision with others
    3. Ask questions
    4. Consider factors unrelated to the education
    5. Delve further into academics
    6. Explore the campus
    7. Make a pro/con list

The college your student attends is an important decision. Before you mail off that card to a college or accept online, you should weigh your options.

Read all the tips in Zinch’s article:

Weighing Your College Options


Wednesday’s Parent: Obey the Rules


Sign up for my FREE parent tips email and get my FREE Ebook on college financing! Or subscribe to my blog on the left and get email updates.

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 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 to parentscountdowntocollegecoach and vice versa.


obey the rulesIt’s the never ending battle that ensues during those teenage years: who’s in charge? Teens feel that since they are growing toward independence, they should be in charge. Parents, knowing that the teens aren’t quite adults and fearing the fact that they will eventually leave, clamp down on the rules, and rightly so. To a teenager however, rules are made to be broken. Unfortunately, the rules of college prep will have negative consequences if they are not obeyed.

Here are just a few rules that your teen may be tempted to break during the college prep process that could hurt their college chances:

Study before play

Believe it or not, the most important bargaining tool your student has is his grades. It’s not the SAT’s or the extracurriculars. It’s his grades and the courses he takes during high school. Colleges look first and foremost at the grades and the quality of the courses he took. Allowing him to break this rule could have negative affect on his college application. Enforce this rule before all other: study before play.

Money matters

As the college prep process proceeds to senior year, your student will react like a kid in a candy store. Because of their peers, they will be looking at the most expensive colleges, with the prestigious names and the most infamous reputations. For most, those price tags don’t fit into the family college budget. And if your teen isn’t the best of the best, don’t expect merit aid or scholarships from those colleges. In this case, money matters and you should communicate this to your teen before he takes the college to the cash register.

Behave yourself

Colleges pay attention to behavior. They are looking for respectful students who have leadership qualities and take academics seriously. What they aren’t looking for is a student who shoots his mouth off on Twitter, posts pictures of his naked body on Instagram, and complains about parents and school on Facebook. One of the easiest ways students can impress college admission officers is to behave themselves.

Respect deadlines

Deadlines are like lines in the sand. Once drawn, you can’t cross them. Missing those deadlines will have harsh consequences. There’s no room for procrastination in the college prep process. Colleges expect your student to respect their deadlines. No respect means no admission.

Work hard

There’s no room for a slacker in the college prep process. Only those students who work hard are going to reap the benefits. Hard work always pays off when it comes to the rewards of college admissions. Hard work results in the best offers of admission and the best financial aid packages, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing that the work paid off.

This is the time for parents to remind their student that obeying the rules protects him from negative consequences and ensures positive outcomes. The simple rule we started when they were toddlers, pays off during college prep. Obey the rules!

Read Wendy’s blog: Rules to Follow and Rules to Break

7 College Search Apps for Parents and Students


college search appsEach Tuesday, I’m going to be providing parents and students with information on apps available for the college prep process. While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, these college search apps should help you and your student start and organize their college search.

1. Find Colleges-FREE

The Find Colleges search application makes it easy to search for information about U.S. colleges and universities. Developed by, this innovative app enables browsing by video, majors, size and tuition, or by state. This unique multimedia app features video profiles for some schools. It also provides web links as well as the ability to request more information directly from a school.

2. College Search Guide-FREE

This application is for anyone across the world looking to enroll in a college or university in the United States. Foreign students, high school students, current college students looking to transfer, parents, the working professional looking to go to grad school will find this application very useful. All information are 100% authentic from the US Department of Education.

This app is also available for android devices.

3. Campus Guide-College & University-$1.99

Powered by results from Foursquare, Campus Guide is the ideal student app to take with you to College or University. Find your way around College campuses, check-in with Foursquare and update your friends, family and other students via Twitter and Facebook. Visiting friends at a different College or University? With Campus guide there is no need to get lost or arrive late. Search for campus buildings, find address details and plan your route using the in-built map.

4. College Confidential-FREE

Read and interact with other users on topics like Financial Aid, College Life, Test Preparation, and more. Check messages, search topics and exchange private messages with other members. With access to millions of posts from students, parents, and experts in 700+ forums, you’ll find answers to all of your college-bound questions.

5. College-Bound-FREE

College-Bound eliminates the college stress by providing both students and parents with useful, every day, and up-to-the-minute, information on and about the entire college process. Professionals in all areas of the college planning and preparation process provide expert information on the following topics: Athletes and Recruiting, College Admissions, College Essays, College Travel, Financial Aid, Internships, NCAA Eligibility, SAT & ACT Preparation, SAT Essays, SAT Vocabulary and Scholarships.

The app is also available for android devices.

6. Fiske Interactive College Guide-$19.99

FISKE GUIDE TO COLLEGES has been the most trusted source of information for parents, counselors, and college-bound students. Now, the Fiske Interactive College Guide brings you every aspect of the book—plus much more—in an app! You’ll find the Fiske Interactive College Guide useful throughout the hectic, often stressful college search and selection process.

7. Peterson’s College Guide-FREE

Trying to find a college in the United States that matches your academic, social, and financial preferences? Mapping a college trip? Taking a college campus walking tour? Looking for university financial aid and tuition information? Seeking higher education statistics? This application includes over 60 official data points on over 4,000 two- and four-year colleges in the United States. From Harvard and UCLA to a community college near you, this application contains data on thousands of accredited institutions.

Mom-Approved Tips: Are the Ivies “All That”?


iviesPardon the improper grammar and slang; but seriously–are the Ivies all that? This past week the news media was enamored with the praise of a young man that was accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges. Don’t get me wrong–the young man is to be commended for his efforts. But as usual, the focus was on the fact that it was the Ivies, not the fact that he was offered admission to eight colleges.

Why are the Ivies the “be all and end all” of college acceptance?

From the time my son was little, he said he wanted to go to Harvard. I have no idea why, but he said it so much we bought him a Harvard sweatshirt. If he had applied himself in high school, he would have applied. Instead, he went into the Marines. Did I feel like he had failed, or I had failed, absolutely not. The Ivies would never have been for him.

A recent study showed that only 0.4 percent of undergraduates attend an Ivy League school. However, you can go to any parent meeting about college and the discussion inevitably heads toward the Ivies. “My son is applying to Harvard”, my daughter is applying to “Brown”. And the parents whose students aren’t candidates for these schools immediately start feeling like they have failed their kids–along with a tinge of jealousy.

What should the conversation be about?

Instead of focusing on WHERE the student gets into college, the conversation should be about whether or not a/did they apply and receive an offer of admission (from ANY college) and b/are the colleges they applied to a good fit for their academic, financial and social needs. There are thousands of good colleges across the country, even some that might not be well-known, that offer students and excellent education at an affordable price.

What are we communicating to our kids?

All this hype around the Ivies gives our kids the impression that if you don’t attend an Ivy League college, your life and your future are doomed. You’re destined to work at a mediocre job with a mediocre salary. In addition, we are also communicating that all the kids that get into Harvard or Yale are the best of the best: the smartest, the elite, the successful. When the media puts such focus on college names and the importance of the name, our kids begin to feel pressure to attend these schools.

How can we change the conversation and the overall view of college and success?

It’s not about where you go, or the college name. It’s about what you do with the education your receive and how you leverage the education to move you toward success. A state college student is just as likely to become a CEO, and a Harvard graduate. If the education you receive lands you in a career you love, it matters very little where you got that education. Our kids need to know this and embrace the fact that exclusiveness is never a measure of success.

In a recent article in the New York Times by Frank Gruni, “Our Crazy College Crossroads“, makes an excellent point:

Corner offices in this country teem with C.E.O.s who didn’t do their undergraduate work in the Ivy League. Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin went to the University of Alabama. John Mackey of Whole Foods studied at the University of Texas, never finishing.

Your diploma is, or should be, the least of what defines you. Show me someone whose identity is rooted in where he or she went to college. I’ll show you someone you really, really don’t want at your Super Bowl party.

And your diploma will have infinitely less relevance to your fulfillment than so much else: the wisdom with which you choose your romantic partners; your interactions with the community you inhabit; your generosity toward the family that you inherited or the family that you’ve made.

It’s time that parents start making this “college game” less of a competition and more of journey to find a college where their kid will flourish.