Wednesday’s Parent: Questions to ANSWER and ASK on a College Interview


college interviewLast year, I wrote two blog articles for TeenLife Magazine about the college interview. Since I feel they are great tips, I’m sharing them today on Wednesday’s Parent.

If you’re going to college, expect to be interviewed by a college representative. It’s a vital part of the college admissions process. Why? Colleges want to get to know you: Who you are, what your goals are, and how you will contribute to the student population. They also want to see how you answer questions, how informed you are, and your views on other topics.

When my daughter was in the midst of her college search, she was interviewed by a representative of Boston University. Since this was her first choice college, she was nervous. She wanted to make a good impression and appear intelligent and confident. She prepared for some interview questions. Not all of them were asked, but it helped her go into the interview more relaxed. Although she wasn’t a top candidate according to their applicant statistics, the interview resulted in an offer of admission.

Here is a list of 10 interview questions colleges might ask and suggestions on how to respond. Can your student answer these 10 college interview questions?

Click here for the original article.

Not only is it important to answer the interviewer’s questions, it’s also important to ask questions at the interview.It might seem like the college is interviewing you when you sit down for that appointment. But in truth, you are also interviewing them.

The answers to the questions they ask you are important. But the questions you ask them can be just as important and can also help you make your final college decision. In the end, it’s not just them choosing to admit you, it’s you choosing to accept their offer of admission.

Here are 5 questions you should ask, even if they don’t ask you, “Do you have any questions?”

Click here for the original article.

College interviews can be scary but they are a key element of expressing interest in a college. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting to schedule an interview. These tips should help your student prepare.

Read Wendy’s Post: Interviewing the College Interviewer


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.

How to use Google for Essay Research



You can use Google as a search tool to help you write your essays, and you can manipulate it to save your time, effort and hard work. If you are smart about it, you can cobble together an essay fairly quickly if you use Google. Once you have the raw materials from Google, you can start refining the work, altering the flow and making sure it is correctly weighted, checked and correct.

Run a Google Search for Other Essays

The trick is to copy and paste your questions into the Google search engine. It will kick up any other essays that have been written on the subject, along with blog posts and journals that may answer your questions.

The truth is that many professors use the same questions over and over again, especially if they are listed in the textbooks, and many students upload their work to the Internet or sell it when they finish college. You can take advantage and look up what other people have written.

Don’t copy it verbatim, but make note of their better points and take a look at their reference sections to see if there are any good research materials you can use.

Use Google Scholar for Ready-Made Citations

Having to write out your reference section “correctly” is boring and annoying, even if you have a good citation generator. Instead, search Google scholar for the reference material you are using (books, journals, etc). If it is listed on Google scholar, you can click the cite link and copy and paste a ready-made citation. It saves time and a lot of effort.

Use the Index Section at the Bottom of Wikipedia Pages

On almost every subject you can research, you will find an entry on Google for a Wikipedia page. You are not allowed to reference Wikipedia in your essay because it is not considered reliable. However, some of the links and references at the bottom of the individual Wikipedia pages are very credible. Follow them and they may lead you to some great research material. They may also give you references you can add in to your essay.

For example, if you have just made a point, you may find a similar point made on Wikipedia. If it has a number next to it, which is a link to the reference, you can click on it and copy the reference to prove your point (as it echoes the one on Google).

Use Other People’s Ideas Online

When you Google the questions on your essay, don’t just look at journals and other essays and such. Search around people’s opinions and thoughts on the subject and topic. Use them to spur your creativity and expound on their ideas making them your own.

Search for Proof after You Have Made Your Point

The usual routine is to find, think up an idea, research it, find proof and turn it into a point or argument that you put in your paper. This is all fair and good, but there are many times when you know you are right and you can turn your idea straight into a point that you enter and expand upon in your essay.

The trouble is that at this point you have no evidence to back up your point or even to back up your idea. You are not going to get top marks if you cannot nail down every point with suitable evidence. So, all you do is search for the evidence after you have made and expanded upon your point.

Search out similar points in other people’s work and see whom they referenced, then verify those references. Just make sure that the point that person is making is very similar to yours and that the reference is suitable.


Today’s guest author is Linda Craig, a writing enthusiast and a professional editor at assignment help Her passion is modern British Literature and digital education tools

What You Can Do With a Math Degree


math degree

Image by AJC used under the Creative Commons license.

The study of numbers is a constantly growing field, and thanks to the explosion of the technology industry, mathematics has become one of the most lucrative majors in higher education. The study of math not only creates a technical ability to deal with numbers, but it teaches many analytical and problem-solving skills that are sought after and prized by employers across all industries. So if you’re wondering what it is that you can do with your degree in mathematics, here is just a small selection of options.

  1. Accountancy and finance

Accounting and finance firms are constantly looking for employees with strong technical skills in mathematics and an ability to follow complex algorithms and economic equations to determine the strength of a company’s financial positioning. The various types of jobs include roles such as auditor, tax accountant, forensic accountant, management accountant and corporate advisor.

  1. Actuarial sciences

As an actuary you will utilize various statistical information in order to create probabilities to inform your clients on different types of financial risk. Actuaries tend to be focused on business strategy, combining mathematically derived economic trends and information with practical solutions to insure sound investments and to minimize potential losses.

  1. Banking

Banking careers that are open to students who’ve studied mathematics range from general retail banking to corporate investment banking. Both forms of careers deal mainly with financial assessments of various public and private financial structures, and the largest opportunities lie in departments of merger and acquisitions and lending and IPOs.

  1. Statistics

If your main focus in mathematics was statistics, than your options for career industries are great, as virtually all major businesses and corporation employ statisticians to collect, analyze, and contextual data. Many statisticians also possess advanced IT skills, as they are usually required to work on larger company databases.

  1. Academia

For mathematicians looking to pursue a career in academics and teaching, a great step is to study for a master of science in mathematics education. The academic side of math will allow you to not only teach the future generations of mathematicians, but to continue your own research pursuits within the field, usually leading to publication in magazines and journals. Academic postings can be wide-ranging, and your choice of specialty will dictate what level of education you teach at and in what department.

With such a specific degree like a BSc in mathematics, it can be easy to see why many people might think their future career prospects would be held to a few select fields, but in truth the study of math is a doorway to many prospects.

Scholarships with July Deadlines


july deadlinesFireworks, family picnics, trips to the lake, the ocean and the pool. Who has time for scholarships? Summer is the PERFECT time for scholarship searching and applications. Following are a few lists with July deadlines. The great thing about these lists? You don’t have to search–the links are there for you with scholarship dollars waiting to be plucked from their hands.

10 Scorching Hot July Scholarships

16 Scholarships with July Deadlines

Scholarships Trending Now

75 July Scholarships

Scholarships with July Deadlines

100 Awards with Summer Deadlines

Not all these scholarships will apply to your student, but they are worth investigating and noting the ones that do.


One-Week Online Common App Bootcamp

common app boot camp

Everyone knows the importance of the college application. Books are written about it, articles published, and seminars taught about how to complete it. One of my Twitter colleagues and an essay expert, Ethan Sawyer @CollegeEssayGuy, knows how to craft the perfect college essay and personal statement, and he’s offering help with an upcoming common app boot camp webinar.

If a private university or college is in your future, the Common App is your one-way ticket. You’ve got one shot at a winning application, and Ethan Sawyer, the College Essay Guy, is here to help!

Using the Secrets of Screenwriting to Write Your Personal Statement is his five-part webinar series for students and counselors that runs July 13-17.

In just five days, you’ll finish your:

  • First draft of your Common App main statement
  • Activities list
  • Additional info section

Plus you’ll get tons of tips and step-by-step help to conquer the Common App.

Click here for more info.

Can’t make a particular session? No worries: He’ll email what you missed.

Can’t afford it? Don’t worry, there’s a pay-what-you-can option.

Are you a counselor? You’re invited too!

Click here to reserve your spot.

Wednesday’s Parent: 5 College Essay Tips


college essayI don’t know what it is about the college essay that strikes fear in the hearts of students and parents. But the very mention of the task sends students running in the opposite direction. If there’s one part of the application that causes more procrastination, it’s the college essay. Here are five tips that should help ease the dread and alleviate some of the pressure.


The essay if only one part of the college application. It may be an important part but the more your stress, and worry, and fret the less creative you will be in your writing. Forcing the issue when you’re not feeling it will only hinder your writing.

Start early

Begin thinking about the essay during the second half of junior year. When the summer arrives put some thoughts down on paper and start formulating a rough draft. Waiting until the last minute will make the essay rushed and incoherent.

Be yourself

College admissions officers want to get to know you. Pretending to be someone you are not in an effort to impress them isn’t going to earn you any points when evaluating the application. They want to know more about you, who you are, what is important to you, and why you want to attend their college. They can’t get that information if you can’t be yourself in the essay.

Practice writing

Start journaling early, ideally once you enter high school. Write about anything that interests you, about your feelings, frustrations and dreams. You can use the journal when you begin crafting your essay and the writing practice will be a plus.

Do some research

Get essay advice from the experts. Use websites, social media, and books to educate yourself about writing a stellar essay.

Preparing for the college essay removes the fear and helps with the stress. There’s no need to dread or procrastinate when writing your college essay.

Read Wendy’s Post: Savvy Prep for College Essays


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. Tonight’s guest is @CollegeEssayGuy with a Parent’s Guide to the College Essay.

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.

The Summer Before Senior Year of High School (10 Tips for Moms)


seniorIf your life isn’t crazy enough right now, it’s about to get even crazier. Once your child becomes a high school senior, your time is not your own. Anything and everything is focused on college. Your family (not just your teen) will eat, drink and sleep all things college. Before the year ends you will wonder how you will survive mentally, physically and emotionally. It will be a rollercoaster of highs and lows for both you and your college-bound teen.

We entered the beginning of my daughter’s senior year with anticipation and halfway through I began to think we would never survive. By the time she walked across the stage at graduation we were both exhausted. Senior year begins with a slow pace and amps up in January, culminating in a feverous pitch in April and May.

Here are some tips to help you keep your sanity and navigate the college maze productively.

1. Do the prep work

Get ready for the mounds of catalogs, test prep booklets, flyers and email reminders. Start your filing system now, before school starts. Set up an email account (, purchase a small thumb drive for filing computer files, create a landing zone for all college-related materials, start adding tasks on a calendar (either a wall calendar or an app that can be synchronized with the family. Here are 5 Free Apps for College-Prep Organization.

2. Do your best to control your emotions

It’s going to be an emotional time for both you and your student. Angry words will be spoken if you don’t make a conscious effort to bite your tongue, count to 10, and take a deep breathe. You are the parent and your teen needs emotional stability during this time, not an emotional basket case.

3. Prepare for rejection

The upcoming year will most likely mean that your student (and you) will have to deal with rejection. It’s not personal, but you will feel like it is. I know it’s tempting to spew platitudes like, “Everything happens for a reason”, or “I know how you feel”, or “They didn’t appreciate you.” But the reality is, all the platitudes in the world aren’t going to remove the disappointment. Once the dust has settled, however, it might be good to offer some words of wisdom from those “in the know” about the college admissions process: The Truth About College Rejection Letters.

4. Decide what role you will take

Please. I beg you. Do NOT be the parent that shoves, manipulates, and actually does the work for their student. Be the parent who encourages, supports and offers help and advice when needed. Be a coach, not a bully. Decide before things ever get crazy to let your teen OWN the process, or “drive the car” as one admissions officer often told me.

5. Prepare for emotional outbursts

This is one of the most stressful times in your family. There will be emotional outbursts as the stress intensifies. Your student will say things she does not mean. You will lose your temper and wish you didn’t. Just remember that most of what is said is fueled by the stress of the process and when it’s all over everyone will breathe a sigh of relief, hug and move on.

6. Discuss the money

If you want to avoid disappointment when offers of admission arrive, have the “money talk” before your student applies to colleges. Decide what you can afford, what you will be willing to contribute toward the costs, and what you expect your student to contribute.

7. Accept there will be consequences to actions

Your student will most likely fail or mess up at some point during senior year. When she goest to college, your student will have to fix her own problems. Let her do it now, while she lives at home, and it will be easier for her once she is gone. Rescuing your kids all the time only makes them into dependent adults and colleges aren’t impressed with those type of students or the parents that come with them.

8. Be open and not pragmatic

Be open to any college choices your student might make. You will not be the one attending the college and it’s not up to you to choose for her. You can give your advice and direct her in what you think would be the best path for her; but don’t shove her toward your alma mater or toward a college with a prestigious name if that is not her choice. If your teen mentions a gap year, don’t panic. Gap years are becoming more popular and it might be exactly what your teen needs. Read this post for some insight on gap years: What Parents Need to Know About a Gap Year.

9. Don’t push-it simply won’t help

If your student is unmotivated, it’s not going to help to nag her and push her to do the college prep work. If there is one thing I learned with both of my kids (and clients), if your student is not invested in the college process she won’t be invested in college. Save yourself some time, money and heartache and wait until she is. If not, she can learn from the college of hard knocks (as my son did)–minimum wage jobs are the BEST motivator! Here’s a post about my son and how he finally saw the light: Motivating an Underachiever Toward College?

10. Enjoy the journey

This is an exciting time in the life of your teenager. She has worked hard and will be planning her future. You can be proud as well. Enjoy the next year, even when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. It will pass all too quickly and before you know it she will be walking across the stage accepting her diploma and heading to college in the fall.

Scholarship Friday: Tips to Efficiently Apply for Scholarships


apply for scholarshipsWhen financial aid administrators at a college are in charge of scholarships, they may receive 200 applications or more for each opening. They don’t see much personal information, but rather a list of numbers and dates. You need to do everything in your power to make your application stand out from the rest.

Not every scholarship candidate will get called in for an interview. The helpful tips to efficiently apply for scholarships below will allow you to make a good impression on the people who determine whether you get scholarships or not.

Get all the Information about every Scholarship

Every school and organization has its own ways to handle applications for scholarships. Reading all the information completely is vital. If you’re not sure of something, email or call the scholarship provider to make sure everything is clear to you. If your desired scholarship is funded by a company or organization, go to their website and find out more about them.

Make Sure You are Eligible

It’s important that you only apply for the scholarships that are relevant to you. Check to be sure that you fit the special group, age or gender specified in the information.

Organize your Documents

Make files for each individual scholarship you wish to receive. Sort these files by the due dates of the applications. You will need other paperwork in addition to the application. They include:

  • Financial aid forms, such as the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® or FAFSA
  • High school transcripts
  • Parents’ latest financial information, including their tax returns
  • Standardized test scores
  • Letters of recommendation (the number will be specified by the scholarship)
  • Essays
  • Proof that you are eligible for the scholarship

Prepare your Resume

Some organizations and colleges will ask for a resume when you apply. If you have held jobs, include those, but don’t worry if you have no work experience yet. Point out honors and awards you have received, and all volunteer service you have completed. If you have spent many hours in volunteer service, omit those that are not as significant as the rest. You want to impress the committee without boring them.

Get Eloquent Letters of Recommendation

Letters should come from academic advisors or teachers who are familiar with your scholastic abilities and your personal interests, as well. This will show the reader that you are able to carry out the specified program you want to pursue. If your academic advisor or teacher knows of your leadership ability or community service, that should be included, too.

Ask people early, if you want them to write letters of recommendation for you. They should know why you are applying and what area you wish to study. Speak with them to help clarify your plans and goals in their minds. Give your writers plenty of time. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Your Application Essay

This is sometimes called a statement of purpose or a letter of intent. It gives the scholarship committee the information they need to become acquainted with you. It should tell of your experiences in the field you wish to pursue. Tell them what you will do with your degree, after you earn it.

Your personal statement gives you a chance to speak about yourself. Show the committee that you have valid opinions and ideas, that you think in a logical way, and that you express yourself eloquently, yet economically.

Have your Transcripts Ready

Many applications require transcripts of schools you have previously attended. Get this information as soon as you know you’ll be applying for scholarships. There may be a small fee for your schools’ official transcripts.

Before you Submit your Application

Proof-read your application with care. Use the grammar and spelling check on your computer. Have someone else read it and offer any helpful ideas they may have.

Be sure that you fill in every blank. Contact the sponsors if you’re not sure what information they want.

Be sure that anything hand-written is legible. Filling the application out online, if available, makes it easier than writing information by hand.

Be sure that you sign and date the application.

Keep Copies of all Documents

Having extra copies of all your documentation makes it easy to send additional forms in, if requested by a scholarship committee. If you apply online, save your work on your laptop.

Track your Package

If you submit your scholarship application through the mail, you may wish to send it via certified mail, or request a return receipt, so that you know your documents arrived on time.


Today’s guest post is by Pyper Barnes, a Junior Finance Major at the University of Alabama. Pyper is the owner of WeirdScholarships. is a website dedicated to helping students find unique and interesting scholarship opportunities. 

The Summer Before College (10 Tips for Moms)


summer before collegeThe summer before college was a stressful time in our house. My daughter had a new boyfriend, college was looming on the horizon, and my very young daughter who had not yet turned 18 was experiencing the full monty of emotions. She was excited, scared, anxious, panicked, in love (or so she thought), and stressed. Compound this with the fact that in August, a rather large hurricane hit our coastal town flooding our home and my daughter’s room along with all the items she was taking to college.

My daughter wasn’t the only one with out of control emotions, however. I was worried that her newfound love would influence her to opt out of college since it was 2000 miles away and he was still in high school. I was concerned that she was young, much younger than most college freshmen, and naive and dependent. I often found myself hyperventilating at the thought of her leaving home, since she would officially make our home an empty nest. And just as worried and concerned as I was, I was also excited with anticipation for her to enter this new phase in her life.

I preface today’s post with these experiences because I know many moms are having the same type of summer. Knowing what I know now and listening to so many other stories from moms like me, my older self would have some words of advice for my younger self.

1. Embrace the experience

This is an exciting time for both you and your teen. Don’t spend the entire summer worrying about move-in day or dreading the empty nest. It’s the classic case of living in the moment and not worrying about the future.

2. Don’t take it personally

Your teenager may become scarce after graduation. She is feeling angst and dread over leaving all her high school friends. She feels less panicked if she can spend time with them. Time with friends means less time with you, but don’t take it personally. It’s all part of the separation process.

3. Think before you speak

With all the stress in the house, there will be emotions. These emotions can often lead to conflict and words that can’t be taken back. Before you say something you will regret, leave the room, count to 10 and don’t say want you wanted to say in the heat of the moment. The last thing you want is to part on strained terms.

4. Listen before you react

Your teen will be spouting all types of frustrations. She may regret her college choice, wish she was going to school close to home, or announce she is not going at all because her boyfriend is pressuring her to stay. Give her a few days, let her calm down, and odds are she will gain her senses and change her mind again.

5. Don’t ignore your emotions

When you feel like crying, go ahead and cry. But do it in private, away from your daughter. Don’t suppress your emotions because if you do, they will all come pouring out when you drop her off at college.

6. Go on dorm shopping trips

It goes without saying that your college-bound teen is going to need dorm furnishings and supplies.There are numerous sites that provide parents and students with dorm essential lists, Check out the resources provided by Bed, Bath and Beyond for a campus checklist. This shopping trip can be fun and exciting for both parents and students—make a day of it!

7. Make the last few days (and weeks) special

Schedule some “date nights” with your college-bound teen. Do some things they love and make the time special. Schedule some family nights and if possible, a family vacation. These days and weeks will help your student cope with homesickness later during the year, and you cope with empty nest syndrome when they are gone.

8. Don’t give in to fear

Boy how things have changed since we went to school in the 70’s and 80’s. They’ve even changed since my kids went in the 90’s and 2000’s. It’s a scary world out there and you would be crazy not to be anxious when your kids leave your care every day. But don’t let them see it; they need to feel safe and secure at school. Even though we know they are at risk, we have to trust that the teachers, staff, and administration will do their utmost to assure their safety.

9. Pat yourself on the back.

When a child goes away to college, sometimes so much focus is on how hard it is emotionally that parents forget that it’s a major achievement that they can be proud of. Not only did their child graduate from high school, but they did well enough to be accepted into a college that can prepare them for their career. So, as you’re wiping away some of the tears that will inevitably happen, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

10. Talk about expectations on move-in day

Don’t hang around when you’re not wanted. If your student wants you to help her move-in, help and then leave. Some parents take their student to dinner after move-in and then say goodbye. Don’t embarrass her and let go when it’s time.

Wednesday’s Parent: The Summer Scholarship Project


summer scholarship projectThe lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Kids are out of school. Families take vacations. The last thing anyone wants to think about is scholarship searching. But wait! It’s the best time for a summer scholarship project. Spend the summer searching and applying for scholarships. Everyone is playing and your college-bound teen will be hard at work (well maybe not that committed, but he’s putting forth some effort) and it will pay off when the scholarship awards come rolling in.

Here are a few summer scholarship search tips to help your teen on the path to finding big scholarship bucks over the summer (and it’s not just for upcoming seniors):

Find out about local scholarships

The odds are best when you apply to local scholarships. The applicant pool is smaller. The awards may not be as big but every dollar counts. Many local organizations have trouble finding scholarship recipients every year and their money is not awarded. Cash in on this opportunity.

Sign up on some search engines that match you to scholarships

You might as well maximize your time by letting the search engines match you with scholarships. Complete the questionnaire and you’re on your way to locating all kinds of scholarships.

Devote some time each day to checking your email for scholarship matches

Now that you’ve registered on the search sites, you’re going to get daily emails. Read them. It does you no good to let them pile up in your inbox. That’s the way you miss application deadlines.

Devote some time each day to searching

Decide how much time you can devote each day to searching (parents can help). If you’re teen gets overwhelmed, start with 20 minutes a day. If he’s motivated, reach for an hour. And don’t just depend on the search engines. Look for scholarships on Twitter and Facebook as well. Your teen is on social media all day, he might as well use it to be productive.

Apply for at least one scholarship a week, more if possible

Once you’ve done your searches, start applying. Set yourself apart by submitting a killer application packet. Then wait for the money to roll in.

With a little effort, a ton of organization, and some stellar detective skills those scholarship awards should start rolling in. The first one is always the most exciting!

Read Wendy’s Post: Summer Projects Clog Brain Drain


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.