Scholarship Friday: Creepy, Freaky Scholarships for Halloween



Although these scholarships have been deemed “creepy and freaky”, any scholarship that gets you FREE money for college is anything but creepy and freaky. In honor of Halloween, here are two of the creepiest.

Are you fascinated with paranormal activity?

The New York-based Parapsychology Foundation offers young ghost hunters and those with interest in the paranormal several scholarships. There are 5 annual awards with varying deadlines

  • The Annual Charles T. and Judith A. Tart Research Grant of $500
  • The Annual Robert R. Coly Prize of $1000
  • The Annual Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship of $3000
  • The Annual Frances P. Bolton Fellowship of $3000
  • The D. Scott Rogo Award for Parapsychological Literature of $3000

You can open the PDF file attached to the link for the foundation to get all the details of each and the deadlines.

Are you a Walking Dead fan?

The Zombie Scholarship Committee from Scholarship Experts wants to know your plan to avoid the zombies, where you would hide (or maybe you don’t need to), and the top five things you would bring to stay alive.

The 2014 Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship is underway, and they are giving one successful “survivor” $2,000 towards his or her college education. Do you think you have what it takes to make the cut? But you better act fast—today is the deadline for this year’s scholarship. For those of you who are making a list for the future. Put this one on you calendar!

Why Study Abroad?


study abroadWhen my daughter started applying to colleges, one of the items on her “must have” list was that the college have a study abroad program. She has always been an avid traveler and looked forward to spending time abroad with her college friends. During her junior year, she was able to study abroad in Paris, France and travel all around Europe while she was there. She visited Switzerland, England, Italy and Spain. It was one of the highlights of her college education.

In 2011, I posted a guest blog from University Language Services about studying abroad:

Studying abroad has a tremendous number of benefits – both personal and academic. The exposure to a different way of life often serves as a catalyst for students to discover what they are passionate about. It can also immerse them in a foreign language, enhance their resumes, and prepare them to live in a world that is increasingly multicultural.

On a personal level, studying abroad is a great way for students to learn how to adjust to new environments, make new friends and experience a country’s culture firsthand.

If your child is interested in studying abroad, encourage them! As scary as it may be to send them off to another country, the benefits of living and studying in another country are well worth it.

Studying abroad can help your teen:

1. Get a Job

Students can add significant value to their resumes simply by studying abroad. In the competitive market of entry-level jobs, most resumes look more or less the same. The interest in multiculturalism that studying abroad suggests can make your teen’s resume stand out from the pack. It also shows your teen’s ability to adapt to a new environment and take on new and challenging situations – all green flags for potential employers.

2. Learn Another Language

Particularly for students who want to master another language, studying abroad is a great opportunity. Sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture is one thing, but being immersed in a culture that speaks that language is completely different. Having to learn how to read street signs, ask for certain products in supermarkets, and make small talk with new friends certainly ups the ante for language learning.

3. Meet New People

Studying abroad will undeniably expose your teen to many new people and help open his or her mind to the unfamiliar. Getting comfortable with meeting new people has both professional and personal benefits. It will not only come in handy when meeting new classmates and coworkers, but also help him or her to have a more inclusive and diverse group of friends.

4. Get Inspired

Many students go abroad having only a vague idea (or even no idea whatsoever!) of what career they would like to pursue. Studying abroad can change that. Students often are inspired by something they encounter abroad, like a community project building schools or a behind-the-scenes look at a theatre performance. Sometimes, they simply fall in love with the thrill of traveling. These inspirations can move your teen to pursue a specific career.

Studying abroad is unlike anything else in providing students with a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether your teen spends a semester living in an ancient European city, a year helping to build housing in Africa, or a summer sailing the world, studying abroad will expose him or her to a unique and previously unexplored world.

Here’s what studying abroad means to one student who is living and studying abroad in Madrid:

Wednesday’s Parent: Are You Afraid of College Prep?


afraid of college prepAre you afraid of college prep? If you’re not, you’re one of the few. Parents, while excited about the prospects of college, are frightened by the actual process. What frightens them most? Any number of tasks: the overwhelming mounds of forms and paperwork, how to pay for the high cost of the education, being out of control and not knowing how colleges will receive their student, and the biggie—will your student be rejected.

In order to avoid giving in to the fear, you need to change your thinking. While colleges might give you the impression they have the power, they do not. It’s ultimately your teen’s choice for which college to apply to and which college to attend. It’s ultimately your choice which financial aid award you accept. You are the consumer. The key is in how your student markets himself to the college and how he takes control of the process.

Here are 3 tips to help calm you fears:

This is just another phase in the life your child.

In the midst of it all, it seems like an insurmountable task. It is all consuming and appears to be a “life changing” decision. Yes. College is important. But it is just the beginning of the choices your child will have to make in this life. And nothing, I mean nothing, is carved in stone. Wrong college choice? In the grand scheme of life, it’s not the critical. It’s the education that matters and how your child embraces the learning.

There will be a good fit college for your child—a college that values their contribution.

It’s not about the name, but about the fit. With a little research, a little coaching, and some digging, there is a college that fits your child like a glove. It may not be an Ivy (and probably won’t), but it will be the place they feel welcome and at home. Find that and you’ve hit the jackpot.

While there may be rejections along the way, there will also be many opportunities to learn life lessons.

No parent likes to see their child rejected. But it’s a reality of life. Everyone is going to be rejected at some point and the college process is no different. It’s how you handle the rejections that matter. It’s the life lessons you can teach them that will stay with them after they go away to college. And I say this with all certainty—everything happens for a reason. Sometimes College B or College C is a much better fit, and will make your child happier in the long run.

Once you’re done, you’ll be an expert and can help other set aside their fears. What is it Roosevelt said? The only thing we have to fear is fear itself (and of course college prep).

Read Wendy’s Post: 4 College Prep Nightmare Scenarios


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!

Join @pocsmom and I tonight with a #WednesdaysParent version of #CampusChat at 9PM ET with guest Paul Hemphill (@vcollegeadvisor) of Planning for College, discussing the scary side of college prep.

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: Dressing Up for a College


dressing up for a collegedressing up for a collegeWhen my kids were little, Halloween was for them. They dressed up in costumes and went trick or treating door to door. My how times have changed. It’s become a family event. Parties are planned, events are scheduled for the kids, and parents get involved in the festivities. Dressing up is part of the fun and also a necessary component of the Halloween celebration.

When applying to colleges, “dressing up” for a college is more than fun–it’s necessary. What do I mean when I talk about dressing up for a college? 

Show interest

Colleges want to know you are interested in attending. They don’t want to be just another name on your college list. They want to know that if you apply, and are offered admission, there is a good chance you will accept and attend. You can show interest by taking an official campus tour, connecting on social media, and meeting with admissions officer for an interview. Colleges keep track of how many times you have showed interest.

Market yourself

You’re basically saying “pick me” to the colleges. Although you are the consumer, the ball is in their court for the first phase of this process. Take every opportunity to market yourself to them. They want to know you and see what you have to offer their college community.

Make a positive impression on social media

Use all avenues of social media positively. Post pictures of your volunteer activities on Facebook and Instagram. Converse with colleges on Twitter. Set up a profile on LinkedIn and connect with colleges there. The key word here is POSITIVE.

Unlike Halloween, you do not want to wear a costume and pretend to be someone you are not. Colleges want to see the real you underneath the costume, not a version of a person you think they want to see.

Scholarship Friday: Frame My Future Scholarship


The 2015 Frame My Future Scholarship Contest is  currently accepting applications. The prizes are as follows:

  • frame my future scholarship1 Grand Prize Winner – $1,000 scholarship, $1,000 donation check to winner’s 2015 attended college/university, and a commemorative Frame My Future frame
  • 4 Scholarship Winners – $1,000 scholarship and commemorative Frame My Future frame
  • 19 Finalists – commemorative Frame My Future frame

How do I apply?

To apply, you must create an original creative image (a photograph, collage, poem, drawing, etc.). 24 Finalists will be chosen to move on to a one-month public voting phase. Church Hill Classics will select 22 of the Finalists based on the judging criteria, and two of the Finalists will be selected based on Fan Favorite criteria.


Applicant eligibility is fairly broad. To apply, you must be:

  • Attending a US college or university full-time for the 2015-2016 academic year (including community college, undergraduate or graduate school)
  • A legal US resident

Application and deadline

You can apply online. The deadline is March 3, 2015 .

Is Cheating the SAT Easier With Today’s Technology?


SATThere has been scandal after scandal of students cheating in recent years. And believe it or not, they are doing it on standardized tests for college. Why do students do it? Is it easy? What do they have to lose? Is cheating the SAT easier with today’s technology?

Peter Wayner, in “SAT Sneak Attack” addresses these questions and more. In his short ebook he uncovers how a group of elite students use tools that are allowed by the College Board, and by repurposing them, get close to that elusive perfect score. It’s not a “how-to” cheat book but it looks at how easy it is to cheat and what motivates students to cheat on the SAT. You might be very surprised as a parent to read some of those techniques.

They take advantage of the proctors and their lack of interest during the tests. And, using the fact that the tests allow the use of calculators during the test, they reprogram calculators. In his book, Wayner notes:

One web site distributes the “SAT Operating System” that solves SAT problems and the little counter on the web site says that 2901 copies have been downloaded at this writing. That’s just a lower bound because it’s one of dozens that are offering the tool. Once the files are downloaded, kids can pass them around or load them on the machines of their friends. It’s fair to say that there many thousands of copies of just this free version.

While you’re not supposed to use your calculator during the verbal sections of the SAT, the proctors often don’t notice. If they happen to be patrolling, some students say the trick is to write the verbal questions down on their scratch paper and then return to them during the math section that comes later.

Wayner offers some suggestions on how to fix the problem as well. It’s an easy read and it will shed some light on how easy it is to hack the SAT.

You can get the book here:

Preparing For a Career in Finance


career in financeAs a parent, you obviously want your children to achieve success in their education and careers. It is often easy to guide your children when they follow your example, but when they show aptitude in subjects and topics in which you are unfamiliar, then it can be difficult to know how to help.

This guide provides you with practical advice to ensure your son or daughter will be fully prepared to enter the competitive and rewarding world of finance.

Why should you help?

Some parents take the attitude that once their children reach higher education it is time to stand back and allow them to find their own paths. However, many young adults in school have little idea about how the working world operates, and while colleges and universities provide some career advice, it usually comes from scholars who have spent most of their working lives in academia.

By taking an active role in preparing your children for their careers, you will greatly increase the chances of them landing a role that will offer excellent prospects for the future.

How you can help

There are many ways to prepare your children for a career in finance, such as understanding more about their education and interests and how this may fit opportunities. Start by talking about what their main interests are in finance. The financial industry requires more than just accountants and investment managers. Firms require business development managers, client service executives, data analysts, human resource managers, IT systems support, and marketing officers.

After gathering details from your children, begin researching the career paths that will allow them to reach their goals. To achieve the best positions in finance, they will need to obtain financial certificates and further qualifications. Students who begin studying for these qualifications as soon as they graduate will give an excellent impression to prospective employers.

The best way to determine which courses are required is to review job listings and read the qualifications. Many websites will list the latest opportunities, and the qualifications and experience required for each role.

Many roles ask for candidates to have knowledge and practical experience with specific computer packages; many of these can be studied online and courses can provide a good foundation in using them.

Although your child will not beat out somebody with several years of experience, in the recruitment process, they may well come across as the best of all graduates, if they can demonstrate they are familiar with the computer systems used.

Teach interview skills

Interview skills are possibly the most important part of landing a good career. How a person performs in 30 minutes in a room with two total strangers can determine his or her entire career.

What many students do not appreciate is that an interview is an opportunity to sell themselves; this is where you can help. Encourage your children to list all of their most positive aspects, their best skills, and their educational strengths and get them to talk candidly about these.

People who can casually talk about their best aspects come across as being confident, articulate, and professional. An interview is not the time to highlight to an employer all the things that you do not know; it is a time to sell yourself as an asset they cannot afford to lose to a competitor.

What companies are the best?

This is one of the most common questions asked by parents. Many people assume the best companies must be the huge financial organizations that are in the news every week. Although J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America Corp, and Citigroup are the largest in America, they do not necessarily offer the best career prospects; competition within the banking industry is extremely tough and they all take on hundreds of graduates each year.

It is often better to look to the smaller investment companies that provide a more bespoke and personal approach. In a smaller company, it is often easier to impress and rise through the ranks to board level, which is ultimately most people’s ambition.

Some excellent local opportunities that are an ideal match for your child may be available, so research the local area. Small regional offices can often be a great place to start a rewarding career in finance.

Supporting your children during this time is a challenge, but with a little information and some research, you can help guide them and hopefully they will land the career they have been dreaming of, or at least, the one they would have been dreaming of, had they known what opportunities were out there.

Wednesday’s Parent: The Dreaded Group Projects


group projectsThese adages speak to the potential groups have to be more productive, creative, and motivated than individuals on their own. Ask students and they are going to say, “I hate group projects”. Teachers love them, students dread them.

5 Reasons Why Students Dread Group Projects

  • There’s always a slacker in the group that hides behind the good students
  • There’s usually one grade for the whole project
  • Teachers usually assign the groups and it’s hard working with people you don’t know
  • Coordinating time to work on the project is difficult
  • Agreeing on ideas and content always causes conflict

5 Reasons Why Teachers Assign Group Projects

  • Break complex tasks into parts and steps
  • Plan and manage time
  • Refine understanding through discussion and explanation
  • Tackle more complex problems than they could on their own
  • Develop new approaches to resolving differences.

While the potential learning benefits of group work are significant, group projects are no guarantee that these goals will be achieved. In fact, group projects can – and often do – backfire badly when they are not designed, supervised, and assessed in a way that promotes meaningful teamwork and deep collaboration.

No matter how much a student detests the group project, they will get them in college. Learning to handle them now, will alleviate a ton of heartache later down the road.

To do this, read Wendy’s post: 7 Ways to Get the Best Out of Group Projects


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: Planning for an Informed College Choice


college choiceBuilding off of the fabulous and informative articles about the economics of choosing a college featured earlier this month (Payscale’s 2015 College Salary Report and Mom Approved Tips: How to Choose a College), I want to share with you a simple system to help you make this huge decision and an informed college choice.

1. Schedule Time in Your Calendar to Implement the System

The first step in any system is scheduling time to implement it. Set aside an hour this week to start working through the following steps. This can be done as a family or by the student. The key to not getting overwhelmed by the process is taking it one little step at a time. Break down each task into small, easy to accomplish tasks, and you’ll be done before you know it.

2. Start with a Large List and Narrow it Down

You are much better off with a long list than a short list of colleges. Remember when you are deciding which college to attend it will have been three-six months since you were applying. A lot can change in that amount of time, so you want to make sure you have enough options to make the best decision. I recommend students have a final list of 8-10 schools. If applying to that many schools is a financial burden for you and your family, remember you can always request application fee waivers. You can do this my writing the college directly or check out the College Board or NACAC for more information on the standard application fee waiver requests.

To get down to those 8-10 schools, start with a much larger list. Put any school on the list that even piques your interest. Spend time browsing the net and talking to friends, family, teachers, and counselors. Don’t limit yourself. Just write everything down right now. You want to make a large list and then focus on narrowing it down by asking yourself the following questions.

3. What do you want to do after you graduate?

Do you have a particular career or major in mind? Spend your time researching the best undergrad programs. See which schools your dream companies recruit from. Are there intern or co-op programs? You can use the Payscale Best Schools by Majors list shared last week to help you. You can also look at rankings for different majors.

Maybe you are unsure about what you want to do after you graduate. That’s OK! You just might want to steer clear of very specific programs. For example, if you’re on the fence about engineering, you don’t want to have a list of exclusively engineering schools.

Look at your list and cross off any schools that don’t offer the major(s) you’re interested in. Put the schools with the best programs at the top of the list. Be sure to take a look at the companies that recruit from and attend the career fairs of the colleges on your list. Not many students or their parents do this, but it is probably one of the biggest factors for how easy or difficult your future job search will be.

4. What are the economics of your choice?

I specifically don’t want you to think about what your “budget” is or how much the college costs. You need to look at the whole picture. What sort of financial aid and scholarship packages do the schools offer? What are your parents able and willing to contribute? Use Katie’s advice to broach the subject. What is your potential starting salary? What are your potential lifetime earnings? WRITE IT ALL DOWN. Use this wizard to figure out how much student loan debt is reasonable for you. Use the Payscale information to get median salaries for different careers.

For example, if your dream job is teaching middle school, your salary will likely be in the $30,000-$60,000 range during your lifetime. So you need to consider if spending $200,000 on your education will be too big of burden. If so, cross those hefty price tag schools off your list.

On the other hand, if your dream job is a petroleum engineer for a big oil company, I would consider spending more money on a school with a strong program that has relationships with all the big companies over a school that’s cheaper but doesn’t have any oil companies going to their career fairs. Put the schools with the applicable company connections at the top of your list.

5. Where do you want to live and study?

Location, location, location. It can be a big factor in your enjoyment of college, the expense, and the ease of your future job search. It’s definitely easier to get a job in the city or area where you go to school. If you know you want to work in a particular city or region, check out the schools there. You’ll be able to build your network while in school, making the job search process a breeze.

Maybe you know you want to go to school in the South, Midwest, or Coasts. Keep in mind there are additional expenses if you go to school far from home (flights home, storage between semesters, etc.). Cross off any schools on your list in regions or cities you know you don’t want to spend four years of your life. Move schools in your ideal regions/cities to the top of your list.

6. Will I like spending the next four years there?

Are you big city or small town? Do you need to be close to family or want to break out on your own? Is Greek life important? How did you feel when you visited the school?

Do you have any friends or family who went to a school and loved it? If they have similar likes and dislikes to you, their opinion is very valuable. Ask them why exactly they like the school. Are their reasons important to you?

I had a mother ask me this very question. Her daughter visited a school and wasn’t crazy about it. This year her friend is going there and loves it, which is making her reconsider the school. Typically we’re friends with people who are similar to us and have similar likes and dislikes. I think your friend’s experience is actually more pertinent than a visit, especially if it was a visit you took during the summer. It’s hard to get a feel for a school by going on a campus tour when most of the students are gone. Ask your friend why she loves it. Even better, visit your friend at school if you can. You might even be able to catch a class or two with her. Use this information to cross off the schools where you know you won’t enjoy your time. Make sure the top 10 schools on your list are places you’d like spending the next four years.

Action Steps:

  1. Start your list today!
  2. Research schools based on majors/careers.
  3. Use this wizard  to figure out how much student loan debt is reasonable for you. Use Payscale  to get median salaries for different careers.
  4. Talk to people! Your friends, family, and mentors can all help you to decide on your final list. Just remember to ask questions to find out why they like the schools they like.
  5. Narrow down your list to the top 8-10 schools.
  6. Comment or email me with any questions. If you are looking for resources to help you craft the best application to get you into those 8-10 schools, get my four-step Base Brainstorming Workbook and 7-page GPA Boot Camp for FREE!


Jessica YeagerToday’s guest post is from Jessica Yeager, a grad of Harvard and MIT, and a tutor and college coach for high-achieving students and their parents at Impress the Ivies. You can get her Base Brainstorming Workbook & GPA Boot Camp for free.

Scholarship Friday: FIRE Scholarship


FIRE scholarship

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) hosts an annual FIRE scholarship essay contest for high school juniors and seniors.

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity.

FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

Also check out FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus and explore to learn more before you begin the scholarship essay process.

Who Can Enter

High school juniors and seniors for the 2014–2015 school year who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to participate.

Essay prompt

Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities? Using examples from both videos, discuss how censorship of student speech is incompatible with higher education

Word Length

Students must submit an essay between 800 and 1,000 words on the provided topic below.


FIRE must receive all entries by January 1, 2015. Winners will be announced January 31, 2015.


One $10,000 first prize, one $5,000 second prize, and three $1,000 runner-up prizes will be awarded for the best essays.

Four $500 winners will be chosen from the remaining entrants in a drawing.


Enter here: