How to Make the Most Out of Your Education


educationEducation is important, from your early days in kindergarten all the way to the study you pursue later in life. Everyone is different though, and everyone studies for different reasons and different goals. No matter what your ultimate pursuit is though, there are a number of ways to make sure you really are getting the most out of your education.

Choose Pathways

Sometimes the slow path is the best path. People think trying to cram as many subjects into a three-year degree is the best way to go, but this type of workload and stress may actually be hindering your education. There are a variety of other flexible pathways available today, including colleges like Evocca, as well as TAFE courses and distance learning that can develop basic skills. By starting here, you can build up your knowledge gradually in your own time.

Think Long Term

Long term goals are what everyone should have in mind when it comes to their education. What are you going to get out of this? Where will you be able to apply this knowledge? To get the most from your education, sit down and pull apart what you’re studying and compare it, point to point, with what you want to do. By doing this you will be able to more clearly see what other subjects you need to add, or what might actually be irrelevant to what you want to learn. Some subjects will always be boring, but if they are more likely to help you in the long term, do them now.

Be Practical

Yes, working towards a diploma or a degree is going to give you the qualifications you need for a career, but it rarely gives you the practical experience to push you even further ahead. Many courses now make work experience a requirement, but not all of them. You have to put yourself out there if you want to show that you’re serious about a career. Volunteer on weekends for whatever is available, whether it be admin, as a coordinator, or a coffee runner. Every piece of life and industry experience counts when it comes to getting the most from your education and furthering your career prospects.

Self Educate

The best way to discover answers is to always be questioning, researching and recording. If you don’t question you don’t learn. Read widely when you can, and not just the books or journals that have been recommended by your tutor. Do internet searches, find educational institutes, locations or industry professionals on the subject you’re studying and further your knowledge that way. You have to be willing to always take it that one step further.

Society today is becoming more educated every year. Because of this, job prospects and industry expectations are at a high, and are therefore becoming hugely competitive. Really taking an analytical approach to your education, balancing it with experience and pushing yourself to always be learning from someone or something, is what is ultimately going to get you ahead.

Have you made the most of your education? If not, what areas do you think you could have improved on? Discuss your answers below.

Wednesday’s Parent: A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet


a rose by any other nameThose famous words from Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet (a rose by any other name would smell as sweet) aren’t just about romance. They can be applied to college—yes college. Go to any parents meeting (especially with senior parents) and the name dropping is everywhere. “My son got accepted to Stanford. My daughter is applying to Harvard. My son has been offered a scholarship to Princeton. It’s impossible to avoid it and it’s impossible to not let a little jealously and insecurity cross your mind as you hear about other children’s accomplishments.

But wait. Does it really matter WHERE your son goes to college? Some would argue with me. Is a big name college like Harvard or Yale able to offer a better education than say Mary Hardin Baylor (a small liberal arts college in Texas)? Is an Ivy League college going to ensure your son or daughter a starting salary above those who graduate from the University of Texas or Colorado State? Some would say yes.

Personally, as I’ve said multiple times: where your son or daughter goes to college is not as important as how they choose to take advantage of the education. When my daughter was in Boston, she knew many Harvard students that simply skated by in their classes and told her “the hardest thing about Harvard is getting in.” She took classes offering her hands-on experience in the business community and a senior level course that gave them actual real-life marketing experience helping startup companies. And this was from a small liberal arts college.

Bottom line: it’s not about the name, it’s about the amount of effort your son or daughter puts into the education. Your son can go to a big name college and if he doesn’t apply himself, the education is a waste of your money. With college, as in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

Read Wendy’s post: Savvy Shoppers Have an Advantage in the College Process


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.

iPad Apps for College Prep


iPad apps for college prepCollege prep has certainly changed over the years. Twenty years ago you trudged to the library spending hours foraging through books looking for college facts, test prep, and scholarships. Ten years ago, with the internet explosion, you could do most of your research online and even apply to some colleges. Today, you can do almost everything online: search for scholarships, apply to colleges, study for standardized tests, and get essay help and organization. It certainly is a high-tech world.

The Changing Face of College Prep

I can’t even imagine what it will be like when my grandsons apply to college. If you don’t keep up with the times, you’re going to be left in the dust. With the explosion of apps on portable devices, the face of college prep has changed yet again. Companies are using apps to help students organize, write essays, study for standardized tests, understand financial aid, plan college visits and more. has compiled a list of iPad apps for college prep. I felt it was a good list and want to share it with you.

25 iPad Apps Changing College Prep

You might also like my College Prep App Recap post


Mom-Approved Tips: Insist Your Student Graduate in 4 Years or Less


Did you know that at most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years? Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time.

Nationwide, only 50 of more than 580 public four-year institutions graduate a majority of their full-time students on time. Some of the causes of slow student progress are inability to register for required courses, credits lost in transfer and remediation sequences that do not work. Studying abroad can also contribute to added time and credits lost when abroad. According to a recent report from some students take too few credits per semester to finish on time. The problem is even worse at community colleges, where 5 percent of full-time students earned an associate degree within two years, and 15.9 percent earned a one- to two-year certificate on time.

graduate in 4 yearsWhat is lost when a student doesn’t graduate in 4 years?

MONEY! My good friend, and college counselor, Paul Hemphill of Planning for College put it into perspective recently. (See chart to the right). It’s not just the cost of the education that your student loses, but the earning potential over the additional year or years. Nothing speaks louder than cold, hard numbers.

What can parents do to ensure on-time graduation?

It’s not a difficult task, although the numbers might speak otherwise. Taking control of the process and making a plan will go a long way in ensuring on-time graduation

Show your student the numbers—Nothing speaks louder than showing your student a loss of thousands of dollars in earning potential if they don’t graduate on time.

Help them plan their major and degree plan, ensuring it can be done in 4 years—Help them plan, ask questions of their advisors, and have solid discussions about their career and/or major.

Encourage AP testing and dual-credit courses—With AP testing and dual-credit courses, a student can enter college with multiple credits out of the way. The cost of these tests and courses pales in comparison to the cost of a college credit and extra money paid if they don’t graduate on time. It’s conceivable that with the right planning, a student can graduate in less than 4 years.

Attend community college for the basics during the summer before college—Not only will your student get some courses out of the way at a cheaper rate, they will enter college with credits under their belt.

Use some tough love—Explain the importance of graduating on time and explain that you will support them for 4 years only. After that, the cost is on them. Nothing motivates a teen more than realizing they will have to pay for college themselves.

Below is a neat little graphic (courtesy of Paul Hemphill) breaking it down for you.

graduate in 4 years

Scholarship Friday: Scholarship Advice from the Experts


scholarship adviceThis week’s post might be the best Scholarship Friday yet! On Wednesday night, Smart College Visit hosted a chat giving parents and students tips to search for and apply to scholarships. The chat was hosted by Scholarship Mom, Monica Matthews (@aidscholarship) and was rich with great tips from guest Tamara Krause (@scholarshipguru) of To add to the mix, other college experts chimed in and what you have is a one-stop transcript of scholarship advice.

Take the time to read the transcript, jot down the tips, and follow the links. It’s not every tweet, but it’s the best of the best! And be encouraged–applying to scholarships really does result in some wins. But as with anything, perseverance and persistence is the key!


Wednesday’s Parent: Talking to Your Kids About Financing College


I’m reposting an article I wrote last year because it’s timely and applies to today’s Wednesday’s Parent topic: finances and college. I hope you find it helpful.


If you have a college-bound teen you’re well aware of the cost of college–it’s high. In a recent story in Business Week, one graduate confessed she had given up on her student loan debt of $186,000. She is not alone. With the nation struggling under a $1 trillion student debt crisis, stories like hers are nothing uncommon. For the first time ever, the national student loan default rate exceeds the credit card delinquency rate, and so long as student loans remain one of the few types of debt that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, chances are the situation won’t improve any time soon.

financing collegeAs their parent, it’s up to you to make sure they don’t fall prey to debt that they cannot repay after grduation. Before they ever accept an offer of admission, you need to talk to them about financing college. In my Parents Countdown to College Crash Course I call it “the money talk”.

Following are a few tips to help broach that uncomfortable topic with your college-bound teen:

The cold, hard facts

The first thing you need to discuss is finances: what you are willing to pay and what you expect them to contribute toward college expenses even if it’s just acquiring scholarships. Discuss the ramifications of student debt and talk openly about which colleges would fit into the family’s financial picture. Paint the picture clearly and explain to them this is a large investment and needs to be treated as such: you expect them to do their part and you expect them to study and to graduate.

The difference between wants and needs

This discussion is just as important as discussing the cost of the college education. When a student understands the difference between the two they can make financial decisions based of this criteria. Is it something they need or simply something they want? Don’t assume they know the difference. Most teens believe everything they want is a need. If they learn this lesson before going to college and living on their own, it will save them overdraft fees, past due notices and much heartache when they are controlled by their debt.

The college choice

Be realistic. If their dream college is out of reach financially think long and hard before you apply. This may be their first time to make a choice between what they want and what is best financially. It is a tough pill to swallow now, but they will thank you when they graduate with minimal or zero debt. The college they choose not only needs to be a perfect fit for them socially and academically; it also needs to be a perfect fit financially.

The budget

This is the perfect time to talk to your college-bound teen about creating and sticking to a budget. You may have tuition, room and board covered but there are always added expenses. Budgeting for those added expenses means there won’t be any surprises when the bills come due. Need a list of what those extras might be? Check out this article I wrote for Smart College Visit about the extras beyond tuition.

If you can’t sit them down for a time (we know how hard it is to even share a meal together), do it in segments. Just make sure you do it before they start applying to college. If you don’t, it’s going to be an uncomfortable discussion when they get accepted to their dream college and it’s not affordable for you and your student

Read Wendy’s Post: Formula and Tools to Calculate College Costs


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

Can Writers Help In Your Own Research


BestWriting your own research takes time and skills to come up with a topnotch research work that will earn you a high mark from your professor. But with the limited time along with the other obligations that you have to do, sometimes it is almost impossible for you to handle things on your own and meet the deadline set by your professors. But now, you can set aside your worries especially since there ways for you to get on with your research with the help of expert writers.

How Can Expert Writers Help?

Availing professional writing services is common nowadays considering the fact that there are really times when you just simply cannot finish your research paper. Instead of stressing yourself out, you can definitely ask for professional help. It is just a matter of finding a reputable and reliable writing service provider known to provide topnotch writing services.

So how do writers can help you in your own research? For one, you do not have to do everything on your own. Suppose that you already have written a portion of your paper then you can just ask for a writer to help you continue the other parts. If ever you really cannot do it, you do not have to worry since you can just submit all of the details. Writers will do the research and collect the relevant information to come up with a comprehensive and well-researched content. From research to proper and complete citations, expert writers know exactly the kind of research work that would meet academic standards.

Competent Writers from Best Essay Tips

At, you are guaranteed of the best writers in the industry. The company only hires the best and the most skilled writers to handle the projects. Whether you are in need of an essay or a well-researched content, writers can handle the job with ease and with confidence as all of them are skilled in various subject areas. Many of the company’s writers even have Master’s or Phd degrees.

Save Time and Money

Why tire and stress yourself out as to how you can submit your research work on time and get the highest grade possible? gives you the option to save time and money. At least, you never have to worry about your research work. You can just submit the details of the project along with the other requirements and materials that you have already acquired. The writer assigned to your research work will then create the content based on the writing parameters and based on your standards. This saves you time and allows you to focus on other things. When you just have too many things and obligations to fulfill, relying on professional writers can make things go smoothly for you.

Professionally Written and Meets Academic Standards

In writing a research work, you do not just conduct research and come up with your own points and arguments. It is also essential for you to have strong writing skills. Unfortunately, many struggle in this area especially if you are not into writing. But thanks to expert writers, you can have a research work that is completely original and professionally written. The research project is well-crafted and that would surely impress your professor. At, every project undergoes thorough research, quality writing and editing before submitting the final draft to the client. Once you receive your research paper, you are guaranteed that there are no grammatical and spelling errors. You can submit your research work as it is. Let the best writers from handle your research work.

Wednesday’s Parent: Enjoying a Break When There is No Break


college prepFor parents of the college bound, there’s no such thing as a break. Even when you take a break from all the college prep, your mind never shuts off. During the four years of high school, every class, every activity, every amount of free time is cultivated to present a stellar application at the beginning of the senior year. It’s the nature of the beast—all hands on deck for the college prep and then when it’s all done, you can relax. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

But after the applications are submitted, we worry about the outcome and agonize over the decisions that will need to be made. It’s a never-ending drama that engulfs our lives if we have a student aspiring to college.

But how do you enjoy a break when there is no break?

Enjoy the ride. You have to grab snippets of time throughout the whole process. Whether it’s the car ride to visit colleges, or a 30 minute conversation in their room while they are getting dressed for a date, you have to steal those moments.

Make it a point to not allocate every waking moment to college prep. It should be an exciting time. Don’t ruin it for you and for your student by becoming a nag or a dictator. This only adds to the pressure they feel and escalates your level of frustration and stress.

Let the holidays be the holidays

If you have a senior, the holidays bring increased college prep activity—with college applications either looming or decisions waiting to be received. Set aside some time for fun when neither you nor your student discusses college prep. Even if you go to a movie or a hockey game, it takes your mind off the elephant in the room and helps you relax, even if for a short time.

The good news—this too shall pass. There will come a day when you move from college prep to college drama. If you don’t believe it, just ask any parent of a college student. College prep activities are replaced with roommate issues, annoying professors, and homesickness. Enjoy the four years while you can—they pass so quickly.

Read Wendy’s Post: 6 Ways to Prevent College Bound Burnout


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.

Test Precision: An App for Standardized Test Prep


test precisionTest Precision is a new app for students preparing to take the ACT or the SAT. It helps students prepare for the test where they are: on their smartphones. As we all know, teens are quite addicted to their smartphones and making Test Precision a part of that existing routine and habit just makes perfect sense.

More than ever today’s high school student has increasingly less free time to study for the ACT and SAT in between class work and extracurricular activities.  Being able to access Test Precision on the way to school or in between activities is a major advantage versus physically scheduling and attending a test prep weekend class or hiring a one-on-one tutor. Test Precision also lessens the anxiety associated with cramming for the SAT or ACT by providing an ‘access anytime’ app so the student can chip away at their preparation over time.  This is in stark contrast to attending high intensity classes or lugging around a static, one-size-fits-all book and trying to pour through too much content all at once.

I asked Mohak Rastogione, a student who has tested the app, to tell me about his experience with Test Precision:

Q. Why did you decide to get help preparing for standardized tests?

I decided to get help for standardized testing because I honestly didn’t know what to expect on the SAT/ACT. I figured by having help in preparing I’d be a little more prepared come testing time.

Q. Why did you choose an app to help with test prep?

I was offered the opportunity to help test the app, so I didn’t necessarily look for Test Precision specifically. I ended up taking the offer for two reasons. 1) I wanted to see how preparing for big tests like the ACT/SAT could be done on the go (on my phone), and how effective it would actually be. The second reason was because I was getting ready to take the ACT and I hadn’t had any prior experience with the ACT besides self studying, so I figured this would be a good time to get some practice in while helping test the app.

Q. How has Test Precision helped prepare you for the test?

Test Precision helped guide me to which test I should take. The diagnostic test determined that I was a better fit for the ACT and my chances of a higher score would be found with the ACT.

Q. How long have you used the app and have you taken a test since you started using it?

I tested the app for around 4-6 weeks and I did take the ACT twice since testing the application out.

Q. What is your favorite part of using the app?

My favorite part of using the application was the ability to take practice tests/questions where ever I would go. Instead of lugging around heavy test prep books, my phone was/is always on me so studying/practicing for the ACT was much easier and flexible

Test Precision is available for free download in both Google Play and on iTunes. Individual SAT and ACT tests are available for a one time subscription fee of $39.99 per SAT or ACT package.

Ready to download

Google Play: 

iTunes Store:

The Benefits of an Online Degree


online degreeStarting or continuing your education can be a benefit to your career and earning potential. However, for many people, there is the question of whether or not the degree is worth the time and money. While the rewards of a degree speak for themselves, many people do not have the time to seek a first or second degree while also holding a full time job.

That is where online degrees come in. An online degree offers you a number of benefits that a traditional degree does not. Lets review how an online degree can help move you towards your goals while taking up a minimum of time.

A Long Distance Education

One of the reasons why people do not pursue a second degree is because there is no university near by. Where as an hour a week for nightly classes is not that bad, the hour or more commute each way usually stops people from pursuing a degree. Thankfully, the availability of online degrees, such as through a National University online education, solve this problem by allowing you to attend classes via your own computer. Now, all you need to get credit is a stable Internet connection and a computer.

A Second Degree at Half the Price

As discussed previously, the time commitment is what stops a lot of people from pursuing a second degree. In addition to time however, is the cost. Taking courses in a traditional university setting can cost hundreds of dollars per course. Online courses however are usually much cheaper and are targeted towards adults who are looking to continue their education. As a result, online courses can be half the price of traditional college courses, making them an excellent alternative for those who are looking to save money.

Meeting Pre-requisites for Work and Advancements

Job descriptions often have a preferred level of education and degrees. By getting your degree online, you can quickly work to match these requirements, making yourself out to be a better candidate then you were previously. Online courses are also a great way to show initiative and move up in a company. By taking your own time to study and move towards a degree, you can better prepare yourself for the dream job you want. If you already have a job, then see if the company is willing to cover the time and cost for the classes. More often then not, a company will help you get a degree, as it improves your performance and skill in the workplace.