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

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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 pocsmom.com 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!

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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 thefire.org 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.

Deadline

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

Prizes

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:  http://www.thefire.org/student-network/essay-contest/#prompt

Payscale’s 2015 College Salary Report

 

salary reportWith college costs rising, along with student debt, it’s more important than ever for parents and students to look carefully at college ROI (return on investment) when creating the college list. Payscale recognizes the importance of choosing a college major that will be a good return on investment and has released their 2015 College Salary Report.

Following are just a few of the categories covered in the data:

Majors That Pay You Back (Associate and Bachelor’s Degrees)

When somebody tells you they are headed to a college or university, whether it’s for an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, MBA or PhD, the first question out of everybody’s mouth is “Where are you going to school?” In reality though, the choice of major can have a much bigger impact on your future earnings than the school you attend. PayScale ranks the top college majors by salary to help you figure out how much you can earn after graduation.

Most Recommended Majors (by alumni)

What makes graduates recommend their major to students trying to pick a major today? One look at this list of most recommended majors shows us that the majors that people rave about are the ones that allow them to easily find a job in their intended field. It’s not necessarily how much money a person makes, but the likelihood that they can find work doing what they want to do.

Best schools for particular majors (by earning potential)

Choosing a college and deciding to get a degree are big decisions, so do your homework and choose the degree and school that will set you up for the career of your dreams. PayScale’s 2015 College Salary Report ranks undergraduate and 2-year colleges by the highest earning graduates.

Common jobs for particular majors

Choosing a college and deciding to get a degree are big decisions, so do your homework and choose the degree and school that will set you up for the career of your dreams. PayScale’s 2015 College Salary Report ranks undergraduate and 2-year colleges by the highest earning graduates.

College Comparison Tool (compare up to 5 colleges side by side)

Trying to decide which college or university to attend? PayScale has alumni salary data about more than 1,000 schools. Select up to five schools and see how they compare based on earning potential and more.

Most Meaningful Majors

When it comes to choosing a career and picking a college major that will help you achieve your goals, money isn’t everything. Job meaning counts for a lot too. That’s why PayScale asks everybody who takes our survey if they feel like their job makes the world a better place. This list ranks 207 college majors by the percentage of graduates in each major who answer that question with a resounding “yes.”

Here’s an article published in Money Magazine, “Choosing a College Major by Age 16 Pays Off”, proposing that students should think about choosing a major early to avoid spending more for the college education than necessary.

A college choices isn’t all about the money, but it should certainly factor into such a large financial investment. Parents and students should do their homework, just as they would if purchasing any other big ticket item.

Wednesday’s Parent: Turning a Hobby Into a Resume Rave

 

hobbySay what? A hobby can be a plus on your college application? You bet! What do hobbies communicate? Passion. What are college admissions officers looking for? Passion.

Hobbies and Extracurriculars

Hobbies can be a valuable component of the extracurricular record. If your teen already has a hobby, help them find clubs or organizations related to that hobby. Hobbies can also be used as a non-teenager activity. These activities are viewed by admissions counselors as unique and can often differentiate your teen from other applicants. If your teen is interested in writing for instance, blogging might prove beneficial. Many admissions counselors are looking for those unique qualities that set your teen apart from the thousands of applicants in the pool. If your teen raises homing pigeons, for example, a counselor might find this fascinating and vote yes on an application that is sitting in the maybe pile. There are all kinds of hobbies that can lead to college majors and future careers. (i.e. forensic science, gaming, history buff). Whatever hobby your teen has chosen, find a way to incorporate it into the high school resume and utilize it as one of the many components of the extracurriculars.

Hobbies and the College Essay

Experts recommend that students take every available opportunity on an application to fill in details about who they are and how they spend their time. Talk about your Etsy shop, rock band, or videography for example, if they highlight your individuality, personality and passion.

You can use the essay to talk about why you chose this hobby and why this makes you passionate – and then definitely include why the university that you want to go to will help you get to where you want to go in the future.

Explaining your hobbies in your college application can also help officials recognize valuable traits that aren’t revealed in a high school transcript. For example, admissions officials say entrepreneurship in high school shows that you’re a leader who takes action – a characteristic that colleges value.

Paul Hemphill, College Planning Expert, relates a story about one of his students who spent the weekends tending to the graves of Civil War soldiers. He parlayed that into an amazing essay about respect, honor and commitment. As you can imagine, this unusual hobby made the student stand out in the college application process.

Hobbies and Scholarships

And here’s a bonus: turn your hobbies into college cash! Scholarship Experts points out that many hobbies are showcased by organizations that award scholarships to those who pursue that hobby: amateur radio, poetry, art, knitting, and video for example. And don’t forget about the Bass Fishing Scholarship offered by several colleges.

Read Wendy’s Post: Hobbies Can Lead to College Prep

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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 pocsmom.com and vice versa.

A College Prep App Recap

 

college prep appHow would you like to find every app your student will need for college prep all in one location? Well, you’re in luck. On today’s App Tuesday I’m listing all my previous app posts with links to send you directly to the post. Whether you’re looking for essay apps, test prep apps, study apps or apps for organization, you’ve come to the right place–a college prep app recap!

Apps to Help Students Act During Critical Situations

Here are some apps to help students act during critical situations to go along with the conversations you should have with your soon-to-be college students. These apps won’t solve the problem, but they can help save a life.

8 Writing and Research Apps

What high school student doesn’t need to know how to properly annotate a reference source, find a synonym for simple words to spice up their essays, or do some research for term papers? These 8 Writing and Research Apps, should help with these tasks.

Apps for Learning Disabled Students

When you have a learning disabled student there is a whole other level of study, learning and social education. These apps provide parents of the learning disabled some tools to make their job easier and help keep their student on the path toward higher education.

8 History Apps for College-Bound Teens

Whether you need to reference an article of the Constitution, find out what happened today 100 years ago, or look up some famous speeches, here are some apps that have got you covered.

10 Math Apps for Students

Does math homework make you quake in your shoes? It did me. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the widespread availability of apps that today’s high school students have. Here are 10 math apps you can download to help with those ever-present math questions.

10 Budgeting Apps for College-Bound Teens

A good budgeting app can help college students keep track of their finances and help them find areas where they can cut back. Most budgeting apps can cover the basics—this article will provide you with five budgeting apps that stand out from the crowd and explain how they can help keep a college student’s budget in order. Here are 10 budgeting apps for your college-bound teens.

10 Study Apps for Students

Instead of study apps, let’s call these “10 apps to help you get merit-aid scholarships”. Improving your GPA is the best way to qualify for merit aid, and the best way to improve your GPA is to study. Here are 10 study apps that should help your student win merit-aid scholarships:

6 Safety Apps for Students

A pay phone or flagging down a police officer used to be our only defense against dangerous criminals and psychotic shooters like the gunman on the University of Texas campus years ago. But today, students are armed with a valuable weapon: their smartphone with safety apps—giving them instant access to authorities, parents and other students. Here are six safety apps you should arm your students with during high school and college.

8 Vocabulary Apps

Test time is upon us and it’s the perfect time to bone up on vocabulary for the standardized tests. And since your teens are never without their smartphones, here are seven vocabulary apps they will always have available to work on their vocabulary.

7 Essay Apps for College Prep

One of the most dreaded tasks of the college prep process is writing the essay. Students have problems with essay prompts, being creative, and using proper grammar. As luck would have it, however, there are even essay apps to help with this task.

7 College Savings Apps

aving for college is difficult, especially in today’s world. Add the rising college costs to the mix and your family finds it hard to save enough money to pay for college. It can be done, but it requires a commitment and the tools to make it happen. First, there’s the question of “How much do you need to save for college?” It might be shocking for some parents, but knowing what you need can help you plan. These 7 college savings apps that can help you plan for the future.

10 Textbook Apps

Any college kid or soon-to-be college kid needs an arsenal of textbook apps to help them shop for the best bargains, find the free ebooks and textbooks, and sell and trade when the semester ends. These apps should fit the ticket. But don’t wait until the fall of freshman year to download them. There’s no time like the present to create a folder and start adding these 10 textbook apps to your mobile devices.

6 Test Prep Apps

Some of these test prep apps are free, others are free to test, and some are paid apps. Knowing how important test prep is, use them to help prep for standardized tests.

Apps for College Visits

Imagine being able to be guided on a tour with your smartphone. Or being able to plan college visits before you go on them. Or being able to organize all your visits to search and find the schools by uploading photos to serve as a reminder of your visit. These apps for college visits can enhance your campus visits.

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.

7 College Search Apps for Parents and Students

While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, these college search apps should help you and your student start and organize their college search.

Mom-Approved Tips: How to Choose a College

 

Today I’ve opted to post an article written by a young woman who has worked as a financial aid officer and wants to spread the word about financial literacy and money management skills for college-bound teens. She has witnessed parents and students make some unwise decisions about college. She offers some excellent advice on how to choose a college.

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Choosing which college to attend is a family decision.  Rather, it should be a family decision.  Especially if the family (i.e. parents!) will commit to covering the college expenses.

What the Experts Say

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a college.  Some experts suggest  considering the national college rankings.   Others recommend choosing a college by the potential debt it might incur.  The College Board’s Big Future suggests a number of factors to consider when choosing a college, including size and location.  Some experts recommend visiting the college, speaking to students, alumni and faculty. Others recommend getting to know the resources available at the college and speaking to the admissions officers.  There are TONS of things to consider when choosing a college!

Almost all of the advice out there suggest that the decision should be based on information gathered by researching – and there’s not much of an emphasis on getting input from the family.

choose a collegeTaking a Different Approach

During my time as a financial aid counselor I helped many families learn about the college costs – AFTER the student had already enrolled in the college.  At that point, the student is already invested in the school and so is the family.

Also at this point many of the families (both parents and students) had regrets about their decisions and felt that it was too late to change course – it was the middle of the semester after all.  They had regrets about not evaluating their ability and willingness to pay for the college costs BEFORE having made the decision to attend.  Ability to pay is important – but even if a family has the ability to pay, doesn’t necessarily mean they have the willingness to pay.  Are they willing to pay $65,000/year for a private college?  Are they willing to take on the debt?

In many cases, by the time families came to me to explore their options about how to finance the college costs, they learned that they had very few options to make it work:

  • Borrowing Federal Parent PLUS Loans
  • Taking out home equity loans
  • Using credit cards
  • Dipping into their retirement accounts

The families were able to move forward with these decisions, but they had many hesitations about doing so.  Taking out a home equity loan, for example, was a common option that families chose.  But they were very uncomfortable with the decision.  The result?  Families ended up compromising their financial goals.

I recall some families would come up with other creative options like selling their cars or getting a second job.  I especially remember speaking to a father who admitted that he “sold the family gold” (I had no idea this was common practice!) to pay for his son’s education!

These families didn’t realize what they were getting into. Parents wanted to accommodate their student’s decisions, but I could tell that they were uncomfortable with the limited options.

This is why I strongly believe that choosing a college is a family decision. Because, like it or not, this decision affects the entire family – especially if there’s an expensive private college on your student’s radar.  It’s best to stay involved in this part of the process; and to make this decision together and compromise if necessary.

Does this make you feel uncomfortable?

It’s weird, right?  You’re probably thinking that choosing a college should be the student’s choice, not yours.  You don’t want them to feel guilty about wanting to choose an expensive college over a more affordable one that would make your life easier.  And you definitely don’t want to stand in the way of your child’s dream college.  It might even feel like you’re overstepping your boundaries by wanting to be involved in the final decision-making process.

This is normal.  In fact, it’s so normal that we forget that this is even a thing!  It’s called individualism and it places more value on the individual rather than the collective.  Merriam-Webster defines it as, “the belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society or group.”  Individualism is so deeply ingrained in our culture, that we don’t even question it.  Today, I want you to be critical of this deeply ingrained mindset.

Think about the differences between Eastern and Western philosophies.  In Western cultures, we place more value on the self, on our individual talents and accomplishments.  Eastern cultures place more value on collectivism which emphasizes the importance of groups, like the family, community, state, or country.

I believe that there is value in both Eastern and Western perspectives – and it’s important to balance between individualism and collectivism.

Individualism is a philosophy that we live by everyday and we don’t even notice it.  I want you to notice it today.  And when the time comes, I want you to notice it as it relates to choosing which college to attend.

How to Have the Conversation

I’d like to offer just ONE tip for you to work towards making this family decision: Next time you’re discussing college plans, you can say something like, “You can go to any college you want, but there may need to be some compromises.  We’re a team and we’re going to have to work together to make this decision work.”  Bottom line: the best thing to do is be direct, honest, and offer your support.

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Katie's HeadshotAs a financial aid counselor, Katie has witnessed the lack of financial literacy among college students. That’s why she’s a big believer in learning money management skills early in life. Sign up for her newsletter where she shares tips about how to prepare your teen to make smart financial decisions: http://planningwithpoise.com/

Infographic: How College Rankings Work

 

College rankings are important to millions of incoming students a year, yet few actually know how the rankings are compiled. To give viewers a more clear look at what’s involved with compiling college rankings at the top rankings organizations, the editors at College Choice have created this graphic to explain methodologies.

 

How College Rankings Work
Source: CollegeChoice.net

Wednesday’s Parent: Avoiding Student Loans

 

Student loansAs students begin applying to colleges, and juniors begin narrowing down their college choices, consider that there are many options available that allow your student to attend college for free (or almost free), excluding expenses like books, fees, and possibly room and board. But free tuition is nothing to scoff at. Many of these colleges cost upwards of $100,000 for four years.

Student loans are certainly one option, although I would argue that the best gift you can give your student is to graduate with little or no debt.

Here are 10 ways your student might be able to attend college for free:

1. Get good grades and score well on the SAT

Many colleges offer free rides to valedictorians, top 10 percent, and other academic distinctions. High SAT scores help as well—where many colleges offer merit-based free tuition.

Students at Macaulay Honors College, part of the City University of New York system, don’t stress about the high price of tuition. That’s because theirs is free. At Macaulay and a handful of other service academies, work colleges, single-subject schools and conservatories, every student receives a full merit-based tuition scholarship for all four years. Macaulay students also receive a laptop and $7,500 in “opportunities funds” to pursue research, service experiences, study abroad programs and internships.

2. Be a PSAT Merit Finalist

Scoring high enough on the PSAT to become a Scholar, a Finalist or a Semi-Finalist can equal big money at some schools-public and private. That means your student may only need to score high enough to make it to the last round; he or she doesn’t even have to be the last one standing.

This list of colleges was compiled a few years ago and may have some changes; but use it as a guide when you are researching the colleges.

3. Win Scholarships

With work and a tested method (How 2 Win Scholarships) your student can cruise into college with multiple scholarships. Start early with the research, register on scholarship search sites, and look locally.

4. Work while you attend

There are several colleges that let you work while you attend and pay your tuition. In exchange for free tuition, students at the College of the Ozarks work on campus 15 hours a week. Possible jobs at this Missouri college include dairy farming and custodial work.

5. Pursue a specific career path

Colleges offer free tuition to students who pursue specific career paths or areas of interest. For instance, prospective students must audition for enrollment into Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Those accepted receive full-tuition scholarships.

6. Use your location

A number of cities, counties, and states offer free tuition to students who either excel in their studies, or demonstrate a serious need.

7. Go overseas

Believe it or not, there are colleges overseas that offer free tuition to international students. For instance, students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology can get a free technological education at the Royal Institute of Technology. At Lund University in Sweden, you will not have to pay tuition fees.

8. Attend college online

Get free tuition from these online colleges and you’ll truly get a good deal. You won’t even need to pay for room and board! Andrew Jackson University,  Trinity College of Biblical Studies and The DiUlus Institute allow you to attend college online for free.

9. Demonstrate need

Students who come from low income families can get free admission from numerous colleges and universities. Surprisingly, many colleges consider low income to be above the poverty level, so don’t think you won’t qualify. Check out each college’s income levels.

10. Serve your country

With a commitment to serve after graduation and acceptance to one of the nation’s military academies and some military colleges, you can attend college for free (and even get paid while you attend). And if you join the military before college, you can attend using the GI Bill after you are honorably discharged.

Following are some additional resources:

For an extensive list of colleges that offer free tuition, follow the link below:

http://www.advantageedu.com/blog/2008/100-free-college-rides-you-dont-need-daddy-to-pay-for/

To read a recent article about free tuition at Antioch College, follow the link below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/antioch-tuition_n_4339146.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

The College Solution listed colleges that provide 100 percent of need:

http://www.thecollegesolution.com/list-of-colleges-that-meet-100-of-financial-need/

Read Wendy’s Post: Cost-Loan: Fearsome 4-Letter College Words

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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 pocsmom.com and vice versa.

3 Tips to Help Your Child Prepare and Get Accepted to a Great College

 

collegeMost parents are thinking about their child’s collegiate future from the moment they enter high school, if not before. Some students are proactive about choosing a dream college and back-up options, while others need extra guidance from their parents to make those decisions. And regardless of whether your child is applying to one school or ten, the application process and months leading up to it are probably stressful for you as well!

You want to make sure they do their best work throughout their high school years, building up the knowledge and experience that will serve them in college, plus that they’ll put their best foot forward with the application process to increase their chances of being accepted. If this sounds like something you’re experiencing, here are some helpful tips you can follow to help your child prepare and be successful.

1.  Find a volunteering opportunity to share with your child.

The benefits of volunteerism are plentiful. Kids who volunteer learn about an important social cause and that they have the ability to make a positive impact on the world around them, even in a small way. It’s a great bonding experience for parents and children to do together. It also makes a meaningful addition to any resume.

2. Help your child raise low grades.

Tutoring is a great resource for students of all ages. Tutors are trained to help students study and learn specific subject matter plus develop learning strategies that they can employ in the future. Students who partner with a tutor not only have the opportunity to bring up their grades, but to value the importance of working to overcome difficulties. They also learn that they are capable and competent learners, even in subjects that don’t come naturally to them.

3. Encourage your child to pursue a passion.

High school students have a lot to focus on as they prepare for college life. Many juggle schoolwork with part-time jobs, obligations at home, and time with friends. They can improve their quality of life and maybe even open the door for new opportunities in the future by pursuing a hobby with fervor and merging it with their academic interests. For example, if they love skateboarding, help them look for opportunities to take that interest to the next level. Are there any local competitions at which they can volunteer their time or a skate shop where they can work a day or two a week? If they’re an aspiring writer, can they volunteer to write an article for a local publication about the skating community where you live? Your child will appreciate the support you provide and feel empowered to pursue things that are of interest to them.

Most parents will attest to the fact that the best approach to take as you help your child prepare for college is to be their partner in the process. Consider their natural talents and interests, and help them get the support they need to excel in those areas that they find more challenging. By being a strong support system for them, you’ll be able to give them the extra tools and guidance they need to choose and be accepted into an excellent college.

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 dusty foxDusty Fox is a full-time world traveler and freelance writer who contributes to the Ivy Trainers network. Visit the Ivy Trainers website to learn more about the services they offer.