About Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer has been a member since April 8th 2011, and has created 718 posts from scratch.

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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 pocsmom.com 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.

BestCollegesOnline.com 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 CompleteCollege.org 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 ScholarshipExperts.com. 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!