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10 Tips to Start Your Scholarship Search

June 14, 2016

In the news, all over social media and everywhere else in between, you’ll see posts or articles about the rising cost of college.  For many people, the trouble isn’t getting into the college of their choice, the issue is being able to afford it.  College can be expensive: Between books, tuition and housing, the average American college student is looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars on their college education.  It is extremely common to hear college graduates speak of the debilitating, anxiety-inducing student loans that they struggle to pay month to month. Crippling student debt is a scary reality for many college hopefuls, but don’t fret!  There are ways to offset the burden of college expenses and arguably the best way is to apply for and hopefully, be awarded scholarships.  Below are a few tips to help you begin your scholarship search.

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Top 10 Considerations in Finding the Right College Fit

May 3, 2016

You’ve probably spent hours poring over various college websites.  You’ve studied all the information available regarding college rankings, faculty-to-student ratios and even probably visited a campus or two.  You think you have an idea of what you want in a college, but ultimately you’re not sure.  Deciding what college to attend is a difficult decision to make and kudos to you for not taking it lightly.  However, instead of feeling stressed out or anxious about the decision you’ll inevitably make, take a deep breath and read on below for a few things to consider when choosing a college that will ultimately be the right fit for your personal and academic goals.  

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Good Intentions, Bad Idea: “Free” Community College

March 9, 2016

During this campaign season, we have seen an extraordinary battle of ideas regarding higher education. One of the more interesting ideas currently being promoted actively by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (and supported by President Obama) is a policy proposal to make community college free for everyone.

On its face, this seems to be a no-brainer – after all, what could possibly be wrong with offering free community college to every American citizen? In theory, it should increase not only the lifetime income potential of students who take advantage of this, but it would also greatly increase the skill set of millions of current and future workers.

Despite these benefits, I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.

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The Top Four Mistakes Students Make on College Essays

April 21, 2015

This is a time of year when parents and students are starting to worry about college applications, especially if you are a junior. There are certain things that you cannot control at this point, such as your GPA and to a certain degree your ACT or SAT scores. But you have absolute control over the college essay.

And this is where a lot of students make some major mistakes.

In my private college consulting practice, about 90% of what I do is essay review. Although every essay is unique, with a combination of unique strong points and distinct challenges, I have noticed four significant problem areas with the vast majority of students I work with. These are all correctable. Let me explain these problem areas.

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One Thing to Know about the Upcoming Summer

April 15, 2015

This is the time of year when many high school juniors look forward to summer “vacation.” Who can blame them? After all, images of going to the beach or lakeshore, socializing with friends, and simply hanging out are very attractive. And frankly, for many highly-stressed high school students, a nice break in the summer is something to rightfully look forward to.

I’m certainly not someone who is anti-fun, but let me strongly recommend to all high school students that using your summer wisely has become an integral part to improving your college application.

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Application Year in Review: Putting the Ivy League in Perspective

April 10, 2015

After concluding my 15th year of working with high school seniors, with many of them getting admission letters into Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale – it’s becoming increasing apparent that top students are obsessed with the Ivy League. For many parents and students, admission into an Ivy League school is a stamp of approval of their hard work in and out of the classroom. In many instances, students and parents see an Ivy League admission letter as a punched ticket to success for future aspirations. I often joke with my students that getting into an Ivy League school today is like unwrapping the golden chocolate bar from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

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Thoughts on the University of Oklahoma and SAE

March 12, 2015

I don’t think I’ve read anything more appalling in recent memory regarding fraternities and sororities than what happened last week at the University of Oklahoma. Members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity chanted racist comments regarding African-Americans. That this happened at a flagship state school and with a terrific university president – David Boren, a former United States senator – makes it all the more shocking and appalling.

I’ve given much thought to what happened on that bus, and about fraternity culture in general, and I think two points need to be made here. First, it’s always a dangerous idea to paint with too broad of a brush. Obviously most fraternities and sororities in the United States do not condone or cultivate this sort of environment. To its credit, the national SAE organization quickly shut down the University of Oklahoma’s chapter even before the University took action. Whether or not this is something that happens at other SAE houses around the country is something that I cannot speak to, but I take the organization at its word that this is an isolated incident.

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Ending Tenure: It’s Time

March 2, 2015

Perhaps the greatest attraction of teaching at a college or university is the possibility of obtaining tenure. What is tenure? For all intents and purposes, tenure means lifetime job security for those few faculty members who publish extensively, and have networked successfully enough, to gain sufficient votes from other tenured faculty and administrators. Notice I did not mention teaching evaluations – they are part of the process, but in practice, they rarely match the importance of a professor’s publishing record.

Professors seeking tenure (note: they all want it) will do virtually anything to obtain tenure, because once it is obtained they become untouchable. It is extraordinarily difficult to fire tenured faculty, and the pressures of publishing and the importance of teaching (especially undergraduates) diminishes considerably.

And that’s really the problem.

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