What’s the Price of Higher Education? An Infographic

The Price of Higher EducationSource: H&R Block

I like this infographic a lot but only as a starting point. Note, the colleges noted as the most expensive school are not necessarily so. They are the most expensive in sticker price but a large number of students do not pay the sticker price. That’s where your grades, course load, SAT and ACT scores, financial need, your athletic or musical talents play a huge part in what you will actually pay. Go to the schools and check out their financial aid section to find out how much is actually doled out. Make sure to aim for schools where your GPA, scores, talents will place you in top 25% of admitted students.

#CollegeChat Transcript: How to Evaluate Colleges Financially with Lynn O’Shaughnessy

Last night, Lynn O’Shaughnessy, a bestselling author and higher education journalist, shared  advice from her newly published book The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price (2nd Edition) during #CollegeChat on Twitter.

We had an interesting discussion revolving around how to find the right school at the right price. We covered the following topics:

  • What are the biggest sources of college money.
  • How can you increase your chances of qualifying for merit scholarships.
  • How can you evaluate the generosity of a school before applying.
  • Where to find the best online tools to evaluate colleges.
  • What do families of divorce need to know about financial aid.
  • How to use net price calculators.

You can read the entire 34 page transcript here Collegeblogs Transcript 5-15-12

SAT and ACT Test Expert to Discuss Test Accommodations and Preparation for ADD/ADHD High School Students during #CollegeChat

Jenn Cohen, college test preparation expert and owner of Jenn Cohen Tutoring, will provide tips for ADD/ADHD high school students to maximize their PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores during #CollegeChat April 3, 2012 at 9 p.m. Eastern

Jenn Cohen

Jenn Cohen, a college test preparation expert for the SAT, PSAT and ACT, specializing in ADD/ADHD and special needs students, will discuss how high school students with ADD/ADHD and other learning disabilities, can maximize their college admission testing scores by carefully researching test accommodations and creating and implementing an effective test preparation plan during #CollegeChat on Twitter, April 3, 2012 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Cohen, https://twitter.com/#!/satprepforadhd, the owner and founder of Jenn Cohen Tutoring and president of chief word nerd of Word-Nerd.com, an SAT vocabulary website, will discuss with #CollegeChat participants:

  • What kind of test accommodations is available for high school students with ADD/ADHD or other learning disabilities?
  • How do students research what test accommodations are available? How far in advance should they research?
  • How should students determine which is the best test for them?
  • Why might the ACT be a smarter choice for ADHD students?
  • How far in advance should an ADD/ADHD student plan to prepare for college admission tests?
  • Ideally, when should students take the first test and how many times do you recommend?
  • If a student can’t afford tutoring services, how do you recommend they construct a test preparation plan?
  • Are there websites you recommend for test preparation? Are there apps you recommend?
  • Are there specific SAT and ACT test preparation books for students with ADD/ADHD you recommend?

Jenn Cohen has been in test prep since 1997 and has been a private tutor for the SAT and PSAT, specializing in ADHD/learning disability students. Cohen is also president of Word-Nerd.com, an SAT vocabulary tutorial website which she created with her husband, Gary. Cohen has a blog, The Fat Envelope, which covers all things college admissions.  A Duke University graduate, Cohen currently serves on the alumni admissions interviewing committee as well as the Duke Dallas Women’s Forum steering committee. Cohen’s graduate work in clinical psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center provided her with extensive knowledge of attention deficit and learning disorders.

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .



Key Factors First Generation College Students Need to Focus on for College Success on #CollegeChat October 4

Shonda Goward, a college admissions advisor and founder of First Generation University, will discuss what key factors first generation college students need to focus on for college success during #CollegeChat October 4, 2011 at 9 p.m. EDT.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one third of students entering college today are first generation students. First generation college students are defined as students that are the first members of their immediate family to attend college.  In addition, one fourth of students entering today are both first generation and low income. Unfortunately, many first generation students are living on the edge and maybe within one crisis -whether it be financial, family, scholastic, or health- from dropping out of college.

During #CollegeChat, Goward will address the difficulties facing first generation college students and the steps they can take to be successful including:

  • Why it is critical to investigate programs for first generation students before selecting a college.
  • Why first generation students need more guidance than second generation students.
  • Why it is critical for students to have family support and why this is often difficult.
  • Why it is important to have an educational plan. What should be in their educational plan.
  • How students should properly manage their finances.
  • How students should map out their study time.

The founder of First Generation University, Shonda Goward, is passionate about first generation college students because she was one. Shonda attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an out-of-state student, and graduated with a double major in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Science.  However, being a first generation student definitely presented challenges that were vastly different than those of her peers. Upon completing a Master of Arts degree in English, Shonda began working in higher education as both an Instructor of English, and Admissions Officer, and saw many students excited to be admitted to a university, but wholly unaware of what to do next or how to succeed in the classroom.  First Generation University is a reflection of her personal commitment to giving first generation, and other non-traditional students, agency when it comes to their success

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PDT/ 9 p.m. EDT. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat  can be found at  http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .

How to Decide Which College to Attend on April 19th #CollegeChat


Creative Commons License photo credit: eflon

College and graduate school admissions expert Janson Woodlee will provide tips for college bound students to consider for making their final college selection during #CollegeChat on Twitter Monday, April 4, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST. Woodlee is also one of the founders of Ivy Eyes Editing, a writing and admissions consultancy founded by Yale graduates.

During #CollegeChat, Woodlee  http://twitter.com/#!/ivyeyesediting will discuss with attendees:

  • Do wait lists benefit the students or the admissions offices? What are the chances this will be effective?
  • Can being on a waitlist affect your financial aid chances if admitted?
  • Why is it important to consider graduation rates?
  • How important should college rankings be in your final decision?
  • Should you consider being deferred for a year or two from your top pick or is it time to move on?
  • Is it ethical to give more than one school a deposit? Are you risking any consequences?
  • How much should you be willing to go into debt as an undergraduate?
  • What if you didn’t get into your dream school?  Should you go to a junior college and then reapply?
  • How do you get excited about a college that wasn’t one of your top picks?

Woodlee graduated from Yale University with a BA in music, with heavy emphasis on coursework within the cognitive science discipline. After graduation, he worked with Katzenbach Partners LLC (now part of Booz), an organizational and management consulting firm in New York City. At Katzenbach, he found ways to leverage his skills as an editor within the recruiting function and business development. After working with several premiere online editing and admissions consulting services, he launched Ivy Eyes Editing a company that prides itself on true client collaboration, authentic writing couched in admissions expertise, and intellectual challenge.

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PST/ 9 p.m. EST. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat  can be found at  http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .

Nationally Recognized Financial Aid Expert to Discuss Evaluating College Financial Aid Offers

Bestselling financial aid and college planning expert and author Mark Kantrowitz, will provides tips on deciphering financial aid awards during #CollegeChat on Twitter Monday, April 4, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST. Kantrowitz is the publisher of FinAid.org and FastWeb.com and author of the new e-book “Secrets to Winning a Scholarship”.

During #CollegeChat, Kantrowitz (http://twitter.com/mkant ) will provide tips for parents and students to understand their financial aid award letters and not misinterpret what is actually being offered. Kantrowitz testified on March 17, 2011 during a hearing for the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA) regarding his proposal for standardization of financial aid award letters and net price calculators. Kantrowitz stated in his proposal, “Certain standards for financial aid award letters must be mandatory, as the current voluntary best practices have not adequately addresses the needs of students and their families. Cost information in current financial aid award letters is often incomplete or absent.”

Addressing this issue further, FastWeb.com has just issued a “Quick Reference Guide to Evaluating Financial Aid Letters”.

Kantrowitz will discuss with #CollegeChat participants:

  • Why some colleges try to purposefully complicate their financial aid offers
  • How to analyze competing aid letters from different colleges
  • Why you should ignore work-study awards when calculating your financial aid package
  • How to arrive at the net cost to attend each school you are evaluating
  • How to tell the difference between loans and gift aid and why this matters
  • How to find out if the college front loads their scholarships and grants
  • How  private scholarships might affect financial aid awards
  • Why it is important to understand what the projected cumulative debt will be at graduation

Before founding FinAid.org, the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools — on or off the web, and FastWeb.com, the largest and most popular free scholarship matching service, Kantrowitz was a Research Scientist at Just Research, the US software laboratory for Justsystem Corporation of Japan. Kantrowitz has earned the praise of numerous college administrators, journalists and students and families for his dedicated work on the FinAid site; also, not surprisingly, he managed to fund his own schooling without spending a single cent of his parents’ money. As a nationally-recognized financial aid expert, Kantrowitz has been called to testify before Congress about student aid on several occasions. He is on the editorial board of the Council on Law in Higher Education and the editorial advisory board of Bottom Line/Personal (a Boardroom, Inc. publication) and writes a weekly column for MainStreet.com in addition to the weekly Ask Kantro column for Fastweb. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Center for Excellence in Education and a member of the board of directors of the National Scholarship Providers Association.

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PST/ 9 p.m. EST. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #Collegechat  can be found at  http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .

What is #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. PST/ 9 p.m. EST. The chats are intended to help students navigate the college admission process; succeed in college life including course work, majors and internships; provide information and insight on graduate school; and provide expert advice on securing careers after graduation.

The first #CollegeChat was held on June 1, 2010 with Amazon bestselling author and higher-education journalist Lynn O’Shaughnessy regarding her book Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Price of a Bachelor’s Degree. Subsequent chats have included authors, college to career experts, athletic director, graduate school admissions counselor, and admissions counselors. A full listing and description of #CollegeChat editions can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/tag/collegechat.

If you have a guest or topic suggestion or any other questions please contact Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat on Twitter @CollegeChat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page, or by email. You cal also leave your suggestion in the comment setion below.

More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and participating in #CollegeChat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .

8 Things You Must Know to Maximize Your SAT and ACT Scores

Campanile in HDR

Creative Commons License photo credit: John-Morgan

While many colleges across the country are now becoming test-optional for entrance, nearly 1.6 million high school students took the SAT and the ACT in 2010. According to Akil Bello, a college and graduate test preparation expert and owner of Bell Curves, LLC , (http://www.bellcurves.com/),   with proper planning and practice students can greatly maximize their SAT and ACT scores.  Bello recommends students:

Plan ahead. Take your first SAT or ACT test no later than May of your junior year in high school. “I recommend that juniors take their first official test in either March or April. I like March for the SAT and April for the ACT because they are far from the AP tests and other year end pressures,” said Bello. “College counselors and parents need to work together to make sure juniors don’t finish the year without taking a test. Without a baseline score it is going to be difficult to create a target college list.”

Don’t guess. Take both the SAT and ACT practice tests late in sophomore year to help determine which test to focus on. Students can get official practice tests from the testing companies themselves. SAT practices tests are available at http://ow.ly/3GbCa and ACT practice tests are available at http://ow.ly/3GbDp . In order to figure out which test a student did better at compare both scores at http://professionals.collegeboard.com/data-reports-research/sat/sat-act.

Also, make sure to take the practice test in as realistic a setting as possible – without distractions and any multi- tasking. Start at the beginning of the practice test and work your way through without any interruptions. Compare your baseline practice results against the ACT or SAT results for incoming freshman at the colleges you are interested in attending.

Don’t take either test more than 3 times. Bello recommends that students make sure they carefully study and prepare for the test but take them no more than three times. The CollegeBoard reports that most students take the SAT twice. Bello reported in 2010 40% of students who took the SAT took it twice and 41% took it three times.

Make a study preparation plan and stick to it. According to Bello, the amount of time needed to prepare effectively depends heavily on each student. “The further a student is from their goal the more time that is needed. Test preparation is not magic. The SAT and the ACT require baseline knowledge that covers 3 to 5 years.”

Ideally, Bello recommends that high school juniors, who are planning on taking the March or April test, make a preparation plan in December and start studying for the test in January. Instead of studying for a targeted number of hours each week, Bello said students should construct their study preparation plan by setting weekly goals.

“The preparation plan is based on how you prepare. If you choose a course or work with a tutor the schedule is done for you. If not, and you are studying alone, you need to learn the topic and or question type on Monday. On Wednesday you need to practice what you have learned and on Saturday you need to take a timed section. And then repeat the following week.”

Get outside help if possible. “If you can’t afford a tutor, look into free or cheap options in your area for test preparation or look into applying for a discounted program at one of the big test preparation companies. If money is still an issue, invest in good SAT or ACT preparation books and make sure to take the tests,” said Bello.  “Also check out school teachers, churches and other community based organizations that might offer classes or tutoring.”

Check out online resources and applications. There are a multitude of online test preparation programs –both paid and free- but Bello warns students and parents to be cautious, “before using a free online site, you should look at real SAT and ACT questions and compare them to the site. If you can tell a difference, don’t use the site.”

Bello likes the idea of the SAT applications and other mobile and computer based aids that are now available but “remember the test is still paper based.” Bello recommends the following web sites for test preparation:

http://freerice.com/

http://flashcards.dictionary.com/

Don’t forget book resources. The two test preparation books Bello recommends are the “Real ACT Prep Guide” and “The Official SAT Study Guide”.

Stay Calm. One of the best things students can do for themselves is to learn their optimal pacing. You don’t need to answer all your questions to get a great score. And finally, try to stay calm. For almost all colleges, the score you received on either the SAT or ACT is just one piece of the information they assess when looking at you as a future freshman.

Coach for ADD and ADHD to Discuss How Teens with Attention Related Challenges Can Prepare Successfully for College on #CollegeChat

Laura Rolands, founder of LSR Coaching and Consulting and also the web site MyAttentionCoach.com, will provide teens, parents, and educators dealing with students with attention related challenges including ADD and ADHD, with strategies they can deploy to help ensure success with college admissions on #CollegeChat on Twitter on October 19, 2010 at 6 pm Pacific/ 9 pm Eastern, Theresa Smith, principal of Pathway Communications (http://pathwaypr.com)  and moderator of #CollegeChat announced today.

During #CollegeChat, Rolands, ( http://twitter.com/CoachforADHD)  will discuss what high school students with attention related challenges should do to prepare for college admissions and academic success including:

  • Learn how to self-advocate
  • Learn the organization and time management tools that work
  • Research colleges that offer suitable accommodations for learning challenges
  • Make sure to have diagnostic testing results updated throughout high school
  • Find out how to request special accommodations for taking standardized tests including the SAT and ACT
  • Disclose attention related challenges to prospective colleges
  • Increase independence for high school students is critical for college success
  • Connect with prospective colleges disability services offices

Laura Rolands is the founder of LSR Coaching and Consulting, LLC. She is a coach whose passion is to support, lead and inspire independence and success for people who have either been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or who are facing other attention-related challenges. Her clients include individuals with attention challenges such as time management, organization, focus and/or ADHD/ADDs.  Laura has been featured on Making a Living with Maggie Mistal on Sirius/XM radio and recognized as an ADHD expert by OrganizedWisdom.com.

New to Twitter?

In order to participate in the chat, attendees will need to have a Twitter account.  To sign up for a Twitter account, go to http:// twitter.com. The easiest way to follow the chat is to use TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com). Simply log in to TweetChat with your Twitter information (email or username followed by password) and then enter in CollegeChat without the “#” and you will be placed into the chat room with only those participating in #CollegeChat. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and using TweetChat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. #CollegeChat takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 pm Pacific/ 9 pm Eastern. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .

Parents Countdown to College Coach to Detail What High School Juniors and Sophomores Need to Do Now for College Admission Success

Suzanne Shaffer, founder of Parents Countdown to College Coach, (http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/) a web site dedicated to helping parents navigate the college maze by providing the right tools for organization and success, will provide parents and teens with a list of strategies they need to deploy to help ensure success with college admissions on #CollegeChat on Twitter on September 21, 2010 at 6 pm Pacific/ 9 pm Eastern, Theresa Smith, principal of Pathway Communications (http://pathwaypr.com)  and moderator of #CollegeChat announced today.

According to Shaffer, author of “Parents Countdown to College Toolkit”, by planning early college bound teens can get a leg up on the college process. During the upcoming live #TwitterChat, Shaffer ( http://twitter.com/SuzanneShaffer)  will address and help prioritize high school junior and sophomore’s action items including:

  • Tips for how teens can stay organized with college information
  • How to ensure teens are taking the right college preparatory classes
  • When should students start building a resume and why is it important
  • When should students first take the SAT or ACT
  • What tests should sophomores take
  • How long should students study for test
  • Should students take AP courses
  • When should students start visiting colleges
  • How early should students be looking into scholarships; what resources are available

For over ten years Shaffer has been coaching parents on the college journey and how to find the funds to finance that education. She has counseled parents in admissions, scholarships, financial aid, and the importance of early college preparation. Having been successful in guiding her children and many others to fulfill their dreams of college educations, she is committed to equipping other parents with the right tools necessary for them to become their own “parent coach”. With these tools they will be confident and prepared to guide their college-bound teen in the pursuit of their college dreams. Shaffer is the founder of the highly regarded site Parents Countdown to College Coach.

New to Twitter?

In order to participate in the chat, attendees will need to have a Twitter account.  To sign up for a Twitter account, go to http:// twitter.com. The easiest way to follow the chat is to use TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com). Simply log in to TweetChat with your Twitter information (email or username followed by password) and then enter in CollegeChat without the “#” and you will be placed into the chat room with only those participating in #CollegeChat. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and using TweetChat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .

About #CollegeChat

#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .