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Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I was recently surprised to learn about Superscoring on ACT and SAT tests.
My daughter took the ACT twice hoping to raise her scores.
Although she got higher scores in a couple subjects, it was not enough to bump up the average, so her overall score stayed the same. This 1 point difference could really impact some of the scholarships she might be eligible for.
What I did not realize was that some schools will take both test scores, and take the higher scores from each subject area and average those out.
I checked out the schools my daughter was thinking of applying to, and the 3 private schools did Superscore! When I recalculated the scores, my daughter would now get that critical 1 point higher.
Well, needles to say we are very happy. I learned something I did not know (just proving my point that there is so much to know about all this college stuff!).
I would recommend taking a test twice if you think your child can improve even in one subject.
For SAT info:
For ACT info:

Good luck!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Textbook Time!

Textbooks can be a huge expense every semester. I know this year my son's books would have been over $600 in his college bookstore (bought new).
I probably spent 10 hours looking around for the best deals on textbooks. Sometimes you can find used books, but other times you just have to shop around.
I found cheap textbooks @
This website checks multiple suppliers and will show you all the prices available for a textbook you need.
This tool is exceptional and such a timesaver!
Seeing all your choices on one page is so helpful and makes it so much easier to find the best deal for your student.
It is definitely worth your time to Visit .

Brought to you by our friends at

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Financial Aid and Costs

College can be so expensive! Tuiton and Room/Board are obvious costs, but there are tech fees, books and miscellaneous expenses as well. I don't think anyone would dispute the absolute value of a college education, but the average student needs help to pay for school.

Financial aid is a must in this day and age. Most students will have to look at student loans to help finance their education. Some loans are offered automatically when a student works with the Financial Aid office, while others have to be sought out.

Always be on the lookout for information about financial aid and student loans.
Good luck!

brought to you by our friends at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dorm in a Box

I will soon be posting a checklist of items to take to college. There are quite a few companies that will sell you a "Dorm in a Box". The college will usually send you flyers in the mail, and at orientations there is usually a table or booth with representatives from these companies.
Most dorms use an XL twin bed, so you have to get new sheets. Some of the package deals can be pretty good for sheets, comforters, etc.
Some of the packages are more expensive, but can be worth it. I found that I did not need all of the items these packages included. I did buy a sheet set from the company that the college recommended, and I bought a shower caddy set.
Just take a good look at what you are being offered. Do you need all of the items in the package? Could you buy the items cheaper yourself? Take into account all the running around you may have to do to make these purchases. Then decide!

Monday, June 11, 2012

ACT vs. SAT test

Well, test season is just over, but this is my two cents on college admissions tests. Your student would normally take these tests in their Junior year of high school. My daughter just took both this month. I do recommend having your child take both, because you don't always know which test they will do better on. Most colleges will accept either test score.
If your child knows the college they want to go to for sure, then check to see their requirements. I also recommend (for most kids), to take the June tests, as there is material that schools cover during the Jr. year and if you take a test in Feb/Mar. they may not even know all the material.
If your child does not do as well as they'd like, there is still time to retake one of the tests in the Fall.
There are great tips and practice test on the websites as well:     and

Thursday, May 24, 2012

11th grade action plan

Junior year is so critical. This is the year that grade transcripts and volunteer or job info. will go with your college applications. We have had some drama with my daughter's grades being incorrect due to an illness, but it is finally getting straightened out!
I wanted to share some good information from Big Future (formerly
Check out this action plan for High School Juniors and parents:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Great High School Graduation Gifts REpost for 2013

There are so many graduations coming up, and we are always trying to think of useful, but wanted, gift ideas. Later this month I am going to publish a 'what to take to college" list, but here are some grad gifts that they can also use when they move to college:
Shower Tote filled with body wash (girls and guys!), lotions, shaving items, shampoo and conditioner.
Towel set with washclothes
Laundry Tote with laundry supplies (I LOVE the Purex 3 in 1 sheets for a college student)
Rolls of quarters (if needed)
NetFlix membership
Portable speakers
Noise-canceling Headphones (students LOVE these)
Underbed storage
Locked box or lockable filing cabinet (especially when sharing a room)
Small set of washable dishes
small wastebasket and garbage bags
Fan (the majority of dorms are NOT air conditioned)
small microwave
small fridge (be careful here, as many colleges only allow a certain size)
Tide to go, sewing kit
Money and gift cards are always appreciated, of course. If you know where the student is going to school, check to see what restaurants are in the town, as all kids get tired of the school food options after awhile.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don't Miss Deadlines!

Deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines! I just had to remind my son to reapply to one outside scholarship he got last year. It is $1500, and while that does not sound like a lot, it has made a world of difference.
I have a spreadsheet created with all kinds of scholarships and deadlines, but I think I will have to add a tab with deadline dates for renewable scholarships.
The other deadlines to watch out for are application dates and acceptance dates. May 1st is the traditional 'decision day'. If your student has not decided you can usually let a college know that you might miss that date. You may also be waiting for all the financial aid and scholarship information. I know for my son, he decided on April 30th! Nothing like the last minute. For him it was down to 2 schools, based on the best financial deal.
My daughter will be a High School senior next year, so the Fall starts with all the applications. For her, there is an additional component to applications,since she will also have to have an audition for music.
Whether you use a spreadsheet, or some other organizational tool, the best thing I can tell you is to be organized! There are so many moving parts to this process, and you don't want to forget to do something!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Private vs. Public

Many people are surprised when I tell them my son goes to a Private University. My family is certainly not wealthy, but most of you would be surprised at how often a Private school is a better deal than the Public option. Private schools tend to have more scholarships and grants available to help students afford the tuition. The Private college or university will usually be able to work with your family more closely, and look at many alternatives in order to manage the costs. The other nice thing about a Private school is that the tuition is the same whether or not you live in state. For a student that really wants to experience a different state, this can be helpful.
Now, don't get me wrong, the Public University can still be a good deal. The costs are generally lower, so if you are planning to pay most/all of your student's tuition, then definitely take a look.
The best advice I can give is to not count a school out due to the perception of it being expensive. Let your student look at both types of colleges. After your student applies, and then receives the Financial Aid Award, is the the time to compare costs. The bottom line is your out of pocket costs, after loans, grants, scholarships,etc.
You may be surprised at what you see!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Scholarship for H.S. Seniors or College students..

Adventures in Education gives away a $500 scholarship each month (in a drawing)..
Here are the eligibility requirements: •You may enter the monthly drawing for the Milton G. Wright Scholarship if you: ◦Are eligible to receive federal student aid (Title IV) funding; ◦Are, at the time of entry, at least 13 years old; ◦Are a high school senior or graduate, or GED recipient; ◦Plan to enroll or are already enrolled at least half time in an undergraduate degree- or certificate-seeking program, or a non-degree program for teacher certification at an approved 4-year college; ◦Are not a TG employee or a dependent of a TG employee.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I wish we had known this before visiting

Ok, so over Spring Break I took my daughter to see a couple of colleges. We had researched the college online and they seemed to meet the criteria she is looking for. The campus was great and the Admissions Counselor was really helpful. The program seemed really strong, as well. Since my daughter is looking at Music Education, we wanted to meet with faculty in the music department. We met the head of the department and imagine our surprise when we found out the school does not have their own orchestra! Since strings will be her primary field, that kind of made everything else a moot point. There just would not be enough opportunity for her at this particular school. This is what I meant when I said there is always something new to learn about this process. In the future, I will call the school and make sure they actually have an Orchestra before taking my time to visit. Oh well, now we know!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

College Fairs

College Fairs are really a great way to get information about many colleges all in one place. We have one in the Fall, and I think over 200 colleges show up. You can collect information, ask questions, and usually meet admissions representatives. We went with my son the Fall of his Senior year in High School. He did have a list of colleges he wanted to get info. from. One school he was looking at for a writing program had only published authors as professors. The interesting thing was that while we were waiting in in to talk with someone from the school, we overheard the admissions rep tell another student that after 2 years at the college, then each student could 'apply' to the writing program. We just could not see going to college for 2 years, then having the possibility of never getting into the major program you wanted. Needless to say my son crossed this school off his list, and we did not have to take time to even visit that particular school. If there is a college fair in your area, definitely go when your teen is a junior or senior and take advantage of the day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Make sure your High Schooler is on track!

If you have a High School Sophomore or Junior, make sure they are taking the classes they need if they are going to college. I know someone who is a senior and they may have some problems with admissions because they did not take enough of a foreign language. Most colleges require a minimum of 2 years. My daughter is not taking Math as a senior because she is going into Music Ed. Most colleges want at least 3 yrs or Math, including Algebra 2, but some want 4 years, so just be aware of requirements in your state, and be careful!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tips from Scholarship points

Some good tips on applying for scholarships:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

One Visit Down

Usually February in Ohio means really terrible weather, so I had never done the President's Day college visit.
This year we had spring-like weather, so I decided to go to a college within 1 hour of home with  my daughter. Tip # 1 for visits: Layer clothes and wear COMFY shoes! I usually wear tennis shoes, but I thought since it was still cooler outside, I would wear boots. Mistake! Wow, my feet hurt. Most group visit days include a campus tour, and even on a smaller campus, it is stll about an hour of walking. This campus had lots of steps and stairs, and hills. They don't tell you this in the literature or on the website.
Tip#2: seeing the main lunchroom during the lunch hour gives you a realistic view of what the rush is like. This one was poorly laid out, hard to get in and out of, and we barely found a place a to sit and eat. At least the college gave free lunch!
If your student knows what they want to study, definitely try to have them sit in on a class. My daughter got to sit in on an interesting class. The funny thing was they took here in a van to the class, but when we walked later to check out the music building, it was kind of off-campus and hard to get to. One thing my daughter said was that the location might not help her motivation to go and practice her violin! A good point to consider.
Anyway, more visit information and planning to come soon!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring Break!

It is almost Spring Break for most High School students. Vacation? Hah!
NO, Spring Break for Juniors is prime college visit time; really!
We have one lined up so far, but my goal is to at least get to 2 colleges. If your teen does not know what they want to study, then I suggest staying within 1-2 hours of home and maybe pick one public and one private school. It is also a good idea to pick one larger school and a smaller one. There really are different vibes of schools, and your child will get a feel for what size/type of school they like.
The great thing about most Spring Breaks is that many of the colleges are in session and both you and your student can see how the campus really is when students are there and classes are going on.
 Look online for school visit days, or call some of the schools to get something set up. Most campuses have visits on the weekdays, and there are always some Saturday times as well.
I will have some more tips for your visits in the next day or two, but start thinking about it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Wow, My son has a chance to go to College in England for 4 weeks in the summer! Very excited, since it is a scholarship opportunity, with almost everything paid for. Of course,he is scrambling to get an application, essays, and recommendation letters done. I am scrambling to help him get stuff together for a passport. I hope he gets selected. If not , I'm sure he will get other chances to study abroad, so the passport will get used sooner or later!
Now, during this same time I am helping my daughter line up college visits. Another year of my PTO from work going towards the kids' stuff; some things don't change, even as they get older I guess!

Friday, February 17, 2012

FAFSA part 2

Ok, so if your child gets any financial aid, then the Fafsa must be filed every year. This time I got flagged for verification! Really? Oh well, so now  I have to request a transcript from the IRS and fill out some dependent verification form for the college. If not, my son won't get his aid for next year. Boy, they get you coming and going! Oh well, I'll let you know how it all turns out!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FAFSA time!

Whether it is your child's first year of college next year, or you are in the midst of it, January/February means Fafsa time! Even if you think you may earn too much for your child to get any aid, think again! It is worth the effort to apply. If your child has gotten aid in previous years, you and your child must fill the online forms out EVERY year!  It takes a little time, but is fairly simple. You mush have your tax info available, but if you don't want to wait until you file your taxes, you can do an estimate. One warning: if your estimate is really off, then you have to ammend the Fafsa. Make sure you are going to the actual site:  .
There are similar sites that try to charge you money; be careful, and good luck!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It is never too early!

My son is a freshman in college, and if I could impart one bit of wisdom, it would be... start early! There are scholarships available to students of all ages, although the biggest bunch is for high school seniors.
It does help if your child knows what they want to study, as well, but more about that in another post.
Welcome to my blog !