Tuesday, April 22, 2014

College Admissions, Financial Aid for College and More

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College Admissions and Financial Aid for College
You may have noticed that I've started a monthly Google+ conversation with friend Jen and a national college consultant, Susan Goodkin of the California Learning Strategies Center. No worries if you can't attend live because they're archived on my YouTube* channel.

During our April conversation we discussed 2E Kids (gifted + a social/emotional/educational challenge), changes coming to the SAT, SAT subject tests (something that wasn't even on my radar!) and more.

Give a listen to our conversation (also, if you like it, give us a little YouTube thumbs-up and share with your friends, too). Jump below the video for a link to a few of the resources mentioned during our Hangout On Air.

  • Read up on available SAT accommodations for students with special needs and don't delay in making the College Board aware of your student's needs.
  • When it comes to your student having extracurricular activities that make your student stand out, think "outside the high school box." Activities outside of the school environment may be a better fit for your child and her interests or needs.
  • Check out edX, online courses from leading universities like MIT and Harvard. Your student doesn't need to take these for credit, but it may help to have a real-life mentor provide feedback, help answer questions, or simply keep your student accountable. The courses are free, but have add-on services, like completion certificates, for a fee.
  • Susan is a fan of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, a lengthy book that gives thorough descriptions of colleges and universities.
  •  Ah, and those SAT subject tests. No subject test does not simply refer to the portions of the SAT, these are separate tests (with separate fees, of course), and, no, it's not the same as taking an AP test. If you child's preferred school wants or requires these tests, have your student take them while his brain is fresh from the class if possible.

I've been on Susan's email list for years gleaning little tidbits about college admissions over time. You can sign up here. She also uses the list to announce upcoming webinars or teleseminars, some of fee-based and some are free.

With many friends in the thick of the college admissions process, there are a lot of related articles coming up in my Facebook feed. Not surprisingly, many of them relate to the enormous cost of college these days. Thanks to these pieces I've learned new terms like "admit-deny" and that not every college has the same definition of financial need (and even if they did it might not match my family's definition). Beyond that, I now know that even when a school promises to meet what they perceive as a student's need, "aid" may come in the form of loans. Tens of thousands of dollars in loans.


So when I saw that Susan is offering a free teleseminar on financial aid planning for college, I knew I wanted to attend. Only it's May 3, the day of Chicago's Mini-Maker Faire (featuring, in part, me and what my younger teen refers to as the lamest maker project ever). I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass, though. I had my husband sign up, which is good because he's not involved in my online conversations and has some catching up to do.

Michael Rappa will be the featured speaker. I'm not familiar with him, but Susan keeps good company, so I'm sure it's worth joining in. And it's free, so why not?

We're planning another Google Hangout for May, so if you have a question for Susan, let me know!

*Now with more than 210,000 views!

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