College Planning Specialists

March 26, 2008

The Decision Crisis Student Face: Follow Your Interests and Passions

The credit crisis has now impacted the availability of student loans as more lenders drop out of the business. According to Net Worth’s Kathleen Pender “More than two dozen non bank lenders have stopped making college loans and last week, three large banks followed suit.” The fact that college tuition is spiraling upward with no end in sight, adds to the ever growing importance of a student’s career path decision making process.

What about the decision crisis that faces every student? Your decision making process for identifying the right career path is more important than ever. Unfortunately this process often begins in the middle rather than the beginning. Simply put many students and parents look at job markets, financial compensation, and job availability as the deciding factors on a career (major) path.

The First Step in the Decision Making Process

Before you consult the traditional counselors, career and interest surveys, and company representatives recruiting on campus consider the following:

1. Awareness: you will graduate to the workforce via corporate America or as an entrepreneur with a work life history that averages 40+ years

2. Interest: The career path you pursue should be one that holds your interest. It is imperative that students identify their all their interests. Make a detailed list of the things, activities, and rituals you enjoy. This is should help to heighten your awareness about what direction to take

3. Passion: After identifying your interests which are your passions? Which activity, subject, or ritual do you just love? Make a list of these “special” interests and consider them your detailed list moving forward

Discovering the correct career path (major) should start with the awareness that you will be spending the majority of your waking hours working. With this awareness you can then understand how important it is to find a career that you have interest and passion for in abundance.

By making this detailed list, students can take the first correct step to identifying the career that is right for them, the passion that will last a lifetime, and they can create a happier life from the beginning of their work life.

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October 6, 2007

Most Important Resource for Aspiring College Students Wishing to Investigate College Lecture Work!

Jimmy Ruska “Speed Math” braincrusher

In what has to be one of the slickest and most economical methods of investigating and reviewing classes at a top notch university, before entering said university, jimmyr.com published a directory of all 177 video courses offered by the University of California at Berkeley. Jimmy Ruska is the author of this list which includes the following subject matter: Computer Science, Health, Biology, Engineering, Math, Chemistry, and various other subjects like Astronomy.

Each course is presented by it’s name with a link. For instance:

Computer Science Video Courses: Teacher

1. CS 162 Operating Systems and System Programming F. 07 John Kubiatowicz

When you click on CS 162 you are presented with a synopsis of the course with the date- Fall of 2007 and a description of the course work and goals. Below this introduction is a list of every class lecture, class date, and the lecture description on video for anyone to view.

In addition the aspiring student has the option of utilizing a podcast or downloading a MP3 as well as the video format.

This is one of the richest sites of information on actual university classes that can be found on the internet. In addition, Jimmy has a video tutorial guide on youtube at youtube.jimmyr.com.

If you are an aspiring student entering a top flight university, if you took AP courses but are still curious, and if you wish to see what you will be facing in the very near future, then check out jimmr.com. He is the real deal!

August 14, 2007

10 Alternative Methods To Cut College Costs

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The incredible costs of a college education has every parent and student concerned for their future plans. The following is a list of 10 methods to cut college costs. The list is provided by www.bankrate.com and it could provide help to those people looking for any room to breathe.

1. Get College Credit in High School: Students can take AP college credited classes, with the help of a knowledgeable counselor, which will help to cut down on the number of courses need to graduate from college. Most AP courses are paid for by the high schools so as not to deter students from enrolling.

2. Junior Colleges: If you can convince your student, spending the first year or two in college at a JC is a huge cost savings. In many cases, students have yet to declare a major. In these cases, general education requirements can be fulfilled at a JC. The cost savings in tuition, books, supplies, housing, food, and travel may give a student and parent a head start on costs for graduate tuitions.

3. Cash in on Tax Credits: “What students need to know is that there’s the Hope and the Lifetime Learning tax credits,” says Joseph M. Re, author of “Financial Aid Financer: Expert Answers to College Financing Questions.”

“If you play those right, you can pick up $7,000 from Uncle Sam (over a four-year period) to pay for college. The Hope credit provides a $1,500 tax credit for each student for the first two years of college, as long as you are the one paying for college — rather than the federal government or private financial aid. (Parents who claim the student as a dependent on their tax return would be eligible for the credit.) The key to taking advantage of this credit, Re says, is to plan ahead and be aware of the stipulations.”

4. Rewards for Public Service: Some organizations like Americorps, the Peace Corps and Teach for America all offer educational service awards to students seeking cash for college.

5. Work for the College: According to Susan Hall her job with the University of Richmond (VA) comes with the “school’s tuition remission program which allows her, her spouse, and any of her dependents to attend the university for free, provided that they have the grades and test scores to make it into the school.” The benefits are obvious.

6. Pay Lower Out of State Tuition: Due to the complexity of this strategy, I am quoting www.bankrate.com :

“Get an out-of-state education, pay an in-state price. That’s the beauty of the Academic Common Market. Designed for students who can’t find their desired program of study in-state, the Academic Common Market allows students from any of the 16 member states to enroll in an institution in another member state without footing an out-of-state tuition bill. Reciprocity agreements such as the Academic Common Market, the National Student Exchange, and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (which allows students to attend out-of-state public schools in member states at 150 percent the cost of in-state public school tuition or offers a ten percent discount at out-of-state private schools in member states) are some of the best-kept secrets of the financial aid world. If you’ve got your eye on an esoteric program of study (18th century French architecture?) or are set on a certain out-of-state school, taking advantage of a reciprocity agreement can save you money.”

7. Refinance Your Home: The home is normally the greatest asset a parent can count on for quick cash. A cash out refinance can provide the majority of funds needed to get a student through to their degree.

8. Qualify Student as “Independent”: “If you qualify as an independent and your income is very low, you probably would be eligible for a Pell grant which would be for $4,100 and you would probably be eligible for an FSEOG grant which would be another $4,000,” says Joseph Re. An independent student therefore would have a much easier time qualifying for grant monies than a family with an income in excess of $50,000 per year.

* Consult your tax accountant or attorney on all of the strategies outlined here but especially this one.

9. Attend a “Work College” : Work Colleges allow a student to work a part time job at the university between 10-20 hours per week. The becomes an employee of the college and as such earn a sizable reduction in tuition costs. Check out the Work College Consortium.

10. Establish Residency in the State of your College choice: “If you really want to pay in-state prices, the best way to do that is simply to live in-state before you enroll in school. To establish residency, independent students or families (when students are dependent) must show proof of living in state for at least one year prior to enrolling in school. Remember to throughly check and investigate the requirements of each state/college in regards to residency. Check out The College Board’s Web site.

 

July 21, 2007

A P Coursework Controversy: “Facts and Data vs Critical Thinking Skills”

Filed under: AP Courses,Colleges,High Schools,Preparing for College — deansguide @ 7:20 pm

In the article “A.P. Classes: Are These Courses as Important as Your Guidance Counselor Claims?”, I outlined some of the unforeseen detrimental effects upon a student’s ability to gain entrance into a top flight university. As a result of this report, I was challenged by some authorities for playing the “grades game” and not emphasizing the positive growth factor that A.P. courses bring to a student’s development.

As a follow up to this initial article, I found another perspective from a San Francisco based independent admissions adviser Joanne Levy-Prewitt. Joanne’s experiences and thoughts were outlined in her February 19, 2007 piece for Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The questions about A.P. courses abound. Are AP courses “meant to replace college courses and provide college credit?” It seems that these courses are designed to move at a faster pace, cover more materials, and teach much tougher concepts and ideas. But Joanne asks a great question: “. . . is it the goal of advanced coursework to ask students to think deeper and more analytically about the subject?”

In my own experiences the answer to the last question is that students are asked to think deeper and more analytically about the coursework. On the other hand, Joanne’s experiences have been different and bare strong consideration:

“I’ve heard students and parents complain that college-level courses emphasize facts and data, and that ambitious syllabi leave little time to teach critical thinking skills such as reasoning, analyzing, comparing or critiquing. If that’s true, especially in light of Sadler and Tai’s research into AP science classes, other than impressing admissions offices, I wonder about the benefits of AP and IB classes.”

Consequently there are many variables and motivations for taking AP coursework. The positive effects have long been documented. Yet like most things in life, each individual student may have different results. Nothing is uniform. As Mathew L Tabor points out:

. . . any challenge is interpreted differently by each stakeholder in the educational process.”

If you have any questions beyond the comment area, please feel free to contact Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com Thank you!


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