College Planning Specialists

May 24, 2008

Virginia Tech Tragedy: Always Pay Attention To Signs

The horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech last year is a reminder to always be aware of your friends and fellow students, watch for signs that something is not right, and be willing to get involved to help. The following is a retrospective from deansguide on the tragedy:

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Monday April 16, 2007, the day a very disturbed Virginia Tech student shot and killed 32 people, will be remembered for many things. It will be remembered as the worst case of gun violence on a school campus in American history. It will be remembered for those lost and those who were left behind. Most importantly it should be remembered as a wake up call to everyone around the country: A call to each one of us to take personal responsibility in our everyday life to spread love and goodwill to our fellow man.

The mainstream media, as predictable as ever, focussed on sensationalizing this tragedy. Their sound bite mentality and catch phrase riddled reports (ie “Massacre at Virginia Tech”) concentrated on garnering sympathy and ratings. Consequently the issues of campus police response and gun laws in the state of Virginia were emphasized with a very heavy dose of personal information about the victims. Impact upon the family members, surviving students and teachers, and their biographical information (one student “loved Nintendo”) was the focus. We watched people grieve, cry, and hold vigils.

Yet no collective social behavior was ever explored as a possible solution to these kinds of events. Here in lies a huge problem we face as a nation: gun violence apathy. Our complete and collective acceptance of gun violence as a part of American society is the status quo. People are so desensitized by the astronomical incidences of gun violence in this country, they have come to accept these events without question. If we as a society do ask questions, they always seem to focus on gun control laws, ease in purchasing guns, and the psychology behind the perpetrators.

We have reached a point in our violent history where we as a country and as individuals need to take a collective approach to creating a safer planet. On a grassroots level each one of us can and should at least attempt to spread love and care to our fellow human beings. We need to watch out for those people who display irrational behavior; we need to follow up those observations with action and a loving-caring response.

It is time to get involved. It is time to reach out to one another. We must not accept gun violence in our society. Instead we must become more tolerant, observant, caring, loving, and active in our responsibilities to each other.

March 8, 2008

Student’s Tool Kit #1: Eliminate the 3 Roadblocks To Change

Do you often fall below your expectations, your desired results, and feel as if you are short changing your studies? Do you feel as if you should and can be a better student? Does your inability to flip a switch and achieve the goals you have set for yourself frustrate you–and your parents?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are a lot like me. I spent time feeling my career was without purpose, without goals, without direction, and stagnant with my intended-desire results unfulfilled. You are not alone. But I am here to tell you that you can change and achieve your goals and intended results–I found my path and the following information will get you there too.

Inspirational author Susan Hanshaw in her book, Inner Architect: How To Build The Life You Were Designed To Live, provides something that the brilliant writing of Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Marc Allen, and Eckhart Tolle usually do not provide: how to steps that help implement change. The following is information that identifies 3 Roadblocks to Change and an exercise which helps you to begin to implement your action plan.

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3 Roadblocks To Change:

1. Fears about your ability to successfully create change

2. Limited beliefs about what you can achieve or who you can become

3. Commitment to taking the necessary steps

For the inner architect evaluation exercise-tool, Personal Steps For Change, which gives you the start to a plan of action to change your life, please request your free copy of Chapter 1 “Cultivating Your Mind To Consider Change.”

Email your request for a copy of Chapter 1 to: contest@innerarchitect.com.

February 28, 2008

Students Find Your Passion, Career With Inner Architect’s New Book, “Apprentice Contest”, and Video Series

Author and Founder of inner architect, Susan Hanshaw, is producing a how-to video series: “Becoming an inner architect” as chronicled in her article New Book, New Video Series, New You: inner architect’s 3 Value Propositions.” The series will support her new book “inner architect: How to Build The Life You Were Designed to Live.” In addition, inner architect is providing the following value propositions:

1. Weekly Video Series: Susan will provide steps, tools, tips, and strategies to help you learn how to acknowledge your career dissatisfaction through awareness, identify your passions, and change your life with purposeful intended results.
2. Free Copy of Chapter 1 : “Cultivating your Mind to Consider Change” of her upcoming book “inner architect: How to Build The Life You Were Designed to Live.”

3. Be An inner architect “Apprentice Contest”: Now you have the chance to voice your opinion, share your stories of change, and inspire others. Participate by ordering your free copy of Chapter 1 and write to us describing your experience(s).

The three best critiques or stories of change that “Cultivating Your Mind to Consider Change” inspires will receive a free copy of “inner architect: How to Build The Life You Were Designed to Live” and a $50 Nordstrom gift certificate!

Take advantage and participate in the fun by emailing your free request for Chapter 1 “Cultivating Your Mind to Consider Change” to dean@innerarchitect.com


November 15, 2007

San Francisco Bay Area: One of the Highest Quality Education Centers in the Universe

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The quality and quantity of educational institutions in the Bay Area are two of the driving factors for many home buyers in today’s Real Estate market. With the recent college loan scandal hitting the front pages all over the country, a renewed emphasis is being placed upon real estate agents to act as valuable sources of information during the home buying process.

Agents in the Bay Area are becoming “experts” on school systems, high schools, colleges, & universities within the areas they are selling real estate. The following is a reminder of the Bay Area’s quality educational opportunities at the university & high school levels:

*Stanford University: Palo Alto, California–Stanford University has long been considered one of the elite educational institutions in the United States. Stanford’s proud tradition places it on the same level as the best Ivy League schools. The Stanford blog is a great resource for incoming students. Some of Stanford’s academic credentials (National Rankings) as provided by US News & World Report:

Law school rank #3 ; Business school rank #2

Engineering rank #2 ; Biological Science rank #1

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Courtesy www.wikipedia.org

*University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley, California–Another titan in the scholastic world, U.C. Berkeley has long been considered one of the preimenent breeding grounds for future legal and business professionals. With a long history of social and political activism the university is a unique institution. The following are national rankings provided by US News & World Report:

Law school rank #8 ; Business school rank #8 ; Engineering school rank #3

Sciences (Biological) rank #2 ; Psychology (Clinical) rank #2

*University of San Francisco: San Francisco, California–USF is one of the highest ranked medical institutions in the country. USF is a cutting edge leader in medical research. US News & World Report national rankings for USF:

Medical Research rank #5 ; Primary Care rank #8 ; Internal Medicine rank #3

Drug & Alcohol rank #3 ; AIDS Research rank #1 ; Women’s Health rank #2

The Bay Area is also home to Santa Clara University; Saint Mary’s; San Francisco State University; San Jose State; and a rich Junior College system numbering 22 campuses throughout the region.

The region supports a vast number of outstanding college preparatory high schools. The following is a small sampling:

*The Branson School: Ross, California–Branson is considered one of the finest prep schools in the nation; tuition weighs in at $28,575 making it one of the most expensive high schools as well.

*University High School: San Francisco, California–University High School established in 1973 has a well earned reputation as a supreme academic prep school. Tuition is in the Branson range, $27,300, and so is it’s reputation for excellence.

*Bentley School: Lafayette, California–Bentley is a progressive institution with split campuses. One campus is for grade school level and junior high students; the high school prep level students reside on another campus. Tuition for grade 9-12 is $22,995.

Although this is a tiny sampling, it is representative of the quality of education that is attainable at the prep school and the university levels in the Bay Area. Consult your local Realtor for more information about the schools available in your community of choice.

October 18, 2007

College Planning Specialists: What the Nation’s 6 Largest Student Loan Providers Do NOT Want You To Know

In my last article, I began the process of throughly outlining what is one of the most overlooked yet greatest methods of financing a college education: College Planning Specialists. In previous months I have reported on the banking scandal that rocked University of Texas and other large institutions. This scandal involved the use of kick backs and illegal perks or payments made to large university student loan counselors. The trade off being those university officials would “steer” students and families into a loan program, from the kickback inducing bank, that was detrimental to the family.

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In June of this year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York outlined and implemented a Code of Conduct plan for the 6 largest student loan lenders. Cuomo’s plan includes the following 7 provisions:

1. Ban on Financial Ties. Lenders are prohibited from giving anything of value to any college in exchange for any advantage sought by the lender. This severs any inappropriate financial arrangements between lenders and schools and specifically prohibits “revenue sharing” arrangements.

2. Ban on Payments for Preferred Lender Status. Lenders may not pay or give colleges any financial benefits whatsoever to get on a college’s preferred lender list.

3. Gift and Trip Prohibition. Lenders are prohibited from giving college employees anything of more than nominal value. This includes a prohibition on trips for financial aid officers and other college officials paid for by lenders.

4. Advisory Board Rules. Lenders are prohibited from paying college employees anything of value for serving on the advisory boards of the lenders.

5. Call-Center and Staffing Prohibition. Lenders must ensure that employees of lenders never identify themselves to students as employees of colleges. No employee of a lender may ever work in or providing staffing assistance to a college financial aid office.

6. Disclosure of Range of Rates and Defaults. Lenders must disclose to any requesting school the range of rates they charge to students at the school, the number of borrowers at each rate at the school, and the lender’s historic default rate at the school. This will ensure that schools will have the information they need to select preferred lenders who are best for students and their families.

7. Loan Resale Disclosure. Lenders shall fully and prominently disclose to students and their parents any agreements they have to sell loans to any other lender.

Look at these provisions carefully. Would you want to collaborate or become a customer of an organization that is being reprimanded for provisions 2 and 3. Essentially these are rules against kickbacks. Does it not make sense to search for an alternative to the stratospheric, exorbitant costs of college tuition loans?

What would you rather have as your plan to finance a student’s education: a high interest rate and long term loan that creates financial unrest for your family for years or a financial plan that allows you to take advantage of the millions of dollars of government financial aid that goes untapped every year?

Stay tuned as the series about College Planning Specialists continues with a closer look at the services and value they provide.

October 17, 2007

STOP Servitude to Banks Providing Tuition Financing: College Planning Specialists’ Plan to Break the Loan Cycle

In today’s world of financing for a college education, the awesome and frightening reality for many students and parents are the lack of solid tuition financing alternatives. The main method of paying for an education., outside full athletic scholarships or parents who can afford to pay without discomfort, are student loans through fiance companies bent on creating an interest rate bonaza to your detriment.

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In step with the high interest rates and never ending loan pay off dates is the fact that college tuitions are simply a rip off. There is very little competition or what analysits call downward pressure on college tuition pricing. In a good example of this problem, Paul Streitz’s article “The Great American College Tuition Rip Off” outlines how parents and students push for higher education at the best colleges. This demand is manipulated by those colleges that receive the highest rankings from the US News and World Reports. US News and World Reports rankings have long been a respected measuring stick to parents and students helping them identify the best institutions.

Streitz posits that without tuition price competition from equally rated universities, and with demand escalating, universities will continue to raise tuitions. These cost increases are not caused by spiraling administration costs, professor salaries, or any cost of doing business factors. Instead the true explanation is simple: universities can and do raise tuition fee because students and parents are willing to pay the costs without question.

How do students receive academic scholarships when their parents economic standing disqualifies them from aid? And how do parents whose main assets are in property and whose income is just enough to keep their household afloat help pay for their student’s educations? Is it possible to “requalify” these families in such a way as to make them eligible for financial aid after all? The answer to the last question is a resounding YES!

Right now is the right time to look for alternatives to the traditional loan rip offs. Now is the time to investigate and engage with a new method to pay for college. Now is the time to contact College Planning Specialists.

College Planning Specialists provides a number of valuable services which in whole bring a new alternative to the traditional problem of qualifying for financial aid. The professionals at CPS Dan Evertsz and Gerna Benz provide expert analysis and an action plan that helps non qualifying (financial aid) families qualify under aid guidelines.

CPS’s Service Checklist is comprised of 24 action steps when implemented have a positive effect on qualifying a family for the millions of dollars, that go unused each year, of financial aid available. The first step is to outline a complete financial overview and analysis of a family’s assets as they relate to college as well as their budget. Analysis of the family budget, taxes, retirement and other areas of financial management gives a clear picture as to the best steps to take.

During this analysis, CPS will calculate the family’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). This form is a way to calculate how much a family must pay outside of the financial aid package that they qualify to receive. It is CPS job to help families understand this process, do the calculations for the family, and most valuable-provide a plan/and or recommendations to reduce the Estimated Family Contribution.

Why worry about the EFC when most families do not qualify for financial aid due to their economic standing? In many many cases Dan and Gerna have been able to find avenues for families to qualify for financial aid. Almost all of these families never thought they would qualify, never knew where to go to investigate these alternatives, and have nothing to lose by going through the College Planning Specialists consultations.

For more information please contact this blog or stay tuned for the Part 2 in my series: Stop Servitude to Banks. . .

October 11, 2007

College Students Preparing for Work Life: “Consulting” (Entrepreneurial Career) Can Be Lucrative And Absurd

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Courtesy of www.pendotech.com

You have spent the majority of your life learning, preparing, and fretting over the next step: work life aka “real world.” In that time you have concentrated your studies on a major-minor core curriculum. While you were performing your best work, you kept an eye on your eventual job prospects. Summertime was for internships and making business connections so that your transition from college life could be a smooth and rapid one. Finally you girded yourself for the possibilities that you will have to look long and hard for the job and career you want.

After all of this preparation, I bet nobody informed you about the world of “consulting.” It is entrepreneurial and it’s main requirement is that you have “expertise” in a specific field. This knowledge and your ability to bring this knowledge forward in a manner that is instructive are the major necessities to becoming a consultant-and hanging out your own shingle.

Now the fun part. The following story is true and it was reported in the October 11, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle “Bay Area” section of the paper-the headline reads:

Berkeley:

“LAW SCHOOL DROPS BOALT, $25,000

“Officials at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law spent nearly $25,000 on a branding consultant to help them give the school a new name: ‘UC Berkely School of Law.’ . . . “Dean Christopher Edley Jr. said the money was-spent because people will now understand that the law school is tied to UC Berkeley.”

HUH? WAH? You mean to tell me one of the preeminent academic officials in one of the most respected universities in the world deemed it necessary to hire a “consultant” to formulate that brand name? How utterly absurd is the thought that all of this brainpower at the disposal of UC Berkeley through administrators, professors, and students was never tapped?

Analysis:

Why didn’t the UC Berkeley brains behind this branding move simply poll their professors, adminstration, alumni, and current students? Why not open it up as if it was a “Branding” contest: Winner receives a $10,000 grant?

Instead Marshall Strategy Inc. was handed a $200,000 contract to “design the school’s magazine, Web site and brochures for fundraising and student recruiting.” Within this $200 “large” was the $25k fee for the “name.”

Even more disturbing is the fact that UC Berkeley has allowed a wonderful opportunity in public relations and recruiting slip through it’s fingers. How great a tool would it be for the university to have tasked it’s Business school and Law school with the jobs of branding, media brochure materials, publicity, and marketing?

Why not give the consulting contract to it’s own students? Why not keep the money in-house? Why not use this type of project as a senior thesis which could provide real world experience a graduate could point to when interviewing for a position?

Finally why not bring the component of blogging into the picture? Blogging or citizen journalism would be a wonderful course that every business school should, unfortunately administration does not get it, provide in it’s curriculum.

Incredulous is the idea that anyone with half a brain could have come up with this “branded” moniker. What is wrong with this picture besides the fact that it must make every UC Berkeley student wonder where their hard earned tuition fees are being spent?

So there you have it in a nutshell. Consulting is a business and it is lucrative. It does not necessarily require brains or even expertise. It requires the skill of being able to sell even the most absurd idea to the smartest people without those smart people pushing back your idea.

Go forth and conquer! Young consultants unite and prosper.

College Students: Your Positive Attitude Is a Key to Your Success!

Filed under: Colleges,Positive Attitude,Preparing for College,Uncategorized — deansguide @ 12:07 am
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This wonderful illustration courtesy of http://www.slideshare.net/targetseo/positive-attitude-is-every-thing

In what is one of the most powerful, yet overlooked, characteristic of success-Positive Attitude remains under-utilized. Don Martin wrote a wonderful and inspirational set of “suggestions” in order to help “Build Positive Attitudes.” I am paraphrasing Don’s thoughts and adding my own.

*Search for interesting ideas. I agree that the fuel for a student’s attitude is interest which leads to passion for a subject or major.

*Associate with “positive” people in your classes and on campus. I would suggest you partner up in study groups and even look to either socialize or join resume building activities clubs. High achievers, as do poor students with poor attitudes, rub off on anyone associating with either group.

*Focus in on interesting ideas or concepts in every class you attend. Be prepared to “enjoy” your studies. Do not accept the work as drudgery or painful. Make it joyful by looking for a positive aspect.

*Tell your friends of new discoveries. Explain to them an idea or concept and share your passion and positivity! I would also suggest that you share this with your instructors or student advisors if they have time to devote to listening. It is always great to get feedback from an authority. Sometimes these sessions lead to information that would not normally come up in classes, lectures.

*List and document your progress in discovering new ideas. Keep a journal of your positive attitude and how it is effecting your outlook on school, how it is effecting how others perceive you, and how you feel in comparison to your “old” way of thinking.

*In truly sage advice, Martin states: “Remember you are what you think.” How very true that short but powerful statement can be to a person’s attitude. It is akin to losing weight and feeling body image healthy. You are what you eat is true like the above statement.

Consequently if you are looking to improve your positive attitude and you wish for a deeper understanding that comes from experience in the real world, check out Susan Hanshaw’s fine blog: http://susanhanshaw.wordpress.com.


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!

September 13, 2007

Students and their Credit Cards: How To Manage Student Credit Cards Without Sinking the Ship

Filed under: Allowance,Budget,Colleges,Finance,Student Credit Cards — deansguide @ 4:29 pm

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Students constantly search for methods to finance their college educations. What is sometimes overlooked within this formula? The rising cost of living expenses each student incurs during their school year. Many students desperate to make ends meet surrender to the credit card “spiral.” The following information will hopefully give students some ideas and advice on how best to manage their credit and debt while pushing through school.

The following are steps to help students manage their student credit cards. This information is presented by Liz Roberts, loan consultant, with New Horizons Finance:

1. Willpower: Simple concept but difficult for most people to grasp. When the mood strikes to pull out the credit card students should ask themselves one simple question: “Do I really need this item or do I just want it?” This simple but powerful idea will help students control their spending, create a conscious check before purchase, and in many cases train the “spender” by positively reinforcing the idea that their credit balance is in line with their income.

2. Pay Cash: When casinos first began in this country, casino owners understood the “value” of removing a gambler’s emotion from their money. Simply put, casino’s from that beginning until today always insist that you “change” your cash dollars into their chips. Gamblers have a much easier time losing, without regret, their money in a casino if they are betting with chips. If the gambler was forced to throw down cash for every game or bet, the regret factor would help deter their spending and lower casiono profits. Like Robert De Niro in the movie “Casino” (picture above), credit card companies rely upon your human side to lead your astray.

The exact same casino concept applies with credit cards. Paying cash gives the spender the “feeling” that hard earned monies need to be rationed. Using a credit card allows the spender to avoid this feeling. We all know the results of unconscious spending.

3 . Budget Money/Allowance: Students like housewives, should create a personal budget. List items that are monthly needs first. Attempt to cut out the “fat” that your can actually live without. If at all possible save some money each month for an emergency cash fund. This is difficult but it could come in handy in the future.

4. Be Responsible: Try to be the “owner” of your debt. Do not go to family or friends for bail out funds whenever possible. By staying within a budget, you will be more likely to stay out of financial trouble. Remember that favors from family is much easier to ask for if it is a rare occurrence rather than a monthly request.

If you have trouble remaining responsible, run your credit card debt into the “ditch”, and borrow every last dime available from family and friends then you might just find yourself in the predicament below. Be responsible stay out of the “ditch.”

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