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Easy Does It: Simple Tips for the ACT Test Taker

If taking the ACT test is in your future, I feel for you--I really do. It is long and challenging and almost everybody who takes it collapses in relief once its over. But besides my sympathy, I have a number of helpful tips that can really take the edge off so that this monster of a test is actually bearable if not downright enjoyable. (Well--I had to try...). It should go without saying that starting your preparation at least three months before the exam…

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5 Questions to Ask Your College Funding Adviser

According to Kalman Chany, author of Paying for College Without Going Broke, using an accountant to do your college financial plan can actually cost you thousands of dollars in potential financial aid.  Here are 5 questions to ask before you make a decision to retain anyone as your college funding adviser: 1. Should I increase my retirement contributions to lower my adjusted gross income during my child’s college years? If the accountant says yes to this question, you definitely have the wrong person…

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5 Steps of Proactive Career Development – Step 1.

My June 4, 2014, blog introduced the Five Steps of Proactive Career Development created by the Illinois Career Development Association (ICDA). Here is the first step in a bit more detail. Step 1.  Assess your interests, personality type, generic and transferable skills and values. This step is, indeed, both the best place to begin and return to any time there is a major change in your life, especially any time you find yourself at another career decision-making fork in the…

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A Lesson in Paying for College — Part 1

Here’s a little-known fact about the cost of a college education: there are two prices, one for the informed and one for the uninformed. The uninformed “buyer of a college education” generally spends thousands of dollars more than the informed. And, while the uninformed is sending their child to the local community college or state university, the informed parent is often sending their student to a prestigious private college – and paying the same price! Helping you become a more-informed…

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5 Tips for Parents on College Adjustment

Seeing your first child off to college is one of the more significant transitions parents face.   Advice abounds for parents on college adjustment, but as a parent who has been through this stage, I have some advice of my own to share. These tips will be most effective if you discuss them together as a family and agree on the decision. 1.  Accept that You’ll Miss Them If your child is going away to college and living away from home, this…

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Outside Scholarships That Fill Unmet Need

A lot of families have been discouraged from pursuing outside scholarships for reasons I have already discussed in a previous blog--that the colleges will not use them to fill unmet need. Spending hours pursuing outside scholarships--that is, scholarships that are from private organizations separate from your school-- that are only going to reduce the financial aid you would have gotten otherwise, is not the way you want to spend your time. A number of colleges across the country, however, have…

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The Late Bloomer – College Students Home Without a Summer Job

Evidence of an improving economy and job market is helping college students land productive summer jobs just as it is helping full-time workers get back on their feet.  However, there are some college students who came home for the summer expecting that summer job to land in their lap, and they have been disappointed.  With most students returning to college in just a couple of months, who wants to hire a kid for 8 to 10 weeks?  What's the desperate college student to…

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Faith-Based Answers to the Tough Questions

This “Guest Blog” was written by Pastor Terrence Ford, Youth Pastor at Victory Cathedral in Bolingbrook, Illinois.   When I interviewed Pastor Ford for my “Keeping the Faith in College II” blog, he spoke with such enthusiasm and clarity (he was just plain FUN!) that I invited him to write a blog on his advice to young adults. He readily accepted (Thank you, Pastor T!). So, here is our debut of the My College Planning Team (MCPT) Guest Blog. Stephanie Kennedy,…

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Looking For Your College in Europe

Three years ago, when I decided to build a business devoted to helping families reduce college costs, I quickly discovered the savings available to students who were willing to go abroad to get their degrees.  My interest piqued as I learned more about the subject. I even identified a couple of academic consultants who specialized in helping American students search out the best-fit schools in Europe. What About the Higher Cost of Living? Though I originally thought the higher cost…

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Keeping the Faith in College II

2nd in a Series on College Student Development:  Keeping the Faith My April 23rd,  2014, blog for My College Planning Team, “Keeping the Faith in College,1” was written from my personal perspective based on my experiences with students in colleges, both faith-based and secular.  College students tend to question their faith.  College students tend to experiment with the routines of discipline they knew at home with their family of origin. Most professionals who study and understand young adult development recognize…

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