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The content published on our website is written within the context of  existing FAFSA rules.  These rules are subject to change for students entering or already in college in 2024.  Please read our newsletter to regular updates on the status of these proposed changes which, though codified into law, are still subject for revision by the Department of Education.

Learning Differences: 5 Steps to Post-Secondary Planning

Students with learning differences must start early in their planning for post-secondary education. Here are 5 initial hints to help begin the process. 1. Continue to do your best in high school coursework. Keep up a steady pace.  Develop good study habits and follow them.  Use good time management skills. Ask for help when you need it.   Prioritize your assignments so that you keep on schedule to get everything done.  If you miss an assignment or bomb a test, don’t…

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Federal Student vs. Mortgage Loans for College

  Mortgage Loans for College Students vs. Federal Student Loans There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to financing a college education. Among the many choices in loans to pay for college, federal student loans, private student loans, home equity loans, refinancing your home, or mortgage loans for college students – all options must be on the table. « Learn more about student loans The Options Federal Student Loans have many pay-back options. Jack Schacht talked about these options in a recent…

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5 Steps of Proactive Career Development – Step 2

This is the third in my series of blog posts on the Five Steps of Proactive Career Development created by the Illinois Career Development Association (ICDA) Step 2. Gather and maintain current, accurate and comprehensive information about your chosen field Information. INFORMATION! I N F O R M A T I O N !!! Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you’ve gathered on a subject and at the same time still feel the need to…

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Addressing the Spiritual Side of Student Development

Although our focus at My College Planning Team has been to build highly competent financial and academic teams, we have recently concluded that there is a very real and pressing need to also address the spiritual side of student development— especially in their transition from high school to college. Keeping the Faith in College As my partner Stephanie Kennedy mentioned in her recent blog, effective student development counseling must address the whole person--the intellectual, the emotional, and the spiritual.  She also noted…

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Clinical Anxiety in Teens

  In my private psychotherapy practice, anxiety in teens is a common reason for seeking treatment. Some level of anxiety is a normal, albeit uncomfortable part of life. However, when your child’s level of anxiety and worry is excessive and begins to significantly impact their life--in school, at home, or with friends--it may be time to seek professional help to determine whether your teenager is struggling with clinical anxiety. What are some signs of anxiety? General Anxiety Disorder is defined…

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That Campus Job Can Help Launch Your Student’s Career

I think parents make a big mistake when they fail to encourage their students to get a part-time campus job during college. Think about it. One student goes to college and works on campus 15 hours a week in the campus bookstore and, during the summer, at the local supermarket. Another student goes to college, studies hard and even takes a few extra classes during the summer but doesn’t pursue a job. If both students graduated from the same school…

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5 Things Students with Learning Differences Should Know About College

Preparing for college can be daunting for families, especially for students with learning differences.  Be aware that the accommodations mandated through IEP or 504 Plans in high school will not continue in college.  Therefore, I have several suggestions for those preparing for college. 1.  Know Yourself This is true for all students preparing for college admission and the college experience.  You must know your strengths and weaknesses a student and be able to articulate them.  College will offer many responsibilities,…

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A Reason to Call Your State Representative!

Ten years ago, Florida became the first state to allow its community colleges to offer four-year bachelors degrees. Today almost half of Florida’s community colleges offer degrees in a wide variety of subjects. Florida’s success caused other states to follow suit and now 22 states allow their community colleges to offer four-year degrees. Because of pushback from our four-year private and public universities, Illinois has been unable to make it happen--despite the lobbying efforts of our community colleges over the…

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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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