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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.

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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Newest Kickback Scheme: Campus Debit Cards

Last week, while catching up on my research on private student loan sources, I encountered this attention-getting headline on Huffington Post: “Proposal Would Prevent Kickbacks that Steer Students Into Campus Debit Cards.”  According to the article. there are now about 900 campuses loading their students’ financial aid money into prepaid debit cards and peddling them to students. Sound convenient? Convenience, however, is coming at a big price for students. It turns out that banks and colleges are splitting millions of…

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5 Steps to Proactive Career Development

It’s never too early to consider viewing college decisions as they relate to career development.  In fact, as a career counselor, I prefer to look beyond any current career decision fork in the road to consider the impact of an immediate choice on a total lifework experience that one will produce over one’s lifetime. Decisions Can Be Overwhelming Thinking beyond the immediate decision to its long-term impact can have two completely opposite effects. On one hand, realizing that your immediate…

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