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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.

The ACT : Raising Scores Opens Doors

When it comes to college planning, there is a reason why ACT prep tutors are key adjuncts to both admissions  counselors and financial advisors.   It is no secret  that competitive to high standardized test scores pave the way for your student applicant to be taken seriously at an increased number of schools. What you may not be aware of, however, is that preferred scores are not a matter of speculation: most institutions of higher learning publicize these golden numbers for the benefit…

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Business Owners Have a Big Advantage When Paying For College

Small business owners have some unique advantages when it comes to lowering the cost of college, often by thousands of dollars a year. The big drivers in determining college costs are income and assets. Small Business Not Assessed Under FAFSA Rules Under FAFSA rules, assets (a business with under 100 employees) are not assessed when determining the Expected Family Contribution. (EFC). Considering that assets are assessed at 5.64%, it can be a big advantage for many small business owners to…

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ROTC: An Option for Students with Leadership Potential

While the ROTC program can be a major factor in helping you survive the ever-rising cost of a college career, it also offers so much more to our sons and daughters. Though not for everyone, it can be a viable option for many students. ROTC IS NOW AN ELECTIVE AT MORE THAN ELEVEN HUNDRED COLLEGES ROTC is an elective in more than 1100 colleges and universities across America Your choice of branch of service (Army, Navy and Marine, Air force…

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Experiencing Your Essence

What is your essence and how does it apply to the college search process? When you are searching for a college, it is easy to get pulled into where you "should" go and what you "should" pick as a major. This is the time to step back and discover who you are on the inside. What is it that you want?  A tip is to look at the things that really excite you, that give you a feeling of "this is…

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Decide Your College in 6 Questions

National College Decision Day is upon us! It is time to DECIDE YOUR COLLEGE!!  If you have 2 (or 3) colleges that you love from which to choose, how do you decide? Here are some questions that families need to consider: 1.   Is the money really different from one college to the next? If the scholarships and other aid from your top-choice colleges varies only somewhat, then try to keep money out of the decision, at least for the time that…

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Is My Teenager Depressed? Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression in Teens

“I can’t tell if my teenager is just moody or if he is depressed. What’s the difference?”

In my private psychotherapy practice I get asked this question a lot by worried parents wondering about the dividing line between usual adolescent moodiness and clinical depression. It’s a good question.


Teenagers can be very moody. They can also sometimes be downright surly. The pendulum swing between the emotional polarities of happy to sad may fluctuate rapidly. It’s only when the pendulum gets “stuck “ on sadness, and your teen’s feelings of hopelessness and helplessness interfere with his ability to succeed in school, enjoy family and friends, engage in life, that your teen may need some help in getting his pendulum moving again.

During their teenage years adolescents experience a good deal of mental and physical growth. According to researchers, the developing teen brain makes as many new connections as a newborn infant’s. We all know how much physical change occurs during the teen years. This growth of brain and body can be physically exhausting for teens. In fact, the average teen requires more sleep than a newborn baby. Emotional and psychological maturation also occur. All this growth and change helps the adolescent develop their sense of self, an identity.

It can be difficult for parents to see their “sweet little child” suddenly turn into a person they no longer recognize. Well, guess what, your child may not recognize herself either. It’s no wonder that your teenager may sit in her room alone for hours feeling confused and scared by her changing self. Add to this mix outside stressors such as grades, college, changing peer relationships, and leaving home. For the majority of adolescents, this too shall pass. However, if your child is among the 11% of teens experiencing symptoms of depression here are some signs to look for.

Sadness is the number one sign of depression. Along with sadness, notice any changing behavior in your teen. I found this helpful video on Be Smart Be, a health and wellness website, in which Ken Duckworth, MD, Medical Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness lists five symptoms to look for in your teen. Have your child’s sleeping patterns changed; is your child no longer interested in interacting with friends; is your child using drugs or alcohol; does your child experience physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches; is your child talking about harming himself?

Most importantly it’s crucial to keep in mind, as Dr. Duckworth points out in his video, depression in teens is real, and it is treatable.

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Keeping the Faith in College

Keeping your faith alive in college is as important as your intellectual, career and social development.  This can be an exciting, inspiring and challenging time to grow and mature in every area of your life.  In a secular environment, it is easy to overlook this critical facet of college adjustment: your spiritual growth.  A wise campus minister, Fr. Ken Irgaang, once told me, “College is your time to grow spiritually as a young adult, with your eyes wide open; not to follow blindly the ways…

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Find Your Dream Career

If you haven’t identified your dream career, deciding and major (and a college) can feel daunting. In reality, some teens have a solid idea of what they want in a career, but most really don’t. So, exploring options and finding careers that fit your interest, personality and abilities require some strategy. So how do you find that right major/right job? Here’s a start: 4 steps to finding the right major 1. Assess what fields of study you love. You know…

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Can You Trust The College Stats?

This afternoon I was reading a blog by Jon Marcus (“In new age of college transparency, who’ s checking the facts?”) and was shocked by the number of major universities that are inflating their "college stats" to keep the applications rolling in—and, of course, to maintain their all important U. S. News rankings. Whether it’s average student loan debt, graduate employment rates, or average ACT or SAT scores, it appears that a lot of schools are “cooking-the-books.”  What really stunned…

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Capitalize on Your Extracurricular Activities

By the time my daughter was in eighth grade, she had changed her career choice at least a dozen times. In kindergarten she anxiously proclaimed that she wanted to be a dentist, and by second grade it changed to an architect. We found out later that she had actually grown tired of eating leftovers; she felt that if she became an architect, she could avoid eating leftovers by building a “food court” in her basement. As a parent, you want…

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