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Educational Consultants
1001 Ogden Ave.
Suite 204
Downers Grove, IL

Financial Consultants
1717 North Naper Blvd
Suite 200
Naperville, IL

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Watch Out for Front-Loaded Scholarships

Many sophomores, juniors and seniors begin the school year with a rude awakening: The financial aid packages they received as freshmen have shrunk. Scholarships and grants, which make aid packages so wonderfully enticing for first-year students and their families, often melt away starting the second year of school. Students are often given less aid overall or they're offered mostly loans. This concept is known as scholarship front-loading or bait-and-switch financial aid. About half of colleges front-load their grants, according to…

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Analyzing your College Award Letters

College award letters are already fairly confusing. What's worse, they can often be somewhat misleading. This is especially problematic– considering major decisions are made based upon that first award letter; when the next one could be dramatically different. Before you accept a school’s award, there are a few steps you can take to better ensure you won't be left out in the cold later. Avoid the Bait and Switch What you see may not end up being what you get.…

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Scholarship Displacement

Top Scholarship Myths

  These are some scholarship myths I hear frequently in my role as an independent college admissions counselor: Scholarship Myth #1: Everyone has a scholarship. This is not true. Most money comes from the college itself in the form of grants or loans. Most people do not apply or use scholarship money. Schools often use the word “scholarship” in reference to many different things, even things like a “tuition discount.” Beware of the use of the word “scholarship.” Scholarship Myth #2: You should…

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Balancing Student Loan Debt with Retirement Savings

Welcome to post-graduate life and, with any luck, professional success. Once you’ve bridged the chasm between what you want to do with your new disposable income and what you think you should do, you will find yourself with some life-impacting decisions. Should you put your efforts towards saving for retirement or would they be better allocated to the expedient repayment of student loans? Wanting to make smart decisions with your money is only the first step. A decision made with the most prudent of intentions…

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Writing Winning Scholarship Essays

By Guest Blogger Audrey Jenkins Audrey Jenkins is a skilled freelance blogger covering a range of topics from careers to travel and leisure, along with everything in-between. Writing Winning Scholarship Essays The scholarship application process can be a headache in and of itself, so the last thing you want to see in addition to an application form is an essay prompt. Instead of viewing scholarship essays as a hassle, think of them as an opportunity to set yourself apart. After…

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I’ve Got an Interview! What Should I Wear?!?

What should I wear to my interview? I get that question a lot from my students regarding their admissions “interviews” (which may or may not be true interviews) or their honors interview (believe me, this one IS an interview). But the question is relevant to anyone planning to interview with admissions staff, a professor, an alum, or with a prospective employer.  It is ALWAYS a good idea to dress “appropriately” for interview, even if it is for a lifeguard job or a…

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Calculating Your College Budget: Real-Time Answers

Calculating your college budget can be a mysterious process.  Families have a difficult time predicting the awards.  In reality, there are still the real-time answers that only the college can answer for you to help prepare your college budget. Stephanie Kennedy was showing me the proprietary software used by her academic team to help families with the college search process.  I was quite impressed with how the software enables her team to quickly optimize a student’s opportunity for earning merit scholarships. Indeed, many…

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Scholarship Displacement

Third-Party Scholarships in Perspective

Once you’ve filed the FAFSA and are awaiting your financial award letters from each of your colleges, you can take some time to pursue what is commonly referred to as “Outside Scholarships,” meaning money awarded from outside the colleges. Until recently, I did not see much value in these scholarships for two reasons: a) lots of time invested in internet research and filing with relatively small monetary rewards; b) many colleges did not allow you to apply any outside awards…

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