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Teens & College: Ideas

The Privilege of Education...
You work hard, get good grades, do community service, participate in extra-curricular, score perfectly on t he SAT and can't get into Harvard. Why not? Daddy doesn't make enough money or have enough clout.

"Christopher Ovitz applied to Brown University, but "was not even in the range of the normal stretch that Brown would make for children of the wealthy and powerful." But he was granted a place at Brown. Although Christopher Ovitz lasted only a year, according to Golden, Brown has reaped the ongoing rewards from Ovitz and his extensive Hollywood contacts.Christopher Ovitz is the son of former Hollywood agent and president of Walt Disney, Michael Ovitz." [read on]

Homeschooled Children Can Get Into Good Colleges
Every year homeschoolers are admitted to hundreds of colleges in at least five countries. Those who prepare thoroughly can be admitted with full scholarships at those selective colleges that some parents daydream about their children attending:

[A list of colleges and universities that have admitted homescholers]

Are You a Helicopter Parent?
Helicopter parents hover. They are always on the lookout for threats to their children's success and happiness. If a problem does surface, these parents are ready to swoop in and save the day. [Read on]

Great people talk about ideas.
Average people talk about things.
Small people talk about other people.

Helicopter' parents try too hard
By Martha Irvine, AP National Writer November 7, 2006
Some parents are writing their college-age kids' resumes. Others are acting as their children's "representatives," hounding college career counselors, showing up at job fairs and sometimes going as far as calling employers to ask why their son or daughter didn't get a job. It's the next phase in helicopter parenting, a term coined for those who have hovered over their children's lives from kindergarten to college. [Read on ]

What's in a College Essay?
Understanding What Colleges Are Looking for In Your Child
The college essay gives your child a chance to communicate with the school on a more personal level. [Read on]

Ten Stupid Ways to Ruin Your College Application
By Jay Mathews, Washington Post, October 16, 2007
With just two weeks before the deadline for early action and early decision applications to many colleges, I offer these examples of wrong-headedness in the admissions process. [read on]


Homeschooling Comes of Age
Teaching children at home is no longer just the choice of religious and political iconoclasts. Now, drawn by Brown’s tradition of independence and self-direction, a new generation of homeschoolers is arriving—and thriving—on campus...[read on]

Live in the Dorm or Buy a House?
Rising college costs are causing some parents to consider alternate housing for their students: They're bypassing the dorm and off-campus apartments in favor of buying a condominium or single-family home. In some cases, it might be not a bad idea.[read on]

Buy your college kid a condo?
Investing in a place for your freshman may seem like a good idea. But there are lots of risks to consider, including whether your child would ever vacuum. [read on].

The College Game - Money

Merit-Based Scholarships
A scholarship is an award of money that needs not be repaid or earned through employment. Some scholarships are awarded on the basis of a student’s athletic or other special merits. Others are given solely on the basis of academic excellence. Generally, scholarships based on academic achievement are called merit scholarships.

Most awards are based on academic performance as defined by standardized test scores, high school GPA, and/or class rank. Others take leadership, service, and financial need into consideration. Candidates are evaluated individually, which allows scholarship selection committees to take a holistic approach in considering each student's qualifications.

Grants are similar to scholarships because they are not repaid or earned through employment. Eligibility for grants requires only that students demonstrate need and make satisfactory academic progress.

Private Award
A private outside award is money given to students by persons or organizations outside the University. Such awards may range from a few hundred dollars given by a local service club to several thousand dollars awarded by a large corporation. Normally, the donor of the award selects the recipients. Donors also set eligibility and method of payment, as well as award amounts.
Consult employers, local service or professional organizations, trade unions, foundations, churches, etc., to learn more about those in your area who may be potential outside award donors.

Most Universities require that you file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/Renewal Application to be considered for most grants, scholarships, and fee remissions.

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, ensures that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded or federally guaranteed financial assistance for education beyond high school.

FastWeb: Scholarships, Financial Aid and Colleges
FastWeb, the Internet's leading scholarship search service, helps students make the decisions that shape their lives: choosing a college, paying for college, and finding jobs and internships.
And it's all free.

Federal Aid

Federal Stafford Loan Program
Stafford Loans are federal student loans made available to college and university students to supplement personal and family resources, scholarships, grants, and work-study. Nearly all students are eligible to receive Stafford loans regardless of credit. Stafford loans may be subsidized by the U.S. Government or unsubsidized depending on the student's financial need.

Federal PLUS Loan for Parents
Federal Parent PLUS Loans is a loan borrowed by a parent on behalf of a child to help pay for tuition and school related expenses at an eligible college or university. The student must be enrolled at least half time, and the parent must pass a credit check in order to receive this loan. The primary benefit of the PLUS Loans is that parents can borrow federally guaranteed low interest loans to help pay for their child's education.


Financial Aid: Federal Student Aid (FSA)
The U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs are the largest source of student aid in America, providing nearly 70% of all student financial aid.

Financial Aid Calendar (from the Collge Board website)
The summer after your child's junior year is the time to turn your attention to the financial aid application process. Make sure that your child requests and files away financial aid information from every college of interest. Together, set up a calendar that tracks the important dates and deadlines of each college, and start looking for scholarships.

National Merit Scholarship Program
High school juniors may qualify for National Merit Scholarships by receiving a high score on the PSAT taken in October of the junior year.

Read all the things I have learned about PSAT so far [here].

Scholarship Search at the Collge Board Website

Pell Grant Program
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions.

The College Game - Getting In


Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, 'My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generos ity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: 'Which wolf wins

The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.


Hemingway, Shakespeare Might Flunk SAT Essay Test
by Scott Simon for Weekend Edition Saturday, February 21, 2004

NPR's Scott Simon talks to John Katzman about the new SAT essay test. Katzman makes the case, in an article in the Atlantic Monthly, that Ernest Hemingway and Shakespeare would not score well on the essay.
Each year, the College Board serves over three and a half million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. Among its best-known programs are the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT® and the Advanced Placement Program®(AP)."

www.princeton review
The world's best test-prep company gives you everything you need for high school, college and beyond. Whether taking a test, searching for the right college or graduate school, or planning a career, The Princeton Review guides you every step of the way.

College Answer
Students wondering where to go to college and how to get there, or parents trying to unravel the mystery of the college and the financial aid application process, College Answer (formerly known as Wiredscholar) is the site for you.

Services for Students with Disabilities (SAT)
The College Board considers a specific diagnosis of a disability and description of functional limitations (impact on learning resulting from the disability) as fundamental components in determining that a student is eligible for accommodations on College Board tests, and what accommodations appropriately meet the student's individual needs.

Services for Students with Disabilities (ACT)
ACT is committed to serving students with disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations appropriate to the student's disability. ACT has established policies regarding documentation of an applicant's disability and the process for requesting accommodations.

Advanced Placement Classes
As homeschoolers,we cannot call our classes an AP class unless it has been approved by the college board. To receive authorization from the College Board to label a course "AP," teachers without previous authorization for their course(s) must submit two documents related to the course: a syllabus and the subject-specific AP Course Audit form. Both documents are submitted online through the AP Course Audit website.[read more].

The College Board AP Program does not require you to take an AP course before taking an AP Exam. You may repeat an exam in a subsequent year. In such cases, both grades will be reported unless you request that one be withheld or cancelled.

Some very general but key dates for homeschoolers;

March 1 - Deadline for homeschooled students and students whose schools do not offer AP to contact AP Services for a list of local AP Coordinators at whose schools they could arrange to test.

March 6 - Deadline for submitting complete student Eligibility Forms for students with disabilities using the School Verification Process.

March 15 - Deadline for homeschooled students and students whose schools do not offer AP to contact AP Coordinators identified by AP Services.


Many Universities offer college credit for AP courses, This is a sample segment of a chart from Purdue University:

Subject Area College Board/
Placement Score
Purdue Course Purdue
Granted (Sem.
English Lang/Composition 4 or 5

ENGL 106

English Lit/Composition 4 or 5 ENGL 231 3
B (General Physics) 5 PHYS 220 & 221 8
C (Mechanics) 5 PHYS 172 4
Calculus AB 4 or 5 MA 165 4

About AP at the College Board Website

Interested in AP Courses? General information about the AP Program is available from this page.

Read all the things I have learned about AP so far [here]


The College Entrance Tests

This test cannot be administered at home. It is administered at the High Schools. You can schedule it by contacting the Principal of the local or a provate high school, when we did this we were referred to one of the guidance counselors.

The PSAT/NMSQT gives you first hand practice for the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading, math problem-solving, and writing skills.

[PSAT Resources at the college board]

The SAT- The SAT measures verbal, math reasoning and writing abilities. These are abilities develop over time through the work you do in school and on your own. SAT scores can help and colleges better understand how you compare with other students preparing for college.

SAT Subject Tests (AP) - You can take Subject Tests to show colleges your mastery of specific subjects, like English, History and Social Studies, math, science, and language. Colleges can use your Subject Test scores to make admission decisions, help determine how well prepared you are for college programs, place you in freshman or higher-level course work, advise you on course selection. Subject tests fall into five general subject areas each test for more information: English (Literature, Writing), History (U.S. History, World History), Mathematics, Science (Biology E/M, Chemistry, Physics).

[ SAT Testing Resources ]
The College Board administers the SAT.

Learn more about the SAT
About the SAT

New SAT PreparationCenter.
Register Online for the SAT


The ACT - American College Test - Multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. Optional writing test measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

[ ACT Testing Resources ]

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
The College-Level Examination Program® or CLEP provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses. There are 2,900 colleges that grant credit and/or advanced standing for CLEP exams. Before you take a CLEP exam, check directly with the college or university you plan to attend to make sure that it grants credit for the CLEP exam(s) you wish to take, and review the specifics of the institution's CLEP policy.

[read more]

The Path to College: Managing Priorities

If you list 10 tasks your teen is supposed to get done by the end of a week, maybe half of them will get done. The thing to recognize is that at some point it is no longer your responsibility to be the list maker. Great. So how do you ensure what's supposed to get done - gets done? Well you can start by helping your teen manage priorities, by demonstrating that yourself, by explaining how that gets done. By surrounding them with "hints" that encourage organization. Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish write in their book: How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk that the best way to communicate with a stressed teen is to listen to feelings and offer advice when it is solicited. This advice works. The more you impress on your student that it his future and not yours, the more they take ownership of tasks they need to accomplish. The good news about the path to college is that it can be a fun journey if you let it. The other part of the good news is that there is "blueprint" you can follow to meet your goals.

The "Things" Every Teen Needs to be Organized
  • A calendar to keep track of events.
  • A whiteboard
  • A place to keep papers and notebooks.
  • .A place for books
  • CD binders or shelves.
  • A Garbage can(or two)
  • A laundry basket.
  • Enough drawer & closet space for clean clothing.
  • Small & large plastic bins for "stuff".
  • A place to display treasures & pictures.


The National College Fair
Sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and hosted locally, this event is free and open to the public. As the process of applying to and selecting a college becomes more and more competitive and complex, students and parents need all the help and information they can get. Attending a college fair is an excellent way to gather information about colleges and universities. The fair allows students and parents to meet one-on-one with admission representatives from a wide range of national and international, public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Participants will learn about admission requirements, financial aid, course offerings, and campus environment, as well as other information pertinent to the college-selection process.


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