To Test or Not To Test: Class of 2022

Until recently, taking the SAT or ACT was something college-bound students felt there was no way around, knowing that the great majority of colleges would require an SAT or ACT score.

Taking one of these standardized admissions exams was, in most cases, non-negotiable.

For the class of 2021, however, this taken for granted requirement fell away, as the pandemic toppled ‘normal’ testing policy.

As test site cancellations continued from spring 2020 forward, hundreds of thousands of students reached their senior year last fall...


Understand What Your FAFSA Number Means


One of the biggest problems I hear about when families start the college planning process is…

(drumroll, please)


As in…

  • Will our family qualify for financial aid?

  • Will we actually be able to afford college!?

  • Are private schools always more expensive than public schools? 

  • How come my cousin’s kid got a “free-ride” but our neighbor’s son is paying full price?!

  • Do public and private colleges award financial aid in different ways?

College is expensive and most of us want to...


How Private Scholarships Can Reduce Your Total Aid


YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN that scholarships that come from community groups, companies, and charities (what colleges call "outside scholarships") could actually reduce your financial aid award.

If  your student wins a private scholarship, the college he or she attends cut his or her financial aid package by the amount of the award.

So if a student wins a $4,000 scholarship, the college could cut the aid package by $4,000.

Why is a student penalized for winning a private scholarship?

Federal regulations require that a...


Case Study - A $51,840 Need-Based Aid Tuition Discount

Here's a case study from a student I recently worked with that you may find very encouraging if you know you are going to qualify for a need-based tuition discount.  

I'll call this student Sam.

Before I share Sam's story, here's a quick run-down of the main 4 types of  college financial aid:

1. GRANTS - grants are FREE money, they do not have to be repaid.

Grants can be either need-based or NON-need based (non-need-based aid is not dependent on a family's financial situation and is typically given for GPA...





EVERY OCTOBER, high school students across the country take the PSAT/NMSQT (yes, that last part is vowels!).

Lots of families are confused about just what the PSAT/NMQST is and have questions, like:  

  • Why is my student taking the PSAT? 

  • Why is the PSAT important? 

  • How are my PSAT scores used in the college admissions process? 

  • Do I need to prep for the PSAT? 

 I've got you covered! 

Below are the two main things you need to know:

 What the PSAT/NMQST Is...



The Case for a Small School

One of the most important considerations in choosing a college is size.  

Here’s the case for a small college.

A small college (which means a college of around 1,500 - 3,000 students or so) will give you a very different experience from that of a large university (of 10,000 plus students).

Going to a small college is like living in a small town versus a large city.

People say hello when they see you. 

Professors greet you by name and stop to chat.

The main responsibility of professors at small colleges is to teach and...


15 Questions to Ask College Representatives (so you can make better decisions)


Do you have a college fair coming up?

Is a college representative visiting your high school?

Are you planning to visit a college campus soon?

All of these are great opportunities to ask questions about the things that matter to you most, which can help you get a “feel” for the campus culture  - both social and academic.

When you have a chance to meet a college representative, pick their brain!

Doing so will give you new information about the school that can help you decide if it really is a place you are willing to...


How Letting Colleges Know You're Interested in Them Can Help You Get Accepted


No doubt about it – getting into college is a competitive process.

Every year, tens of thousands of students set their hearts and hopes on attending their “dream” college...and then receive the dreaded denial letter.

There are lots of things that make  a student a good fit for a school (or not) and those factors make you more likely to be accepted to a certain college.

But there's one strategy that I've realized most students, families, and high school guidance counselors don't know about...




Academic Planning in High School


Navigating high school AND planning for college at the same time can be tricky.

There’s lots to consider and there are some things it’s just, well, pretty essential to understand  so that you are:

  1. Academically prepared for college and

  2. Setting yourself up to be ready to take advantage of many options.

So I’d like to give you a hand with that.

Here are some of the top questions that I get from families about preparing for college while still in high school.

1. What matters most for getting into...