How To Get Good Letters of Recommendation



Did you know that a letter of recommendation for college is one of the most universal parts of the application process and something every student has to have?

With so many schools going test-optional, colleges are in the process of finding new ways to evaluate your teen’s readiness (which is a work-in-progress!) 

One thing that seems certain, however, is that letters of recommendation will be scrutinized carefully, maybe more so than in the past.




FAFSA Changes Coming Your Way


The FAFSA has been simplified. 

The current FAFSA has a maximum of 108 questions and that’s being shrunk to around 40 questions. This will reduce the FAFSA form from the equivalent of six pages down to two pages. Yay!

But are the changes really all that simple? I would say not. 

This post summarizes the most significant changes that come into effect for the FAFSA that will be available in the fall of 2022 (for the 2023-2024 school year).

You’ll want to know this information if you have a current college...


FAFSA & Financial Aid: 6 Key Facts


Would you start shopping for a home without a sense of what the mortgage will be?

Probably not.

Yet, due to the confusing nature of the process, most families START SHOPPING for colleges (which, next to a home, may be the largest expense you ever face), WITHOUT a sense of what the college in question WILL ACTUALLY COST them. 

To keep yourself from overpaying and/or massive debt you REALLY want to go into college admissions as an informed consumer! 

In fact, your starting point SHOULD BE an understanding of the...


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 sites were shut down, over 95% of selective four-year colleges and universities removed testing requirements, at least...


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...

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