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Barbara H

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About Barbara H

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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    I am a Certified College Consultant and a homeschooling mom
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    Founder Homeschool Success

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  1. It has been a long time ago... but, the most important thing I learned from the experience was to start by looking at what people know first and as much as possible build on the strengths in the group. While you want to offer some structure, recipes, etc. people respond best and will make the most changes when the ideas come from within the group. I bet you'll find you have participants who are brilliant with budgeting and shopping and they may be able to share tips with others in the group who are just getting started. The two things we found most helpful were 1. Basic cooking techniques - such as making potatoes into oven fries - simple and a huge hit, easy egg recipes, making chili from scratch, stir frying, working with less expensive cuts of meat. 2. Kid-friendly ideas. One place the budget gets shot for a lot of families is relying on more expensive stuff (frozen chicken nuggets, boxed cereal, microwave mac and cheese, pudding snacks) because it is what kids will eat. When families try out something new and the kids love it, that's a great way to get buy-in and really make a difference. Good luck with your class. It is a great thing you are doing and much needed really for people of all income levels. I'd love to see more young parents confident in cooking at home.
  2. How to Cook without a Book is great for teaching basic cooking formulas. Lots of easy weeknight type of meals that can be adapted to different tastes and ingredients. Having designed a class like this ages ago, I would suggest beginning the first class with a survey of your audience and adapt what you teach from there. It would be good to get a sense where the skill level in the group is and what sorts of foods people enjoy.
  3. Thanks on the blog compliment... and big congrats to your son on National Merit. Is he looking at schools that offer bigger National Merit offers. For general information I don't suggest College Confidential, but I'm agreeing with Creekland that it is a good place to look for info about Questbridge and be sure to check out the threads on major scholarships for National Merit Finalists. There are some dedicated people really maintaining that information. I always think it is tricky "from the outside" (not knowing the student's full profile) for anyone to offer a lot of specific advice. If it was as simple as just stats colleges would not need to have a full application process. Here in cyberland we can't know all the other factors that might be coming into play to make your student more or less competitive - everything from great extracurriculars, to a compelling story, to regional diversity to an unusual interest, to brilliant essays, etc. Once you get to that super highest level of competition that stuff makes a significant difference. So, "from the outside" I'm never going to tell a student not to bother to apply to something that could be a huge scholarship. Good luck! ETA: I think Questbridge also pays for a free CSS/Profile. Whether your son does Questbridge or not please look at the CSS/Profile soon. A lot of families overlook that step and some schools want it is quite early.
  4. Not a scam at all. Yes, only a small minority get the full match scholarship. but that is a huge award - including travel and books. Free applications and the chance to apply to a lot of selective schools is worth a lot. Being able to multiple schools on ED for free is also a huge benefit. As you compare admission stats keep in mind overall stats for the applicant pool may be very different than average admissions rates for low income students. That's true even at need blind schools. It is harder for low income students to be as competitive on paper and Questbridge is one way for students to have more opportunity to do so.
  5. Yes, the programs making it so students can get instate tuition can be a good deal. Some require students to be majoring in something they can't study in their home state (so you live in a landlocked area and want to study marine biology for example). The Tuition Exchange Program is a good benefit for some higher ed employees because it may allow them a reduction in costs for their student to study at another institution. It is offered as a job benefit, but I will say the academic families I know who have tried to use it often find it is quite limited as it depends on the colleges making slots available.
  6. For people who are interested in pursuing community college, I suggest this website as one place to begin: Many states have what are called "articulation agreements". These are basically a contract between community colleges and four year colleges (most often public institutions, but in some states some private schools participate as well. Right now there is a big federal push to improve the transfer process and states are adopting new agreements all the time. So, I would not go based on what somebody experienced in another state or in your own state years ago. I've worked with transfers at our local community college. With a statewide articulation agreement it is definitely possible to complete a degree with two years at community college and two years at a state university. Students who earn an associate's of arts or associate's of science are certified to have fulfilled their general education requirements and they enter the four year school as juniors with 60 hours transferred. I would strongly suggest if your student is interested in this route that he or she be encouraged to choose their major as early as possible. They should meet regularly with the transfer advising staff at the community college to make sure they are on track. It is important to register for the right classes and keep the GPA up. Many community colleges host regular visits from admissions officers or transfer advisers from state universities as well.
  7. If he hasn't already done so start with a few visits of different types of schools - a bit state school, a small private school, etc. Sometimes just spending some times on campuses, even if they aren't all the schools he's considering, starts to clarify what is important. Also, if he has some strong direction in his major, he should spend some time on college websites really reading about the courses offered, the requirements for the major, looking at the research interests of faculty.
  8. Yes, less likely, but I wouldn't rule it out for a couple of reasons. First, having the APs (or SAT IIs or college courses) can be a vital part of getting through the admissions process successfully. Also, many of these colleges offer more AP credit or more placement of classes than people may guess. Here's a couple of examples of top colleges that provide quite a lot of credit for APs. Duke: Cornell:
  9. This idea for the guys: Look at some of the small liberal arts colleges where they are really struggling to have enough male students. They want balance and particularly when the balance looks like it'll slip below 30% they will really recruit guys. Some of these are former women's colleges. Particularly if you can play a sport, even just passably well, you may find yourself really wooed and rewarded with quite a nice merit scholarship. For everybody: Work Colleges Consortium: Some of these have much more competitive admissions than the stats suggest so look at the odds carefully. For everybody: We hear a lot of negatives about colleges not taking APs or CLEPs, but the reality remains that majority of colleges do. It can be a pretty easy way for a lot of students to shave a year off college. This is particularly true for students looking at state universities. I've seen MANY students at our state flagship knock off a year of credits and meet many general education requirements pretty easily through AP or CLEP. That easily can add up to a year tuition saved (and more if they plan to live on campus). It also opens up the possibility that a student could complete a Master's during the same four year period.
  10. For students who are interested in this route, it can be done less expensively on your own. College Plus lists typical costs as $13,000-$16,000, and some of that is for fees to College Plus "coaching" and these fees are not covered by financial aid. For students with high financial need or high academic merit a traditional school may less expensive. For students who don't have those factors, they still have the option of self studying for CLEPs and completing an online degree through the same sorts of colleges College Plus uses. One caution I would issue though, we really don't know as time goes on how available these programs will be. I wouldn't be surprised if eventually Thomas Edison (the school they use a lot) may end up with accreditation problems or students may end up needing to a larger percentage of real online classes instead of just CLEPs or DANTEs exams. It is unusual to have a school that allows students to rely so heavily on testing and that may not be sustainable over time. Also, students should know majors are very limited under these types of programs.
  11. This is very wise. Bring kids in on the planning process early. Too many families feel bad so they bury their heads in the sand. Much better to be hon with your kids. Let them know what a difference prepping for tests can make. Teach them how to look at colleges with costs in mind. Avoid the fixation on the one dream school that may not be affordable or realistic. Even for the rare lucky families who can afford to pay for everything -your kids need to understand education is a privilege and their job is to work hard.
  12. Some resources that worked well for us - not free but your library may have some of these (and some of the others you can probably get older editions for pretty cheap). Books by Martin Gardner and Ian Stewart. Teaching Company courses. - Joy of Mathematics is good and there are many others. Thinkwell courses with Dr. Burger (he's on some of the TC courses too). This book Yes, it is supposed to be a college level book but there are problem solving portions that would certainly be appropriate for middle schoolers. Just as an exploratory thing he might want to search for free fractal drawing software online. That can be fun to play with.
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