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Barbara H

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Everything posted by Barbara H

  1. I'm enjoying reading this thread. I appreciate the thoughtful and respectful discussion. The last time I checked our state university has over 20 religious organizations. Several of the Christian organizations are really active. One has over 500 student members and they have events throughout the year. There are students who build a lot of their campus life around involvement in the religious organization. Of course you have no guarantee that your student will want this kind of involvement, but you also have no guarantee of that as a small Christian school because adults have free will and you can't dictate faith. What you can know is if your student wants to be heavily involved in a faith based organization there are plenty of opportunities to do so in college no matter what college they attend.
  2. For college search I suggest Fiske Guide to Colleges and the Colleges that Change Lives. On paying for college I suggest Princeton Reviews Paying for College without Growing Broke. Sophomore year isn't too early to visit colleges. For most students the big college tour doesn't make sense at that point, but it can be a good time to visit a couple of schools in your local area or when you are on vacation. Even if the schools in your local area aren't where your student is likely to end up, just visiting a big school and a small school to start can help them start to think about college and it help some students with motivation to start to think about the next steps. I also invite you to visit my website (see my signature line) for helpful articles about college admissions for homeschoolers.
  3. Income based repayment or public sector work forgiveness are great options for some students. It sounds like the problem for this student is that she's saddled with large private loans. That's one of the downsides of private loans is that they aren't covered by options like income based repayment or public sector work forgiveness. She's in a really tough situation.
  4. Thanks for sharing this article. This is an unusually extreme but very sad story. As the article mentions the average amount of student loan debt is under $30,000. Not an insignificant sum of money, but it is an amount that many students find manageable and a good investment. One thought I had while reading this article is that it is a good reminder why high school students benefit from having some kind of financial literacy training or class. This isn't just a college financing issue. Lack of understanding of financing gets a lot of people in trouble with stuff like car loans, rent to own furniture, etc. It is sometimes possible to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy but it is complicated and difficult. Given the extreme nature of this situation, yes, it seems like consulting an attorney that specializes in this area would be a good idea. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-rhode/some-private-student-loan_b_3652935.html
  5. No message... tried to share link but it won't work. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
  6. Hooray! It is encouraging to see good test scores coming back. What the SAT and ACT are trying to do is get state contracts. Having test products that go back into middle school is a way to help establish their product line. So, the Readistep is a test for 8th graders that is sort of a pre-pre-SAT. What I'd probably conclude is this - your child has the potential to score well on college placement tests. Without going overboard it may be worth putting just a little bit of time into it over the next few years. Make sure she's on the right place for the math sequence to do well on the PSAT and ACT/PSAT when the time is right. Take the time to do a sample test at home every year and a little bit of prep before the test. Often for students who have the potential to score well even very modest amounts of prep (10 to 20 hours) can make a huge difference. I personally find that to be worthwhile because the scholarship payouts can be huge. Worst case scenario if they don't score high, you've not lost anything because learning a bit about test taking skills is a good investment of time for any college bound student.
  7. The federal financial aid formula does take the older parent's age into account by allowing for greater asset protection as parents get older. So, by the time a parent is over 65 that might be up to $80,000 in assets. Also, if the retirement is happening midyear in a way that will not be well reflected on forms, you could talk to the financial aid office about that and ask them to use their judgement and some will adjust the award. I would not hesitate to bring this question directly to the financial aid officer at your child's school. They should be able to tell you how they will handle this.
  8. Welcome! What I think we can establish with absolute certainty is that there are many homeschoolers who have do very well both in college admissions and in scholarships. As a college counselor I work with public and private students as well as homeschoolers and I find teens who work hard can do well with a wide variety of approaches to high school. The biggest difference I see between traditional approaches and homeschooling is that the homeschool students have a lot more flexibility and freedom to develop their interests. They also tend to be better rested and less stressed. I personally do not find homeschoolers to be at any disadvantage in the college admissions process. I would not let any concern about long term outcomes with testing or admissions discourage you from homeschooling. If anything homeschooling can be an advantage. I have a few articles on my site that might be of interest with the questions you are considering right now. Academic Benefits of Homeschooling High School Family Benefits of Homeschooling High School Are Colleges Recruiting Homeschoolers?
  9. While it can be frustrating when fees pile up, before you panic remember many of the things mentioned here are typically included in the budget used to calculate the student's financial need. If your student isn't a candidate for financial aid you may end up paying all of this out of pocket, but for many students some or all of these costs may be included in financial aid or scholarships. Some full rides really are full rides that include books, etc. Some students are really only paying for pocket money type of expenses ( pizza, toothpaste, haircuts, etc.) One thing to watch out for are limitations on scholarships - some will cover only a limited number of meals or particular dorm accommodations. It is important to look carefully room and board choices and be aware costs might vary based on the level of accommodations. Also, I'm a big fan of really talking about budgeting and lifestyle expectations. Sometimes teens are unaware of how fast stuff like Starbucks, bottled water, and movies can add up. There is a lot of entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.) on most campuses available for free and motivated students on a budget can find a lot of ways to cut costs.
  10. Ug... I hate that, but it is great you shared the reminder. Our student had to opt out via a form available through the online portal. It is not in a particularly obvious or noticeable place on the portal and the school sends only one email informing student so I'm sure it is often missed. Parents of high school seniors - there is a fair amount stuff that will come by email or through online portals and teens don't always think to check it. In addition to the insurance issue, families are sometimes caught off guard by dates for dorm registration or orientation. It can be easy for this stuff to get lost in the shuffle or overlooked.
  11. LOL on the it is like Kohl's comment. Yeah, there is definitely a lot of sticker price discounting. The research I've read on college costs suggests that there two things at play. One is declining govermental support for education. And, the second factor is that colleges are especially hurt by two kinds of costs that have risen faster than inflation - health care and energy for heating all those big buildings.
  12. An oldie but a goodie... You might enjoy this update. http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~john/resp.html
  13. My suggestion is to start with the free materials on the ETS site. https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/ Also, just a heads up. While GRE tests are offered on computer and they are offered many days it can take awhile to get on the schedule in some areas. In our area it took about five weeks to get on the schedule for a day time testing slot so it may be good to check ahead and leave time before the deadline.
  14. I'm sorry about your brother in law. It is not at all important that you get the FAFSA done right on January 1 and if you get it done sometime in January that's good. The main thing we are trying to avoid is families putting it off until later in the spring. In my state the money sometimes runs out in February. Also, just as encouragement, it takes on average 20-30 minutes to do the FAFSA. For most families with straight forward financial situations it is pretty easy to do.
  15. CLEP will only carry weight at less selective colleges and most of those colleges will require little in the way out of outside validation anyway. That said, if she enjoys testing the CLEP certainly won't hurt and it sounds like she is ready to do very well. If she's looking for access to college biology opportunities the AP or SAT subject test would carry a lot more weight than the CLEP. The SAT subject test is similar to the CLEP in that it is a shorter exam and is all multiple choice. As far as AP tests for homeschoolers, often public and private schools will let homeschoolers sit for exams. They may not advertise that fact, but in most areas students can find some place to take the more popular exams and that includes AP bio. While the AP does require free response writing there are HG/PG kids who have taken it at that age and done well though so I would not rule it out without a practice exam. We found along with SAT/ACT, AP results were the most effective way to demonstrate readiness for early college options.
  16. Lots of good suggestions. I'll add my two cents... When an office is really well run (short wait times, prescription refills called in quickly, easily accessible electronic records, phone calls returned) it makes a big difference to the patient experience. So my advice is take time to learn a bit about business management and invest in a really good staff that makes it so you can do your job well.
  17. That was fun! Congrats to Logan and the rest of the contestants. Those kids are really amazing!
  18. My inclination would be to pursue it now with the hopes they will be flexible and work with her schedule. My guess is that they will be accommodating because departments like to retain their very best students (and if she's competitive for this award it sounds like she has the potential to be one of their very best students).
  19. Two hours is very little time and I'm sure in addition to the very sizable scholarship it may lead to other important opportunities to get to know professors and that may lead to stuff like research opportunities, presenting at conferences, etc. On a per hour basis that would add up to A LOT of money. That said some sports are crazy demanding. So, one place to start - has she been given an estimate as to how much time per week her sport will take? That's really a key question because it varies widely based on sport and competitiveness of the program.
  20. I know this is not exactly what you asked... but I would encourage him to meet with his advisor right away if he's not done so already. The goal would be to try to make sure that he has the least damaging exit possible in case he wants to return to school down the road. It varies widely from school to school how late students can withdraw with a W instead of a failing grade, but it would be good to check if that's still an option.
  21. It is so frustrating when instructors do not return graded work in a timely manner. Getting back graded work is part of how students learn and the instructor isn't doing their job if students don't get anything back until the end of the semester. Has your daughter had a chance been able to go to office hours or make an appointment and talk with the English instructor? If that hasn't already been done that's a really important step. And, yes, I think it would be appropriate for her to say that wildlife biology is dinner table conversation at her house and she have assumed more general knowledge on the topic than she should have. It is important for the instructor to have that information.
  22. I can't speak to how any news stories may have misinterpreted the report, but if you read the actual full report it doesn't in any way blame homeschooling. In fact it makes it clear that Adam Lanza wasn't homeschooled. "AL was not homeschooled" (pages 44 and 45, it explains how he was on "homebound" education and how this is totally distinct from homeschooling.) It notes that there is no record that district provided services they were supposed to provide. I understand the worry that somehow this will lead to blame of homeschooling or Asperger's or kids who are different in some way... but there are no such messages in the report. Not a bit. Adam was very, very sick and he was getting no help. He was living in isolation in a darkened room with no social contact with anyone including his family. He was cutoff from society. He was anorexic and clearly very ill. None of that has anything to do with homeschooling and he was never homeschooled anyway. Editing to Add. If anyone wants to read the full report it is linked in the first sentence of this article. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/11/21/new-report-examines-missed-opportunities-in-newtown-shooter-adam-lanzas-past/
  23. While 30 is ridiculous, it makes sense for a lot of students to put in somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-12 applications. Everyone has a different situation but for students with high financial need and students who are looking at top tier schools it is smart to put some effort and money into applications. Some students end up with pretty predictable financial/merit aid offers but other students have widely variable offers. The same student may have offers from free to pay us $65,000 a year. One of the best ways families can lower their cost of college is develop a carefully selected list of colleges and to put in an adequate number of applications.
  24. I hope she can find a good diagnosis and treatment soon. It is fortunate in the meantime that homeschooling can bend a bit. I would stick with math because that's the hardest area for most people to play catch up on later. Four years of math and four years of English are required by most colleges. Students can apply with fewer years of science, social science, and foreign language. On the "off" days can she still read or watch videos? If so, I'd think about maybe shifting history over to a video based curriculum like watching Teaching Company videos. In difficult times not every subject needs the same level of written output. Also, if you are currently tied to the traditional school year - M-F, summers off - it might be good to reassess to allow for shorter periods of work on days when she's feeling better. That's what many students with medical challenges do and it can take off a lot of pressure.
  25. It might help to have more detail. How old are your teens? What sort of things are they involved in? Are they just expressing general unhappiness or does it seem to be around particular areas? I will say that I think all people have unhappiness from time to time, that's pretty normal, but I don't think all teens are unhappy most of the time. I meet quite a few teens who are pretty pleased with their lives. I do think you touch on something important in the part I quoted above. Most teens do need to be "out in the world" where they can develop new skills and feel acceptance from positive accomplishments. There are many ways this can happen - work, volunteering, college classes, working with adult mentors, extracurricular activities, involvement in church or community organizations, etc. The teen years shouldn't just be a long "snooze button" waiting for life to start, but instead a chance to bit by bit develop the skills they will need as adults.
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