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Do Service Hours Need to be with an Official Nonprofit?

I received a question asking if community service hours have to be done with an official nonprofit, or it can count if you are helping an individual or unofficial organization. 

It's a great question, and the answer is a little nuanced.

First off, what kind of school are you applying to? Do they have a holistic application process? If not, then you should have no problems at all. Highly competitive, holistically-evaluating colleges are more likely to care about the specific organization that you volunteer for. However, even in those cases, they are likely still willing to accept and count the service hours for a group that isn't a nonprofit, as long as a name for the group is provided (and possibly contact information).

A lot boils down to how you present the information. It helps a lot if you can provide a letter of recommendation from the individual or group you helped. You can also discuss and explain your volunteer efforts in your essay (depending upon the prompt).

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Ideal Course Load

college phase 4 phase 5 Jun 23, 2022
 

Guest post by Kimball Bullington, Ph.D.

When a new freshman enters college the question of how many hours to take is one that demands an immediate answer. Is there an ideal load? Should I take a light load to make the adjustment to college easier? Should I register for a heavy load and then drop the classes I don’t like?

The search for an ideal load for the beginning freshman begins with a look at the number of hours required to graduate. Divide the number of hours required to graduate by 8 to find the average number of hours you must take in order to graduate in four years without taking summer courses. For instance, if your school requires 120 hours that amounts to 30 hours per year or 15 hours per semester (120 / 8 = 15). The ideal beginning load would be the average number of hours to graduate in four years or slightly above average.

Isn’t it a good idea for beginning freshman to take less so as not to overload and give extra time for the adjustment to college? My...

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How I was Paid to Go To College - My Story

 

So how did I get here?

Well to start, this is not what I though I would be doing when I was in high school or college, though I still daily use the skills I acquired along the way.

I was homeschooled all the way through my high-school graduation, and was blessed to have an insider-track on college prep with a dad who was a college professor. This led to several steps that ultimately resulted in me getting paid to go to college:

1. I had a solid academic foundation

2. I had a clear picture of what career path I wanted to pursue

3. I knew the scholarship requirements early-on and set them as goals for myself in my test-prep

4. I was careful to meet the deadlines and make the right connections along the application process, and chose to go to an affordable school (even though I could have gotten into a higher-ranked college)

5. I didn't stop searching for scholarships once I got to college, but kept pursuing funding each semester

My second year of college I started tutoring...

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The Four Sources of Scholarships

phase 4 scholarships Jun 02, 2022
 

I was paid to go to college. Yep, at the beginning of each semester I received a check from the university as a reimbursement for scholarships I had received in excess of the cost of tuition. Between undergraduate and grad school I received over $500,000 in scholarships, grants, or assistantship awards or offers, and responding to questions about how I received so many scholarships is how I got started as a college prep consultant back in 2007.

It first helps to understand where the primary sources of scholarships are, so that you can create an intentional plan. Here are the four big sources of scholarships, and where to look for them.

 

Government Scholarships

While the Federal government does not offer any scholarships, your state government may offer some opportunities you should look into. These vary dramatically by state, but can comprise a substantial portion of the total scholarships available. In most cases, your application for the scholarships will include...

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A Virtual Guidance Counselor

 

If you’re a parent looking for help getting your teen prepared for college (or maybe a non-college path)  while still keeping the peace at home then you already know that there are a ton of decisions and options ahead.

You want to see your child succeed after high-school. You have researched and talked with friends, but there is so much conflicting college prep advice. Which exams should your high-school student take? When should they start preparing? Do you need to sign up for dual enrollment or AP tests? And how can you start preparing for college if your teen doesn't even know what he or she wants to do? What if they want to pursue a career path you don't know anything about? What then? If this sounds familiar then you are in the right place! 

I was paid to go to college because I had a clear plan for a career path, and I created UniversityReady to help families be strategic in their approach to career and college preparation!

My heart is to help...

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Should a senior fill a light school year with Dual Enrollment?

 

My senior doesn't have many credits left for his senior year and is doing Dual Enrollment, how many Dual Enrollment credits should he take so his transcript doesn't look weak that year?

If your teen is starting credits early in junior high, or if they end up taking very full semesters or a super senior year, it's very easy to end up in a situation where there just aren't many credits left their senior year.

That is normal.

Don't stress out over trying to pad their schedule with a bunch of extra courses. You don't need busywork to get into college. Here are a few considerations when trying to determine how much to take on that senior year:

Is your teen applying to a college that has a holistic application process?

We refer to a college as having a "holistic" application process if they are looking at all angles of the student, not just transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Many lower tier and state schools are not holistic, so having a bunch of DE course might help some, but not as...

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Pros and Cons of Pursuing an Associate Degree During High School

 

I received the following question this week: What are the pros and cons of earning an associate degree during high school?

There are more and more opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school, even leading up to a full Associate Degree. The person who asked the question lived in one of the growing number of states that offer a free or drastically reduced option for dual enrollment. This sounds great, get a whole Associate Degree while still in high school, but you should carefully consider the pros and cons first!

Pros:

  • Students can develop the study habits needed to excel at college while still in high school and with their high school resources and support team.
  • Completing an Associate Degree in high school can allow a student to jump right in to their major after graduation (rather than having to focus on general studies).
  • There are a growing number of well-paying jobs that only require an Associate Degree, providing more options for the student...
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Update on the SAT: Dropped Essay and Subject Tests

 

College Board made a big announcement in January that they were going to be discontinuing the SAT Subject Tests, discontinuing the optional SAT essay, and also that they were going to continue working towards a digitally delivered version of the SAT. 

What does this mean?

Dropped Subject Tests

The SAT Subject Tests were exams over individual subject areas that were used to supplement the primary SAT in the application process. Unlike the AP or CLEP tests, the SAT Subject Tests did not offer the possibility of earning students college credit.

The reality is fewer colleges have been requiring/recommending the SAT Subject tests anyways, with the ones who have been using the tests primarily being top-tier schools. So for most schools, this part of the announcement will not matter. College Board made this as a business decision, reflecting the fact that the demand for these tests was no longer there (amplified all the more by the COVID challenges to testing availability).

If...

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Tennessee Hope Scholarship VS The Tennessee Promise: What's The Difference?

 

2021 TENNESSEE PROMISE APPLICATION DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 1

Want personalized help on the college prep process? Schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation with college prep expert Matthew Bullington here!

Okay, so I'm just going to say, if you don't live in Tennessee, this post isn't for you.

Talk to you later!

But...if you do (like myself) live in the great state of Tennessee, keep reading...

I received a question last week asking "what is the difference between the Tennessee Hope Scholarship and the Tennessee Promise?"

Fair question. 

While the TN websites for each are fairly straightforward, there really isn't that much that concisely deals with what the difference is between the two, so I wanted to address that here.

SHORT ANSWER: The Tennessee Hope Scholarship is a 4-year scholarship funded by the state lottery that can be applied to any college/university in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Promise Scholarship covers the full tuition for an associate's degree at certain...

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