• Back to School: College Prep Tips You’ll Need Starting This Year

    As a high school senior, you’ll have a lot of planning and preparation  as you start your final year before college. There are some things all college-bound seniors have to do: begin their applications, ask teachers for recommendations, get their transcripts in order, and so on. Lately, there are several items in the news that have changed the college game — from states offering free tuition to colleges rescinding offers over students’ behavior — and still others that serve as reminders for how to navigate application season. Read on to learn about a few of the most important back-to-school dos for your senior year.

  • The Unspoken Rules of Financial Aid Applications

    Need-based financial aid is a lifesaver for many aspiring college students. This type of aid, which is awarded based on your family’s ability to contribute financially, can substantially ease the financial burden presented by college costs and make a college education possible even for families on tight budgets. It targets those who need help the most, increasing accessibility and helping to create a more level playing field for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

    However, need-based aid isn’t always a guarantee, a cure-all, or a smooth road forward. Policies differ by college, family and financial details can affect your eligibility in ways you don’t anticipate, and you may find that your eventual award doesn’t match up with your initial expectations. There are downsides, complications, and potential surprises in store for you as you navigate the aid application process.

    In this post, you’ll find five cold, hard truths about need-based financial aid—things that you might not realize until you receive your award letter, or even until later in your college career. If you’re applying for need-based financial aid, these are the things you need to know in order to be an informed aid recipient, assess your aid options, and keep your expectations realistic.

  • What If My Student Only Wants To Go To One College and Won’t Apply Anywhere Else?

    What happens when your high schooler seems to have eyes for only one college? What if, to your great concern, your child plans to apply to one school and one school only? What if your teen has decided that it’s the dream school or no school at all? How can you stay supportive without completely dashing dreams or contributing to false hopes?

    It can be a delicate scenario when a teen makes decisions about the future that are risky. On the one hand, being focused and determined is a great quality and if your teen gets into his or her dream school, all your worrying will be for naught. On the other, though, your student could be setting him or herself up for a potentially self-destructive outcome.

  • Should I Focus on Getting a STEM-Specific Education in High School?

    With all the recent hype about STEM education, you might be wondering if you should focus your academic efforts towards a higher education path in the STEM fields. Should you load up on STEM area classes during high school, even if doing so may shortchange other areas like the humanities, arts, or social sciences?

    If you’re considering a focused pursuit of STEM classes and you’re curious as to what degree you should focus your work, this post is for you. Here, we outline the importance of a STEM education for intended STEM-majors and non-majors alike, its application in a competitive job market and beyond, and the bottom line for how to decide how much weight STEM classes will get in your high school class selections.

  • When to Encourage Your Student To Go To Community College

    Starting a four-year bachelor’s program straight out of high school can seem like a big commitment. One year most teens are living with their parents and leading a fairly structured life, and the next, they’re away from home and suddenly working their way towards complete independence and adulthood. For some, it’s a time to shine. For others, the transition is too much.

    This change doesn’t have to be so dramatic, though. There are ways to ease into the college experience for students who need a slightly slower start. If your teen needs some more time to mature, needs to focus on getting his or her grades up, or simply isn’t ready to start a 4-year program away from home, a community college might be a great option.

  • What Are The Best Financial Tips for a High School Student?

    College is not just a transition in terms of your academics and social life. It is also a significant shift in your level of independence. For many students, college represents the first time that you’re living away from home, and even if your parents continue to cover some of your expenses for you, you likely will have a lot more oversight over daily expenditures and your own budget.

    For this reason, high school is the ideal time to lay the groundwork for your new financial freedom. By developing practical budgeting and spending habits, thinking about your future, and understanding the basics of personal finances, you’ll set yourself up well for financial independence when you do make the move to college. In this post, we outline our five top financial tips for high school students.

  • 5 Reasons to Prioritize Health and Fitness in High School

    Health and fitness is an important and beneficial interest to pursue at any age, but it can be particularly helpful to build dedication in these areas during your years as a high schooler. These pursuits include everything from exercising regularly and eating nutritiously to educating yourself about how to get the most from your body and staying on top of your own preventative health care.

    Sometimes, when you’re busy, your own personal wellbeing and self-care can be shoved aside in favor of studying or student council. But taking care of yourself and building healthy habits as a high school student are important for you both right now and further down the line. Even if you don’t consider yourself a jock, prioritizing your dedication to health and fitness as a high school student has long-reaching benefits that extend far beyond your physical fitness. To learn about five of them, keep reading.

  • How to make yourself employable as early as possible — and why it matters

    In today’s competitive job market, many students and young people in general are beginning to think more and more about how to make themselves as employable as possible as early as possible. This is especially true for those who are interested in doing creative work or want to enter an industry that is known for being competitive or for not having many jobs available.

    While trying to get a publishing deal or interviewing for a CEO position at age 17 might be taking this a bit overboard, it’s valid to be concerned about whether or not you are on a path to become employable. After all, you’re probably thinking about the fact that you’ll be entering into the job market once you graduate from school. It also might be something your parents are thinking about — especially if your employability in your specific field is contingent on your going to college.

    Often, employability is less about reinventing the metaphorical wheel and more about taking small steps that will allow you to better plan for the future. Here are some tips to help you think about your employable skills and how you can build upon them throughout your young life.

  • So You Want To Make A Difference: Strong College Options for Public Service

    For many high school students, growing up means taking an interest in the big issues. As you expand your horizons, you may find that you’re developing the urge to give back to your community, solve problems you see around you, and generally make the world a better place.

    While you’re in high school and college, you’ll have many opportunities to pursue community service and volunteer positions as extracurricular activities, and you can also be active in your community as an adult during your free time. However, there’s another option as well: devoting your life more directly to helping others.

    There’s no one right way to make a difference in the world, but if serving others is your driving passion, certain colleges might be a particularly good fit. In this post, we’ll go over some schools and programs that are worth looking into if you intend to pursue public service.

  • 7 First-Rate Colleges for Applicants Who Aren’t U.S. Citizens

    As you go through the college application process, you’ll find that your academic and extracurricular qualifications aren’t the only parts of your history that become important considerations. Another factor that can come into play is your citizenship, particularly if you’re a U.S. resident, but not a U.S. citizen.

    Immigration issues can be extremely complicated and stressful to manage, of course, but not having your U.S. citizenship doesn’t mean that you can’t attend a college, even a top-tier college, in the U.S. Some schools are particularly welcoming to students like you, offering services from financial aid to legal support.

    Read on for our best college recommendations for non-citizens, as well as some tips for evaluating other colleges that you might be interested in.