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Making the decision

28 Feb

Six of my family–including my husband, daughter, and I–have all graduated from UC Berkeley. The Greek Theatre is an impressive commencement site.

March is when a lot of exciting news comes: acceptances from the more exclusive schools, as well as financial aid offers. Then comes the time when you need to sit down with your parents and create a chart of pros and cons.

These are some factors to consider, as they may be important to you:

  • Location (distance from home, geographical location, city/suburban/rural, the “feel” of the community)
  • Transportation (How will you get there and back home? Related expenses?)
  • Size of the college
  • Reputation of college
  • Strength of the major program (Print out the online catalog pages that describe the major and its courses, so that you can visually compare the offerings.)
  • Study abroad program
  • Academic challenge (Allow yourself to be stretched!)
  • Campus life (Is it vibrant . . . or is it a commuter campus?)
  • Housing options
  • Financial aid offer

If you haven’t visited a campus for a school you’re still considering, spring break is the perfect time! However, even if you can’t, don’t dismiss that school as an option.

My oldest daughter was accepted at all five colleges to which she applied; she decided to go to the one she had NOT visited, because the school offered her a leadership scholarship, and she loved the idea that Biola University already viewed her as a leader. When we drove onto the campus in La Mirada, Orange County, California, for her freshman year, she FREAKED OUT, saying, “I hate this! I hate this!” Nevertheless, a week later she called home: “I love this! I love this!” She got both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees there — and did love every minute . . . including the five-minute drive to Disneyland. The lesson here is that even if you visit a campus and don’t initially like it, there may be other benefits that outweigh first impressions.

Yes, it’s a big decision . . . but know this: Every college has something wonderful to offer.

Remember to check your portal on your college websites DAILY . . . and stay on top of those deadlines.

Available for graduation gift pre-orders now:

Prep for placement tests

23 Feb

As you are narrowing your college selection choices, make sure you are staying on top of English and math placement requirements.

Most colleges need to know if their entering freshmen are going to be able to handle the rigors of college-level coursework. If you have not been contacted by your colleges about your English/math placement status, do a search under “placement testing” on the various college websites. On that web page you will find the college’s minimum requirements for placement into the various levels of mathematics and English, as well as other courses.

Typically, students need to (1) get high scores on the SAT or ACT, (2) pass a transferrable English composition exam from a college, or (2) pass an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam in English/Critical Reading/Writing and mathematics. If you didn’t meet the muster, you’ll need to do a placement exam.

In California those tests at public colleges are the following:

  • Accuplacer for most community colleges
  • English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry-Level Mathematics (ELM) for California State University campuses
  • Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE) for the University of California campuses

Since these are typically given in April and May, you need to check into this right now, so that you are able to enroll in classes this summer.

One more thing for your college checklist!


Super-excited to share with you this fun gift book for both high school and college grads.

Releasing in April, it’s a problem solver for gift-buying for the grads on your list.

Each of the 50 Life Lessons was written by a recent college grad–something your college grad(s) truly WILL read and take to heart.

Pre-order here:

Good deal for future teachers

1 Feb

Thinking about teaching? GREAT! There will be many teaching jobs available as the baby boomer generation continues to retire in the next handful of years.

Federal TEACH Grants can provide up to $4,000. To qualify you must do the following:

  • Be enrolled in, or plan to complete, coursework to begin a teaching career.
  • Maintain a cumulative 3.25 GPA or better.
  • Sign an agreement to serve as a paid, full-time teach in a high-need field serving low-income students.
  • Agree to teach at least four academic years within eight years of completing your program of study.

One caveat: If you fail to complete your obligation, the grant converts to an unsubsidized Stafford loan that you (the student) must repay with interest.

However, for those determined to go into teaching, the TEACH Grant is a great help.

For more info, you can go to this government website:


I’m super-excited about this new book coming out with Worthy Publishing in April–a perfect one-stop-shopping idea for all the graduates on your list, both high school and college grads. It’s available now for pre-order and early delivery to you on all online bookstores, including here at this Amazon link: