And the Award Goes to… Our Amazing Clients!

And the Award Goes to… Our Amazing Clients!

Further proof that when you take our advice and follow our system, you get fantastic results…

The College Money Guys is pleased to announce that our final scholarship numbers for our class of 2015 students have just been finalized.  We were able to help last year’s Seniors achieve My man oscarover $10,151,330.00 in free money for college!  That’s an average of over $150,000.00 PER STUDENT for 2015.  This is grant and scholarship money and does not include any loans (which only make college more expensive).

In addition, we are over the Five Million dollar mark for our class of 2016 Seniors and not even half of our 2016 class have reported yet.

Thanks to our students and their families for another record year!



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Should Your Student Take 4 Years of Foreign Language?

Should Your Student Take 4 Years of Foreign Language?

DSCN0680A few days ago, I was talking with one of our clients about their daughter’s Spanish classes.  She is struggling (a little… she currently has a “B”) with the class and they wanted to know if she should drop the class and take a different elective, perhaps one in which she could easily get an “A”. Many students (and parents!) struggle with this question. They often wonder if taking two years of one language in high school is enough. Here’s the thing – it’s not just about the grade; it’s about what your transcript is telling the admissions office.  It’s about the message you’re sending; the message beyond what any transcript will ever show.

I was on the Texas Classical Society’s website and came across a number of quotes from admissions personnel that specifically address this issue. Any time you can get inside the head of an admissions officer it’s a valuable exercise.  Remember, scholarships and grants are greatly influenced by how much interest the college or university has in your son or daughter.  Any time you can give yourself a leg up over the competition you not only increase the likelihood of admission, you also increase the likelihood of receiving free money for college. I can’t emphasize this point enough.  Financial aid is often used as MARKETING.

So… having said that, here’s what college admissions personnel are saying when they look at the language section of an applicant’s high school transcript.


“[. . .] the student studying for four years has a genuine interest in knowledge and education, not just in fulfilling minimum foreign language requirements.”  – Matthew Potts, Admissions Counselor, University of Notre Dame


“We give the most consideration to students who have taken the highest level language available at their school.” – Robert Killion, Office of Admissions, Haverford College


“Our recommendation is that, in terms of high school preparation, students take 4 years of a single language, believing that achieving proficiency in a language is preferable to not quite achieving proficiency in two.”  – Steve LeMenager, Director of Admissions, Princeton University


“[. . .] the more years of a language, the better—it shows that the student has gone beyond the minimum requirement.” – Lia Brassord,  Assistant Director of Admissions, Smith College


“While most colleges do not require four years of a language or a science for admission, dropping a discipline can be detrimental to a student’s chances of being admitted. Admission Officers are looking for students who have challenged themselves in many areas. At the most competitive colleges in the country, Admission Officers are making distinctions between thousands of overly qualified applicants. In speaking with students about senior year course selection, we encourage students to think carefully before dropping a language.” – Andrea Thomas, Assistant Dean of Admission, Hamilton College


“[. . .] depth and mastery are important in the serious study of any discipline. The student who is willing to do more than the minimum is always more appealing.” – Ray Brown, Dean of Admissions, Texas Christian University


“We look for at least three years of study of the same language for many of our programs. If not completed before admission, it must be made up with a year of college-level study.” – B.J. Ore, Sr. Associate Director of Admissions, University of Pittsburgh


“Ideally a student will present at least 4 years of the same language (classical or modern) if the curriculum allows.” – Terry Cowdrey, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, St. Lawrence University


“The more years in one language the better it shows commitment and desire for proficiency.” – Dennis O’Driscoll, Director of Admissions, Creighton University


“Three to four years of a language shows follow-through and a deeper level of interest.” – Michael C. Behnke, Vice President for Enrollment, University of Chicago


© 2012, Texas Classical Association. This survey was made possible by support from the American Classical League.

Permission to copy and distribute is granted and encouraged.

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Top 5 Myths about Who Qualifies For Financial Aid

Top 5 Myths about Who Qualifies For Financial Aid

In need of financial aid but think you don’t qualify?

You may have participated in or over-heard parents discussing the high cost of college. These conversations typically end up with everyone agreeing that they make too much money for financial aid or that they are not from the ‘right’ ethnic group to qualify for free money. In reality these thoughts are actually myths. There are several myths circulating out there; so I wanted to offer some clarity on the five we hear about the most.

Myth 1

People think that they make way too much money to get aid so they don’t try for it. Or if they do fill out the forms they do so without reading the instructions or taking much care, because they are convinced they will not qualify. Don’t let this self-fulfilling prophesy catch you! Many of the families that do apply have six figure incomes and still get aid. So don’t assume you don’t qualify.

Myth 2

People think that only student athletes or academically gifted students will receive financial aid, or that they automatically get money. On the contrary, financial aid is based solely on the financial need of the student, not their position or education level. Every student has to go through the same application process and get evaluated based on financial need.

Myth 3

People think that because their student is a minority, they won’t qualify for money. Or, if their student is not a minority, they will later lose the money they are entitled to. Just as with myth 2, the same applies to myth 3. Minorities have to go through the same process and fill out the application. Their determination is based solely on financial need. The college goes by a formula of COA (Cost of Attendance) – FC (Family Contribution) to arrive at the student’s financial aid need or FN. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if a Caucasian student was thinking about attending Howard University, a predominantly African American school, they may be offered additional money from the school that is looking to diversify their student body. Another example would be an engineering department giving precedence to a female over a male. Other than this, the process of filing for college and financial aid still has to be followed.

Myth 4

Guidance counselors are trained to help your student get into college. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Their job is to help your child graduate high school – period! Most of them don’t even know the process of applying to colleges, and often give damaging advice. Unfortunately they are often assigned to far more students than they are able to serve effectively, which simply compounds the problem.

Myth 5

Colleges and Universities can help. Again, this is not true. They may not be the enemy, but asking them how you can get more money for college is like asking the IRS how you can lower your taxes.

By being aware of the myths you can make informed decisions about the college admission and application process. Feel free to explore our blog where you will find additional information to help you navigate this journey. In addition, you are welcome to register for one of our workshops where you will learn how to pay for college without going broke!

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Social Media in the College Search

Social Media in the College Search

I recently read an article written by Lynn O’Shaughnessy explaining how services had emerged online to help students find important information about colleges. Three sites were targeted as most helpful in finding the right college. These sites are Facebook, Cappex and Zinch.

The best known of these sites is Facebook. A full 90 percent of four-year schools have Facebook fan pages. Students can use these fan pages to take virtual campus tours, access You Tube videos, view student comments and ask questions. For the most part Facebook is used by students that already have a short list of schools and want to become more familiar with the schools they are most likely to attend.

Cappex is a very large database that includes four year colleges as well as other institutions of higher learning. One of the most helpful features of this site is the amount of information dealing with the availability of merit scholarships at participating institutions. Another useful tool is the “What Are My Chances” calculator. This option uses the student profile to assess whether the student has a realistic chance of admission into a particular school

Zinch is a smaller database made up only of four-year colleges. This site uses actual social networking to bring students and colleges together. The user can contact other students that have similar college interests, see which colleges have interest in them, search for classmates that are interested in the same colleges and contact admissions staffers directly.

Each of these sites requires the student develop a profile but they do not require that profile be made available to the colleges. All communication between student and college is managed by the sites so personnel email addresses and the home mailbox is not inundated with promotional material. This may be news to parents and some students that do not spend a lot of time using social networking sites. If the student is in high school and is not using one or more of these sites already, then check them out. The more information you have, the better decisions you make.

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Pulling an All-Nighter for the College Application

Pulling an All-Nighter for the College Application

Pulling an All NighterThe New York Times

August 10, 2010

Everyone has their own ideas about how, when and even why seniors should submit their college applications. Take a look at the reaction of admission professionals to a student who submitted his application only three hours after the application became available. In this case the early bird will have to wait with all the other birds to have a chance at getting the worm.

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Vocabulary and Spelling Still Count!

Vocabulary and Spelling Still Count!

Watching TV is Never Good for Me.

I recently saw a commercial on TV that really set me off.  It was for a women’s multi-vitamin, and the tagline was “There’s complete, and then there’s most complete.”  This is the kind of blatant misuse of the English language that gets students in trouble on the SAT all the time.  Isn’t MOST complete actually less than complete?  Imagine you’re an astronaut (yes, I know, some of you out there reading this actually ARE astronauts… bear with me) and the Flight Director comes into the briefing and says, “For this mission we’re going to send you up in the most complete shuttle we’ve got.” Time to head for the door, right?  It’s like being mostly dead or a little bit pregnant.  Most complete is not complete.

I tell my family on a regular basis that specific words in the English language have specific meanings.  Every time I hear someone say that a book is ‘entitled’ I cringe… (Really…? Entitled to what??  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness???) A good vocabulary is essential to not only doing well on the SAT and ACT but also in life.

Making a Waitress Cry

I was having lunch many years ago with a colleague of mine from Great Britain, named Paul Wofford. We were at a little pub in Georgetown just outside of Washington, D.C. and as he placed his order for fish and chips in his heavy, cockney flavored accent he also ordered two bottles of wine – one for each of us.  God bless the British and their wonderful customs… but I digress.  The waitress, probably a student at George Washington University, giggled and said, “That’s so cute!  You mean a glass, right?”   Paul’s face immediately became clouded.  He stood up, and in a voice that was anything but quiet, exclaimed “Last I checked, Love, we INVENTED the [expletive omitted] LANGUAGE!  I said bottles and I meant bottles!”  Everyone in the restaurant turned and stared. The little waitress stammered an apology, spun around and ran into the kitchen.  Two minutes later the manager appeared and asked us to leave.  We ended up eating at McDonald’s instead.

Lexiphany… huh?

It was funny at the time, it’s funnier to me now, and it illustrates a point.  Specific words have specific meanings. Superior command of the English language is important and, at the risk of sounding lexiphanic, it makes your conversations more saporous and engenders ataraxia, especially while writing an admissions essay. For those of you who may accuse me of sciolism, or allege my writing pleonastic, it is without jactation that I assure you I regularly enjoy studying vocabulary until lippitude.  [grin]

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