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Scholarship Gold Consulting- Helping students prepare for college and compete for scholarships
                                             Elizabeth Hartley, coach/consultant/author 
June 2013
Vol 2, Issue 1


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"College Wise


 a free monthly newsletter by Elizabeth Hartley,  



 Personal Note

Hi college bound friends- 


I hope your summer is off to a great start!  Make sure to plan something fun, something for community service, something personally enriching for you (like a job shadow, college campus-based camp, etc.)  and make sure to read a few good books in the meantime.  Enjoy your summer and fill it full of meaningful things!


Things on this end have not slowed down one bit.  If anything, they're more hectic than ever.  If you are considering scheduling a private session for this summer/early fall, please let me know soon.  I only have 4 more slots open until the middle of August.  There is a College Bound Essentials class on Aug 18th that may work as a good alternative for some folks (details in the email below).  There may be some time slots that open up the last few days of July, once we know if my son is going to the Nationals for swimming.  If he doesn't make Nationals, I'll be able to fill those days. 


Rising seniors- there is a whole section in this newsletter dedicated to you. Lots of important details so please read!


Rising juniors- Be sure to spend some time preparing for the PSAT, which will take place mid-October.  If you score well (typically 214 for NC or 210 for SC) out of a perfect 240, then you will likely make National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist.  If that's the case, then you may well be in line for a full ride to dozens of major universities.  The bottom line- Allocate time to preparing for the PSAT so that you can maximize your chances of these nearly instant full rides.  The best way to prepare for the PSAT is to study for the SAT.  Use any combination of books, online tutoring such as www.Eprep.com and/or classes.  Details are listed in the newsletter below.


Lots of news in this edition-  I hope you find it helpful!


*NOTE!  There was a typo last time on the SAT dates for next year.  Please see the updated list of SAT and ACT dates at the end of this newsletter.  


Have a great summer!


  Elizabeth      head shot 2012


Rising Seniors- Time to Ramp Up!
Rising Seniors- Below is the timeline that you'll need to keep in mind for this coming fall. My best advice is to start early- before school starts back. It will make your fall so much less stressful!
Over the Summer- The Common Application is an online application that is accepted by hundreds of colleges and universities.  Since the topics for next year have just been released, you can write your Common Application essay in advance.  To see if any of the schools you are applying to uses the Common App, click here.  Choose from one of the following essay prompts.  Essays should be between 250-650 words.  

* Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their
application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

* Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons
did you learn?

* Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you
make the same decision again?

* Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience
there, and why is it meaningful to you?

* Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from
childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. 
Aug 1st- The new Common Application opens up for seniors to create their login and password.  You can start the main portion of the Common Application now (name, address, school info, test scores, etc.). Each college's individual writing supplements will come available the first two weeks of August.  (Do not fill out the Common Application now.  It will be locked down and cleared on July 10th.  Any info you fill out now will disappear.)  The whole application has been redesigned and will be launched Aug 1.  You can even go ahead and paste in your Common Application essay you wrote over the summer.  Make sure you send your SAT and/or ACT scores as well as transcripts.
Aug 23- Deadline to register for the Sept 21 ACT. 
Sept 6- Deadline to register for the Oct 5 SAT.
Sept 21- ACT
Oct 5- SAT
Aug 1- Thanksgiving- Aim to have all your college applications submitted as well as any associated scholarship applications.  I encourage you to do Early Action/Early Notification to as many that offer it.  Early Action just means that you want to hear back early, usually around Christmas.  Be very careful about Early Decision, however, since it creates a legally binding contract that states that if you are admitted, you promise to attend and immediately withdraw all other applications.  Only do Early Decision if a school is your top choice and money is not a consideration.

Thanksgiving- New Years Day- Enjoy family time and relax!

Jan 1- FAFSA becomes available for parents to complete.  Do it as soon after Jan 1 as possible, even if you don't think you will qualify for federal aid.  There are many other benefits to completing it- too many to list here.  Go onto fafsa.ed.gov to fill this out- not fafsa.com. Fafsa.com is not the real site but will collect all your private financial information and charge you $80.  Don't do it.

Feb- This is the month that many scholarship interviews take place.  Practice interviewing ahead of time, research the school and scholarship thoroughly and dress sharply!
Mar-  Financial packages are sent out to families, detailing all need-based and merit-based aid the school is offering to the student.  If you aren't happy with what you're left paying, file a financial appeal to the school's financial aid office and give them the opportunity to revise it.

May 1- By this date, you must tell each school your final decision regarding where you plan to attend.

So there you have it- your upcoming year in a nutshell!  Be proactive, keep good records and take time to visit as many of your prospective schools as possible before you commit.  Graduation will be here before you know it!

If you haven't already hit that perfect score on your standardized tests, don't despair!  There are many affordable and effective options to consider.  It is entirely possible to bring up your scores substantially with the right preparation.  Below are some that I particularly like.

1- Take a class that teaches you strategies and insights to help you get great scores.

College Prep Genius SAT Workshop 
    August 15 and 16, 9:00-2:30 both days (10 hours total)
Lake Wylie- Good Samaritan Methodist Church 
This intense 2-day class provides extremely helpful guidance on how to maximize your SAT or PSAT score!  This course was designed by Jean Burk, who has analyzed countless past SAT's and PSAT's and can teach students the tips, strategies and test-taking methods that can add hundreds of points to their scores.
Jean Burk has been featured on major networks, including the TODAY show, and currently travels the world to teach her proven methods for mastering the SAT. This 10 hour class over two days will demystify the test and equip students with valuable insights, strategies, tips and methods to maximize their score.  This fun but intense two-day course provides the students with a text book, workbook and take home set of DVD's for future review for only $149 for early registrants.  Siblings come along for only $99.  If your student needs to boost their PSAT or SAT scores, this is a valuable class.  
Click here to sign up.  For a small investment of time and funds, it has the ability to make a big difference.
2- Use an online resource such as www.EPREP (good for SAT or ACT prep).  It uses helpful 2 minute video tutorials to show you how to solve any problem you miss.  The video launches as soon as you enter a wrong answer.  It's like having a private tutor sitting by your side.  I do get a counselor discount with them (about 15%) and I'm glad to pass it along to anyone who would like it.  To explore, to to www.eprep.com, click on SAT, then click on "View Demo Questions" on the little sticky note.  Try your hand at some of the sample questions. Make sure to enter a wrong answer to see what happens.
3- Quiz yourself with free interactive flashcards from Varsity Tutors- click here.  
4- Use a helpful book such as Hack the SAT or Up Your Score- available on Amazon.
The point is, find what works for you and commit yourself to it.  This is important!

College Bound Essentials Class 
in Lake Wylie Sunday, Aug 18, 4:00-7:00

Essay Writing for Admissions and Scholarships
Aug, Sept and Oct

August 18- College Bound Essentials!
Conveniently timed just after Jean Burk's SAT class
If you want an organized, extremely thorough workshop on preparing for and navigating all elements of preparing for and applying to college, finding scholarships and negotiating financial aid, then don't miss College Bound Essentials on Sunday, August 18th from 4:00-7:00 pm at Good Samaritan Methodist Church in Lake Wylie  (on the corner diagonally across from Walgreens). 
 Student admission is only $75 but parents are strongly encouraged to come along at no charge.  A large workbook for resources is included.  For details and registration, click HERE.  While many families prefer to get this information in a private session, since my appointments are almost entirely booked up through mid-August, attending this class on Aug 18th may be an effective way of getting this information before school starts.  Then, we can still follow up with a shorter, private session at a later date if you like.
Essay Writing for College Admissions and Scholarships
A well-written essay can be an instrumental part of a successful application but there are some definite do's and don'ts students need to know before they put pen to paper.  This class will cover the secrets to the most effective and compelling essays and allow them to draft their essay during class, under personal guidance and assistance. Because this is a popular class and since I limit the size of each one so that each student can get personalized attention, it will be offered three times this fall.
Aug 24- (Saturday)- 9:00-noon- To reserve your spot, click here.
Sept 22 (Sunday) 4:00-7:00- To reserve your spot, click here.
Oct 20 (Sunday) 4:00-7:00- To reserve your spot, click here.

Reminder-  You can always find my upcoming workshops and public speaking engagements on the Events Tab of ScholarshipGold.com.

Register for SAT/ACT 

NO SAT or ACT tests are given over the summer.  All upcoming test dates are listed below.  

SAT TEST DATES:  Register 4-6 weeks ahead on www.collegeboard.com.
$49 to register, $75 if late
SAT DATES 2013-2014 

Oct 5th     register by Sept 6
Nov 2nd    register by Oct 3
Dec 7th     register by Nov 8
Jan 25th    register by Dec 27
Mar 8th     register by Feb 7
May 3rd     register by Apr 4
June 7th    register by May 9
Not sure which test to take?  Take one of each and compare your scores.
013 ACT test dates
  (Yes, take  writing portion.)
ACT TEST DATES- Register 4-6 weeks ahead on www.actstudent.org.


Sep 21st    register by Aug 23rd
Oct 26th    register by Sept 27th
Dec 14th    register by Nov 8th   
Feb 8th     register by Jan 10
Apr 12th    register by Mar 7
Jun 14th    register by May 9
How to Choose the Colleges that are Right for YOU 


With over 4000 colleges and universities in the USA, how do you even begin to narrow it down to a list of a dozen or less to pursue?  Well, if you are one of the 92% of families who say that financial considerations will impact where their students attend college, I'll share with you the approach I usually use when working with families.  

1- Start with at least one in-state public university/college.  Your in-state schools will have the lowest starting sticker price of your 4-year options.  However, in the end, they are often your most expensive option, compared to the generous aid and scholarships from private schools.  Still, good to have that base covered.  If you are a resident of NC, be mindful that UNC is nobody's safety school.  If you're applying to UNC, I recommend picking an additional NC public school as well.

2- Consider private schools that offer merit scholarships and need-based aid- (Ex. Furman, Wofford, Presbyterian, Mercer, Sewanee)  While private schools have substantially higher sticker prices than state schools, in many cases they can be so generous with need-based aid and scholarships that the family's out of pocket expense is less than what they would pay at a state school.  Just today I had a joyful single mom call me to report that, after we submitted a financial aid appeal, her son was going to attend an elite private school for only $7000/year, even though the sticker price was almost $50,000/year. 

3- Consider private schools that offer no merit scholarships but great need-based aid (ex. Vanderbilt, Duke, all the Ivy Leagues, Davidson, Amherst, Williams)  
These top-tier schools don't need to use merit scholarships to attract the best and brightest students so they instead provide exceptionally generous need-based aid to their accepted students.  Getting in is the tricky part.  So, if you have a very bright student and are of middle to modest incomes, this could be a great option.  Most Ivy Leagues will say that if your family income is less than $100-$120k per year, your tuition is free.  That won't happen at a state public school.
4-  Consider out of state public schools-  Out of state public universities can be the priciest option of all unless you've learned of a program that will waive the out-of-state tuition rate.  Look for majors that qualify for in-state tuition by searching the Academic Common Market (on www.sreb.org) or by having exceptionally high SAT or ACT scores.  Many schools will waive that higher rate in order to attract top students.  
In Summary-  As you're narrowing down your choices, I encourage you to visit as many schools as you can and do your research on them.  I especially look for schools that have high freshman retention rates (i.e., they show up again to be sophomores), high 4-year graduation rates and low student-to-faculty ratios.  You can find those statistics and more on www.nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator.  I hope this helps!

Practice Interview Question of the month 

Essays, admission interviews and scholarship interviews involve addressing questions that require reflection and self-awareness. Each month I provide you with a commonly used question for you to consider.  How would you answer this one?

"Where are you the happiest? Why? What do you do there?"


Helpful Websites


For a full reference page of helpful and (mostly) free sites and resources that I use frequently in my consulting, click here.   I like to pass along a good thing!


That's all for this edition!  I hope this information will help you navigate your college admission and scholarship pursuits a bit better.  If there is a topic you would like me to cover in an upcoming
newsletter, please e-mail me at HartleyGold@yahoo.com and let me know!  
I work with schools, districts, homeschool groups and individual students with respect to being fully prepared for college admission and scholarship competition.  Visit my site at www.ScholarshipGold.com anytime to review my credentials, services offered and events planned.
If your organization or students would like to discuss these services, please e-mail me at the address above for availability and rates.  It's your future-- make it remarkable!

Elizabeth Hartley                 

Scholarship Gold Consulting                                         


 HartleyGold@yahoo.com                                                  www.ScholarshipGold.com 

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