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


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"College Wise


 a free monthly newsletter by Elizabeth Hartley,  



 Personal Note

Hi college bound friends- 


Summer is flying by and school will be soon upon us!  I hope you're packing your summer with meaningful events, some volunteer work, a few great books, a bit of SAT or ACT prep and some great memories with friends and family.  That's a full summer.


A few quick items:


Corrected Link for College Bound Essentials Class on Sunday, Aug 18th.  - Something went awry with a link for registering for this absolutely essential workshop for students (and parents) of any college bound student grades 9-12.  Click HERE for details and registration.  Because I am already booked heavily into the fall for private sessions, I strongly encourage any families to start with this class first so they can get the info sooner than later.  


Your future sign College Applications and Scholarship Success Workshop- 
Sunday, Aug 25th 1:00-4:00 and Sunday, Sept 22nd 1:00-4:00.   
By request- a NEW, never before offered, workshop for seniors only (and parents)- There is such a myriad of things to know and do when applying to college and pursuing scholarships that it warrants its own workshop.  This detailed class will cover everything from:
- choosing the colleges (how many, which ones, etc.), 
- finding out their scholarship and financial aid opportunities, 
- completing the application, 
- basic rules of writing the essay, 
- sending the SAT/ACT/SAT subject test scores, 
- getting letters of recommendation and more
- getting organized and having a clear plan of parent/student communication throughout it all
....all while balancing schoolwork, sports, and the stress of the senior year.  
To learn more about this new workshop and get peace of mind knowing that you have all the critical bases covered throughout this important process:
click here  for the Aug 25th class or
click here for the Sept 22nd class.  


Lots Below- check it out!

Some helpful information is included in the email below. I know my newsletters are a bit lengthy but just give a quick scroll through the various topics and just pick the ones that are of interest to you! Your most helpful article might be at the end!


 I hope you enjoy it and have a great rest of the summer!



  Elizabeth      head shot 2012


Fall Strategy for Managing Unexpected Consults- please read

Many seniors are already eagerly anticipating the exciting process of college applications and I'm getting inundated already with phone calls (sometimes at 11:00 pm!) and dozens of emails a day from people asking for favors such as editing essays or advising on pretty major decisions. These  "quick" phone calls and favors can easily stretch into an hour that I didn't budget into my workday. Since I'm heavily booked into September already with private students, my concierge students, classes and the schools I work for, even an unexpected hour here and there can wreak havoc on a carefully planned day.


Situation-   Although I truly LOVE what I do, I need to enlist your help in managing the months ahead.  I already work till about 1:00 a.m. most nights (as a matter of fact, it is 1:10 a.m. as I type this) and the big crunch of the application season hasn't even hit yet!  In addition to about 45 hours in the office with students each week and another 3-4 hours of emails/computer work each day, I also have a family to care for and aging parents and a handicapped sister next door to assist with as well.


So, to try to help as many folks as possible and maintain a connection with those I love, I do have to try to stick to some guidelines as people start to panic with their seniors in the months ahead.  


 New Policy- As much as I'd like to, I simply can't do unscheduled, free consulting/editing (via phone or email) on top of my normal schedule during this crazy fall application season. There are just not enough hours in the day to do that.  But, I will be glad to book time on my schedule for office meetings, phone consults, email edits of essays (as I can fit them or I'll refer you to Edit Me Abbey- see below), etc.  


If you need assistance, in person or via phone, please drop me an email and ask to schedule it so that I can plan around it and give you the attention you need. I do phone consults and edits via email around the country all the time and it works out great. I have not increased my hourly rate ($75) in years and I won't increase it this year.  (And please call during reasonable daytime hours- thanks!)


So- What I CAN do-  


- Book time for you on my schedule to help, as the availability allows  


- Offer more classes to serve larger groups, such as the new one just for seniors applying to college this fall


- Update the Scholarship Gold facebook page more often with tips/advice 


- Update my website more often (which I will start doing) with timely info  




Refer all essay editing to my daughter, Abigail, (English major at Dartmouth, editor of literary magazine, perfect SAT scores in English and Writing)  who offers editing services for $15 per essay 250 words or less, $25 per essay 250-500 words and $40 for essays 500-1000 words.  (She is able to charge less than I have to for these services and does an extraordinary job.)  The only essays I'll continue to personally edit are ones for my concierge students and for students who came to my Essay Writing class (includes 1 essay edit).  


You can contact Abbey directly at EditMeAbbey@gmail.com.  Give her at least 48 hours notice, email your essays in Word document format or Google doc and she'll do a meticulous editing job.  She can then invoice you via Paypal and allow you to pay by credit card.


What I CAN'T do-  

- Engage in unscheduled, lengthy phone consults or provide lengthy email replies that equate to a consult (quick ones are fine)


- Do free essay edits unless you are a concierge student (For all others, I will enthusiastically refer you to the editing services of EditMeAbbey@gmail.com) 


I want to continue to do this job for a long time and doing a better job of defining limits and boundaries will help me do just that.  Thank you for understanding!
Your Senior Fall Essentials
(touched on last month but so important it bears reprinting!)
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!
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

Essay Writing for Admissions and Scholarships
Aug, Sept and Oct

In addition to the College Bound Essentials workshop and the College Admission and Scholarship workshop for seniors (mentioned at beginning of this email), the following essay classes will be offered throughout the fall. 
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.

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?

"If you could design and teach one college class, what would it be and why?"


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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