This may be the most important, news-packed newsletter I have ever written. 
Lots of game-changing news items!

The Game-Changing Edition!
The staff of Scholarship Gold spent the last week at the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) in Columbus, OH and there are some important items all college bound students need to know about what's changing in college admissions.  Read below to find out  about changes to the Common Application, a new platform students can use to make a personal impression on a school and a dramatically revised financial aid timeline.
Common App- 
Students can start their applications in 9th grade and update throughout high school

The Common Application is used by hundreds of colleges across the US as a way to streamline the application process for students. Click HERE to see a list of the colleges that use the Common App. The typical alternative to using the Common App is for a college to have their own, in-house, custom application.  (ex: USC, College of Charleston, Clemson, UNCC, ECU, and Western Carolina use their own applications whereas UNC, UNCA, UNCW, Furman, Wofford, High Point, and Wake Forest use the Common App.)


This spring, the Common App announced it would let students as young as 9th grade (10th or 11th is more likely) create their Common App account so that they could store and update their information on their activities, school, honors, etc. and just roll that information over from one school year to the next until they are seniors.  That way, much of their application is already complete and they are already familiar with the site.  


This is a great way to get comfortable with the application process early and see what kind of information colleges are asking.  When on the site, only complete the information under the "Common App" tab.  You can build your list of schools you think you might apply to eventually but do not complete any questions under the "My Colleges" tab since those questions may change from one year to the next.


Parents of Seniors- FAFSA opens OCT 1st!
Find out if you need to file CSS/PROFILE too!

Typically, in January of a student's senior year, parents file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to pursue financial aid for their students.  They used to use the most recent year's tax information (in this case, 2016) as the basis of their application. The financial aid offices at each university would then scramble to put together aid packages for every student who has been accepted to that school and present those numbers to families by mid-March.  

To streamline the process and remove that bottleneck with the financial aid offices, now FAFSA will use use "prior-prior" year numbers, meaning it will go back two years.  This change will impact anyone who has a student graduating in 2017 or beyond.  For example, parents of graduating seniors this year will/can file FAFSA (at starting Oct 1st, using tax data from 2015.

Parents- go onto the Financial Aid tab of each college your student is applying to and confirm the deadlines for filing FAFSA this year.  Also, check to see if the college requires an additional aid form called CSS/Profile.  Some colleges require that form as well, such as UNC, Duke, Vanderbilt, Furman, all the Ivies, and more.  Click HERE to see a list of all the colleges that require PROFILE.  

More and more colleges welcoming video resumes/portfolios through ZeeMee!

In an effort to allow students to personalize their applications with elements of photos, videos, and narratives, a few hundred Common App schools have added an option to link to a ZeeMee portfolio.  Almost all other admissions reps I questioned at last week's conference said that they would welcome a ZeeMee portfolio, even though it was not part of the application.

ZeeMee is a free service that has very user-friendly templates to allow students to create a dynamic online resume/portfolio.  It is a great idea for even 9th, 10th, and 11th graders to start a ZeeMee portfolio now and update it over the years so that it is ready to use their senior year. 

 Seniors, if you have time to create a ZeeMee, that's great.  No college is requiring it yet but it can be a great way to stand out.  However, make sure you don't sacrifice your time working on your essays and apps to focus on this.  Do it if time allows.

 Click HERE to see a sample ZeeMee portfolio.  

Upcoming Events in Lake Wylie

On Oct 22nd, I have two events here in Lake Wylie.  If you have not attended the College Bound Essentials workshop yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.  Also, we will have a fun and interactive
 Interview Skills workshop from 1:00-4:00.  

If you are applying to Governor's School, college or interviewing for admissions or scholarships this year, please plan to attend the Interview workshop.  It is a lot of fun and will equip students for what lies ahead!


Workshops are only $75/student and parents come along at no extra charge. Course materials are included.


** Special Free Supplemental Session** Heath Walters CPA will graciously offer a free talk on the 22nd from 12:00-1:00 on topics especially important for self-employed people and business owners.  Knowing how to position your business wisely so that you don't impede your ability to qualify for financial aid is extremely important.  What you don't know can cost you.  See below for the link to sign up.




Upcoming Events

Click on event title to sign up.

 Only sign up the student- parents come along at no extra charge.



Saturday October 22, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM


This is absolutely one class that every 8th-11th grade college bound student and their parents should attend! Come learn how to navigate scholarships, financial aid, how to pick a college, test prep tips and much more! This event may totally change how you approach what lies ahead!

Good Samaritan United Methodist Church- Lake Wylie






Saturday October 22, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM 


Few people know that the college financial aid process gives business owners opportunities for incredible financial aid. Knowing the rules can save you over $75k per year! Heath Walters (CPA) is one of the nation's leading experts (& is a good friend of Scholarship Gold) & will share his best tips for free. Don't miss out!

Good Samaritan United Methodist Church- Lake Wylie



Saturday October 22, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM



This essential class will teach students how to be effective, relaxed and articulate in an interview situation for scholarships, admissions and even for jobs and internships.

Good Samaritan Methodist Church- Lake Wylie



Saturday November 5, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM



There is a fine art to writing a compelling and insightful essay for college admissions and scholarship applications. This class will cover all of the elements of an effective essay and assist students as they create their own unique creative work.

New River Community Church- Lake Wylie



Saturday November 5, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM



This class will walk you step by step through all you need to do the junior year, including when to take the SAT/ACT and how to prepare for it, what you can do to best position for scholarships and financial aid, how/when to tour schools, what is important to do over the summer and much, much more. Every junior & parents should come!

New River Community Church- Lake Wylie



Scholarship List

Attached are some resources for scholarships that might be of interest.  Many of these will be available to students who are seniors but others are open to students in any grade level. 

Scholarship list-  for students in Charlotte/upper SC region
Scholarship list-   for students in Guilford County/Greensboro
Scholarship list - for SC students
Scholarship list - for NC students

It's not too soon to start looking ahead to scholarships that might be a fit!  You can also search a list of $19 billion of scholarships by completing a profile and filtering for scholarships that might fit your unique details.  I recommend and as great resources.

Summer Experiences!

I know the school year has just begun but it's a great idea to start planning what you want to fit into your summer next year.  Many opportunities book up by Feb so take the time now to begin thinking about it.

  • List of college-based programs around the country- click HERE
  • Addl' list of college-based programs around the country- click HERE
  • Oxford or Cambridge summer experiences-  click HERE
  • Broyhill Leadership Camp- Wingate University- $250 - click HERE
  • Summer abroad- language immersion programs- click HERE
  • Middlebury 4-week language immersion camps- click HERE
  • "Summerfuel" range of summer programs- click HERE
  • Martha Guy Summer Institute for NC students wanting to pursue business major- HERE

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Note on Private Appointments in Oct/Nov
Extra help is now available

Right now, Kay and I are focusing heavily on our seniors,making sure they get their applications completed correctly and submitted on time.  Therefore, my calendar for October is totally full and I'm booking well into November.  

My gifted associate, Kay, still has a few available spots, however, and you can call her directly at 678-779-8873 to set up a private meeting to review applications or to help a younger student get on the right path.

Bonus - My daughter Abigail has helped me for years with various workshops and editing.  She just graduated from Dartmouth with her English degree and is now a writer for NASA.  She is home for a few weeks while she applies to grad school and is happy to meet with student to craft/edit essays.  She does a great job and I have heard extremely positive feedback from families who have worked with her. Her rate is only $35/hour. Please contact her directly at if you would like to schedule an appointment.  Her hours are 3:00-7:00 pm Monday through Thursday. 

Elizabeth's School Year Hours 
Saturdays- teach workshops, no private sessions
 Sunday- family time
 Monday-Friday- 8:00 a.m.-4:00 pm, private students who are not concierge students. (Concierge students are students I'm contracted with to provide intense and ongoing support.  My concierge groups are full through the class of 2019.)  Sessions have to be wrapped up by 4:00 pm, meaning those meetings generally start at 1:00 or 2:00.  It's not ideal, I know, that a student have to miss a bit of a school day in order to meet but you may decide that it is a worthwhile sacrifice for something this important.
 Monday-Friday- 4:00 pm- 8:00 pm- private sessions for students who are concierge students (students who have hired me to provide intense coaching throughout high school)
 Alternatively- for after school appointments for non-concierge students, my associate Kay Holleman is available.

Scholarship Gold Consulting | 704-608-1807 |