Christmas Edition- gift ideas & workshops
Hi College Bound families!

I hope that the semester is coming to a successful end for all of my student readers!

 Remember guys, before colleges look at your clubs, volunteering, and leadership, the grades take top billing.  Their motto is "Grades are king.".  So, even if you aren't genuinely interested in what that line of a poem means or what "x" is in that formula, commit to doing your best because those grades will still play into your options down the road.

In this edition is a list of upcoming workshops in December. (All local workshops after Dec 17th will be held at the new, fabulous YMCA complex in Lake Wylie. The 2017 workshop schedule will be sent out soon).  I also include some gift ideas for students, and a few other great tips.  I hope this information is helpful!

If you're considering a private appointment with me in January, please email soon to get on the schedule.  December is already almost entirely full  However, if there is a need to meet in December, my associate Kay is well qualified and would be happy to set you up. 

Have a lovely Christmas!  Elizabeth Hartley


 Upcoming Workshops in December 
(The full list for Jan-June 2017 will be released shortly.)

Click on the course title in blue to save your spot.  

ONLY sign up the student because their admission also allows parents to come along for no additional charge. 

Last call!   College Bound Essentials- Irmo, SC (w/Homeschool segment)

 Thursday December 15, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST


This is absolutely one class that every 8th-11th grade college bound student and their parents should attend! All students are welcome but an extra section will be included for homeschoolers. A special price structure is being offered for this class only- The fee is only $75/student (or $100 for 2 students from same family). Parents sit in with students at no extra charge.


Grace Point Presbyterian Church - Irmo, SC


College Bound Essentials

Saturday December 17, 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! Workshop is $75/student. Parents come along at no charge.


New River Community Church, Lake Wylie, SC


Interview Skills & Effective Communication Dec 17

Saturday December 17, 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. Don't miss this fun and engaging workshop!


New River Community Church, Lake Wylie, SC


Below are some of my favorite things for college-minded students to get or to do over Christmas.

Great Literature!  

College applications often ask about books you've read for fun.  Keep an accurate book list throughout high school and add to it with some of these gems. (Nice stocking stuffers!) Here are a few good ones.

  • David and Goliath- Malcolm Gladwell
  • Outliers- Malcolm Gladwell
  • Running for My Life- the story of Olympic Runner Lopez Lomong
  • To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou
  • Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
  • Five Equations that Changed the World- Michael Guillen
  • All Creatures Great and Small- The James Herriot series about an English veterinarian

College-related books

  • "If the U Fits"- by Rob Franek- Wonderful resource for understanding how to navigate the college bound process. 
  • "Top 379 Colleges" published by Princeton Review- Explore these great colleges with feedback from the students currently attending them.
  • "How to Be a High School Superstar- A Revolutionary Plan to Stand Out without Burning Out"-  by Cal Newport

Great Magazines!

  Two of my all-time favorite magazines to give middle schoolers and high schoolers are: (We get both of these at our house. Worth every penny!)

1- Mental Floss
Great articles on topics of arts, science and much more.  Lots of fun and very visually engaging.  A Hartley family favorite.

2- The Week-
 Condenses all of the world's major events into a weekly balanced and easy to read format so students can stay current on what's gong on in the world.

Souther Schools to Visit over the holidays

Even though many schools may be out for the holidays, the Christmas break can be a nice way to get a first look at schools you may love.  Outside of the big state schools in the area, here are a just a few private schools to consider and visit in the South.

Davidson College (NC)
Wake Forest University (NC)
Campbell University (NC)
Elon University (NC)
Duke University (NC)
University of Richmond (VA)
Washington and Lee (VA)
Wofford College (SC)
Furman University (SC)
Presbyterian College (SC)
Anderson University (SC)
Mercer University (GA)
Emory University (GA)
Berry College (GA)

Other Great Gifts

Every student needs a reliable computer so, that's top of the list if they don't have one.  Other constructive ideas include:

1) Gift certificate to a great summer program - Like Broyhill Leadership Conference ($250), Teens Westward Bound ($2000), summer academic camps at NC State, Clemson, Wofford and other colleges around the South. 

2) Creative software like Photoshop For the artist or journalist in the house.  

3)  Magazines or Books listed above.  Just to state the obvious.

4) Family History

If your students don't know where their ancestors came from or timeless stories of relatives from long ago, spend some time documenting this information and share it with your student.  Many college essays draws from a student's sense of who they are.  Knowing their family history is important. Make a family recording of grandparents telling stories from their childhood. Encourage older family members to pass along a trinket from their youth, like a favorite toy, kitchen utensil or tool.

5) Tickets to a Scholarship Gold Workshop- Of course, I had to stick that in! 

Membership to  for SAT or ACT preparation.

Convenient, very effective and easy on the wallet. This is a budget-friendly resource that I have seen create the most consistent improvement for students for either the SAT or ACT.  Students tend to love it. (My son did.)  Go onto the site and explore the sample questions, watch the explanation videos and see what you think. The prices are great already but if you want another 15% off, just send me an email and I can help you out.

7) Admission to a Princeton Review SAT or ACT class

For students who do better with a live teacher than using an online resource, I have confidence in the courses offered by Princeton Review.  Just visit for a list of courses in your area.

Parents of Seniors- Deadlines for FAFSA and CSS/Profile are upon us!

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.  

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

Scholarship Gold Consulting | 704-608-1807 | 


Scholarship Gold Consulting | 244 Latitude Lane, suite 106 | Lake Wylie | SC | 29710