Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How to Survive Living with a Teenager





Teens can be cranky, sullen, lethargic, unmotivated and unhappy. Living in the same home with them is often a challenge. Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey can change all that. If the book title and author seem familiar, it’s probably because Sean Covey is the son of Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

I’ve read both books. I prefer Sean’s. (You can buy it by clicking HERE.) Maybe it’s the teacher in me. I spent decades with teenagers, and know how they think. This book can improve how they feel about their lives and their understanding of the future. When I was still in the classroom, I recommended this book to parents every Back to School Night. I've given a copy to every child in my family on their thirteenth birthday. It should be required reading in the seventh grade.

I kept twenty copies of this book in my classroom library. I loaned them to students, often when they finished their work early, or just before a school holiday. I always said something to them when I handed over the book. It varied by the personality of the student. Before you give your child or other young family member a copy of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, think about his/her personality. This will work for your kids too.


·         For the left-brained, analytically minded, tidy teens in your life, tell them the book will help them organize everything. They love this, and will happily read the book. (It does, by the way.)

·         For those who are a little loud, love bright colors and think the world exists to be their audience, explain the book is funny and will help them make more friends. They will enjoy hearing this, and will read the book. (It does this, too.)

·        For the pushy teen, who knows how to run everything and often takes over, suggest they read the book because it will show them how to reach their goals. This is their hot button, and they’ll have the book read in no time at all. (It does this for everyone else too.)

·         For the laid back type, who hates making decisions and might seem a little lazy, hand them the book, and tell them to start reading. (They don’t need reasons; being told to do something is enough for them.)


Students who read the book I loaned them told me they enjoyed it so much, they bought a copy for themselves. I always asked their favorite tip from the book, to see if they had actually read it. Their answers varied, but each student was very excited when they explained it to me. Why did I loan this book to students and give it to kids in my family? I wanted them to know they can get what they want out of life. I also wanted them to have the tools needed to do so. This book does everything I’ve explained here, and more.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more about helping your children, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Does Notre Dame Mean to You?






To me, Notre Dame represents a promise made, and a promise kept. In the late 1980s, I left a school district where the student population was dwindling. I took a job in a lower socioeconomic minority high school with only two foreign language teachers. They taught first and second year French and Spanish. When the French teacher retired, I took his position.

The graduation rate at this school was low, and the number of students going on to college was even lower. I believed the way to help these students reach their goals in life was through higher education. So I set out to make sure my students fulfilled the A-G requirements for college acceptance. I told them they were mine for four years, unless there was a more beneficial course for them to take in their senior year. The six new foreign language teachers we hired over the next few years followed my lead. The counselors knew what we were doing, and backed us up.

As I worked to make taking French or Spanish the “thing to do” at the school, several students asked to study German. Since I’m degreed, credentialed and experienced teaching German, we added it to the master schedule. District administration thought offering three languages was beyond the abilities of students at this school. We proved him wrong by giving students reasons to take the classes, and to stay with them until graduation.

One such enticement was language trips to countries where the languages students were studying were spoken. The first group we took was small. Most people at the school didn’t really believe we would go. But a dedicated group of students was not about to give up. One boy caught the measles. His doctor told him if he scratched, the sores would not heal in time for the trip. His brother told me it was awful watching him resist the urge to scratch. But he made it. He’s on the right in this blurry photo. 


So is Denise. On our first trip, we visited Paris. On the first full day, we went to see Notre Dame Cathedral. We wandered around inside. Each looking at whatever he or she found most fascinating. Then I saw Denise. She was standing about two feet from an interior wall. It was made of stone, and brown with age. I suggested she touch it. She was horrified. So I took her hand and placed it on the wall. I then named several historic figures who had also, perhaps, touched the same wall. This was a student who hadn't been anywhere. She could only come along because we sold everything we could get our hands on. She lived thirty minutes from the sea, but had never seen it.

Here she was in Paris, France, with her hand on the wall inside Notre Dame Cathedral, crying. She realized the significance of being where she was. She could set a goal in life, work hard, and realize it. I promised these kids I would take them to Paris, help them get into college and reach their goals in life. To me Notre Dame is a promise made to students who had dreams, but not the courage to fight for them. It’s also the realization of the promise kept. All five of these trip kids went to college. So did every other student who travelled to Europe with our school, and thousands of others who cheered them on and believed they too could reach their dreams. This is what Notre Dame means to me. 


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com



Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.








Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Don’t Let Your College Acceptance Turn into a Nightmare





Going to college is only a dream if you have a plan to pay for it, and you continue to work your plan. Far too many families think money for college will magically appear, but it doesn’t. Students who go to college on a full-ride did a great deal to earn their award. The most important thing they did was to apply for scholarships and/or grants over and over, until they had enough free money to pay for everything.

Paying for college entails having enough money for more than just tuition. There are books, fees, room and board to consider as well. Students whose families are extremely well off, and have put away enough money for retirement, may be able to help. Most families probably won’t be much financial help, however. Of course, if you live at home, room and board won’t be an issue, but transportation might be. I lived at home when I went to college. My family bought me a very inexpensive car, and I drove to campus and work daily. Tuition then was minimal and books were inexpensive. My job paid enough to cover it all.

A simple financial plan to pay for college might include looking for scholarships and grants while children are still in elementary school. At this time, parents are doing the searching and applying. As children mature, they should take over. In high school, they should be applying for scholarships at least three times each week, and more over holidays and vacations. A major mistake many students make is they stop applying for scholarships once they’ve been accepted to college.

Acceptance is an important step, but most of the time it has nothing to do with paying for college. If a college provides financial help through grants, scholarships or a work-study program, that’s great. It does not mean students should stop looking for more free money. When they do, they often realize too late, they can’t pay their bills. Taking a job might help pay for books or some fees, but it won’t cover everything, not by a long shot. Scholarships and grants are the best way to avoid needing to take out student loans.

The only time a student need not continue to apply for scholarships is if he/she has received a truly free ride. This must include tuition, fees, books, room, board and travel for all four years. These awards exist, and are wonderful. But every scholarship is not a free ride. Some only cover part of tuition or tuition for the first year. Many do not include books, or room and board. There are thousands of college students who are homeless and food insecure. There’s money out there to pay for all of this, but it won’t come looking for your student. Someone has to find it.

Parents who have purchased my book, Free College, know I provide a place in the book to record scholarships and grants. If you don’t have my book, be sure to purchase a calendar and notebook to keep track of all scholarships you've applied for over the years. If you don’t, you’ll become confused and miss something important, like a deadline. You can buy my book instead by clicking on the book cover in the upper right hand corner of this page. Continue applying for scholarships until your student has graduated from college debt free.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Will Sweeping Changes to College Admissions Help or Hurt Your Child?



This depends upon who you are and where you live. If you’re an alumni or a donor living in California (this is where the changes are starting), your child will no longer be given preferential treatment in college admissions. If you aren’t, then the proposed changes may help your child. They also make learning the sixteen defining habits of successful scholarship winners even more important than before. (To learn about these habits, click on the image of Free College, to the right of this post.) Although these modifications are proposed in California, they're likely to spread.

State colleges and universities in California don't presently award legacy or donor admissions to students, but some private institutions in the state do. The state legislature is looking into removing Cal Grants from colleges who continue to do so. I’m sure there will be a fight in the courts over this, so be aware everything about admissions is in flux. You can no longer count on your children being given preferential treatment.

They're also considering eliminating standardized testing such as the SAT and ACT from the admissions process. This will make other considerations, such as which courses are taken, their difficulty level, and the overall GPA even more significant. So if you aren’t involved in your high school student’s course selection already, you’ll want to look into them in the future. It would also be wise to read progress reports and report cards before signing them.

Another development is the regulation of admissions consultants. In the past, anyone could open an office, and do whatever they wanted to help parents place their children in the colleges of their choice. This led to the recent admissions scandal, and perhaps to people going to jail. Students who were implicated in the fraud will be inspected on a case by case basis. Those already enrolled may be expelled. Some who applied, but have not yet been admitted, have already had their applications rejected.

Many of the fraudulent admissions involved coaches. Some parents faked a history of participation in sports, and their children were admitted. In the future, it’s proposed that any student awarded “special admissions” for athletic, musical or other talent, be approved by an oversight committee of at least three staff members. This should level the playing field for students with exceptional talents.

It’s hard enough going through school, knowing you’ll need a college education in order to enter the field of your choice, without less qualified students sneaking in front of you. The proposed changes should eliminate this. However, if students who have been given preferential treatment in the past no longer have these benefits, parents will find other ways to help them. They’ll hire tutors to make sure their grades are high. They’ll give them private lessons in music or sports, all in order to give them a leg up in entering the college of their choice.  

In order to compete, learn what honest families do that results in both college acceptance and lots of scholarships. After doing extensive research, I found sixteen defining habits of graduates who won the most scholarship money for college. They’re in my book, Free College. Click on the image of the book cover in the upper right hand corner of this page to be taken to my book on Amazon. Do what other people don’t, and your children won’t have to worry about college admissions or scholarships. Both will come to them without cheating.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. You'll be taken to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it now.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

How You Can Satisfy Your Curiosity about Free College





Recently I was interviewed for The Southern California Writers Showcase. This is a group of over 2,000 writers from Long Beach, south through Orange County, to the Inland Empire and even to the East Sierras. You can read the entire interview by clicking HERE. The interviewer was one of their writers, Jeanette Fratto. She’s a published author of a series of fascinating novels whose main character works in the probation department in Orange County, California. The questions I was asked in the interview were insightful, and I tried to keep my answers informative and succinct.

One question she asked was a first for me. She asked me to share a success story of one of the students who used all the tactics contained in my book, Free College. I told her about Mia, one of my students who was offered full-ride scholarships by Harvard, Yale and MIT. When she came home from a free trip to visit Yale and MIT, she was confused.

I asked her five questions about the colleges so she could focus. Were they accredited? Did they teach what she wanted to study? Were they well known in this field? Did they offer her the same amount of money, and/or would she have debt left to pay? Did she like the people she met there? She answered yes to all of them. I told her she was in luck. There was no bad decision. She could flip a coin. She was relieved.

Then Mia came back from visiting Harvard, again on their dime. She was confused all over again. I asked her the five questions once more. She answered the same for all of them. So I asked her where she felt the most comfortable. It was MIT, and she graduated from there with honors four years after her high school graduation.

It’s fun doing interviews. The questions allow me to zero in on what people want to know. Then I can advise them better. When I taught, my goal was to help students reach their goals. To do so, most students needed to go to college. I learned how to assist them, and later, when college costs soared, I showed them how to win lots of scholarships. I continued after my retirement. I did extensive research on how students earn the most free scholarship money, and wrote Free College

I hope all families learn the sixteen defining habits of successful scholarship winners I discovered and included in my book. By following the step-by-step guide I created, their kids can graduate from college debt free too. Everyone should be able to start their lives after college with no debt and a bright future, like Mia.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 

If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. It will take you to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

You Don’t Need to Bribe Your Way into College





Plenty of students do it the old fashioned way. They fulfill all the admission standards, complete the  A-G requirements, earn a high GPA, score well on the ACT or SAT and apply, all without the aid of “admissions consultants”. For many decades the ├╝ber-rich have given massive endowments to prestigious universities resulting in special treatment for their children. This is not new. Recently, however, it wasn’t the universities which received massive “gifts”, but counselors and coaches. Now people are going to jail. Both methods of gaming the system are, in my opinion, unethical.

Instead, learn what successful, honest students and families do, and follow their lead. Successful students fulfill all the admission standards listed above, of course, but they don't stop there. Often students take extra courses in math, science and foreign languages instead of focusing on just one of the three subjects. Families have their eye on the prize early, and don’t need to resort to extreme or illegal measures. They send students to summer college enrichment courses beginning as early as elementary school. Since these are in subjects the students enjoy, it’s fun for them and not a burden.

By following the step-by-step guide in my book, Free College, families learn the sixteen defining habits that have allowed thousands of students to not only go to college, but to do so with scholarships. Many of them received far better scholarships than those “purchased” illegally by celebrities. Most students don’t need help from outside professionals, honest or otherwise. They rely on the expertise of their local high school counselor. Every high school should have at least one counselor who is the go-to expert on everything college. If your school doesn’t have such a person, follow the suggestions in my book to find a mentor.

Students researched for the writing of my book paid no specialists or bribes. They went to the colleges of their choice, even USC, and with scholarships. Your children can too. Click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page to buy it from Amazon. Start now, and do all the right things. No one needs to go to jail.

You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

You Can Prevent Your Children from Needing College Loans




Hundreds of thousands of high school graduates sign up for student loans each year because their families didn’t know the defining habits of successful scholarship winners. It wasn’t their fault. They did they best they could, but their efforts fell short. No one told them about my book, Free College. Or, perhaps their children grew up before I finished writing my book. For that, I apologize. If you’re intrigued, you can stop right here, click on the image of my book in the right hand corner of this page, and buy it right now.

The last decade or more of my teaching career, all of my seniors went to college, all with scholarships. Many were awarded a full-ride. While I was thrilled for them, I was disappointed more hadn't earned enough to pay for all four years. These students ended up taking out student loans, and are still in debt today. I wondered if there was some “secret sauce” that allowed the most successful to win so much free money for college. I was too curious to let it go, and conducted extensive research to discover exactly why some students earn a full ride scholarship, while others are awarded just a few thousand dollars. I discovered there are sixteen defining habits shared by the most successful scholarship winners. Those who do only some of them earn less cash .

How would you feel if you knew there was a way to prevent a terrible mishap, but didn’t have the information needed to avoid it? That’s how you’ll feel if you don’t learn the simple steps to help your children earn a full ride scholarship. When you spend a few dollars to buy my book, you’ll learn how to help your children qualify for more college scholarships. Once you do, tell family and friends about Free College, and where to buy it. Billions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed every year. It’s tragic and avoidable.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 

If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. It will take you to Amazon, where you can read more about my book, and buy it. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Don’t Waste Your Spring Break




If you use your time wisely, you can have fun now, earn scholarships for college and avoid needing student loans. You’ve seen all the movies about Spring Break, beach parties, camping trips, and even trips abroad. But if you plan ahead a little, you can enjoy yourself and still avoid joining thousands of people who will be making loan payments for decades.

Spring Break is in March for some high schools and colleges, and in April for others. No matter when your time off falls, you probably have nine days of freedom from classes. That’s over two hundred and sixteen hours. Don’t sleep the whole time. Don’t spend it all hanging out with your friends. Set aside ten hours to help secure your financial future.

Right now, decide if you’re going to apply for nine scholarships all at once, split them up or spread them out over the nine days. Then, take out your phone or day planner and mark when you’re going to do this. If you’ve applied for one already, you know how long it takes to fill out an application. Block out the time you need, so nothing will get in the way later.

Next, make a list of online sites where you know you can find scholarships. You can use Twitter, or your search engine to find them. If you go to my Twitter page, @ElizaWallace27, you’ll find I retweet at least three scholarships each day. Other sites are dedicated to scholarships; @scholarships360 and @PayingForSchool are two such sites. If you do this before making other plans for Spring Break, you’ll have far more flexibility and be able to do both, have fun and apply for scholarships.

I know Spring Break is fun. The weather is usually better than it has been, and you don’t have school work to do (hopefully). But don’t squander your free time. Peel off enough to apply for at least nine scholarships, which will take less than 5% of your time off. You can do this now, or wish you had later, when you find you don’t have enough money to pay for college without taking out student loans.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 

If you’re interested in learning more, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right corner of this page. It will take you to Amazon, where you can read more about my book which contains a step-by-step guide to winning more free money for college, and is based on the habits of numerous students who have done so already.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why Are We Allowing Two Million Students to Go Hungry?





In the U.S. one out of every ten college students is homeless and goes to class hungry. There are programs to help feed hungry k-12 students who come from poor families. They are provided free or reduced breakfast, snacks and lunches. But such programs stop at high school graduation. Many poor and middle class college students, therefore, do not eat for days on end. This is a crisis being ignored by many. The problem is caused by our lack of support for those in need.

College living expenses average $17,000 per year. This is for housing and food only. It doesn't include tuition, fees or transportation. Even if a student receives a scholarship for tuition, many other costs are not covered. I believe an educated population is so critical to the health of our economy that all college costs should be covered for all students. But I don't make the rules.

Students are sleeping in cars, parks, under freeway overpasses and in other unsafe areas. Some are able to cope with the stress of homelessness and hunger and make it through to graduation. Many others drop out. How many would succeed if they had a roof over their heads and food in their bellies?

I have a suggestion that would not require any additional infrastructure. Everything is in place except the will to do the right and economically sound thing. Let’s look at each student’s financial aid form. Those who are accepted into college, and do not have the financial resources to buy a student meal plan, should be given one gratis. This does not solve the issue of homelessness, but it’s a step in the right direction.


Do you have an idea for solving the homelessness of two million college students nationwide?


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images 

If you’re interested in learning more about any of these topics, you can follow me on Twitter,@ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, at the top right side of this page. This will take you to Amazon, where you can read more about me and my book. Free College contains a step-by-step guide to winning more free money for college, and is based on the habits of numerous students who have done so already.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Why Are We Playing Roulette with the Lives of U.S. School Children?



What if your child was diabetic, asthmatic or had a life threatening allergy? Would you be comfortable sending him or her to school knowing there was a school nurse on campus only one day a week? About 10% of students have one of these three conditions. This means 30% of our children are in danger of having a life threatening event while at school.

What about being injured playing sports, running into a pole head first (I’ve witnessed this one.), or attempting suicide (true story)? Two weeks into the new school year, one of my First Period French I students asked to go to the nurse’s office because she was feeling faint. I wouldn’t allow her to go alone, since she could pass out while on the way. I called the nurse who said she would bring a wheelchair.

A moment after I hung up the phone, the student sitting next to the girl who was dizzy whispered in my ear, “She told me she took several of her mother’s sleeping pills before school.” I called the nurse back. She phoned the paramedics and ran to my classroom with the wheelchair. On the way back to her office, the student “coded”. The nurse kept her alive until paramedics arrived and took over. Without the nurse, it would have been her French teacher trying to keep her alive. Which would you prefer?

Teachers are on strike or have protested all over the country lately. One of the main issues is the current lack of support staff in schools, especially school nurses. Every school I ever attended had a full time school nurse and a trained adult aide. I know they saved lives. They took care of the sick and injured, referred students to outside medical help, and performed many medical tests, such as vision. When I was little, I remember lining up with my class at the nurse’s office to receive vaccines. It's not like that anymore. School nurses are a rarity.

Schools are underfunded and make cuts where they can. States and the Federal Government are putting our money elsewhere. Only voters can make them protect our students by demanding a full time nurse on every school campus. The Senate has stalled a bill that could help some schools. It’s for Title I schools. It’s called NURSE, Nurses for Under-Resourced Schools Everywhere. It’s not going to solve the problem in every school, but would cover 46,969 schools nationwide. That’s a start.

You can contact your senator and ask him/her to support this bill by clicking here: U.S. Senate.


For information on college planning and how to earn more college scholarships, you’ll want my new book, Free College. It’s for families of Pre-K through High School students.  Buy it now from Amazon, http://ow.ly/y7hx30k0JvQ.


You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com


Photo credit: Google Images