Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What Students Do in College is More Important than Where They Go




While the general public believes students who go to universities with lots of status will be more successful and happier than those who go elsewhere, this is not the case. Studies published in the Wall Street Journal recently show engagement while in college is far more significant. Many high school students are overstressed and anxious, believing the false notion that attending a name university is the only way to succeed in life. One of my former students was convinced staying up late to study would improve her grades and chances to go to one such university. It had the opposite effect. After convincing her to get at least nine hours of sleep, her health and grades improved and her anxiety disappeared. She stopped stressing, and was able to attend college after graduation on a scholarship, as she had desired.


One study by Gallup-Purdue showed what does have a positive impact on future success and well-being. Thinking back to my own experiences in college, I realize I benefited from the key experiences listed in this study. I found when I took a course with a professor who made the subject exciting, I did better. I was lucky to have professors who took an interest in me personally. They even placed me with their most successful Master Teacher, when I graduated college. I didn’t have a mentor, which is another of the experiences the study found to be helpful, unless you count the professors who encouraged me.


Another key factor was working on some sort of project across semesters. My major and minors included becoming fluent in German and French, (plus English, which I was already, of course). Language study began for me in high school and continued through college. The internship which the study found to be helpful isn’t called an internship in education. It’s called Student Teaching. It’s the same thing as an internship, but unpaid. I dated while in college, and we did participate in some college activities. The study found doing so helped students, even later in life.


The underlined parts of the sentences above are the tips the Gallup-Purdue study found most significant for future success. Not surprising to me, they are also included in the sixteen defining habits of successful scholarships winners outlined in my book, Free College. What benefits high school students in being accepted to college and winning lots of scholarships, is vital while attending college, and beyond. My book contains ten more researched and proven tips, however. Half are initiated before high school, the others during high school. This means, of course, parents start helping students get ready for college and a lifetime success. They create the foundation. Students take over, for the most part, when they enter high school and college.


When selecting a college, don’t aim for one with a big name. Instead find one where the professors teach the courses, interact with students and show their concern. When visiting campuses, ask students if their classes are interesting, and how they're treated by their professors. See if the university provides or encourages mentorships. Find out about the college clubs and activities. Check them out, to determine if any appeal to you. Inquire into the university's department in the field you hope to study, to see if they have an internship program. These are far more important factors than if the university is considered prestigious.

Also make sure to check out the costs involved in attending. Being saddled with a heavy debt load won’t help you be either successful or happy after graduation. As I’ve suggested before, the best time to start applying for college scholarships is when a child is in elementary school. The second best time is today. Don’t stop until your student is a college graduate, with a Master’s Degree, if that is the ultimate goal.


You’re reading from the blog: https://www.roadtofreecollege.com/


Photo credit: Google Images 


If you’re interested in learning more about helping your children succeed, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, in 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, June 5, 2019

Interview: College and Scholarship Readiness





Below is the script for an interview I participated in with Jodi Okun from her #CollegeCash series on Twitter. The interview took place in August of last year. Since it's no longer online, I’ve reorganized the format of the script a bit for easy reading, and posted it here on my blog.


Introduction:

Elizabeth Wallace started teaching at 7 years old in her neighbor’s backyard, and didn’t stop for over 35 years. During her career in education, she taught German, French and English, while also helping students get into college. After earning an MBA, she taught business administration in the U.S. and abroad. Elizabeth wrote Free College at the insistence of her sister, who said it was selfish to withhold the secrets of winning scholarships from students who didn’t happen to attend her school. Her goal while teaching was helping students reach theirs. Now she is showing them how to reach their goal of going to college without needing student loans.


Q1 What should parents be doing right now when it comes to preparing their kids for college?

A1 While children are little, read to them and with them, give books as gifts, visit bookstores and libraries.
A1 For elementary aged children, enroll them in music lessons. Find lessons nearby and encourage them to continue through middle school.
A1 Find a sport each child likes and could continue for life, swimming, tennis, track, etc. Encourage them to participate through high school.


Q2 Is there a financial aid to-do list for elementary, middle and high school students?

A2 Parents of elementary students should find scholarships and apply for all which are available to the age group of their children.
A2 Help middle school aged children apply for a few scholarships each month.
A2 High school freshmen and sophomores should apply for a one or two each week; while juniors and seniors should apply for a minimum of three each week, and continue until they’ve graduated from college.


Q3 Where should parents and students look for scholarships?  

A3 Start with family connections at work, church, civic clubs, fraternities, other associations and groups.
A3 Move on to civic organizations, foundations, local, state and federal grants and scholarships.
A3 Spread out online, use mobile apps, social media sites, such as @Scholarships360 and fastweb @payingforschool on Twitter, etc.


Q4 What are the most important strategies parents and students can use outside of school?  

A4 Enroll children in enrichment courses at a local college beginning in elementary, and continuing through high school.
A4 Find a safe place in the community for students to volunteer.
A4 Learn how to play a musical instrument and take lessons through middle school.
A4 Stick to all of these over time. Colleges like to see consistency.


Q5 When is the right time to visit a college?

A5 Families can visit colleges informally while taking family vacations or attending concerts, festivals and other public events.
A5 Students should be enrolled in enrichment courses on college campuses each summer.
A5 Start making formal visits to tour colleges by ninth grade.


Q6  What tips do you have when it comes to testing?  

A6 The most successful and least stressed students start studying for tests the first week classes begin.
A6 Many practice tests for the SAT and ACT are available online for free; use them to become comfortable with their formats.
A6 Get enough sleep the night before and eat a complete, healthy breakfast (with no added sugar) the morning of a test.


Q7 How do students win scholarships?  

A7 The most successful start getting ready at a very young age.
A7 They fulfill all Standard A – G requirements, but go over and above them, so they stand out from the crowd; example: take more foreign languages than required, and for longer.
A7 To win scholarships, students must apply, over and over. Don’t stop until the last year of college.


Q8  Should parents (or grandparents) use retirement funds to pay for their children’s college education?

A8 No. Never. Not for any reason. Okay, maybe if you’re in the top 1% of earners in the nation.
A8 There are many grants and scholarships for college, but none for retirement.
A8 Learn how to help students win scholarships and grants.


Q9 Tell us more about your book “Free College How Graduates Earn The Most Scholarship Money”

A9 I researched graduates who earn lots of scholarship money and found a pattern of behaviors.
A9 I included a step-by-step guide to the strategies and habits of the most successful scholarship winners in Free College.
A9 Students of families who adopt these habits, and apply for many scholarships, will  be among the highest scholarship winners.


Q10 What are three things you want to leave us with tonight?

A10 Earning more free cash for college is possible by practicing a few disciplines every day.
A10 Student loan debt cannot be eliminated by bankruptcy, but it can be avoided by earning enough scholarships.
A10 I don’t have the power to eliminate college tuition, but I have exposed the secrets of successful scholarship winners for families of preschool through high school students to follow, so they can avoid taking out student loans.



You’re reading from the blog: https://www.roadtofreecollege.com/



Photo credit: Google Images 



If you’re interested in learning more about helping your children succeed, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, in 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.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Guest Blog Post: College Scholarship Tips for Grandchildren




This time last year, I had a discussion with Deborah Dian, a friend and the host of Baby-Boomer-Retirement.com. We were both surprised and displeased with the number of seniors raiding their retirement accounts to  help their grandchildren pay for college. We know, although there are more than $46 billion in scholarships available for college, there are no scholarships or grants for retirement. She asked me to write a guest post for her blog, telling parents and grandparents how my book, Free College, can help families avoid needing to take out student loans, by earning more scholarships.

I did write the blog post for her, and have provided a link below, so you can read it easily. Spending retirement savings to pay for college is not only dangerous, but unnecessary. Just give them a copy of my book. It certainly costs a lot less than any college textbook. You can buy it by clicking on the image of the book in the upper right hand corner of this page.


To read "College Scholarship Tips for Grandchildren" on Deborah's blog, click HERE.







You’re reading from the blog: https://www.roadtofreecollege.com/

Photo credit: Cover Design by Bruce Berglund, Berglund Advertising Design 



If you’re interested in learning more about helping your children succeed, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, in 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.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

What Does Raising Healthy Kids Have to Do with Free College?




Recently I received a message from a doctor friend I met on Twitter. We follow each other, and share an interest in improving our health, and that of others. Here’s what she wrote, “You have a lot of good tips for making eating healthy easier. You should share them on a blog,” Dr. Kristie Leong.
Another friend, one I’ve known offline for several years, sent me this message shortly thereafter, “I agree with Kristie. Your healthy eating tips go well with your theme of helping kids do well in school and earn scholarships,” Deborah Dian.

I respect both of these ladies, but didn’t want to start a second blog. As an alternative, I’ve added a page of simple ways to raise healthy kids to my roadtofreecollege.com blog. I’ve titled the page, Raising Healthy Kids. Every few days, I’ll add more tips to the page to encourage children to eat right and stay fit, so they’ll be able to follow the sixteen defining habits of successful scholarship winners and earn lots of free cash for college.

Every so often, I’ll write an entire blog post about one of the tips. I’ll go more in depth, and show parents what they can do to help their children stay healthy by eating right, sleeping enough and staying fit. There will also be suggestions of ways parents can build their children’s self-esteem, which is so vital to success in school, college and beyond. I’ve included some of the tips I’ve posted already below.


Easy Tips:


Adding one more veg to dinner, and reducing the size of your meat portion is a simple change every family can make to improve health.  


We should all adopt a physical activity we enjoy. It could be a sport, hiking, dancing, swimming, or something else. Share it with your kids, so they'll grow up with this healthy habit. 



Look at lists of healthy plant slant foods and recipes, and make your shopping list from the foods they contain. @BlueZones post them often on Facebook and Twitter. 



Let kids pick one new veg at the supermarket or Farmer's Market to try each week. They're more likely to try a "special" food they selected. 



Write down everything you ate and drank and hour before you had digestive issues. Do this for your kids too. Playing detective helps identify food allergies and intolerances. 



Recently I learned exercise keeps our arteries flexible, which is a good thing. That’s reason enough to make sure your kids get up and move around the house or outside every thirty minutes or so. No more playing video games without breaks. 



Gardening is a great family tradition to establish. Teaching kids where food comes from makes them more likely to eat their vegetables.



Poor health is a good reason to stop buying foods that contribute to it. Filling up your shopping list with healthy fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains leaves little room for junk.



Did you know pistachios contain resveratrol, just like red wine? So your kids can snack on pistachios while you enjoy a glass of your favorite cabernet. You'll both benefit from this healthy compound, which fights damage to our bodies on a cellular level.




You’re reading from the blog: https://www.roadtofreecollege.com/

Photo credit: Google Images 



If you’re interested in learning more about helping your children succeed, you can follow me on Twitter, @ElizaWallace27 or click on the image of my book, Free College, in 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, May 8, 2019

How Teachers Help Students Avoid Needing College Loans



When I first started teaching, few of the students who graduated from the school where I worked went on to college. This included my foreign language students. I knew for them to do well after high school graduation, something had to change. I started slipping reasons for going to college into our conversations. A hint here, a hint there, the idea eventually took hold.

I started putting up a poster each January and encouraged all seniors to list their post-graduation plans for everyone to see. This had a positive impact on all of my students. After a couple of years of doing this, I noticed all my seniors listed college as their destination. As college prices increased to absurd levels, I began informing my students of ways to avoid college debt. Some students were better at this than others. I wondered what they did that made the difference.

After doing a great deal of research, I put together a questionnaire. I distributed it widely and also solicited comments. It became clear those who received the most scholarship money had several habits in common. I wrote my book, Free College using this information. In addition to listing the sixteen successful strategies, I explain them and the results I saw for each. I suggest ways families could adopt them as well. The families and/or students who were better at practicing these habits received more scholarship money than those who only followed some of them. Those who completed them all received Full-Ride Scholarships.

I feel it’s vital to make this information public. I want it known by families everywhere. This way, everyone will be aware of what to do to avoid college loans. College debt is difficult to pay off, and becomes a monster that follows students for years, if not for life. My book is available on Amazon, click on the book cover in the top right corner of this page, to buy it now. If you have Pre-K through High School students in your life, my book will show you how they can graduate from college debt free. 


You’re 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, in 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.



Photo: My book cover

Friday, May 3, 2019

Tips for Raising Healthy Kids





Did you know pistachios contain resveratrol, just like red wine? So your kids can snack on pistachios while you enjoy a glass of your favorite cabernet. You'll both benefit from this healthy compound, which fights damage to our bodies on a cellular level. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

What You Should Do, If Your High School Doesn’t Have a College Counselor






Every high school where I’ve taught has had at least one counselor who was an expert in “all things college”. What do you do if your high school doesn’t have such a person? I recommend you take a look at Free $ For College For Dummies by David Rosen and Caryn Mladen. Click HERE  to get a copy.

It won’t help you become the ideal college scholarship applicant, like my book, Free College. It will, however, help you through the process of finding and applying for scholarships. It consists of twenty-four chapters containing important details you need to know. I wasn’t sure if my grandson’s high school in another state had an expert on campus to help him, so I sent him a copy of this book when he started his junior year.

The book is like having a mentor walk you through the process. It can’t nag you to complete forms on time, of course, but it does give you a timeline to follow. The first four chapters include an overview of the process of finding free money. It explains what you can expect and how to avoid scams, (yes, as we have seen on the news lately, there are con men out there).

The second section of the book helps you optimize what you can receive from the federal government. Although there’s more than $46 billion in grants and scholarships available annually, over $2.9 billion in free college federal grant money went unclaimed last year. Read these chapters carefully, so you don’t miss out. This section also helps you avoid problems with the Internal Revenue Service. There’s a right way and a wrong way to report money received, do it right, so you don’t have problems.

Section three goes into finding money from the state in which you live. Like with the feds, there are grants and scholarships available. Free cash for college exists on a local level too. This part of the book helps you go after this money.

Next, you’ll learn how to negotiate with colleges for a lower tuition. Just like with cars, it's possible to pay less than the sticker price. Plus, you can apply for merit, athletic and even international scholarships from the college itself. All of these, naturally, must be appropriate for your student. As with the recent college admission scandal, students and parents who try to scam the system end up in trouble, and might even go to jail.

Lots more scholarships can be unearthed from private and public organizations. The next section of the book explains how to find them. Some are obvious, like charitable and fraternal organizations, unions, and the military. The last section of this chapter includes a resource guide for finding more obscure scholarships.

The final four chapters of Free $ For College For Dummies explains what else you can do, as well as what you should avoid while looking for ways to pay for college. Whatever you do, avoid taking out student loans. They can't be forgiven in bankruptcy, will follow you everywhere, and often grow so large, you’ll never be able to pay them off. I know people in their seventies who have student loan repayments taken involuntarily from their monthly social security benefits. Whether you buy this book, or mine, do whatever you can to avoid student loan debt.

You’re 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.

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.