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.


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 are reading from the blog,, where we empower families with knowledge to navigate the path to higher education without the burden of excessive loans.


For more information, you’ll want my book, Free College, CLICK HERE. It teaches families how to help their kids become more successful in school, college, and life.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

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