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Pay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dent, Par­ents, and Edu­ca­tor Guide to Over 500 Live Links to Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources

Paying For College CoverPay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dent, Par­ents, and Edu­ca­tor Guide to Over 500 Live Links to Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources  by Chris­tine M. Hand Gon­za­les, Ed.D.

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Pay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank takes you through the col­lege plan­ning time­line and the finan­cial aid appli­ca­tion process along with addi­tional tips and resources. It will show ways to approach coun­selors, teach­ers, or mod­er­a­tors to request an effec­tive let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, and give tips on self-marketing through the schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion essays. It will help you:

  • Cal­cu­late the actual costs of college
  • Increase your chances of receiv­ing aid
  • Com­pare aid offers and learn how to appeal if needed
  • Plan strate­gi­cally as an inde­pen­dent stu­dent or divorced or sin­gle parent
  • Avoid costly mis­takes when applying
  • Learn tips for com­plet­ing the required fed­eral form, the FAFSA
  • Under­stand the “nuts and bolts” of finan­cial aid, and where to find scholarships
  • Access an exten­sive and incom­pa­ra­ble list of pub­li­ca­tions and Inter­net resource

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8 Reasons to Apply for Scholarships Sooner Than Later

You are prob­a­bly in the process of com­plet­ing your appli­ca­tions to col­lege and may be think­ing ahead to your next con­cern; pay­ing for your edu­ca­tion. Search­ing for schol­ar­ship money can be tedious and time con­sum­ing, but it can pay off too. Check out the top rea­sons you should apply for schol­ar­ships sooner than later.  It may help you through the process.
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I Need a Letter of Recommendation — How Do I Request One?

Col­leges may require a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, or they may not. You will need to review what each school requires as part of the appli­ca­tion. There are sev­eral peo­ple who may need to write on your behalf includ­ing your coun­selor and/or a teacher. Some­times col­leges will spec­ify what they are look­ing for more specif­i­cally, like a let­ter from a teacher who taught you your junior year or one who taught you in a core course like Eng­lish, math, sci­ence, his­tory or for­eign lan­guage. Review the fol­low­ing tips to help you get an effec­tive let­ter of recommendation:

The let­ter should be from some­one who knows you well.  He or she will need to be able to pro­duce a well-written piece that will help the admis­sions office learn some­thing new about you. Read more tips on how to request a let­ter of recommendation.

Tips For Writing Your College Essay

Recently, I read an arti­cle by an admis­sions rep­re­sen­ta­tive from St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land regard­ing the col­lege essay. Their advice seemed wor­thy of repeat­ing so here it goes. When asked about the length of the essay, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive explained that “the ones that got read at our col­lege, the ones that really showed the admis­sions com­mit­tee the real per­son, and the ones that jumped out at us and caught our atten­tion were the ones that:  1) were from the ‘heart’, 2) were ‘student-written’ (you would be sur­prised how many have ‘adult hands’ on them…and you can tell the dif­fer­ence when you read them), and 3) told us why they are spe­cial; not nec­es­sar­ily if they were spe­cial.  If stu­dents can do that and it hap­pens to be a lit­tle over 500 words, don’t sweat it.” Read more tips for writ­ing the col­lege essay.

Why Do I Need a Resume of Activities?

Involve­ment in extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties can make you stand out in the col­lege appli­ca­tion process. Are you a leader?  Have you achieved a note­wor­thy level of achieve­ment?  How does the activ­ity make you dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent from oth­ers with sim­i­lar interest?

This same Resume will also be help­ful for teach­ers and coun­selors whom you may ask to write your let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion. So gather the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion:  name, address, pro­fes­sional email address, cell phone/home phone num­ber, objec­tive or sum­mary, edu­ca­tion, extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties, vol­un­teer ser­vice, awards and cer­tifi­cates, skills/academic achieve­ment, music /artistic achieve­ments, ref­er­ences, and other information.

Think about your qual­i­ties: Time man­age­ment; team­work; goal-oriented; com­pet­i­tive­ness; con­fi­dence; persistence/endurance, loy­alty;  dis­ci­pline; tak­ing crit­i­cism; deal­ing with set­backs; lead­er­ship; and flexibility/adaptability.

Essential Guides Make Great Holiday Gifts for the College Bound Student!

Just in time for hol­i­day giv­ing, “Col­legecb-2015-front-cover (2) Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Pre­pare for Get­ting into the Col­lege of Your Dreams” is avail­able in paper­back and eBook formats.

girl santa2Col­lege Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Pre­pare for Get­ting into the Col­lege of Your Dreams includes:  Over 1,200 links to grants, loans, schol­ar­ships, and pre-college pro­grams. How to pick a major, what col­leges look for in appli­cants, where to find finan­cial aid, and more

  • Spe­cial admis­sions infor­ma­tion for the artist, the ath­lete, the military-minded, the dis­abled, and the home schooled along with over 100 minor­ity schol­ar­ship websites
  • In-depth infor­ma­tion on  women’s col­leges, diverse pop­u­la­tions, alter­na­tive lifestyles
  • A plan­ning time line
  • Sam­ple forms and checklists
  • Career explo­ration, sam­ple resumes and inter­view questions
  • Step-by-step instruc­tions through the col­lege appli­ca­tion process
  • Inside infor­ma­tion on stan­dard­ized tests, the ACT, PSAT, and SAT
  • A com­pre­hen­sive list of must-read books and publications
  • How to make a smooth tran­si­tion from home to college
  • A chap­ter just for parents

My Col­lege Bound Plan, the com­pan­ion work­book to Col­lege Bound, gives stu­dents the actual forms, check­lists, and step-by-step guid­ance they need formcbp-2014-proof-cover[1] self-evaluation, col­lege com­par­isons, finan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions, teacher rec­om­men­da­tions, activ­i­ties resumes, and much more.

About The Author: Chris­tine Hand Gon­za­les, Ed.D, has spent the last 20 years as a pro­fes­sional col­lege plan­ning con­sul­tant, instruc­tor, high school col­lege coun­selor, and reg­is­tered ther­a­pist. Her work with high school juniors and seniors focuses on career explo­ration and col­lege coun­sel­ing. She also writes a blog for the col­lege bound stu­dent and their par­ents at Read about more guides — click here.