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Net Price Calculator Helps Cure the Sticker Shock of Higher Education

When most students start receiving information about the financial costs of a higher education, they are seniors in high school. Up until that point, many are simply told that college is expensive and they should start saving, but that’s about it. Now, a new tool has been designed to help families understand how much a higher education will cost, which allows families to then begin planning on how to pay for it.

This tool is called the Net Price Calculator (NPC) and was created to be in accordance with 2008’s Higher Education Opportunity Act. Under this act, every institute of higher education that allows students to use federal aid to pay for their education must have an NPC on their website so that students can calculate the price of attending that school. Students can put in their own personal data on this NPC and the calculator shows them the net price of attending that school (tuition, room, and board included). Read the rest of this entry »



High School Counselors: Overburdened, Undertrained

college conselor with student at deskHigh school counselors are failing their students. When it comes time for students to make major life decisions, guidance counselors should be behind them every step of the way. But, to put it simply, their guidance is lacking.

However, it may not be their fault. A recent study by the College Board showed that public school counselors had an average caseload of 389 kids, while those in the low-income schools took on an average of 427. With such a heavy burden, counselors find that their work suffers and so do the students.

“Counselors are like teachers,” said Patrick O’Connor, director of college counseling at the Roeper School in Michigan. “When they have too many students, the amount of learning and personal contact goes down, and the quality of the counselor-student relationship suffers. Ideally, the ratio should be 100 to 1, but in this economy, counselors would be happy with 250 to 1, especially since ratios in some states are higher than 600.”

Not only are counselors taking on a huge work load, the survey also revealed that they have not received enough training to do their jobs. While 73 percent of those surveyed have master’s degrees, and 58 percent of them are administrators or teachers, only 16 percent said they were adequately trained for their job.

“Current counselor training programs are completely out of line with what students and parents want and need from a school counselor today,” O’Connor said.

Meanwhile the survey showed that schools were not deploying their counselors to tactically prepare students for college and the work place. A mere 42 percent said that their school believed in their ability to successfully drive students to meet their post-secondary education goals. Also, only 34 percent said that their school offered students academic planning for the future.

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19 Arizona High School Students Will Graduate College Before Finishing High School

Graduation paraphernaliaWhen I was in high school, I took a few AP classes in order to earn some college credit. Some of my friends took a few college classes at the local community college. When we graduated high school, we had already earned enough credit to be considered second-semester college freshmen, and we thought we were ahead of the curve. Turns out, when compared to 19 high school students in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, we were way behind.

This year, 19 seniors at Lake Havasu High School will graduate high school will also earning their associate’s degrees. These students all took a test during their sophomore year of high school which allowed them to take dual enrollment classes during their junior and senior years of high school.

“We’ve all had to adapt to teaching ourselves how to study because things have come so easy to us before; so now our teachers expect us to help teach ourselves,” said Savanna Bailey, a senior at the school. “I’ve had a couple of anxiety attacks, but it’s all worth it whenever you really do learn more. You have to bring every single thick textbook home with you and you look, obviously like the nerdiest one in the school carrying all of your books.”

Looking nerdy seems like a small price to pay for two-years worth of free college credit, if you ask me. So how do these students make it through the insane amounts of homework and stress they must encounter while studying for both high school and college classes?

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College Board Releases 2011 AP Honor Roll

college board logo with acornDo you remember back in elementary school when the school would give out annual awards for various accomplishments? There was the Reading Honor Roll, the Attendance Honor Roll, the Science Honor Roll, and so many more. I had long ago forgotten about honor rolls, but I guess they are back in the spotlight.

In 2010, The College Board began releasing an annual list of schools that made it’s AP Honor Roll. In order to make this honor roll, schools must increase their students access to Advanced Placement courses and coursework. However, there is more required of schools who want to make this honor roll. In addition, they must also simultaneously maintain or increase the percentage of their students who earn at least a “3” on the exams. Schools who do this are “successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most for AP course work,” according to the College Board.

This year, 367 school districts made the list. The schools came from 45 different states in the USA and six provinces in Canada. Pennsylvania had the most districts who qualified for the list (34). New York and Massachusetts tied for second place with 30 districts each.

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Cheating on the SAT is Not a Good Way to Get Into College

College Board SAT acorn logoDo you remember that movie, The Perfect Score? It came out in 2004 and was about six high school seniors who stole the answers to the SAT test in order to ace it and get into Princeton University. Well, I’ve often heard that life imitates art, but a new story makes this phrase seem way too real.

Seven people were arrested recently for being involved in a SAT cheating scam in Long Island, New York. Samuel Eshaghoff, 19, was the oldest student who was arrested; the other six students are minors, so their names are not being released. Eshaghoff faces felony fraud charges and the others face misdemeanor charges.

Prosecutors claim that Eshaghoff impersonated six students at Great Neck North High between 2010 and 2011. He charged each student between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the SAT test for them. He then would go to a testing center that was not the students’ own school so that authorities would not realize he was using a fake form of identification to impersonate the other students.

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Resources That Make College Life Cheaper

Going to college is considered a rite of passage for most people. Students often can’t wait to leave home and enjoy living on their own as adults. While college is all about education, there are some life skills that are needed to make your college life bearable.

College students are known for having to live on very little funds due to their class load and being away from home. Many students don’t work so there is very little disposable income to go around. Below are some tips to make college life much more affordable. Minimizing your expenses can go a long way in having a good college experience. It will also help you avoid the temptation of borrowing money through student loans for necessities. Try out some or all of these ideas to maximize your dollar.

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High School Senior College Checklist

As an upcoming high school senior, you may be thinking ahead to college. There are a lot of different things to do and dates to have on your calendar. For those that plan to continue their education beyond high school, several things must be done so that you are properly prepared for your freshman year of college. Making a list and prioritizing it by deadline is a helpful way to make sure that everything is taken care of in plenty of time so that you can have things lined up and enjoy your last year of high school. A little bit of planning now will ensure that you have nothing to worry about later. Below are a few things to keep in mind so that no deadlines are missed.

FAFSA: The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for the academic year of 2012-2013 is not currently available, but it will be on January 1, 2012. You only need to file once for each academic year and filing early is always best. The deadline for the 2012-2013 academic year will be June 30, 2013. Receiving free money like government grants can truly depend on how early you file, so keep that January 1 date in mind.  Once those government grants are gone, the only options available for federally funding your education would be student loans or work study programs. When filling out the FAFSA, you will need your parents’ tax and income information for 2011 and you can choose what schools you want your award information sent to. You can pick several schools to receive this information, which is helpful if you haven’t picked your college when you start filling out your FAFSA.

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3 Things You Can Do Now to Avoid the Freshman 15

The Freshman Fifteen. We’ve all heard of it. Some of us like to think that it is just another silly rumor about college, but the sad truth is that it does exist, and if you don’t take the necessary steps to avoid it, it will get you. Scary, huh?

When I was in high school, I went to the gym every day for two hours, ate like a rabbit, and took good care of myself. When I went to college for the first time, all of my healthy habits went right out the window and I gained the Freshman 15…and then some. But is there any way to avoid this? Now that I’m way past my freshman year, I have discovered a few tricks of the trade that I will now share with you. You may want to start trying these habits on for size now, so that when your first day of college comes, you’ll be ready for it. Don’t worry, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
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Why You Should Take The GMAT as an Undergrad

Natalie Alvarez spent roughly $2,000 preparing for the GMAT. The Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized test used to admit students into business graduate school. Alvarez took the GMAT in 2009 and wasn’t happy with her score, so she received tutoring– rather pricy tutoring.

“I had found that I have forgotten almost all of the material I learned [as an undergraduate],” said the graduate student at Concordia University in Irvine. “It wasn’t just that I was two years removed from school, but five years removed from relevant math classes I took my freshman year. I am a firm believer that had I taken the GMAT while still in school, with material fresh in my mind, my scores would have been better.”

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Get the Insider’s Scoop on the New GRE

Educational Testing Services and Graduate Record ExaminationsTaking the the Graduate Record Examinations, better known as the GRE, is a must for many people applying to graduate school. The test was taken by about 675,000 people in 2010, and the number of business schools accepting the GRE for MBA applicants has quadrupled in the past four years.

The Educational Testing Services will be making some of the biggest changes in the GRE’s 60-year history this coming summer. The revised test will feature new kinds of questions and will be graded on a very different scoring scale. The computer-based test, which is used in the majority of testing locations around the world, will also introduce a number of features to make the experience better for test-takers. The main goal of revising the test is to better evaluate “kind of things that students are actually doing when they get into graduate school or business school,” said Dawn Piacentino, the director of communications and client services for the GRE in a phone interview with EduInReview.

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