Follow the Money Lined Road
Ever hear the saying money doesn't grow on trees? Well what if I told you that it actually does? Money for college is all around us BUT many times we don't recognize it. My job is to help you SEE the money and GET the money for college so you can use your money to fund the rest of your life. Sound good? Take a few minutes to read this article I wrote this month and tell me your thoughts. You can also see it in magazineform at
Ahhhhh September! Can’t you smell the turning of the season? The apples from the trees? The fear in the air from parents with high school students preparing for college? Yep! The scramble is on to figure out the schools, the application process, and yes, the money to pay for it all. Grab your highlighter, a cup of something to sip and allow me to map out the path to debt-free college.
First stop, course selection for high school. Can I just be real? You need to be involved in the course selection process every step of the way. Make sure you know what courses are needed to graduate AND allow your child to be accepted into the University of North Carolina College System. The Career and College Promise is offered at every community college. The built-in scholarship comes in the form of a student taking college courses while in high school, the state picking up the tab for the courses, and the student can transfer that course to their college! My daughter graduated in May and was able to earn 24 college credits and transfer them to her university. She had already earned a full-ride academic scholarship so college credits she knocked down in high school? Those will result in a free year towards her Master’s degree! Are you getting the picture?
Second stop, standardized test scores. Now before you roll your eyes this is the part where I need you to come close and listen. It is true that many colleges and universities are dispensing with requiring the ACT or SAT for college admissions. Quiet as it is kept, many of the institutional and portable (ones that go wherever you go) scholarships, still require those tests! The higher the test scores, the greater the levels of funding your student is eligible to receive. So what to do? Have your child take BOTH practice tests the summer before 10th grade. Laser in on the one they felt they performed the best on and prep for the real test using an in-person or virtual service to guide them through the mechanics of the test. EVERY college accepts both tests and one isn’t better than the other.
Third stop, scholarships. I know this is where you wanted me to start but you don’t get here without doing the other steps. Scholarships can be earned as early as kindergarten so start your search engines NOW! Is your child a great photographer or speaker? There’s money for that even if they don’t want to pursue that path in college. Use this formula: interests + academics+ community service. Manage your time and write down your goals. The early bird can get plenty of worms depending on how EARLY he starts hunting. Our hunt led to a $100k college degree that my oldest paid less than $15k for and the middle child earned over $500k in scholarships (2 were full ride merit offers). Need a boost of confidence and a shot of reality? You know where to find me!
As many states across the country scramble to make decisions about how grades will be attributed to students for this semester, parents of high school students need to be cautious. While some states are providing students in public high school the option of having numeric grades or Pass/ No Credit entered in, there are consequences for either.
Let’s assume you have a 9th grader and he/she is not doing well in Algebra and would likely end the semester with a D for his/her final grade. Is it better to have the D on their transcript or Pass? This can get tricky because what if you and your child are thinking about the long game and want to build the grade point average? In North Carolina, passing and no credit will not impact the grade point average. For students who were already struggling, this could be a God send in the sense that colleges and universities are looking at whether or not you have the graduation requirements and not so much the grade in the required course.
Conversely, if you and your student do want the letter grade from the course, your student can take the grade they had as of March 13 or whatever grade is higher towards the end of this semester, and that will be the final grade. This grade will also be factored into the student’s grade point average. With the prevailing thought being that students can only improve their grades as of March 13, this new policy may prove to be beneficial to a number of students that were already doing well.
For students that were struggling prior to the stay at home orders and school closures, parents should not rush to just take a pass. I believe that if you’re looking towards the long game of graduation, college admissions and scholarships, a pass grade can throw a monkey wrench in your planning. Pass grades do not factor into your grade point average so your student will have to rely on the grade point average they had from the previous semester as a base. You also want to remember that many scholarships are heavily based on grade point averages not from a semester but cumulatively.
Final note, if your child is a graduating high school senior, their final grade point average (at least in NC) is going to be based on the final grade for the fall semester. This semester they will receive a Pass PC-19 or Withdrew WC19 based off of grades on March 13th. If they are or were failing, they will have opportunities through remote learning to bring the grade to passing. Also, only 22 credits are being required to graduate. PLEASE be mindful that what is required may differ from what college and universities require so check with each prospective school to see if they have changed their entrance requirements. If you don’t live in NC, check your State Board of Education website to see what the high school grading policy is. If your child attends private high school, inquire as to whether their policy on grading is impacted by COVID-19. Don’t assume, ASK!
Keep your foot on the gas and PRESS in parents, I’m here if you need me!
Here is a Present for YOU!
I shared a few words of wisdom about how parents can provide a college education for their children on someone else's dime. Get out your pen and paper (or just use the notes section on your phone, LOL)!
In the quest to keep my waistline trim and fit, I have exhausted every tactic and technique possible. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Well, the latest rage is meal prepping and I tell you I think this thing is going to work for me. It does involve a little thought, time and preparation (hence the name) but the pay offs are great so far. I find that I have more time in my evening with my girls and husband, I don’t have that sinking feeling in my stomach when the girls ask, “what’s for dinner?” and I think I have just found my next investment platform in plastics! Would you believe me if I told you that prepping for college can provide you with the same kind of peace of mind? It’s true and I want to share 3 easy prep tips that can save your mind, your wallet and your household. I used them on my oldest daughter who graduated this May.
Shawn A. Hall