Thursday, October 28, 2010

MBTI Interpretation

Been at a conference the last few days.

I'll be doing the MBTI interpretation in class tonight.

Friday, October 22, 2010

2011 Student Essay Contest

This is a fairly easy one and most of you should qualify. It is for $1,500 and provided by Community College Week.

Money Management Tips #27 to #33

#27 Take advantage of student discounts.
#28 Don't let car expenses drive you crazy.
#29 Keep track of your student account.
#30 Plug everyday spending needs.
#31 Create a budget and stick to it.
#32 Build good credit.
#33 Avoid credit card pushers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Money Management Tips #21to #26

#21 Talk to your roommates about money issues.
#22 Compare the cost of an apartment with the cost of a dorm room.
#23 Pay the rent on time.
#24 Set ground rules regarding money.
#25 Resist peer pressure.
#26 Separate needs from wants.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Money Management Tips #15 to #20

#15 Look for a job on campus.
#16 Turn a hobby or a skill into a money-making endeavor.
#17 Take time now to prepare for your career.
#18 Choose the meal plan that works for you.
#19 Save on snacks.
#20 Use the dorm or campus computers instead of buying your own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Money Management Tips #10 to #14

#10 Use loans as the last resort.
#11 Understand your student loan obligation.
#12 Submit a new FAFSA every year.
#13 Talk to your financial aid officer if your situation changes.
#14 Make school your first job.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Money Management Tips #6 to #9

Remember, I will elaborate on these in class. Here are the next four tips:

#6 Don't bounce checks.
#7 Understand your financial aid.
#8 Keep looking for financial aid.
#9 Watch out for scholarship scams.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Money Management Tips

The National Endowment for Financial Education recently made a booklet available online which ties in with the money management section of the scholarship class.

In the next eight days, I will be posting the money management tips in the booklet.

Here are the first five tips which I will elaborate on in class:

#1 Take charge of your life and your money.
#2 Know the ground rules
#3 Get organized
#4 Protect your personal information
#5 Find the best deal for your checking account

In the meantime, check out


"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit." Conrad Hilton

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

College and University Day

Please remember to attend the University Transfer Fair today in the Multi Purpose room in the CSSC. It is scheduled from 10:00 to 1:00. See you there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scholarship Contests

The focus of the scholarship class and the money workshops given at the college is real scholarships. These require that you meet eligibility requirements and submit an application which contains very critical components like a personal essay and letters of recommendation.

When searching for money for college, this process requires applying for many scholarships on a regular basis. Remember the more you apply for the better your chances of receiving an award.

Since you are trying to cast as wide a net as possible, also consider entering scholarship contests. These usually require the minimum information like your name and contact information. These are based on luck, but could lead to a few extra dollars for your college education.

You may come across these online or in monthly magazines. Keep your eye out for every opportunity which might bring in cash for college.

Monday, October 11, 2010


U-Promise is a great way to earn money for college through your regular purchases at grocery and drug stores, online shopping and a number of other services.

The first step is to register every credit card you have with them or to apply for a special credit card which gives a percentage of purchases and services. In addition, ask family and friends if they will participate to benefit you and your educational goals.

Google U-Promise for more information on how the program works.

A number of years ago I registered my four grandchildren. A good source for extra money--give it a try.

Friday, October 8, 2010

NISOD Scholarship

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development NISOD)scholarship is an easy application that all of you should (must) complete. Just being a community college student qualifies you.

For a complete list of prizes, contest details, and to submit an essay, visit: The deadline is November 8, 2010. Contestants will be notified by Monday, February 07, 2011.

Don't miss this opportunity to win $1,000.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Sad to say,there are many individuals who do not have your best interest at heart. You are lured by guarantees of customized scholarship searches and actual financial awards. There is even an organization that will complete your FAFSA application for a preposterous fee.

Do not pay any application fees, advance fees on scholarship loans or get involved with any "guaranteed" scholarship search services. I would also stay away from free seminars for financial assistance. Sometimes you gain some useful information, but these seminars are usually a front for financial aid consulting services that charge healthy fees.

Be safe. You are trying to win money for college and not spending hard earned money.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thank You Letter

By now you should have your three letters of recommendation--preferably four or five.

Have you send a thank you letter or card? Did you include a little something like a book mark or even a candy bar?

Prior to sending your letter or card, be sure you make a copy for your portfolio.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First Paragraph of Essay

Many of you neglected to submit your first paragraph. It was due last week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Coca Cola Scholarship

If enough students sign up, I will be happy to repeat the hour and a half long workshop that I gave last Friday on the Coca Cola scholarship application. Although you may feel comfortable applying without direction, you increaase your chances with more information and tips.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Writing Your First Draft

Prior to writing your first draft, do some brainstorming. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and jot down the names of people or books that inspired you. Mention early influences that led you to your goal. Give some thought to significant events in your life and what you have learned about yourself through these events. Are there beliefs or causes for which you have a passion? Where do you expect to be in five or ten years and what do you envision yourself doing? Be specific in your writing--include details and funny stories.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Site

Try to search for colleges and scholarships.

First Paragraph of Personal Statement

Get those creative juices flowing and make that first paragraph compelling. You want to attract the reader's attention and entice him to keep reading. You are attempting to project an image of an interesting person who is worthy of the grant or scholarship being awarded.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Make Your Personal Statement Come Alive

Just imagine for a moment how boring it must be to read one personal statement after another that reads like a shopping list. Instead of simply listing honors, awards or achievements that you included on your application, include brief descriptions of your specific achievements. Keep that in mind, and results will allow the scholarship committee to know you as the deserving candidate that you are.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Competing for Scholarships

Remember, you are competing with many top students who have the same or better qualifications. Your personal statement could be the deciding factor with the judges. Your statement is your opportunity to stand out as an individual. The application form shows factual information, but your personal statement paints a picture of you.

Try to speak from the heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Personal Essay

A common mistake that students make is to wait until the last minute to start writing a personal statement. By doing this, you're bound to end up with a weak statement that could negatively affect your eligibility.

It is really important to start writing immediately. Write from the heart and let the reader know who you are.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Writing Your Personal Statement

The judges want to know who you are and which educational path you have chosen. Keep reminding yourself that YOU are the one who should receive the award. It is your job to convince them through your personal statement that you are a GREAT INVESTMENT! Believe that the scholarship is already yours, really want it, but write an essay that will make the scholarship committee take notice!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preparation for Personal Essay

Please come to class prepared to give an oral presentation about yourself. As a listener, you can help by asking questions.

Remember the generic personal essay is about why you are in college; who or what inspired you; why you selected your major; what your short and long term goals are; and to write about any challenge you might have faced. If there has been a huge "bump" in the road for you, what did you learn from it? Has working and giving to others made you a better person?

The judges want to know who you are and why you are more deserving than the other applicant.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life Planning Class

I have reevaluated posting the codes for the MBTI and the Strong online, and decided to give them out in class.

The Personal Statement

It is time to start working on your personal essay which is the most important document in your application packet. Although I will be giving instructions in the classroom very soon, please start reviewing the questions in the textbook in section two.

As more students take the scholarship class and attend scholarship workshops, they are becoming more sophisticated in the application process--you need to be competitive. You want your essay read and want to be selected as the winner. It is your job to convince the judges that you are the best candidate.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pathways to Success

The electronic application for the Pathways to Success scholarship will be available the end of November. Will let you know when I have the actual date.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Location of Coca Cola Workshop

The Coca Cola workshop will be held in the Multipurpose Room in the new building (CSSC)--it is on the first floor. Good to idea to reserve a spot with my assistant, Margo, at 760 862-1351

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coca-Cola All-State Community College Scholarships

The electronic application for this scholarship will be available on Tuesday, September 21,2010. The COD deadline is November 01,2010. A workshop specifically for this scholarship will be offered on October 01, 2010 at 10:00 to 11:00--location to be announced.

Eligibility requirements are:
1. Must be enrolled at a community college.
2. GPA minimum of 3.5 college-level coursework in the last 5 years.
3. Completed at least 36 semester units of college-level credit.
4. Must be on track for an Associate or Bachelor's degree.
5. Must NOT have been nominated previously.
6. College record free of suspension, probation or other serious disciplinary action.
7. Free from criminal conduct.

To access via Google,key in Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team Program

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Next Step

It is time to do follow up on the Letters of Recommendation. Please contact the people who are writing on your behalf. The first student in my class to receive three letters will receive a flash drive. Be sure to notify me by email.

Please set up your new scholarship email account with a professional name and start completing profiles on and Even though I have more faith in local scholarships, it won’t hurt to start exploring some of the most popular sites.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Be Prepared for Class Today

You will NEED your portfolio in class today!

Please check your assignments and come prepared to discuss the differences between the HOPE Scholarship, Opportunity Award, Lifelong Learning Credit and Interest on student loans.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Email Accounts

I strongly recommend that you establish a separate email account for your scholarship search. In addition, be sure to select a name that is professional and easy to remember. Too many combinations may be difficult to copy, but it is also easy to make a mistake if it is complicated.

Names like cuteypie, bighunk, sober4 are not only unprofessional, but you might be sending a message about yourself that is not positive. When in doubt, use your name and a number.

Check these sites as possible options for your separate scholarship website:

 Gmail
 AIM Mail
 Yahoo! Mail
 FastMail Guest Account
 Windows Live Hotmail
 Yahoo! Mail Classic

Friday, September 10, 2010

Class Review

The following is the process for recording your scholarships in your portfolio:
1. You'll be using the scholarship organizer, calendar and A-Z index.
2. Read the scholarship eligibility requirements to be sure you qualify.
3. Record the information on the scholarship organizer with black pen.
4. With red pen, record the name of the scholarship on the due date on the calendar.
5. With green pen, record the name of the scholarship three weeks before deadline on the calendar.
6. File the scholarship alphabetically--insert into the sheet protector.
7. Scholarship is now ready for you to complete the application.
8. Be sure to make a copy of each and every scholarship before you submit electronically or by mail.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Portfolios Due Today

IMPORTANT! Bring your portfolio to class today. Instructions will be given on using the system. Remember that last Tuesday was the deadline to either purchase the packet from the Follett bookstore or to organize your own. This class moves very quickly and it is critical to have your materials ready to go.

Directions for assembling your portfolio can be found on my website ( or in the book.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last Day to Add or Drop

Today is the last day to add a class, but it is also the last day to drop a class. By dropping today, you will qualify for a refund and the class will not show on your transcripts. Also, it will allow a student who is desperately in need of the class and/or units to fulfill his or her educational requirement.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Gather up your necessary documents (driver's license, social security, alien registration card, birth certificate) and have color copies made.

Be sure to always keep both the originals and copies in a secure place at home. Identity theft has become a big crime so you need to be deligent.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How are you doing?

By now, you should have completed the following:
1. Submitted a message to both my emails ( and
2. Completed and submitted (to a minimum of three people) your written request for Letters of Recommendation.
3. Purchased your scholarship packet from the bookstore (includes your book, portfolio and binder). OR
4. Put together your own portfolio and binder and purchased your book from
5. Explored;;

Hope you are having a good Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Letters of Recommendation

As I mentioned in class, getting your letters of recommendation is one of your biggest challenges so it is very important that you get your requests in as soon as possible.

Instructors are very busy. You will need to remind them constantly that you have a deadline for submitting your scholarship applications.

You will need the following in your packet:
Letter of Request (check the textbook for sample)
Personal Data Form (website)
Scholarship Resume (website)
Unofficial Transcripts (they will be in your folder next Tuesday)
Guidelines for Writing Letter of Recommendation (copy given yesterday in class--the one in the website needs a bit of updating).
Samples of Letters of Recomnmendation (copies will be in your folder next Tuesday)
Two white envelopes (in the scholarship packet purchased from the bookstore)

Have a great long weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome Back to College

I love new beginnings thus, the start of a new semester is always very exciting for me. Welcome to Intro to Scholarships!!!

As I mentioned in class, we start off with a bang so it is important to get going with your request for Letters of Recommendation. The first step is to ask 4 or 5 people if they feel comfortable writing a "wonderful" letter on your behalf. A yes answer requires that you immediately submit a request packet with all of the necessary materials. I will review that in class today, but the directions are also in the book.

It is very helpful to review the archives in this blog for valuable information.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Scholarship Class Presentations

Presentations on Monday, May 17th will be from students A-K. If your last name starts with those letters, please come to class dressed appropriately and prepared to give your thank you speeches. Your thank you does not need to be long. Select a scholarship that you have been awarded or one that you are hoping you will receive.

Please do not read your presentation. Instead, come prepared with cue cards so that you don't forget anything you want to say. Take a deep breath as you walk up and wear a smile.

We will be meeting in the Career/Transfer Center. You are expected to attend both presentations, but you need only to dress up for your own speech. Skipping on either Monday or Wednesday will have an effect on the grade that you receive for this final assignment.

Good luck!!

Thank You Presentations

Your hard work has paid off and you have been awarded a scholarship. Congratulations and YEAH!!!

You will, undoubtedly, be invited to attend a luncheon or dinner by the organization that will be honoring you. As their scholarship recipient, it is important that you look professional and go prepared to give a sincere thank you.

Dress conservatively as though you are going to a job interview. The following are some don'ts to remember: Women--no spaghetti straps or revealing necklines; skirts that are too short; flip-flops; shorts; jeans; clingy fabrics; bare midriffs; theatrical makeup; too much perfume; long nails with flashy nail polish; no tattoes showing; all piercings removed; and no off-beat haircolor or hairdo.

For guys--no tee shirts; jeans; shorts; flip-flops; tattoes showing; piercings removed; no earrings; or excessive jewelry (a watch and one ring is fine. It is not necessary to wear a suit, but at least wear an open collar shirt with nicely pressed slacks. Belt and shoes should match and shoes should be polished and in good condition.

It stands to reason that grooming should be impeccable--freshly showered; hair shampooed; clothes freshly laundered and pressed; fingernails clean and trimmed; teeth freshly brushed (avoid onions & garlic on that day); and clothes that are appropriate.

The thank you speech doesn't need to be very long. Do not read a prepared speech--it is better to use cue cards to remind you of what you want to say. Also, be sure to acknowledge any professors, counselors, or other individuals who have helped you in any way to win the scholarship. It goes without saying that the organization is the first to be thanked. Briefly mention your major and what you plan on doing with your education.

Try to relax, make eye contact, strong handshakes and wear a big smile.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Scholarship Awards

Some of you will be receiving award letters in the next few days. Congratulations to those of you whose efforts have paid off.

Now comes the important part. It is critical that you mail a thank you letter as SOON AS POSSIBLE. It is not only the courteous thing to do, but it could mean another scholarship from the donor at a later date.

While we are on the topic of thank you, have you acknowledged all of the professionals, counselors and professors who have written letters of recommendation on your behalf? Also, it would be extra nice if you included a nice bookmark, notepad or even a candy bar in the envelope.

Come on now--do the right thing.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Winning scholarships is not the only option for getting money for college.

Have you heard of U-Promise? U-Promise is a free service that helps you get money for college bills and student loans from the things you do all the time: buy groceries, shop online, fill your gas tank and much more.

One of the fastest ways to grow your U-Promise savings is to take advantage of the multiple programs offered (dining, grocery, online shopping, etc.). Everyday purchases can earn a percentage which is saved for your college expenses.

Check it out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Identity Theft Tips 13 & 14

13. Never give your credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call and trust that business.

14. Subscribe to a credit report monitoring service that will notify you whenever someone applies for credit in your name.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Identity Theft Tips 10 to 12

10. Order your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement once a year to check for fraud.

11. Examine the charges on your credit card statements before paying them.

12. Cancel unused credit card accounts

Monday, April 19, 2010

Identify Theft Tips 8 & 9

8. Do not mail bill payments and checks from home. They can be stolen from your mailbox annd washed clean in chemicals. Take them to the post office.

9. Do not print your Social Security number on your checks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Identity Theft--Tips 5, 6 & 7

5. Add your name to the name-deletion lists of the Direct marketing Association's Mail Preference Service used by banks and other marketers.

6. Do not carry extra credit cards or other important identity documents except when needed.

7. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of your license and credit cards so you have all the account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers if your wallet or purse is stolen

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Identity Theft--Tips 3 & 4

3. Shred all old bank credit statements and "junk mail" credit card offers before
trashing them. Use a crosscut shredder. Crosscut shredders cost more than
regular shredders, but are superior.

4. Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three credit reporting bureaus
to reduce the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simplify Your Life

"You know it is time to simplify your life when you can't make it to the end of the month without using your credit card."

---Elaine St. James

Avoid Identity Theft--Tips 1 to 2

The following tips are by Frank W. Abagnale for

Identity thieves rob more than 500,000 Americans every year. Credit can be damaged, and fixing it can cost you hundreds of dollars and take hundreds of hours of your time. These steps will help you reduce your risk of identity theft.

1. Guard your Social Security number. It is the key to your credit report and banking accounts and is the prime target of criminals.

2. Monitor your credit report. It contains your SSN, present and prior employers, a listing of all account numbers, including those that have been closed, and your overall credit score. After applying for a loan, credit card, rental or anything else that requires a credit report, request that your SSN on the application be truncated or completely obliterated and your original credit report be shredded before your eyes or returned to you once a decision has been made. A lender or rental manager needs to retain only your name and credit score to justify a decision.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pell Grant 2010-11

Please note that the maximum Pell Grant for the 2010-11 award year is $5,500 which is more than 2009-10.

An eligible part-time student can receive a Pell Grant, but the amount will be less than for a full-time student.

An applicant may receive only one Pell Grant in an award year and may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Changes to Federal Financial Aid

The stimulus package will significantly augment spending for higher education by enhancing financial aid, expanding work-study programs and creating a new tuition tax credit. The federal law will provide students with the following additional financial assistance for student expenses.

Maximum Pell Grant benefits will increase from $4,850 to $5,350 for 2009-10

The package would create a tax credit of $2,500, up from $1,800. Students and parents may be able to claim a credit against their federal taxes that could increase their federal tax refund. Eligible expenses would include books and other course materials. Currently, only tuition and fees are eleigible expenses.

These new tax credit provisions are specific to tax years 2009-10 for the first four years of post-secondary education and are subject to phase out for taxpayers with the adjusted gross incomes in excess of $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly).

The tax credit could be taken when filing federal taxes for the year in which the student was enrolled in college.

Student employment will be assisted by the addition of $200 million in funding to the Federal Work-Study Program, a program that provides jobs to students for their educational expenses. Federal Work-Study jobs will be made available by the student's school.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Urgent Scholarship Deadline

The deadline for this one is tonight, BUT if your portfolio is in order, that shouldn't be a problem. It is the same format as the COD scholarship so you should be ready to go.

They are offering ten (10) $10,000 for 2 year students and twenty-five (25) $500 for two year students.

The contact is

Good luck!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Need-based Institutional Grants and Scholarships

Need-based grants are awarded as one component of a student's financial aid award package, to students who lack the financial resources to cover the cost of attending college. Regardless of the type of educational institution, an inverse correlation generally exists between family income and the grant amount you receive. The lower your family's income, the more institutional grant funds you're likely to receive from the awarding institution.

The amount of grant money available varies from institution to institution and between institutional types. The Instituion for Higher Education Policy reports that in 1995-96, the average need-based grant aid amounts from all sources were ususally highest at private four-year schools and lowest at public two year institutions. However, the grants tended to fund about the same proportion of student expenses, with 30 percent covered at public two-year institutions, 29 percent at private four-year colleges and universities and 27 percent at public four-year schools.

Many institutions also have need-based scholarship programs, often funded by alumni or local services organizations. Contact your school for information and a scholarship application.

Merit-based Institutional Grants & Scholarships

A merit-based grant ort scholarship requires the demonstration of excellence in some area. Particularly high GPAs and SAT scortes are the most common mark of distinction and are the deciding factors for most merit-based awards. Additionally, discipline-specific, community service and skill-based awards may be offered. You could write an essay and win a school's writing competion, for example, and receive a grant or scholarship ffrom the English department.

Some of these funds are awarded to incoming feshman only but, others are open to students further along in their studies. All institutional grants and scholarships require that students be enrolled at the awarding institution. Merit-based grants and scholarships sometimes have a need-based component. For these, you have to exhibit exceptional performance in some area and have demonstrated financial need.

Top Sources of Free Money for College

The main sources of student grants (free money that does not need to be repaid) is from federal, state amd institutional. The avenue for the federal and state grants is through applying for FAFSA.

An institution awards grant and scholarship funds to students enrolled in that school. Institutional grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid and come in two varieties: merit-based and need-based.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Education Tax Credits

April 15th is just around the corner. Please be sure to claim either the American Opportunity Tax Credit, HOPE Scholarship or Lifelong Learning Credit. You can read about it in my March posts.

If you have a tax preparer, remind him/her. If you are filing your own taxes, become familiar with these wonderful education credits. Remember, it is not just receiving scholarships but, saving the money you have and applying for credits when you qualify.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Scholarship Class

I will return to campus on Tuesday, April 6th, therefore, there will be no class on Monday. Please use the time to catch up.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Alternative Ways to Cut College Costs #5

Pay lower prices at out-of-state schools:
If you would like to attend an out-of-state college, but cannot afford the higher tuition, check out NATIONAL STUDENT EXCHANGE and WUE (Western Undergraduate Exchange).

If you are registered at CSU, San Bernadino, you could possibly study at the University of Hilo for a year.

Worth looking into if you need or want a change of pace.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Alternative Ways to Cut College Costs #4

Transfer to a Community College:
This is one of the greatest savings and yet, many think of this wonderful opportunity as second best.

Having completed my lower division education at a community college and counseling for seventeen years at a two year college, has convinced me that it should be the first choice of many students.

The classes are smaller and the student gets a lot of personal attention. In addition, the instructors have at least one master's degree, many have two masters and a good number have a PhD.

You get a wonderful education and save tons of money.

I advise students to save their money for graduate school and choose the best (for their major) that they can afford. Future employers will be looking at your graduate degree when making a decision.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Alternative Ways to Cut College Costs #3

How about getting credit for service? The following are some organizations to consider: Americorps, Peace Corps (I had first hand experience and recommend this highly), and Teach for America. These all offer educational service awards to students seeking cash and a way to make a difference in the world. The best part? Unlike other scholarships and grants, these service awards won't affect your federal financial aid eligibility. Organizations including the National Health Service Corps, the Army National Guard and the National Institutes of Health all sponsor loan forgiveness programs that turn borrowed cash into free dough in exchange for post-graduate service.

The Coast Guard is also worth looking into if you want to get your education while training. I was really impressed with all of the benefits on this one.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alternative Ways to Cut College Costs #2

Cash in on Tax Credits:
Scholarships, grants and loans aren't the only ways the federal government helps out. Education tax credits can save you thousands. Over a four year period, you can pick up $7,000.

Please refer to my previous posts to read about the HOPE, American Opportunity, Lifelong Learning and Interest paid on educational loans.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alternative Ways to Cut College Costs #1

The easiest way to avoid getting hit with a two-ton tuition bill is simply to cut down on the amount of time you're in high school. Motivated high school students can earn up to two years worth of college credits by taking upper-level courses that offer both high school and college credit.

Students can earn college credit in one of three ways--through advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, or through dual enrollment courses. Beyond looking good on your college application, AP, IB and dual enrollment courses cost significantly less than traditional college classes (usually $100 or less per class) and oftentimes are paid directly by the student's high school, county or state.

Do not automatically assume that all of your credits will be transferable. Every college is different so be sure to check with the transfer college to determine if they will accept the courses.

(This informationn is from

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learn to Save

Although this blog is intended to help you with your scholarship search, it is important to remember that saving money is critical to having the funds to attend college.

Try to get in the habit of paying yourself first when you are writing your monthly checks. Of course, you should open a savings account first at your local bank (check out the rates at several banks first) and designate it as a Scholarship Fund.

If $5.00 is all you can start with, start disciplining yourself to save. As soon as you can, increase that amount to $10.00 or $15.00 a month. The important thing is not to touch that money until after you transfer to a four-year college. Resist the temptation until it is an absolute college need.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Twenty-two Days to Filing Tax Returns

Hopefully, you have advised your parents and your tax preparer to be aware of the new changes in educational tax credits. Remember, having the necessary funds to attend college is more than applying for scholarships. Learning how to save and spend money wisely is critical.

One of the biggest mistakes when submitting your tax returns is using the old paper method. By not e-filing, you are more likely to make mistakes--the error rate is about 20%. The error rate drops to less than 1% when you e-file. The major reason is that the program takes care of the math and also prompts you to sign electronically.

Plus, you can get your refund within 10 days using direct deposit compared to 4 to 6 weeks when filing by paper and requesting a check. If you make $57,000 or less, use the IRS's Free File program ( Otherwise, lets you file federal returns for free. It's $15.00 for state returns.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Hope Credit

The Hope Credit--money for tuition and related expenses--can now be claimed for four years of college instead of just the first two, including the cost of course materials. The newly named American Opportunity tax credit lets you claim up to $2,500 per student, but starts phasing out with an income of $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for marrieds.

Also, don't forget to withhold the interest you're paying on student loans, although that deduction starts to disappear at $60,000 for singles and $120,000 for marrieds. Generally, if you paid more than $600 in interest to a financial institution, you'll get a 1098-E form as documentation. If you didn't, call the company servicing your loan and ask how much interest you paid in 2009.

Monday, March 22, 2010

COD Scholarship

Have you submitted your application to the COD Scholarship? Remember to write your personal essay in WORD and then edit, copy and paste. Please do not exceed the word limit. In fact, I would suggest writing less rather than more. Think of the scholarship readers and all of the time that it takes to review the hundreds of applications.

Make your essay come alive and make it interesting to read. Remember, you want to engage the reader. If you want to be a winner, you need to stand out. It is your job to sell yourself as the best candidate.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Student Loans (Income-Based Repayment Plan)

You may qualify to not have to pay off remaining debt after 25 years. Check out to see if you qualify.

Student Loans (Income-Based Repayment Plan)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

STDV 12 (Life Planning & Personal Exploration)

Just want you to know that I am ill today and will not be in class. CLASS IS CANCELLED today (March 18, 2010)

Please email me at if you have any questions.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COD's Career and Job Fair

Please join us today from 10:00 to 1:00 at the Hilb Center for the Career & Job Fair. Eighteen employers plus a number of our COD departments will be represented.

There will be lots of activity and prospective jobs available.

Monday, March 15, 2010

To My Scholarship Class

Please be sure to be in class today. We will be viewing and discussing the COD scholarship which is now available.

Also, remember that the Pathways to Success Scholarship deadline is this Wednesday, March 17, 2010.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Deadline for Pathways Scholarship

Wednesday, March 17th (St. Patricks Day),is the deadline for the Pathways to Success Scholarship. If you are computer savvy, you may submit your application electronically but, everything must be submitted at the same time. Otherwise, your application will be disqualified.

You may drop off your paper version at the Career/Transfer Center if you haven't had a chance to mail it to the UCR Graduate Center on Cook Street. You can also drop it off at the UCR Graduate Center.

REMEMBER, you must have your application complete!! You cannot submit a missing document apart from the packet.

Follow the checklist to be sure that you have included everything. Although I am happy to review your application, this is a very busy week with the Career & Job Fair on Tuesday.

Make your application stand out--it should be neat and organized and show that you have given your scholarship essay a lot of thought. Your essay is the MOST important document.

Good Luck! This is the most exciting scholarship for our students--it is limited to students who live in Coachella Valley.

Friday, March 12, 2010

NOW (National Organization of Women) Scholarship Deadline

If you haven't mailed your application to NOW, you may drop it off at the Career/Transfer Center by 5:00 today.

Yesterday I spoke with Lori Adler, who initiated this scholarship, and she agreed to allowing us to receive the applications. Today is the deadline and the last chance.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Applying for FAFSA Before Attending College

Through the years, I have advised students to start applying for scholarships in their junior year of high school but, the question of FAFSA has never come up.

In response to an email I received from the parent of a high school student, I contacted the experts at FAFSA and received a positive response.

You may be aware of the fact that most scholarship applications require that you apply for FAFSA and have a student aid report (SAR). Since students don't apply for FAFSA until January 1st of the year that they will be transferring to a college, they wouldn't have a SAR for the scholarship application.

Well, the official word is that you can apply for FAFSA at any time. You are allowed to enter a maximum of ten colleges that you are considering. So, the good news is that high school students can apply for scholarships now--the junior year is a good time to start.

With that said, I do want to note that there are many scholarships and contests for younger students and even little children. (My grandson received a $1000 scholarship when he was nine years old. He wrote an essay on Father Junipero Serra.)

Please do not wait until you are in college to start applying. Even though it is never too late to start, it is a good idea to start as early as possible.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Exclusions from Income

You may exclude certain educational assistance benefits from your income. That means you won't have to pay any tax on them. However, it also means that you can't use any of the tax-free education expenses as the basis for any other deduction or credit, including the Hope and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Qualified Education Expenses

For the purposes of tax-free scholarships and fellowships, these are expenses for:

Tuition and fees required to enroll at or attend an eligible educational institution.

Course related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for the courses at the eligible educational institution. These items must be required of all students in your course of instruction.

However, in order for these to be qualified education expenses, the terms of the scholarship or fellowship cannot require that it be used for other purposes, such as room and board, or specify that it cannot be used for tuition or course-related expenses.


Qualified education expenses do not include the cost of:
Room and board
Clerical help
Equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment in or attendance at an eligible educational institution.

This is true even if the fee must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. Scholarship or fellowship amounts used to pay these costs are taxable.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Correction on American Opportunity Tax Credit

Upon doing more research, I discovered that the tax credit lets you claim up to $2500 per student and NOT $2000 as I wrote yesterday.

For answers to any other questions that you may have, please Google American Opportunity Tax Credit.

Monday, March 8, 2010

American Opportunity Credit

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(ARRA),more parents and students will qualify over the next two years for a tax credit, the American Opportunity Credit, to pay for college expenses.

The new credit modifies the existing Hope Credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making the Hope Credit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary (after high school) education years instead of two. Many will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,000 per student.

The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes about these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits.

More information is available at Look up Tax Benefits for Education and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Saving your money is equally important as winning scholarships so, be aware of every opportunity to save. April 15th is quickly approaching. Be sure to apply for this $2,000 credit if you are filing your own tax returns.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Winning Attitude

You may be the best candidate but, there is no quarantee that you will be selected for a particular scholarship. However, it is important that you think like a winner.

Double talk? Maybe, but in addition to completing an outstanding application, you need to believe that you deserve to win. It is important that a winning attitude show through without sounding arrogant. You need to convince the judges that you are the best candidate.

Read the application carefully to be sure that you meet the eligibility requirements but, don't automatically disqualify yourself. Read the application a second time and ask alot of questions before you decide that you are not a good match for an award.

Then proceed with making your application as visually attractive as possible. Remember,your personal statement is the most important document in your scholarship packet. It is your job to sell yourself in the best light possible. You are the product. You need to show enthusiasm for what you are studying and project a positive attitude. You will be competing with other very qualified students so your application needs to shine. Think like a winner and it will show in your writing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Letters of Recommendation

Please go to my website, and download the directions for writing letters of recommendation. You will also find more directions in this blog if you scroll down to the 2009 archives. If you have purchased the textbook, instuctions are also there.

Remember that the letters written on your behalf should be on letterhead and that they should be from a professional (professor, teacher, counselor, high school principal, employer).

In some instances, letters have worked against the student because they didn't address the issue or that they were poorly formatted. Please request that the recommender read carefully the Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Recommendation--you can download a copy from my website.

The writer will have little credibility if there are misspellings and grammatical errors. You need to read it thoroughly before submitting with your application.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Deadline for NOW Scholarship

March 12th is just a week away. If you are applying for this scholarship,you should have already started writing your personal essay. This statement will focus on answering the question on women's issues. For some of you this may present a problem because there is a strong slant toward women's reproductive rights.

Do not compromise your personal beliefs. You must write with conviction and that is difficult to accomplish if it goes against your values. Although $1500 is hard to pass up if there is a strong financial need, many are divided on abortion. Follow your heart and conscience and apply only if you support the views of the National Organization of Women.

Remember that this application is open to guys so don't disqualify yourself because this is a women's organization.

Let me know if I can help you before you submit your application.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

National Organization of Women (NOW Scholarship)

This scholarship application must be postmarked by March 12, 2010. Two scholarships of $1500 each will be awarded.

Application packets are available in the Career/Transfer Center. You will need two or more letters of recommendation. The following are the criteria guidelines:

1. Commitment to women's rights. (Candidate must express a strong pro-choice philosophy.)
2. Financial need.
3. Work and community activity.
4. Leadership/Membership
5. Academic performance
6. Academic potential
7. Professional and eductional goals and objectives
8. Recommendations
9. Family and life history

Pathways to Success Scholarship

This scholarship has a March 17th deadline so please concentrate on this one first. You need to be a full time student to qualify (at least 12 units)and it is NEED based so you must qualify for financial aid.

Be sure that you complete and submit your FAFSA by midnight today, March 2. You can access the FAFSA application on the College of the Desert website--click on financial aid and follow the prompts.

Go to for the application for the Pathways to Success scholarship. Remember that you have the choice of applying electronically or the paper version. The important thing to remember is that everything MUST be together before you submit. In other words, the application packet must be complete when Pathways receives it.

Should you want a copy of the paper application immediately, we have copies in the Career/Transfer Center. They are located in the plastic rack under the sign, What Can I Do With This Major?

In addition, you need two letters of recommendation. Please ask a couple of professors or someone who works on campus if they will feel comfortable writing a letter of recommendation for you. You can download the directions on my website a completed Personal Data Form, Scholarship Resume, unofficial transcripts and a letter requesting a Letter of Recommendation.

If you want your unofficial transcripts before tomorrow, please come into counseling and someone at the front desk will print a copy. Otherwise, I'll put a copy in your folder for the class tomorrow.

Make an attempt to start writing your personal essay but,on Monday,March 8th, I will do a class presentation on Letters of Recommendation and the Personal Essay.

You have fifteen days before the deadline so please do not waste a minute in getting started but, don't panic either. Come see me if you need help. You can get it done in time if you use your time wisely.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome to the Scholarship Class

It is always exciting to start a new class!! I love new beginnings.

Please get in the habit of checking my blog everyday (except Saturdays and Sundays) for tips on requesting letters of recommendation; writing your personal essay; and general information relating to scholarships.

On occasion, I may write general directions for the class such as meeting in a different room or new directions on an assignment. On some days, I may do a little coaching on time management and organization. On other days, I may share an inspirational message.

Presently, there are several scholarship deadlines coming up in March. Namely, Pathways to Success, NOW (Nat'l Organization of Women and the COD Scholarship will be available on March 17th. The Girl Friend Factor is due the beginning of April and the LaQuinta Visual Art scholarship has an April 9, 2010 deadline.

I'm so glad to have you in class. Let's make this the best semester ever for winning scholarships.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Workshop Today

Today, we will do a repeat workshop for Pathways to Success. This is an opportunity too good to pass up. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you must apply. It is very important to start requesting letters of recommendation which should be done on letterhead if you are sending the paper application.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Current Scholarships

Last week I received two scholarships for you to consider.

La Quinta Arts Scholarship and NOW Scholarship.

If you interested in any form of Art, you might consider applying for the LQ Arts scholarship.

NOW which is the National Organization of Women promotes women's rights. They will accept scholarships from guys if they are in tune and support women's rights. Our COD students have been recipients of this scholarship.

I have information and/or applications for both of these awards in the Career/Transfer Center.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Letters of Recommendation

It is time to start requesting your Letters of Recommendation. You need three professional letters by professors, counselors or a boss or supervisor. They must be written on letterhead and follow the guidelines on my website. Please go to downloads for the Personal Data, Scholarship Resume and Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Recommedation forms. My website is

Also, please check the archives on this blog for past information on Letters of Recommendation.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pathways Workshops

If you applied last year but, were not selected, be sure that you sign up for one of the workshops. Alex Bleza from Pathways will be at COD to explain the changes in the new application process.

It is also critical that you start now requesting three letters of recommendation from your professors, counselors or anyone who knows you well--friends and family do not count.

You will be competing with students who have had experience completing scholarship applications so it is in your best interest to attend one of the workshops. Start writing your personal essay now--it is the most important part of your application.

Check out my website for help with writing your personal essay. Everything you need is available in the download section.

I'll see you at one of the workshops tomorrow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pathways to Success Scholarship

This is a fantastic scholarship which is open to students from the Coachella Valley. I just wanted to let you know that the deadline is March 17th and I am offering two workshops in the Career/Transfer Center on Feb 10th and 16th. I'll give you more information tomorrow.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Another Love Quote

"Real love is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Quote for Valentine's Day

"I hold it true, whatever befall: I feel it,when I sorrow most;'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

I welcome your thoughts on this quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Do you agree or disagree?

Scholarship Workshops

In preparation for applying for the Pathways to Success scholarship,we are offering two workshops in the Career/Transfer Center on February 10th (Wednesday)and February 16th (Tuesday). They are both from 1:00 to 2:00. Please call my assistant, Margo, to reserve a seat. Her number is (760)862-1351

The deadline for the scholarship is March 17th. Either electronic or paper applications will be accepted.

For students who have little or no experience in applying for scholarships, I stongly recommend that you plan to attend. You will be competing with students who "know the ropes" and it is important that your application stands out. Also, I have invited a staff member from CVPTS to answer questions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tips for BuyingTextbooks

Having your textbook when you attend the first day of class is critical. I know that books are expensive but, you cannot be a successful student without the necessary tools that I wrote about yesterday. You'll be behind before you even start.

Having your very own copy of the class text is the most efficient way to go. Here are some tips for you to consider:

1. There are two sites where you can purchase books very reasonably.
It takes about a week to ten days to receive your books but, even with postage,
which is about $3.99, you will still save a bundle. While you are waiting for
your books, you can use a copy that the library has on reserve. You can't
check it out but, you can use it for two hours. (The COD Library has a copy of
every textbook which is being used at the college.)

Both of these sites will buy back your books.

2. Rental books are now available. Try and also check with the COD
(Follett Bookstore).

3. If you are working toward a vocational degree, check out New Horizons for books
that you can borrow.

4. Buy USED books whenever they are available.

5. Sell your books back. Even though you get a fraction of what you paid, the
money can be used for books for the next semester. Furthermore, it is unlikely
that you will ever look at them again once you finish the class and they will
take up valuable shelf or counter space.

6. Share a book with a trusted friend who is taking the same class. This does
restrict your study time so organization and time management are important for
you to have the book available when you need it.

7. If you have a portfolio or workbook that is required for the class, sharing
just won't work. YOU NEED YOUR OWN COPY. (An example is the portfolio for the
Scholarship Class.) Your grade is based on the portfolio but, more
importantly,it should be a work in progress which you will use through graduate

8. If you are having financial difficulties, talk to your instructor to check out

9. Bottom line. If you are serious about being a successful student and having a
satisfying future career, you need to think of purchasing your textbooks as an
investment. They are a very essential component of your education.

10. If you need money, have you checked out the following?
BOG Waiver
Scholarship Class (STDV 011)--there are two sections offered each semester
Scholarship and Money Workshops--sign up in the Career/Transfer Center
Discuss your concerns with your counselor for other options

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are you ready for your classes?

Whether you are sewing a dress or repairing a car, you need the necessary tools and supplies to complete the job successfully. It only stands to reason that in order to be a successful student you need the minimum of a pen and paper when you go to class. Taking notes in class is vital to your survival. Ideally, your professor will be sharing information that is not in your textbook or, at the very least, enchancing what you have read in the book.

The following are the "tools" that you need as a student:
Pencil case
Pens/Pencils (#2 for taking scantron tests)
Pad of college ruled paper with three holes.
Three ring binder for each class.
Stapler/extra staples
Single hole paper punch
Rubber bands
Paper clips (several sizes)
Glue for special projects
Highlighters (assorted colors)
Index cards--get in the habit of making flash cards
Inexpensive small recorder

And, the "BIGGY"--your textbooks. Yes, they are expensive but, if you have signed up for classes, you know that you will need to buy books. I'll go into more detail on buying books tomorrow but, you must have your books on the first day of class. Believe me, this is VERY IMPORTANT!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some Tips for Being a Successful Student

I usually tell my students on the first day of class that everyone has an "A" but, it is their responsibility to keep it. So, how do you accomplish that? Well, for starters:
1. Get to class on time.
2. Go prepared with a pen and paper (college rule with a hard back and three holes).
3. Sit in the front row center.
4. Listen actively.
5. Take notes.
6. Ask questions if you don't understand.
7. Stay focused on the topic.
8. Be courteous to your professor and classmates by being quiet.
9. Stay engaged until the class is dismissed.
10.As soon after class as possible,review your notes.
11.File your notes in a three ring binder. It helps to have a binder for each class.
12.Review your notes several times before the next class.
13.Determine how much time you need to complete any homework assignment.
14.Divide the assignment into manageable components.
15.When reading the textbooks, take notes.
16.Turn assignments in on time.
17.Keep a positive attitude.

Log in tomorrow for more tips.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A New Semester

Today is the first day of the new semester--a new beginning. I have always loved fresh starts and my hope for you is that you will commit to your education and take the opportunity to give learning everything you have got.

I will be posting daily (except for weekends) and acting as your educational coach and giving you tips for finding money for college. Money should not get in the way of your dream of earning a college degree. There are millions of scholarship dollars available to you but, you need to learn the system of searching and applying for scholarships.

It is time to take your education seriously--it will pay off in the future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pathways to Success Scholarship Recipients

Starting February 1, 2010, I will start blogging on a daily basis (except on weekends).

Please visit everyday for tips on applying for scholarships and completing winning applications.