A Love Letter to Educators: The Story of Tyera

  As educators, we occasionally get to see the fruits of our labor.  We work tirelessly with kids wondering how much of an impact we have on them.   Are they listening? Are they changing?  What will happen to them? What will they become?  These are the questions we ask ourselves. Sometimes we hear about a news story of a student who graduated, or connect with a previous student who comes back for a visit. There are even a few students that we keep in touch with and are able to see them grow—with the relationship moving from student, to mentee and sometimes friend. I just completed my 18th official year as a school counselor and 21st directly working with children.  The time has come full circle.  There are three young ladies who have had the most significant impact on my career and I have the honor of celebrating milestones with all of them this summer. God really does have a sense of […]


College Tours 101: GO ON SOME!

College tours are one of the most overlooked components of the application process.  People typically pick schools via referrals, websites and brochures and never set foot on campus until after a deposit is made.  That should NEVER be the case, but many times it is. Three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a college tour with 19 school counselors.  We visited six schools in Central Pennsylvania over a 3 day period.  We even stayed overnight in a dorm…lovely right?  I couldn’t wait to share my observations and experiences with you! Over the next few months, I will do just that. So what are some of the things that you should look for on YOUR college visits? Well here it goes: Best time to visit: The best time to visit is during an open house or personal tour in the fall or spring. Whether it’s the fall, spring or summer, just make the decision to go! Advantages of a school year visit: You are able to grasp […]


College Planning Interview on iHeart Radio!

          Yep, that happened! Listen to my recent interview with the incomparable Loraine Ballard Morrill on iHeart Radio about college planning and the new changes in the financial aid process.   Thank you and enjoy! P.S. Make sure you subscribe to the blog on the top, right-hand side of this site AND follow me on FB (make sure you click the “like” drop down menu and turn on the notifications to stay abreast of the most recent articles and updates).  


To FAFSA or Not to FAFSA…That is the Question!

  Parents don’t want to give up that precious financial info–especially to the kids.  But you have to. Let me correct that, you don’t have do anything. But if you want to give your kid all of the options available in the financial aid process–you have to. Some parents think they make too much money and don’t bother filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Completing the FAFSA will allow your child to be able to apply for government loans, work-study and receive random scholarships not related to the school of choice. You don’t have to commit to anything.  Just see what you qualify for.   … because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. – President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 27, 2010   Borrowing money for school is just a fact of life for most people.  There’s nothing wrong with it as we […]


Should Your Child Take the ACT, SAT or Ditch Them Both?

  Standardized testing is like the “Monday morning” of the college application process–we all dread it coming and wish we could skip it altogether. Students are anxious about all of it:  the essays, the applications, financial aid, etc–but the test is the part over which they have the least amount of control. This, by far, is one of the top stressors of college-bound students. Educators would normally have some great advice as to which test is best for certain situations, but this year we are all being particularly vague. Why? Beginning in March 2016, the format of the SAT will change and scoring guidelines for the ACT writing test has changed. Take some time to review these graphs from the Step Up to College workbook to educate yourself:   As you see there has been a huge overhaul with the SAT (the new one is in March) and as with anything new there are kinks to get out.  The ACT made some changes to […]

Time To Pay Back

The Realities of Getting Your Fake Adult Off to College for that First Year

The graduation and the trunk parties are almost OVER!  Now what?  It’s time to get this guy off to school. They are salivating at the bit on their newfound “freedom” and just feeling themselves. They are 18 and think they’re grown.  They think they’re hot stuff.  They can vote for president, stay out late, challenge curfew and all sorts of stuff. They are fake adults, reaping the benefits of adulthood but on your dime and anxiety. But at the end of the day, when real responsibility comes and the pressure is on– they just wimp out.  Now all of a sudden “mommy or daddy” need to do things. You need to call the college and talk to financial aid, you need to take them shopping for supplies and you need to order the U-Haul truck. They move onto campus and do whatever they want, come and go as they please, but still call you about the tuition bill, $50 here, a care package […]


High School Graduation: Begin with the End in Mind

  This past week, millions experienced one of my favorite times of the year: Graduation.  It is the culmination of a child’s high school experience rising to a colossal defining moment. The building is a buzz and there is an eclectic energy that cannot be replicated or duplicated. Seniors are in their best attire with half-zipped robes, getting the cap and tassel just right as they rush to the gathering area. Families are beaming with pride packed in the lobby with flowers, balloons or some kind of token. School staff is excited to see the students they have poured into the last few years take their final bow. Then the highlight of the day begins: receiving the diplomas. Kids strut across the stage waiting to hear their name called, while at the same time looking into a sea of people they call family to engage in high-pitch verbal celebrations and the yelling of that special nickname. The day ends with a barrage of selfies and pics with grandma waiting […]

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