A student’s most important year for college preparations

7 Tips to Avoid FAFSA Errors

This is the time of year that parents with college-bound children dread. Why? Because it’s FAFSA season.

The latest FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which was released on Jan. 1, is a document that families must fill out if they want to be eligible for federal college loans and grants. Financial aid assistance through the states, as well as colleges and universities, also often require families to complete the FAFSA.

I’ve run across plenty of parents who worry that they messed up when completing their FAFSA. Paula Bishop, a CPA in Bellevue, Wash. and a friend of mine who has handled countless financial aid applications for clients, told me that she has never seen a FAFSA form completed by parents that didn’t contain at least one error.

Here’s what scary about that: even a single mistake can cost parents thousands of dollars in assistance.

If you plan to tackle the FAFSA in the next few weeks, here are seven tips to boost your chances of getting it right:

1. Don’t dawdle: Complete the FAFSA soon. If you procrastinate until April, when your income taxes are due, you could miss deadlines for state financial aid assistance, as well as help from your child’s school. If completing your income tax promptly is impossible, fill out the FAFSA with estimated numbers. If estimating, you can log back into your FAFSA account with the updated figures later.

[See why it might pay to wait until February to file your 2011-12 FAFSA.]

2. Don’t mention retirement assets on the FAFSA: One of the best ways to torpedo your chances for financial aid is to include your retirement assets on the FAFSA. The FAFSA doesn’t want to know about money that you have in such vehicles as 401(k) plans, Individual Retirement Accounts, and other qualified retirement plans. If you mention these assets on your FAFSA, your chances for need-based financial aid will shrink. Don’t do it!

[View tips on how to report your savings on the FAFSA.]

3. Forget about home equity: The FAFSA won’t ask if you own your residence, so any home equity that you enjoy won’t hurt your chances for need-based aid. The federal financial aid form does inquire about second homes and real estate investments. In addition to a primary home, you also shouldn’t mention vehicles, boats, furniture, and other household possessions as assets.

4. Have the correct parent complete the FAFSA: When parents are divorced or separated, make sure the right one fills out the financial aid form. The parent who is the legal custodial guardian won’t necessarily be the one to complete the FAFSA. The parent responsible for filling out the form will be the one who has lived with the student for the majority of the year. If a child, for instance, resided with the father for seven months and the mother for five months, the dad would complete the document.

Ideally, the divorced or separated parent who handles the FAFSA will be the one with the lowest income. That’s because only his or her finances will be shared on the aid form.

5. Ask for help: When filling out the FAFSA, you can obtain help through the government’s toll-free number: (800) 433-3243. You can also take advantage of the government’s online chat sessions by using FAFSA on the Web Customer Service Live Help from Monday through Saturday.

[Read 3 ways applying for financial aid will be easier in 2011.]

6. Correct mistakes: You can correct errors after you’ve submitted your FAFSA. Return to your online form and click on “Make FAFSA Corrections.” The government will process your changes within three to five days.

7. Check out a sock puppet video: No, really. Kim Clark, my friend and colleague at U.S. News, assembled links of videos that can help you complete the FAFSA. One involves a sock puppet. No reason why you can’t have a little fun with the FAFSA!

This article, 7 Tips to Avoid FAFSA Errors, was originally posted here.

Photo is from here.


5 facts about today’s college graduates

Graduation season is in full swing, but what do we really know about all those fresh-faced young adults in black robes — what they actually studied, what their chances are of landing a decent job, how they’ll look back on their college years? Here’s our data roundup:

CollegeGrads_11 Only about 56% of students earn degrees within six years. The National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit verification and research organization, tracked 2.4 million first-time college students who enrolled in fall 2007 with the intent of pursuing a degree or certificate. The completion rate was highest (72.9%) among students who started at four-year, private, nonprofit schools, and lowest (39.9%) among those who started at two-year public institutions.

2 Business is still the most common major. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about a fifth (20.5%) of the 1.79 million bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2011-12 were in business. Business has been the single most common major since 1980-81; before that, education led the way. The least common bachelor’s degrees, according to the NCES, were in library science (95 conferred in 2011-12), military technologies and applied sciences (86) and precision production (37).

CollegeGrads_23 It’s harder for new graduates to find good jobs. It’s no secret that unemployment among recent grads remains higher than it was before the Great Recession. But in a recent report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York went deeper and looked at underemployment among recent grads (defined as people aged 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree). The Fed researchers used data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to examine whether employed grads were in jobs that typically required a college degree, what those jobs paid, and whether they were working full- or part-time. They found that in 2012, about 44% of grads were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree — a rate that, while about what it was in early 1990s, increased after the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions. Only 36% of that group were in what the researchers called “good non-college jobs” — those paying around $45,000 a year — down from around half in the 1990s. The share of underemployed recent grads in low-wage (below $25,000) jobs rose from about 15% in 1990 to more than 20%. About one-in-five (23%) underemployed recent grads were working part-time in 2011, up from 15% in 2000.

4 But graduates still out-earn people without degrees. A Pew Research Center report from earlier this year looked at earnings of Millennials (those born after 1980) who usually worked full-time in 2012. Among that group, workers with at least a bachelor’s degree had median annual earnings of $45,500, well over the medians for people with only some college ($30,000) or a high-school diploma ($28,000). The gap has widened over the years and across the generations: In 1965, when the members of the Silent Generation were 25 to 34 years old, median earnings for high-school graduates were 81% of those for college graduates; in 2013, among the Millennials, it was 61.5%.

5 Most grads think college was worth it. The same Pew Researchreport found that majorities of graduates in all three of the largest U.S. generations — Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials — agree that college either has paid off or will pay off, given what they and their families invested in it. Perhaps not surprisingly, the highest-earning graduates were the most positive about their educations — 98% of those making six figures and up said their degree had paid off, compared with 63% of graduates earning less than $50,000. Similarly, people with advanced degrees were even more likely than bachelor’s and associate’s degree holders to say their education was worth the investment — 96%, compared with 89% and 76%, respectively.

This article, 5 Facts About Today’s College Graduates, was originally posted here .

Photo is from here.

Careers in Beauty Marketing: Information and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a beauty marketer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you.


How To Be Beautiful

ssential Information

Beauty marketers create promotion strategies for advertising products such as lotions, potions, sprays and creams. A bachelor’s degree and an internship or experience is usually necessary for these careers. Professionals must also understand the beauty and fashion industry.

Required Education Bachelor’s typically needed
Other Requirements Internship often required, understanding of the industry
Projected Job Growth (2012 – 2022)* 13% for all marketing managers
Median Salary (2013)* $123,220 annually for all marketing managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Beauty Marketing Career Information

Beauty marketing careers range from beauty store counter assistant to director of marketing. At its most basic level, marketing involves promoting a company’s beauty products, which can range from cosmetics to fragrances to hair care products. Marketing professionals work with other executives in sales, advertising, public relations and promotion to examine the demand for beauty products and find ways that the company can meet that demand.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for marketing managers, including those in the beauty industry, was $123,220 as of 2013 (http://www.bls.gov). The BLS projected that employment for this occupational group would grow by 13% from 2012 to 2022.

Career Possibilities

Some beauty marketers begin their careers by working in a retail store as a beauty adviser, counter representative or sales associate. Prospective beauty marketers learn what products appeal to customers and how to promote them. Other entry-level positions in beauty marketing include marketing or administrative assistant at a cosmetics or beauty company.

After several years of experience, or earning a bachelor’s degree, individuals can become a marketing manager, product manager or sales representative. Some professionals choose to focus on market research or promotions, or they may pursue careers in beauty product development. At this level, professionals execute the marketing plans developed by the executive leadership and assist with developing pricing and promotion strategies. Experienced beauty marketers help develop marketing plans and oversee their execution.

Education Requirements

To work as a cosmetics counter representative, job candidates may only need a high school education. Those with a degree may qualify for advanced positions as a marketing manager, account executive or vice president.

According to the BLS, those wishing to pursue a career in marketing should consider majoring in business administration with a focus on marketing. Courses in marketing, management, finance, accounting, economics, market research, consumer behavior, sales, advertising and communication can be useful in this career. Understanding the beauty and fashion industry is also important. Some education programs specifically focus on beauty marketing topics, including package design, beauty formulations, beauty trends and forecasting.

Experience is another important factor for landing a job in the industry. Prospects can apply for internships in the beauty industry, and the BLS indicated that many employers seek candidates who have completed internships.

This article, Careers in Beauty Marketing: Information and Education Requirments, was originally posted here.

Photo is from here.

Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT


Had enough of the SAT? Take a look at the following list of colleges and universities that do not require either an SAT or ACT score for admissions. There’s a college for everyone!

Academy of Art College, San Francisco, CA
Alliant International University, San Diego, CA
Allen University, Columbia, SC
American Academy of Art, Chicago, IL
American Baptist College of ABT Seminary, Nashville, TN
American College of Computer and Info. Sciences, Birmingham, AL
American College of Pre-hospital Medicine, Navarre, FL
American Indian College of the Assemblies of God, Phoenix, AZ
American Intercontinental University, Los Angeles, CA
American Intercontinental University, Dunwoody, GA
American Intercontinental University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
American Intercontinental University, Atlanta, GA
American Military University, Charles Town, WV
American Public University, Charles Town, WV
American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon, PR
Andrew Jackson University, Birmingham AL
Antioch College of Antioch University, Yellow Springs, OH
Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, AR
Armstrong University, Berkeley, CA
Atlantic College, Guaynabo, PR

Baker College of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
Baker College of Cadillac, Cadillac, MI
Baker College of Flint, Flint, MI
Baker College of Mt. Clemens, Clinton Township, MI
Baker College of Muskegon, Muskegon, MI
Baker College of Owosso, Owosso, MI
Baker College of Port Huron, Port Huron, MI
Bais Binyomin Academy, Stamford, CT
Baltimore Hebrew University, Baltimore, MD
Baptist Bible College, Springfield, MO
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Bates College, Lewiston, ME
Bayamon Central University, PR
Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid, Far Rockaway, NY
Bellevue University, Omaha, NE
Benedict College, Columbia, SC
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
Bennington College, Bennington, VT
Berkeley College, West Patterson, NJ
Berkeley College, White Plains, NY
Berkeley College of New York City, New York, NY
Beth HaMedrahs Shaarei Yosher, Brooklyn, NY
Beth HaTalmud Rabbinical College, Brooklyn, NY
Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood NJ
Bethesda Christian University, Anaheim, CA
Beulah Heights Bible College, Atlanta, GA
Boricua College, New York, NY
Boston Architectural Center, Boston, MA
Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
Briarcliffe College, Bethpage, NY
Brown College, Mendota Heights, MN
Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA
Burlington College, Burlington, VT

California College of Arts, San Francisco, CA
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
California National University for Advanced Studies, Northridge, CA
Calumet College of St. Joseph, Hammond, IN
Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA
Campbell University, Camp Lejeune, New River-Jacksonville, NC
Campbell University, Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, NC
Campbell University, Pope Air Force Base, Fayetteville, NC
Campbell University, Morrisville, NC
Carlos Albizu University, Miami, FL
Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, NY
Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim- Lebavitch, Brooklyn, NY
Chaparral College, Tucson, AZ
Charles R. Drew University: College of Allied Health, LA, CA
Charter College, Anchorage, AK
Charter Oak State College, Newington, CT
Chatham College, Pittsburgh, PA
Chester College of New England, Chester, NH
Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, Cincinnati, OH
City College, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
City University, Bellevue, WA
Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, Pineville, KY
Cleary College, Ypsilanti, MI
Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
Coleman College, La Mesa, CA
College America, Multiple Locations, CO
College for Lifelong Learning, Durham, NC
College of Health Sciences, Roanoke, VA
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
College of the Humanities and Sciences, Tempe, AZ
College of New Rochelle: School of New Resources, NY
College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
Collins College, Tempe, AZ
Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs, CO
Columbia College, Caguas, PR
Columbia College, Chicago, IL
Columbia College: Hollywood, Tarzana, CA
Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, AL
Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD
Concordia College, Selma, AL
Connecticut College, New London, CT
Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, San Juan
Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA
Crown College, Tacoma, WA
Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY
Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA

Darkei Noam Rabbinical College, Brooklyn, NY
Davenport University- Multiple Campuses, MI
Design Institute of San Diego, CA
Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
Divine Word College, Epworth, IA
Dowling College, Oakdale, NY
Drew University, Madison, NJ

Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA
Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, NY
East-West University, Chicago, IL
Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL
Electronic Data Processing College of Puerto Rico, PR
Excelsior College, Albany, NY

Fairmont State College, Fairmont, WV
Faith Baptist College and Theological Seminary, Ankeny, IA
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY
Finlandia University, Hancock, MI
Florida Christian College, Kissimmee, FL
Florida Metropolitan University, multiple campuses, FL
Fort Lewis College, Durango, CA
Franklin University, Columbus, OH

Global University, Springfield, MS
Goddard College, Plainfield, VT
Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA
Granite State College, Concord, NH
Grantham College of Engineering, Sidell, LA
Gratz College, Melrose Park, PA
Great Basin College, Elko, NV
Guilford College, Greensboro, NC

Hamilton College, Mason City, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Cedar Falls, IA
Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
Harrington Institute of Interior Design, Chicago, IL
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, HI
Heritage Christian University, Florence, AL
Heritage College, Toppenish, WA
Herzing College, Homewood, AL
Herzing College, New Orleans, LA
Hesser College, Manchester, NH
Hilbert College, Hamburg, NY
Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, NY
Humphreys College, Stockton, CA
Hussian School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Illinois Institute of Art, Schaumburg, IL
Institute of Computer Technology, Los Angeles, CA
Inter-American University of Puerto Rico/ Metropolitan Campus
Interior Designers Institute, Newport Beach, CA
International Academy of Design and Technology, multiple locations
International Business College, Fort Wayne, IN
International College, Naples, FL
International Fine Arts College (Miami International University of Art and Design), FL
ITT Technical Institute, multiple locations

Jamestown College, Jamestown, ND
JFK University, Orinda, NY
John Jay College of Criminal (CUNY), New York, NY
John Wesley College, High Point, NC
Johnson & Wales University, multiple locations
Jones College, Jacksonville, FL
Juilliard School, New York, NY
Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

Kehilath Yakov Rabbinical Seminary, Brooklyn, NY
Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI
Kent State University, Stark, OH
The Kings College, Van Nuys, CA
Kol Yaakov Torah Center, Monsey, NY
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois

Lake Erie College, Painesville, OH
Lawrence University, Appleton, WI
Laura and Alvin Siegel College of Judaic Studies, OH
Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA
Lester L. Cox College of Nursing and Health Science, Springfield, MO
Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR
Lincoln University, Oakland, CA

Machzikei Hadath Rabbinical College, Brooklyn, NY
Magnolia Bible College, Kosciusko, MS
Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY
Mannes College of Music, New York, NY
Martin University, Indianapolis, IN
Marylhurst College, Marylhurst, OR
Medaille College, Buffalo, NY
Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN
Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY
Mesivta of Eastern Pkwy Rabbinical Seminary, Brooklyn, NY
Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem of America, New York, NY
Mesivta Torah Vodaath Seminary, Brooklyn, NY
Metropolitan College, Oklahoma City, OK
Michigan Jewish Institute, Oak Park, MI
Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College, Mayfield, KY
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee, WI
Mirrer Yeshiva, Brooklyn, NY
Missouri Southern State University, Joplin, MO
Missouri Technical School, St. Louis, MO
Missouri Western State College, St. Joseph, MO
Morris College, Sumpter, SC
Morrison University, Reno, NV
Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, OR
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
Mount Ida College, Newton Center, MA
Mt. Sierra College, Monrovia, CA
Mountain State University, Beckley, WV
Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA

NAES College, Chicago, IL
Naropa University, Boulder, CO
National American University, multiple locations
National Hispanic University, San Jose, CA
National University, La Jolla, CA
Nazarene Bible College, Colorado Springs, CO
Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Baltimore, MD
Newbury College, Brookline, MA
New College of California, San Francisco, CA
New England College, Henniker, NH
New England Institute. of Art and Communication, Brookline, MA
New England Institute of Technology, Warwick, RI
New England School of Communications, Bangor, ME
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New, LA
New School of Architecture, San Diego, CA
New York City College of Technology (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY
Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA
Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
Northcentral University, Prescott, AZ
Northrop-Rice Aviation Institute of Technology, Inglewood, CA
Northwest College of Art, Poulsbo, WA
Northwestern College, Saint Paul, MN

Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, SD
Ohio University, Southern Campus at Ironton, Ironton, OH
Ohio University, Zaneville Campus, Zaneville, OH
Ohr HaMeir Theological Seminary, Courtland Manor, NY
Ohr Somayach- Tanenbaum Educational Center, Monsey, NY
Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell, OK
Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR

Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR
Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA
Patten College, Oakland, CA
Peirce College, Philadelphia PA
Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Prescott College, Prescott, AZ
Portland State University, Portland, OR
Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD

Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, Edison, NY
Rabbinical Academy Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbinical College Beth Shraga, Monsey, NY
Rabbinical College of America, Morristown, NJ
Rabbinical College Bobover Yeshiva Bnci Zion, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbinical College Ch’san Sofer, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbinical College of Long Island, NY
Rabbinical College of Ohr Shimon Yisroel, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbinical College of Telshe, Wickliffe, Ohio
Rabbinical Seminary Adas Yereim, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbinical Seminary of America, Forest Hills, NY
Rabbinical Seminary M’kor Chaim, Brooklyn, NY
Remington College, multiple locations
Robert Morris College, Chicago, IL

Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI
Saint Augustine College, Chicago, IL
Saint Augustine’s College, Raleigh, NC
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary- Overbrook, PA
Saint John’s College, Annapolis, MD
Saint John’s College, Santa Fe, NM
Saint Lawrence University, Canton, NY
Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
Schiller International University, Dunedin, FL
Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA
Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, OH
Sheldon Jackson College, Sitka, AK
Shimer College, Waukegan, IL
Shor Yoshuv Rabbinical College, Far Rockaway, NY
Silicon Valley College, Multiple Campuses, CA
Sinte Gleska University, Rosebud, SD
Sojourner-Douglass College, Baltimore, MD
South College, Montgomery, AL
South University: West Palm Beach Campus, West Palm Beach, FL
Southeastern University, Washington, D.C.
Southern California Institute of Technology, Anaheim, CA
Southern Christian Academy, Decatur, GA
Southwestern Christian College, Terrell , TX
State University of NY/Empire State College, Sarasota Springs, NY
Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, VT
Stevens-Henager College, Ogden, TX
Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA

Talmudic College of FL, Miami Beach, FL
Talmudical Academy of New Jersey, Adelphia, NJ
Talmudical Institute of Upstate NY, Rochester, NY
Talmudical Seminary Oholei Torah, Brooklyn, NY
Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, PA
Telshe Yeshiva- Chicago, IL
Thomas University, Thomasville, GA
Thomas Edison College, Trenton, NJ
Torah Temimah Talmudical Seminary, Brooklyn, NY
Troy State University, Montgomery, AL

Union Institute, Cincinnati, OH
United Talmudical Seminary, Brooklyn, NY
Unity College, Unity, ME
Universidad Adventista de las Antillas, PR
Universidad del Este, PR
University of Action Learning at Boulder, CO
University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, AZ
University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, AK
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
University of Great Falls, Great Falls, MT
University of Guam, Mangilao, GU
University of Maine at Farmington, Farmington, ME
University of Maine at Ft. Kent, Ft. Kent, ME
University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, ME
University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, MD
University of Minnesota: Crookston, Crookston, MN
University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
University of South Carolina, Aiken, SC
University of Texas-Brownville, TX
University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.
University of the State of NY/Excelsior College, Albany, NY
University of the Virgin Islands-St. Croix
University of the Virgin Islands- St. Thomas
University of West LA, CA
Utah Valley State College, Orem, UT

Virginia College, Birmingham, AL
Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA

West Virginia University at Parkersburg, WV
Western Governors University, UT
Western International University, Phoenix, AZ
Western New Mexico University, Silver City, NM
Westwood College of Technology, multiple locations
Wheaton College, Norton, MA
White Pines College, Chester, NH

Yeshiva Beth Yehuda- Yeshiva, Oak Park, MI
Yeshiva Beth Moshe, Scranton, PA
Yeshiva Derech Chaim, Brooklyn, NY
Yeshiva D’Monsey Rabbinical College, Monsey, NY
Yeshiva Gedolah Imrei Yosef D’Spinka, Brooklyn, NY
Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College, Miami Beach, FL
Yeshiva Karlin Stolin, Brooklyn, NY
Yeshiva and Kolel Harbotzas Torah, Brooklyn, NY
Yeshiva Mikdash Melech, Brooklyn, NY
Yeshiva Shaarei Torah of Rockland, Suffern, NY
Yeshiva of Nitra, Mt. Kisco, NY
Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad/West Coast Talmudical Seminary, LA, CA
Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah Talmudic, Kew Gardens, NY
Yeshiva of the Telshe Alumni, Riverdale, NY
Yeshiva Toras Chaim Talmudical Seminary, Denver, CO
Yeshiva Viznitz, Monsey, NY
Yeshivas Novominsk, Brooklyn, NY
Yeshivath Zichron Moshe, South Fallsburg, NY

This article, Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT, was originally posted here.

Photo is from here.


The Most Important Question of Your Life

silhouette of happy running woman with umbrella

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.


5 Lessons on Bringing Your Dream to Life

Are u a dreamer?

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I grew up with a stepdad who was a dreamer. He lived in a world where positive affirmations created a positive life. He believed that going after your heart’s desire was as important as anything else. He lived in the clouds and in his designs and in his visions.

I used to wake up and find that he had left post-it notes on my bathroom mirror with quotes about reaching my dreams such as, “You can if you think you can,” and “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.”

He bought me a pillow speaker when I was seven, so every night I could listen to a subliminal tape repeating how I would succeed beautifully in life.

He held a vision for himself to create his own business. He invented a product to put on every street sweeper and set out to make this dream come true. He worked tirelessly at it for many years, and eventually it took off. He had done it. He was living his dream.

I would love to say that this is where the story ends. I would love to say that he lived happily ever after embracing his dream. But that just wouldn’t be the truth.

What actually happened is that my stepdad’s dream—this life that he created—began to unravel almost as quickly as it had been created. And eventually, he lost everything: his dream, his family, and his life.

(He was never the same after his business folded; his zest for life left him, and he ended up dying at 56 from unknown causes. I think that his spirit was broken and his will to live was no longer there.)

But, even though it ended so badly and sadly, he happened to pass on the dreaming torch to me. And I carry it proudly and almost defiantly.

Dreamers aren’t always revered in our society. Sometimes they are seen as flaky or irresponsible.

But growing up with a dreamer and becoming one myself, I can say without a doubt that being a dreamer allowed me to create the life I am living today. It allowed me to believe that anything is possible, and that definitely is a good thing.

I believe that carrying big dreams in our hearts and then bringing them to life is an essential part of living fully. Just because my stepdad’s dreams didn’t go as he had hoped definitely doesn’t mean that all dreams will fail.

Quite the opposite, really. I have brought many dreams to life. And I give him a lot of credit for that. During our journey together I learned some powerful life lessons about dreaming, each of which helped me hold true to my dreams:

1. Believe in yourself as much as you believe in your dream.

I have seen many beautiful dreams fail simply because the dreamer didn’t have the self-confidence to see them through. They worried that maybe it was too big of a dream. They started to feel that maybe they weren’t actually good enough to want something so amazing.

Knowing that you are worthy of your dream is an essential part of bringing it to life. Growing up with positivity and affirmations helped create a solid foundation of self-esteem for me. I don’t believe my stepdad had this self-confidence, which is one of the reasons why his dream fell apart.

2. Be okay with failing.

If you never try to reach your dreams because you’re afraid that you’ll fail, then you’ll never know for sure if you could have made them come true.

I saw my stepdad go through several “failed” versions of his product before he came up with the final one. And each time, he was even more determined to create something that held his vision. He learned from each prototype and then incorporated these changes into the final version.

He was okay with failing and with making mistakes; he knew that it was part of the process. Knowing this gave me permission to make mistakes in my own life as I’ve moved toward my dream.

I’m sure I’ll continue to make mistakes, but one thing that stays true throughout each of these so-called failures is that I am here today because of them. Each one led to a shift in my perspective and a different path, which led me to the next, and the next.

3. Keep going.

I have worked for myself for the past 10 years. And throughout that time, I have had many moments where I wondered if this entrepreneurial lifestyle was worth it. I have questioned why I took this path and asked myself if I should just get a job with the security of a regular paycheck.

But the dreamer in my heart knew that I needed to keep going. I saw my stepdad keep at it, and I knew that he eventually reached his dream by doing so. And so I kept going and stayed on course, knowing that perseverance is the way to success. Staying power and continuing on is what separates the true dreamers and the achievers from the dream hobbyists.

4. Enjoy being different.

Being a dreamer transcends the dream itself. It’s a personality trait, a lifestyle, a way of thinking and being. When you’re a dreamer, your life isn’t going to look like everyone else’s. You think differently. You act differently. You live differently. And sometimes, this can feel uncomfortable.

My stepdad was definitely an outcast—he didn’t have many friends. And while I don’t think this needs to be the case, I do think it’s important to bring friends into your life that will accept you and embrace your dreams rather than minimize or criticize them.

I love that I have created a life where I get to do pretty much whatever I want. And I love that I have brought into my life a loving community that understands me and appreciates the dreamer in me. It’s definitely possible to enjoy being different and to find a tribe who enjoys it, too.

5. Allow your dream to change.

I believe that one of the reasons my stepdad’s dream fell apart was because he was holding onto the original vision without being open to new manifestations of it. Dreams change, just like we do. But when we resist those changes, we miss out on new possibilities.

Someone offered to buy my stepdad’s company for a lot of money, but because this wasn’t part of his original dream, he wasn’t even willing to consider this possibility. Shortly after he refused this offer, his company fell apart.

While this was heartbreaking at the time, the lesson that I have taken from it is that sometimes we have to allow our dreams to change. Sometimes we have to let go of our original plan and surrender to the possibility of whatever our dream may become.

My stepdad taught me that being a dreamer is something to be embraced rather than denied.

I’m a proud dreamer who takes risks and lives my life in this space of passion and innovation. Even though his dream was never fully realized, I’m glad my stepdad was an incurable dreamer.

It allowed me to grow up with hope and faith and creativity and life. And I’m proud that I have taken this trait on and will continue reaching my own dreams. I would love for you to do the same in your own life. The world can definitely never have too many dreamers.

This article, 5 Lessons On Bringing Your Dream to Life, was originally posted here

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5 Things Students Must Know About the New SAT


Practice mental math

By now, it is likely not news that the SAT is undergoing a comprehensive revision. Unfortunately for test-takers who will sit for the Redesigned SAT soon after its 2016 release, prep materials for the exam are relatively scarce. Despite this reality, there are still ways to ready yourself. Here are five such tips:

1. Practice with graphs

The Math section of the Redesigned SAT will increase its focus on algebraic and general problem solving, as well as data interpretation. Geometry will still be present, but it will account for a much smaller portion of the test.

To prepare for this shift, review and practice with ACT Science materials. Both ACT Science and SAT Math employ data interpretation and graphing skills, so the time you spend on one exam can benefit you on the other. Due to this increased overlap, it may even make sense to take both the SAT and the ACT. A number of colleges accept both tests, and many will use the score that is most advantageous to you.

2. Learn to work without a calculator

One of the most significant changes on the Math section is a calculator-free portion. This allows the SAT to test for real mathematical understanding, as opposed to the ability to enter numbers into a machine. It is essential to ensure that you can solve the problems outlined above (save for data analysis) without your calculator, so consider completing all your math homework and test practice by hand. This may make the work harder in the short term, but in the long term, you will be ready for this section of the Redesigned SAT.

3. Understand new answer formats

In the past, if a student was struggling with a specific portion of the SAT, I would sometimes recommend that he or she skip the most difficult questions, as wrong answers negatively impacted overall scores. On the Redesigned SAT, that advice is no longer relevant. You will no longer be penalized for wrong answers, and this means that there is no longer a reason to leave any questions blank. Random guessing will remain ineffective, but eliminating even one incorrect answer choice can lead to an improvement in your overall score. When you prepare for the exam, focus on not just finding the correct answers, but on quickly identifying incorrect responses too. This can include “guesstimating” Math questions, and avoiding Evidence-Based Reading and Writing answers that deal in absolutes.

Another important change in answer formats will be the extended-thinking question in the Math section. This question will be a word problem followed by several related questions, all of which test your problem solving skills. The answers to these questions will be “open” (or student produced), rather than multiple-choice. One way to start preparing for the extended-thinking question is to treat all math problems as essentially “open” – solve each practice question with the possible responses covered, and write your answer in the margin. After you finish, compare your result with the answer key. This process will not only help you improve in extended-thinking, but you will almost certainly become stronger with multiple-choice questions, as well.

4. Focus more on reading and less on vocabulary

The Redesigned SAT will feature a single Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion. Here, the primary shift will be an emphasis on parsing real-world texts. Vocabulary will still be relevant insofar as you will need to understand what you read. Gone, however, will be the esoteric terms that characterized earlier versions of the SAT. Instead of memorizing lists of vocabulary words, work on “unpacking” passages. As one example, this sample question requires students to define “parties” given the specific context of the passage. “Parties” is not a challenging term in and of itself, but determining the shade of meaning that is appropriate to the context can be.

Study materials developed for the Literature SAT Subject Test can be helpful when preparing for the Redesigned SAT since analysis will be much more important than regurgitation. The test will also use real-world documents drawn from various realms of history and culture. You cannot possibly read every important document, but you can browse several from each era so that the language is somewhat familiar to you come exam day.

5. Investigate the essay

Beginning in spring 2016, the essay portion of the SAT will no longer be required for all students. Many schools may still ask test-takers to submit it, but you will need to investigate this on a case-by-case basis. If none of your top-choice colleges ask for it, you may decide to opt against the essay. If you do need to complete the essay, be aware that it, too, is in the midst of a transformation. Specifically, you will now be asked to provide a critical evaluation of a provided passage, rather than your own free-form response to an open-ended topic. Critical analysis is a very different technique to wield, but the skills you learn while preparing for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing will stand you in good stead.

This article,  5 Things Student Must Know About the New SAT, was originally posted from here

Photo is from here

The Pros and Cons of Community College

Woman thinking blackboard

Community college is not what it used to be—in fact, there are major incentives to attending a local junior college. Not to mention the obvious financial advantage, junior college is a place where you can knock out your general courses and explore your other interests on a schedule that works for you. In my own experience, I found that junior college was a great place for me to figure out what major I was going to pursue and where I would eventually obtain my degree from. One of the most impressive professors that I have had the pleasure of learning from taught at the community school I attended, and some of the most interesting people I have ever met went there—think famous rock stars back from a tour in Europe just looking to learn a little Spanish. Maybe I just got lucky, but I’d like to think that community schools can offer something to everyone.