Insider tips for the week of December 4, 2017

15 things every parent needs to know – A thought-provoking list from DIY College Rankings. My two favorites are 1) You set the expectation for acceptable colleges — not the rankings, your peers or your child’s peers and 2) You shouldn’t base your expectations on another family’s experiences. Take a few minutes to scan the others.


8 financial aid mistakes to avoid – Road2College has a quick read jam-packed with great advice. My two favorite nuggets: Don’t wait to file financial aid forms (FAFSA is now available starting Oct. 1 of the senior year) and understand that some colleges actually deduct outside scholarships from already awarded financial aid, essentially cancelling out the benefit.


3 mistakes families make with college tuition packagesCheck out the excellent advice from NextGenVest’s Kelly Peeler in this quick read. My favorite: Most families think “aid” means free money; but many financial aid letters categorize federal loans, which have to be paid back plus interest, as aid.


Colleges do NOT want well-rounded students – In this important piece that every HS student should read, Lora Block explains students should spend more time deciding what is important to them or what they are curious about and less time amassing long lists of activities. Share with your child and help them identify areas of curiosity.