Getting In Is Only Half The Battle

Archive for the ‘Long Range Planning’ Category

winding_roadApplying to college should theoretically be a straightforward process. You did okay in school and you’re ready to make the leap and get into a decent college or university of your choosing. That’s theoretically. Wayne Washington of has an article about the twisted road that the current college admissions process has become.

“Applying for college a long, costly, confusing journey” discusses the admissions process. Applying to a college certainly isn’t a no-brainer, and in fact is something that should be planned for years out. I have to admit that I don’t agree with the idea of coughing up the $100 (or whatever it is these days) application fee to multiple colleges either.

In keeping with today’s theme of college application deadlines, Suburban Journals (A St. Louis Metro area online paper) has an article about starting the college planning process early.

Here at SMTC I’ve posted numerous articles about starting everything early (especially the saving part), so it should be no surprise that I’d advocate starting the examination and application process early as well.

I clearly remember (back in the day) being told to by a guidance counselor that I should have some volunteer work on my college application. The idea was that colleges wanted a “well rounded person”. The fact that as a 16-year-old I had just about zero interest in volunteer work wasn’t supposed to be part of the equation.

The news site has an article with input from counselors about volunteering because you care, NOT because you’re trying to pad your application.

You might want to discuss the contents of this article with your own guidance counselor before making any decisions, but it’s another data point to consider before deciding how to allocate those free-time resources.

Following up on yet another article I posted a few days ago, the Wall Street Journal has published an article laying out some positive changes the Obama administration has in store for 529 accounts.

529s are working as planned, with many middle class families participating. The Obama administration, or accurately the Treasury Department is looking to increase participation in 529 plans. They plan on doing this by encouraging funds with lower fees (index funds) for starters.

Good News. I’ll take it.

So in addition to your IRA, 401K, and just about every other investment tanking, now the New York Times published an article this weekend about some of the problems that prepaid college tuition plans are feeling.

I always thought of the state sponsored prepaid tuition plans as totally safe investments. However, the NYT article is discussing some things like plans adding new fees, closing to new investors, and in one case a state is developing a “doomsday scenario” for their fund.

The entire article can be found here. has an article with some non-sugar-coated truths about the sacrifices involved with sending your child to College. The article reviews some information given out at a recent preparing for college seminar that was offered to parents.


“You’re going to have a big out-of-pocket cost as a family, no matter what,” said Chuck Drawbaugh, the owner of College Funding Associates, an advisory group in Rumson.

Topics covered in said article include:

  • Rising tuition
  • Congressional plans
  • Offering advice

Here’s a bit of a follow-up on an article I posted a few days ago on new ideas for college financing. College is so expensive that it really dwarfs just about anything else you might buy except a house.

My first post linked to one measly little article with a couple of ideas. Well here’s a whole lot more, and I actually think that these have a whole lot better chance of paying off.

First off we have “Nine Unique Way To Pay For College”. This article outlines several way to make money ONLINE. None of this stuff is exactly easy, but requires some hustle and might very well not pay off, but if can find a niche, your odds improve greatly.

  1. Blogging (haha, I’ll let you know how this one is working)
  2. AdSense
  3. Help others find jobs
  4. Videos
  5. Freelance
  6. Games
  7. Paid Reviews
  8. Stock Photography
  9. eBay

Next, we have’s 7 alternative ways to pay for college. This article is really about reducing your expenditures than making money for college per se. These ideas are imminently doable. For example, I’ve known probably a dozen friends who did their first 2 years at California Junior Colleges and then transferred to a regular 4-year University.

  1. Accelerate your degree
  2. Be a transfer student
  3. Go where you’re wanted
  4. Choose a tuition-free school
  5. Get a sponsor
  6. Lock in tuition
  7. Work off debt with community service

And rounding out our little trifecta here we have Kiplinger’s with a article called Smart Ways To Pay For College. Some of the ideas from this article are repeats of the previous, but there are at least 2 new suggestions as well. It’s worth a quick read.

The bottom line here is that there’s some non-traditional way to make money for school as well as non-traditional (and MUCH less expensive) paths to that degree. Keep informed and come up with a plan and start executing EARLY. Nobody is going to go out of their way to do this stuff for you.

As parents are scrambling to figure out some way — any way to afford to send their kids to college, one idea that keeps popping up is the prepaid tuition savings plan.

Basically these plans let you snapshot today’s tuition rate and pay that tuition for your child’s college education down the road.

I found this nifty little how-to article about pre-paid tuition plans on Yahoo Finance.

From a parent’s perspective I always kind of shied away from the idea of pre-paid tuition because I have no idea where my elementary-aged children will want to go.

The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal has an article about some shall we say different ideas for college financing.

The article covers the standard stuff about how parents should start early, but also has a few new suggestions that I haven’t seen much of before.

Such as:

  • Buying a house (let the student rent it out)
  • Business owners hiring their kids (just read the article)

The full text of the article can be found here.

Got any “out of the box” ideas for financing college yourself? Why not post them below?

The Chicago Tribute has an article about how the stimulus package has affected not only some of the rules for 529 college savings plans, but federal tax credits for college costs.

Basically, money from your 529 account can be used for a few more “college related” things, and some of the college tax credits have been expanded.

The full article can be found here.

Make sure you check the IRS website before you decide that a new car is a college related expense.

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