The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

Scholarships
June 25, 2009

Exploring a College Gap Year

When I’m giving a college talk, I’m always amazed at how many parents ask me about college gap year opportunities. I’m surprised because I happen to be focused on getting my teenagers out of college in four years. It never occurred to me to delay the inevitable. That said,  there legitimate reasons why teenagers and their parents might be interested...
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April 10, 2009

How to Negotiate for a Better Financial Aid Package

Colleges loath the “N” word. Administrators hate it when parents call them up and want to negotiate a better financial aid package. Well, that’s too bad. Colleges cost too much money for families to automatically agree to a six-figure commitment. If you’re going to negotiate, however, you’re nearly out of time. The traditional deadline for deposits to secure a spot...
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March 31, 2009

Giving Rich Kids a College Advantage

The New York Times published a front-page article recently which discussed how some colleges are giving preferential treatment to rich students.  The trend shouldn’t be surprising. Actually, the vast majority of private colleges have been playing out of this rule book for many years. It didn’t take the current financial crisis to trigger it. Regardless of how you feel about...
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March 30, 2009

Slashing Out-of-State Tuition Costs

No doubt most teenagers who attend state universities never look beyond their borders. If you’re a kid living in Los Angeles, the cost of going to UCLA or Berkeley is going to be cheaper than attending another flagship like the University of Texas or the University of Michigan. What keeps plenty of kids from wandering too far from home is...
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March 21, 2009

Getting a Community College Scholarship

Community college scholarships are going begging. That’s what the faculty senate president at a community college in San Diego told me this morning when I bumped into him at the dog park. He wasn’t talking about federal Pell Grants or other state or federal aid. He was referring to community college scholarship that benefactors have started at particular schools. Sometimes...
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February 21, 2009

Studying for College Scholarships

  When parents start talking to me about college, they often mention that they’ve been haranguing their kids about applying for private scholarships. It happened again on Wednesday night before I gave a talk at High Tech High in San Diego, which is where my son is a junior. A mother expressed frustration that her teenage son wasn’t prowling for...
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February 9, 2009

Free Colleges — This Isn't a Typo

Believe it or not, a handful of colleges charge less tuiton than a bag of theater popcorn. Actually, they are free.The New York Times wrote about one of the schools, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in today’s edition. Not surprisingly, students submitting 2009 early decision applications to the school, which is an amazing place for...
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February 8, 2009

Getting An Early Financial Aid Verdict

Have you ever heard of a college prereading an application? Probably not, but in this scary economic climate, prereads could become commonplace. I learned about prereads last week when I was reporting on a package of stories for a national media outlet on various financial aid strategies. When the articles are published in a month, I’ll provide the links from...
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February 1, 2009

The Great College Fire Sale

Now here’s something you haven’t heard reported in the news media this year: Many colleges and universities are slashing prices even further than they have in the past. Private schools, in particular, are worried that kids are crossing expensive schools off their lists because of the recession and the stock market implosion. Most parents assume that private schools are in...
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December 9, 2008

Paying For College in Tough Times

These are scary times for parents of teenagers. Saving for college was challenging enough before experts started comparing the stock market’s current implosion to the Great Depression. Many parents are reacting to the downturn by telling their teenagers to only apply to instate schools to save money. In some cases this is a wise decision, but public universities won’t always...
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