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Friday, June 29, 2012

Cal Grant Awards to Be Cut

The California budget has been signed and includes several changes to the Cal Grant program.  The changes impact Californians attending private and for-profit colleges and universities. However, the proposed increase in qualifying grade point averages was not adopted.  The emphasis has been placed, rather, on the ability of the various educational instituions to produce graduates.

The average American takes 6 years to complete a bachelor's degree.  The graduation rates cited for colleges are six year rates, unless otherwise noted. In order for colleges to be eligible to award Cal Grants, the colleges must have a six-year graduation rate of at least 30 percent.  Additionally they must have a maximum three-year cohort default rate on students loans of 15.5 percent. If the alumni don't repay their loans, their alma mater can lose its ability to award Cal Grants. These new standards apply only to institutions where more than 40 percent of students take out federal loans.  Consequently, community colleges are excluded since they are so inexpensive that very few students take federal student loans to attend them.

Beyond the new eligibility rules, the budget imposes across-the-board cuts on maximum Cal Grant awards at private colleges and universities. Students at private, nonprofit colleges will see an immediate 5 percent cut, which will lower the maximum award to $9,223. Further cuts loom, and the Cal Grant for private colleges are set to be limited to $8,056 in 2014.  At this time, Cal Grants to public colleges, both the UC and CSU system, as well as the community colleges remain unchanged.

However, for-profit colleges will again absorb the biggest cuts, with a maximum Cal Grant award of $4,000 next fall, a significant reduction from the current $9,708.  The reason for the lowering of the amount students at for-profit colleges is, reportedly, because of their lower graduation rate.

The new rules will be phased in to minimize the impact on currently enrolled students. For example, only new students will be prohibited from receiving Cal Grants grants next year at for-profit colleges that do not meet the requirements. Students currently receiving Cal Grants will continue to qualify for the award for a year, but will have the amount reduced by 20 percent.

The new rules are complex, and will impact for-profit colleges in a range of ways.
For example, colleges that receive accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will be partially exempt from the cuts, said Kent Jenkins, a spokesman for Corinthian Colleges Inc., which owns Heald College.

For detailed information, contact your school or intended school directly.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Campus Visits!

Summer is here and many are headed out to visit some campuses they are seriously considering attending.  While the atmosphere on campus is different in the summer, a great deal can still be learned during the summer campus visits.  Additionally, families have more time so can explore the campus and surroundings a bit more thoroughly.

When on campus, it is important to strike out, to venture beyond the campus tour.  The admissions office has their view of campus life; students have a different perspective.  Be sure to register with the admissions office, too.

In order to keep families on track during their visits, and have a place to record their impressions, keep track of contact information as they explore each campus and meet with professors and others, we developed a campus visit guide.  It is a reproducible pdf file.  Students may make as many copies (one per school is ideal) as needed. Each student will need to buy his or her own copy.  Available here.

During and after campus visits, it is essential that notes are taken.  Once several campuses have been visited, certain details tend to blend.  By taking notes, you'll be sure to remember that Professor Jones was from Northwestern not University of Chicago, for example.  Those notes will provide details for application essays, revealing your deep knowledge of the university and your investment in becoming part of their student body.
 We found some great tips for you online, too.

Virtual College Visits (take advantage of the opportunity to visit a college virtually and then in person, when you can):


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Motivation for Students

Today I'm sharing a column written by a colleague who does wonders helping people work through anxiety - be it the math test or the difficult boss.

Dear Dr. Nikki,

My daughter has begun to lose her motivation for school.  Aside from her lack of interest, she finds it difficult to concentrate. Do you have any suggestions for both of these problems?

Motivated Mom

Dear Motivated,

What motivates one person will not necessarily motivate another. One may fear the consequences of not doing well while another may look forward to the rewards they get when they shine. The external prize, such as money or a gift for good grades may light a fire under your daughter or she may seek the internal satisfaction instead. The trick is in finding the key that starts her engine.

There’s a famous radio station with the call letters, WII-FM. These letters stand for ‘what’s in it for me’. There is always something of value in everything we do or we wouldn’t do it. What is the value for her in getting her work done? If there’s no pleasure in the actual work, perhaps she can tell herself the sooner she gets it done, the sooner she can get on to fun things. Help her explore past times when motivation came naturally. If she was swept up in the excitement of the newness, she’ll need to find something she can count on more consistently.

Habits go a long way to helping accomplish things. Chances are she doesn’t need motivation to brush her teeth each day. (Teens' discovery of their attraction to the
opposite sex does have its merits!) The habit puts her on automatic pilot. She does it
without thinking about it and without conscious effort. Try this with homework. Set
aside a particular time of day and teach her to habituate to it.  We all have things in life we wish we didn’t have to do. Why are some able to get through the unpleasantness easily while others procrastinate and sink into apathy and become ineffective? Research shows that successful people project into the future and imagine what it will be like when the task is finished. This keeps their enthusiasm going until they can get on to more joyful times. Explain this to your daughter and ask her to try it.

To improve concentration, try this simple trick. Have her play Baroque music softly in the background while she studies. Research shows these compositions create a unique and interesting physiological response in people. It slows the heartbeat to 60 beats per minute and slows the brain waves down too. More of the whole brain is engaged. The result…less distraction and a stronger focus of attention.

Nikki Goldman Ph.D. welcome comments 858-335-9867. Or email She uses hypnotherapy on children and adults to improve self-esteem, study habits, test anxiety and more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Value of Starting College Prep Early

Have you noticed the incredible accomplishments of top seniors? Things like four years of scientific research, athletic achievement, books written and published, music created and performed, businesses started, the list goes on.  It takes intentional preparation during the junior high/middle school years to be ready to do those sorts of things in high school.  And those high caliber achievements in high school lead to much higher chances of admissions and merit scholarships at the colleges right for you.

Does that mean that you have to be super intense at the age of 11 in order to get into college?  No, it doesn't.  But, if you want to get into elite schools or are already manifesting giftedness in an area, having a coach working with you and your parents will help you develop yourself to be the best you possible.  Those gifts are there for a reason.  And they need to be encouraged, developed, and shared.

None of us achieves our best alone.  It takes the consistent support, encouragement, and guidance of someone who believes in you to draw the best out of each one of us.  It takes someone who can look at the possibilities ahead and guide us.  Working with a coach means we are not alone, and we can focus on honing our skill while they work with our parents to guide us as we manifest our gifts in our community, whether it be in competitions, charity work, entrepreneurial endeavors, performances, or other venues.

Imagine starting high school with your dream for college firmly in your mind so you are evaluating yourself, identifying strengths (hooray!) and areas which need strengthening.  Then, the summer before high school, taking time to improve your time management or organizational skills, or whatever it is you've identified.  You walk into high school ready to perform well.

Imagine starting a business between 8th grade and high school.  A microbusiness to house sit or tutor or computer servicing or a lawn service company.  Rather than just doing a little here and a little there, you take the time to organize and advertise your offering.  Now you have something solid to show the admissions committee when you apply for college - and you have likely increased your revenues as well.

Imagine planning your freshman classes with maintaining a 4.0 as your goal, allowing yourself some breathing room in order to adjust to the new environment and expectations that high school brings.  Planning your classes to challenge yourself and demonstrate your intellectual giftedness, not overdoing it, and not coasting either.

Starting early also has financial advantages for the family's college fund.  Although my services incur costs, the benefits of strategically planning ahead have helped many families lower their college costs as well as significantly increase their college funding resources.  Savings of 30% are common ( $40,000+); some families save far more.  Let's collaborate!

Click here for more information.