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5 Smart Things High School Sophomores Can Do To Prepare For College

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 3:55 PM

walking the campus

As summer approaches high school freshman will now transition into becoming high school sophomores. This also signals the beginning of serious college planning for these students.   In this article we will   take a quick look at some simple steps your sophomore can begin to do to prepare for the college planning process this summer.

Do Some Research

The summer is a great time for sophomores to begin doing an overview look at some of the colleges they may be interested in.  Any local bookstore will carry books like, “The Princeton Review’s Best 365 Colleges”.  It is important to remember that this book is a basic overview and does not include a lot of schools.  Yet, it is a good starting point.

Go Online

It is always a good idea to get an opinion of a particular school from someone who has attended.  So, check out  these two websites: and to obtain some insider insights. 

Next, you will like to take a look at and  Both of these sites will provide you with information about various schools and scholarships.

Finally, why not take a virtual tour of some schools by visiting  Here your student can take a tour of some colleges just to get a feel of what it is like.

Go Visit Some Colleges

There is nothing better than having the opportunity to walk a campus and see for yourself what it is like.  Aside, from getting a better understanding of the layout and size of the campus, these trips do inspire students to push ahead.

Take the PSAT and SAT Subject Tests

This October plan to have your student take the PSAT.  Although, typically juniors take this exam, the test can provide your student with an idea of how they will do on the SAT.  The results from the exam will allow your student to strengthen any weak areas before they have to sit for the SAT.

Some colleges require SAT subject tests.  These tests are available in course such as: U.S. History, Chemistry, Math, foreign languages, and Biology.  The best time to take these tests is right after your student has completed the subject in their high school course.  In this way the material will be fresh in their mind and the preparation is lessened. So, if your student has completed one of these subject matters, it may be a good time to use the summer to prepare and take the SAT subject test.

These are only a few simple things any sophomore student contemplating attending college can do during the summer.   In the arena of college planning being proactive is key to getting into the college of your dreams.   The biggest problems and hurdles student s encounter when applying to get into college occur when families and students leave everything to the last moment.

In my workshops we go cover the more sophisticated techniques and strategies that are designed not only to get your student into the college of their dreams, but also decrease the cost of attending.   Please check out the link below and accept my personal invitation to attend the next workshop.  You will be glad you did.

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Tags: college planning, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college, High school sophomores

New Resource For Addressing Student Loan Complaints

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Mon, May 14, 2012 @ 3:56 AM

Hopefully you will never have to deal with a problem concerning a student loan.  However, knowing where to turn to can be the difference between getting a quick resolution or being frustrated.

For a long time the Department of Education has been the place to help resolve problems with Stafford, Perking, Plus and other federally backed loans. You can reach the federal student aid ombudsman directly at

However, this department did not cover private student loans.  Now for the first time, borrowers with complaints about private student loans have a single place to file them: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This is good news for private student loan borrowers because until now a borrower would have to search far and wide to figure out which regulatory agency had authority over their lender.

You can get a hold of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by going to

When it comes to college planning we don't use student loans as a primary tool for financing a college education.  There are many tools and strategies that can be utilized first that can decrease or even eliminate the need for student loans. 

One of the best ways to learn about these strategies is by attending one of my FREE college planning workshops.  Simply register here.

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Tags: college planning, student loans, student loan complaints

What Appears Online May Kill Your Chances of Getting Into College

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, May 8, 2012 @ 12:48 PM



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For some time now we have all  been warned that what is posted to any social network could have potential career repercussions in the future.  Now it appears it is not only job opportunities, it can also affect a student's chances of getting into college or receiving a scholarship.  So, in response many people have made taken steps to make their accounts private with only selected friends being able to access their posts. 

Well, that preventive measure may not be enough these days.

A recent report from MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles blog states that student-athletes at colleges around the country are being asked to "friend" a school official, giving them access to posts meant for friends only. 

Similarly, some employers are asking job applicants to logon to their accounts during the interview.  This is nothing new as a 2009 survey commissioned by Microsoft, 70% of U.S. job recruiters said they have rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Facebook doesn’t support this invasive practice and spokesperson Frederic Wolens said many such school and employer policies appear to violate the site's terms.  "Under our terms, only the holder of the email address and password is considered the Facebook account owner. We also prohibit anyone from soliciting the login information or accessing an account belonging to someone else," quoted him as saying.

Another story from The San Francisco Chronicle, reported that scholarship providers are going to Facebook and other social media sites to help vet applicants.

The Chronicle stated that about 75% of scholarship providers said they are on the lookout for behavior that could reflect badly on the provider.   This was based on a survey conducted by FastWeb and the National Scholarship Providers Association.

A picture of your student partying could cost you a college scholarship

Be careful not to allow pictures from high school parties where the student is being seen drinking or acting wildly to appear on the web.  It is very easy for friends to “tag” a picture and then have these appear on the web.

It is not just Facebook

About one-fourth of scholarship providers who responded to the survey said they use sites such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter to check out applicants, primarily just finalists.

Here are more details from the survey:

  • Approximately 3/4s of respondents are looking for behavior that could reflect badly on the scholarship provider, such as underage drinking, provocative pictures, illegal drug use or racial slurs.

  • Another 1/4 of the respondents wanted to verify information on the application.

  •  About 1/2 of the respondents wanted to know the applicant better or were looking for positive traits such as creativity or good communication skills.

  • 1/3 of the respondents have denied an applicant a scholarship, and a quarter have granted an applicant a scholarship, because of something they found online.

 Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and stated, “none of the providers were doing real extensive research or background checks on applicants," he says. "They are looking for red flags."

Online searches are on the rise

Although fewer than 10 of the survey respondents claimed they have denied a scholarship based on their online sleuthing, the practice could become more common and will increase according to industry trends.

What Parents and Students Can Do

As we have seen the odds of losing a scholarship are relatively low.  However, it is now time to manage your online reputation before your student needs to apply for a scholarship or a job.  Here are some steps you should take immediately:

  • Google your student’s name. Look for inappropriate material in the first 10 pages of search results. Correct any problems, if possible, by editing the content of the pages, not simply deleting them.

  • Make sure your student always uses an appropriate e-mail address.   Some students have email addresses that may be funny or lack maturity.

  • Make sure you student is avoiding using profanity on any posts.

  • Remove any inappropriate comments or post made by others on your student’s Facebook wall

  • Check Google Images for pictures of your student that may raise red flags

Many of these suggestions can be done easily.  At times, you may find some information that may be harmful and not easily removed.  When this occurs consider working with an online reputation management company such as www.zoomlocalsearch.comcan help overcome those problems.  Companies such as these can guide you through an online reputation clean up.

The bottom line here is the need for parents and students who plan to apply for college must be proactive.  There is no reason why any student should find themselves being questioned by what is found online.  The reason why online reputation is so important is the real possibility schools and scholarship providers are looking at whether the individual has good sense and will reflect well on their organization.

This is just a sample of the many tips and strategies that I share at my college planning ABC workshops.  Allow me to extend a personal invitation to check out the next workshop.

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Tags: scholarships, strategies for college, college planning, College Admissions, College Enrollment, online reputation