Got Student Loan Debt? 7 Things To Do RIGHT NOW.

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

This article is part 1 of a 3-part series on what students can do if they already have student loan debt.  To be certain you don’t miss the remaining two articles in this series, subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter using the instructions below. 

You recently left college for the working world, and the freedom feels great.

But wait.

Have you left college with any amount of student loan debt?

If you have, it’s important to do 7 things as soon as possible after you stop attending college classes.

(If you’ve been out of college for years and you’ve never done these things, do them now.)

student loan debt

 

1. List every debt you owe on one clean sheet of paper.

Continue Reading »

3 Reasons Rested, Relaxed Teens Are More Successful

Last week I blogged about how to get your teen to do more cheerful chores and watch fewer screens this summer. If you missed that post you can see it here. Today I’m going to address the very important concept of letting your teen relax in ways that really, truly matter.  Enjoy.

Mary’s father entered the library through heavy glass doors and started looking through the stacks for his daughter. He finally found her, bleary-eyed and exhausted, surrounded by books, notebooks, a laptop, and a half cup of cold coffee. “Honey, it’s late,” he said gently. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yeah,” Mary said, sounding beaten and tired.

Mary put her head in her hands. Full days in the toughest classes at school followed by afternoons and evenings crammed with activities “designed to impress” pushed her studying into late hours most nights of the week. The pace was frantic and the pressure intense, but Mary kept at it because of the carrot at the end of the stick. If she could just keep up this brutal pace for a few more years, she’d be able to get into a “good school.” That would automatically lead to a “good job,” and the money from that “good job” would lead to happiness and success.

At least that’s how the plan was supposed to work.

just relax

Continue Reading »

More Cheerful Chores * Fewer Screens * More Fun

5 Ways Parents Can Have a More Fun, More Relaxing Summer

fewer screens

Carol kicked off her work shoes and put them away in the front hall closet. “Hi, kids; I’m home!” She called out.

It’d been an extremely long work day for Carol, and the commute home had been long and sweaty due to heavy road construction and her car air conditioning being out. All she wanted to do was get her shoes off and collapse.

When she walked into the kitchen, though, she gasped.

The kitchen looked as though someone had dirtied every dish and pan and countertop, and then run out in a panic.

In the distance she could hear machine gun fire.

The machine gun fire was coming from the TV in her family room, where her teens lounged on leather furniture, still in the t-shirts and sweatpants they’d slept in the night before. One stared, unmoving, at a movie on TV, one sat engrossed in Netflix on an iPad with headphones; the oldest was hunting and shooting camouflage-clad villains in a warehouse on a computer screen in the corner.

“Have you guys been in here like this the entire day??” She asked.

Many parents today worry about kids’ screen use during summer vacation.

But what’s a parent to do? It takes too much energy to constantly suggest: “Why don’t you go outside for a while?” Parents already tired from work don’t want to start battles with teens who might become sullen, snarly, and disrespectful when asked to disconnect.

How can parents get teens to do more chores, spend less time on screens, and have more of the kind of summer fun that satisfies most deeply?  

Continue Reading »

“Help. Our Daughter’s Failing College. She’s Dropping Out.”

Actual Frantic Email I Received From A Mom Recently

What would you do if you found out that your son or daughter was failing college and dropping out?

Today I’m sharing the frantic email I received this week from the mother of a current South Carolina college freshman.

It’s my hope that this mom’s pain and heartache will light a fire under you to do everything you can to keep this from happening to your family.

(Subscribe to my free email newsletter using the form on this site, and I will help you.)

It’s also my hope that my answer to this mom will give you help and hope.  This letter is used with permission. Details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Remember, you can always find out your child’s current grades by waiting for him or her to ask you for money.  When you get the money request say:  “Sure, Honey.  Would you just log me into the computer and show me all your grades first, though?  I like to know what I’m investing in.”  — Jeannie Burlowski

failing college

Continue Reading »

#1 Thing Employers ACTUALLY Want In a “Just Out of College” New Hire

Recently, millions of high school kids committed to attend colleges that, frankly, weren’t their “dream schools.”

Some of these kids are still struggling with anxiety and depression over this turn of events, fretting and worrying because they’ve been told the lie that if they don’t attend a top school, they “won’t get a good job when they graduate.”

(You can see the article I wrote debunking this myth here.)

The graph at the bottom of today’s post will make these disappointed kids feel instantly better.

internships matter

For every kid who fears that their college isn’t good enough, here’s great news.

Today I’m featuring excerpts from a brilliant article written by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic.

Thompson boldly tackles the question:

“Do employers really care what college you went to? What do they actually look at when deciding whether or not to hire a new college grad?”

Continue Reading »

YOU Can Raise Creative, Confident, Innovative Kids

 

creative

The last thing you want to do is raise a child who’s just a dull drone, pouring out memorized facts as though facts have the power to save the world. You want to raise a child who will be valued in a future workplace for being creative, confident, and innovative.

But how can you build creative, confident, innovative ability into your child (and yourself!) right now?

In this fascinating 8-minute video, former Yahoo! executive strategist and bestselling author Tim Sanders provides brilliant research-based insight into where creativity and innovation actually come from.  

Here’s how I believe you can make these principles of creativity and innovation come alive in your kids:

1. Let your kid know that genius isn’t necessary to accomplish great things.

Sanders says that it’s a myth that great innovations come from lone wolf inventors who have sudden “eureka moments” strike like lightening from the sky and change the world. “We want to be heroes,” Sanders says, “so that’s how we tell the story.” Actually, though, Sanders says, true genius creativity comes from another place altogether. It comes from collaboration.

2. Explain to your kid the tremendous value of collaboration.

It can be liberating to a 12 -22 year old to realize: “Hey, I don’t have to have all the answers! It’s OK if I have one piece of the puzzle and someone else has another piece of the puzzle. It’s even OK if 20 other people are also contributing pieces of the puzzle. We can work together, and in doing so accomplish something bigger than I could ever do on my own.”

As Sanders says: “Little ideas combine with other little ideas, and these improve into game-changing ideas.”

This realization – that it’s OK to have only one piece of the puzzle – helps kids to relax. It relieves pressure and anxiety that can actually stand in the way of creativity and innovation.

Continue Reading »

Top 5 Lies We Tell Kids About College

Read This When Your Kid's in Middle School.

This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the  bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.
college

1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”

This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?

2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”

The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.

The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family — that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”

(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)

3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”

Continue Reading »

Top 10 Ways to Help Your Kid Get More College Scholarships (Starting in MIDDLE SCHOOL)

The dad waited in a long line to get to shake my hand.  He was beaming.

scholarships

“We squeezed into a packed high school auditorium to hear you speak about scholarships last year,” he told me.  “You inspired my son to go home and apply for 20 scholarships he thought he’d never get.  He won eight of them, and now has over $20,000 extra to help pay his college bills.  I just wanted to say thanks.”

I beamed back at him.  Nothing excites and energizes me like seeing students achieve things they thought they never could.  And when they rake in the scholarship money?  That’s the best feeling ever.

Winning college scholarships is only one very small piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting kids through college debt free. In all honesty,  other strategies that I provide to parents can net even greater return for families.

If you want to maximize scholarships, though — here are just a fraction of the scholarship strategies  I recommend for students and parents.

1.  Don’t assume your kid won’t qualify for scholarships because of grades or test scores.  

Continue Reading »

Genius Idea: Some Minnesotans are Getting Free Tech School Education, and THEN a Bachelors Degree!

Share This Post With a Parent of a Minnesota 12th Grader Now.

In 2015 I wrote about how some students could end up wealthier and happier by not going to four-year college after high school.  It was a life-changing post for many.  If you missed it, be sure to read it here.

But what about this great idea?  Your kid could go to community or technical school in a fantastic, in-demand career field for two years and gain excellent, immediately-employable job skills . . . and then start work on a bachelors degree in a related field at age 20.

Want to have your kid learn college level study skills straight from me? Here’s info on the “Strategic College Student” class I’ll be teaching in Minneapolis on May 14th, 2016!  — Jeannie Burlowski

“Wait, a minute . . .” I can hear you objecting.  “Who wants to go to college for six straight years, and not get finished until age 24?  The credits my kid would earn in technical school probably wouldn’t transfer to a four-year college, right?”

You’re right, college credits don’t generally transfer from technical schools to 4-year bachelors degree programs.  But imagine this.  What if your 18-year-old teen had already completed two full years of bachelors degree college credit in high school at state expense — as I explain in this webinar?  That teen could complete two years of technical school between age 18 and age 20, and then finish up a bachelors degree between the ages of 20 and 22.

But wait — the news gets even better!

If your child is a Minnesotan graduating from high school in 2016, the very valuable technical school education I’m talking about may be FREE for him or her — even if your family income is well above average.

Wow!

If you’re going to help your child access this benefit, though, there are several things you need to know right now.

technical school

Continue Reading »

6th Graders Need to Know THIS About Choosing Career

Your Kids Are Older? Tell Them Now.

“Jeannie, are you serious?  We need to talk to 6th graders about career?”

Yes.  And if not in 6th grade, then as soon as possible after that.  Why?  Because when your child is in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade, his or her brain is growing faster than at any time since infancy.

Whatever you tell your daughter now — whatever she experiences — will imprint on her powerfully, very likely staying with her into high school, college, and adulthood.  This is why I am so emphatic about teaching middle schoolers college study strategies like how to use a calendar and how to use the time-saving “quiz and recall method” for college level studying.  (You can see the emphatic post I wrote on this subject here.)

minnehaharealblogWhat should we be telling middle schoolers about career? 

Six things:

1.  “Wow; you’ve got some outstanding natural abilities that are going to help you have a great career when you’re an adult!”

2.  “When you work hard at activities that develop these abilities, your brain grows by leaps and bounds.”

3.  “In the old days college kids used to take random college classes to see what careers they might interested in.  Ha ha ha — people don’t do that anymore.  That career strategy never really worked anyway — and these days college is way too expensive to do that.”

Continue Reading »