Worried About the Upcoming PSAT Exam?

5 Things That Will Save You From Worry Over Standardized Testing

Parents nationwide are worried about how standardized tests for college entrance are changing.

If your child is taking the PSAT exam this fall, you may be wondering how it will be different from the old PSAT, and what your child should be doing in order to excel on it.

Today I’m providing  5 things that will save you from worry over standardized testing in general and the PSAT in particular.

life ring three

First, be sure you’re emphasizing the right things when it comes to college prep

In some cases, families will put $700 of hard-earned family money and hours and hours of student work into a test prep course – but then put no timeno money, and no thought at all into helping kids figure out career goal before they choose which colleges to apply to.

This backwards plan can result in students running up odious, burdensome student loan debt attending “good schools” that don’t even prepare them for the careers they’re going to love someday. (Boston University is a “good school,” but you don’t go there if your eventual career is air traffic controller. To see my interesting blog post on this subject, click here.)

What’s a parent to do? This.

I’m going to talk about standardized testing in a second here – but in the meantime, if you’re wondering how in the world we can help 10th graders to get a sense of career goal before they start picking out colleges, download my free PDF on that subject here.  (If your child is way past 10th grade, don’t worry; just read this free PDF as soon as you can.)

5 Reasons You Need Not Worry Too Much About Standardized Testing

1.  There are currently 850 colleges and universities nationwide that don’t even look at standardized test scores when considering students for admission.

These schools refer to themselves as “test optional.” You can find the complete list of “test optional” schools on the website of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing at http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional.

2.  The number of “test optional” schools is rapidly increasing. As a matter of fact, a record number of colleges and universities dropped their ACT/SAT score requirements in the past year. 

Schools who’ve declared themselves to be “test optional” just in the past year include Beloit, Eastern Connecticut, Hofstra, Montclair State, Plymouth State, Temple, Virginia Commonwealth, and Wesleyan, among others.

3.  Think that only “bad” schools would go “test optional”? The truth is that even top-ranked colleges are going “test optional” at unprecedented rates.

The fairtest.org “test-optional” list now includes more than 165 schools ranked in the top tiers of their respective categories. More than one-third of top-ranked national liberal arts colleges have test-optional policies.

4.  If you wonder how your son or daughter is likely to perform on an upcoming standardized test, here’s a step you can take for free.

You can have your son or daughter take a free SAT, ACT, or PSAT practice exam courtesy of the KAPLAN test prep company at http://www.kaptest.com/college-prep/getting-into-college/free-practice-test. KAPLAN provides these exams to the public as a free service; taking one will not obligate you to buy a KAPLAN test prep course.

5.  Are you feeling especially worried because your 10th or 11th grader will be taking the brand new PSAT exam this coming October, and so far nobody knows what will be on it? Here’s help. 

It is well worth a student’s while to try to succeed on the PSAT — because the PSAT is the first step to possibly qualifying for a generous National Merit Scholarship.

To help you feel better about the new PSAT, KAPLAN is offering free 90-minute online PSAT information sessions between July 19th and August 30th.

Here’s what these free KAPLAN sessions will cover:

  • How the new PSAT is structured, including an overview of the new test format, structure, and scoring.
  • Side-by-side comparisons of how the new PSAT differs from the old PSAT and the current SAT.
  • The rigors of the new PSAT, and how to strategically simplify its longer questions. 

To sign up for a free KAPLAN Test Prep PSAT information session, click here: www.kaptest.com/psatsneakpeek.

The upshot of all this? Students and parents, start with the end in mind. Parents, help your child to get a sense of career goal early on (preferably in January of 10th grade), and only THEN look at expensive test preparation if it’s obvious that it’s absolutely necessary.

Big announcement today! 

I’m going to be teaching a brand new one evening seminar in Woodbury, Minnesota this fall entitled “What Career Is Right For Me?”  In this seminar, students in grades 10 and up will use three separate assessments to get a sense of career goal that will guide every other aspect of their college prep.

Space in this class is extremely limited.  You can’t even sign up for this class yet, but do mark your calendar for Thursday, November 19th from 6:00 – 8:30 pm at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minnesota. (The nearest airport is Minneapolis St. Paul.)  For more details about this and other classes I’ll be teaching in the fall of 2015, be sure you’ve subscribed to my email newsletter using the form on this website.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie Burlowski is a full-time consultant, author, and conference speaker.   She helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love.  Her book LAUNCH:  How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is due out in late 2015.  You can find Jeannie’s free help for parents in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website.  Follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.

“We only got around to doing a fraction of what Jeannie tells people to do in the free help on her website, and we saved well over $50,000 on college costs. Our daughter earned a four year degree from an excellent private university at age 20, and she’s now in California happily working her dream job at Disney. Get to one of Jeannie’s live classes if you can. Buy a plane ticket if you have to!”  — Liz and Tim Weatherhead, parents, Bloomington, MN

What about you?  What has your experience been in regard to standardized testing?  What advice do you have for parents and students?

The Genius Reason to Get Your Kid on LinkedIn.com at Age 14

Every day since your child was a toddler, she’s been bumping into and forming relationships with professional people who have careers in every sector of the job market.  Do you realize this?

Your daughter may have met a software engineer at a technology company when she was only four years old, a VP for the Target Corporation on her soccer field, and a sales manager for a national real estate company when she was playing in a friend’s backyard.

Got a Kid Headed to College This Fall? Today, a Brilliant Strategy For Figuring Out Who are the BEST Professors on Campus

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

A week ago I asked parents to imagine a 19-year-old girl walking into an enormous 10-story library, choosing four books at random, and then walking up to the checkout desk and paying $25,000 for the chance to check them out.

A week ago we talked about how this sounds unthinkable, yet this is the exact method many students use to choose college classes.

A huge number of you read about my better, more clever, more strategic, more cost-effective way to make these important decisions.  If you missed that post, you can find it here.

In today’s Part 2 follow-up post I’ll be talking about how to best use  “professor rating websites.”

To do this, I’m featuring an article by Elizabeth Hoyt, editor and contributing writer for Fastweb.com. Fastweb.com is a scholarship matching service that “matches details you provide about your life to an online database of 1.5 million scholarships, and then sends alerts about scholarships you might be a fit for straight to your email inbox.”  You can learn more about Fastweb at Fastweb.com.

Please share this post with everyone you know who has a kid registering for college classes this fall.


Not a Bargain — Why Some Parents Steer Their Kids Away From State Universities

Community colleges tend to be a GREAT bargain for students.  (Do you wonder what gives me the credential to say that?  Click here.)  But what about 4-year state universities? Are they smart choices for students who want to keep college costs low?  At first glance the 4-year state university’s sticker price looks appealing enough. But is it really a good deal?

Here’s the big question to ask:

What is this state university’s four-year graduation rate?

If it’s nearly impossible to get through this college in four years, that’s deeply concerning.  Why?  Because financial aid doesn’t stretch to cover years five and six.  Too often, years five and six get paid for by expensive private loans and credit card debt.  Plus, of course, going to college for six years is likely to cost a student two years of full time income. 

Yikes.  Not a bargain at all.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

Balancing The Account

Got a Kid Headed to College This Fall? This Genius Strategy Helps Students Get the BEST POSSIBLE Set of College Classes

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

Imagine your 19-year-old daughter walking into an enormous 10-story library.  She chooses four books at random, and then walks up to the checkout desk and pays $25,000 for the chance to check them out.

It sounds unthinkable, but this is the exact method many students use to choose college classes.

Could there be a better, more clever, more strategic, more cost-effective way to make these important decisions?  Yes.

In today’s post I’m giving students five ways they can make sure they’re choosing the best set of college classes for this coming fall, and for their eventual professional life.

Please share this post with everyone you know who has a kid registering for college classes this fall.


How to Get Your High Schooler Excited about Saving Up Money in A ROTH IRA This Summer

Parents, would you like to see your 14-year-old get excited about the whole idea of working hard and saving money this summer?

Bowl of Money

photo credit: via photopin (license)

We’ll never achieve this the old-fashioned way, with lectures and drudgery.  So — let’s do this in a creative and exciting way, with opportunity and immediate reinforcement.

Here’s Help Getting Kids Age 13-22 to Eagerly Apply for Scholarships This Summer

Wouldn’t it be great if your child age 13-22 would apply for 10 different scholarships before starting school this coming fall?

Yep, that’s what I said.  Kids age 13-22.  Ten different scholarships each summer.

It’s a myth that students should only apply for college scholarships in the junior and senior years of high school.

Are you worried that your kids won’t feel enthusiastic about coming in from sunbathing to fill out scholarship applications?  Here’s a truly amazing idea that will help you.handstyping

“3…2…1…BLASTOFF!” Announcing the Launch of My Brand New Website and Blog

Here's What's In It For You. : - )

In recent months I’ve been reimagining everything I do when it comes to helping parents and students.

Like a determined mom cleaning out a closet, a purse, or an office desk, I dumped everything I had been doing professionally out onto the floor.  “If I had a chance to start completely over from scratch,” I said to myself, “what would be the best, most strategic helps I could give to parents and students?”

Here’s a list of 8 things that guided me as I made these big decisions.  I think these things are going to help you too.BLASTOFF

Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by NOT Going To College?

5 Things To Think Through Before Your Kid Jumps Into College Life

There are a massive number of students in this country who should not be attending four-year colleges and universities.


Because these students are desperately needed in well-paying jobs that require more specialized kinds of training than four-year colleges can provide. Read on, and I’ll give you 5 steps that will help you to determine whether your son or daughter might be a good fit for one of these excellent careers.