Are You or Your Teen Worried About the October 14th PSAT?

These 5 Things Will Save You From Anxiety 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 coming October 14th, 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 reposting an article about the new PSAT that I first published on June 29th, 2015.  It’s timely info for any parent who wants a teen to feel well-equipped and confident this coming October 14th.

life ring three


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

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 “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’d like your son or daughter to get information ahead of time on what the PSAT is going to be like, here’s a step you can take for free.

It’s 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.

If you’d like to give your child an edge on the PSAT, register for one of the free, live, online PSAT “cram sessions” being held online through October 8th courtesy of the KAPLAN test prep company.  To reserve a date and time that fits your child’s schedule, visit KAPLAN provides these sessions to the public as a free service; taking one will not obligate you to buy a KAPLAN test prep course.

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

In some cases families will put months of anxiety, $700 of hard-earned family money, and hours and hours of student work into an expensive 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. (To see my interesting blog post on why it’s critically important for students to get career direction early on — before picking colleges to attend — click here.)

What’s a parent to do? This.

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.)

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.

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 2016.  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?  Comment below, or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook and let’s talk about it there.

Genius Reason to Get Your Kid on 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.

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How Can Your Kid Get 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 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

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


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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

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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.


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Your High Schooler—Excited about Saving Money in a ROTH IRA?

What are the chances that you could get your high schooler excited about saving in a Roth IRA?

Bowl of Money

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Better than you think—if you refuse to do it the old-fashioned way, using lectures and deprivation and drudgery. 

This post is designed to help you inspire your child to want to save and invest, by introducing the topics in a creative and exciting way, with opportunity and immediate reinforcement.

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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

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“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

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