Debt-Free College? Really? YEP. Start Here.

Debt-free college? Is that even possible for ordinary families?

YEP.

No matter your current income level, and even if your kids don’t get a single scholarship.

Debt-free college is achievable. Here’s the starting line.

Recently, Parents.com did an article on me. They asked me, “What 5 things should families focus on first—if their goal is debt-free college for their kids?”

debt-free college

For families who realize that happily ever after for their kids includes starting out on solid financial footing, the Parents.com article is really helpful.

(And if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll benefit from hearing my strategies in someone else’s voice!)

Read the Parents.com article about debt-free college here.

It contains a surprise bonus: a 4-minute video about me and my family that tells how I went from being a test prep instructor and admissions consultant to inspiring the world about debt-free college. It’s a video feature called Real Moms/Real Money—and the day it came out, Martha Stewart shared it on Facebook!

If you’ve ever thought it’d be fun to see me in my house, in my real mom life, here’s your chance!

Give your kids a great start toward happily ever after.

See the 5 big debt-free college strategies in the article, and watch the Parents.com video here.

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Your Kid Needs a STRENGTHS Coach (More Than a Sports Coach)

Last week in this blog I brought up the amazing promise I made while giving the keynote presentation at the online College Planning Untangled conference on October 4th.

I promised that I’d be explaining “one key principle that can untangle all the college confusion—and send your kid shooting like an arrow straight to a bullseye—without stress, pressure, or anxiety of any kind.”

Within that keynote hour, I explained this key, little-known principle.

“If you’ve got kids ages 12–26,” I said, “you want to give them some tools that will help them to ‘clarify the bullseye on the target before they take aim and shoot.’

The #1 best tool I recommend for this?

When students are in early high school—or as soon as possible after that—I want students to do some specific assessment work that helps them know what they’re naturally good at, what they love, what they’re naturally interested in, how they relate to other people, get energy, solve problems, make decisions—and what natural strengths and talents they bring to personal life and to the world of work.

Students who know these things—students who can verbalize these things as early as 9th or 10th grade—aren’t just amazing in job interviews starting very early on. They don’t just enjoy increased confidence. They’re also in ideal positions to start choosing college programs they might want to be a part of.

Like an arrow, straight to a bullseye.

Not one wasted class, not one wasted dollar.

Here’s the specific assessment I recommend taking first.

Once your child reaches early high school, I want him or her to take the CliftonStrengths Assessment under the direction of a live, human, Gallup certified strengths coach.

strengths coach

This is important, because I don’t want you and your kid to just read over some printed results on paper and then toss the paper to the side.

You need a trained, qualified strengths coach to do this with you—and it can’t be me.

I don’t do Gallup strengths coaching myself—I’m not certified to do it.

I help you locate a trained, qualified Gallup strengths coach who will go over these strengths results with you and your child, and be with you—either in person or in a teleconference—providing one-on-one training and coaching for you and your child as you apply this assessment knowledge to life, to family relationships, to the path to college, and to thoughts about future career.

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In My Keynote Address—I Made This Amazing Promise

On Sunday, October 4th, 2020, I was the keynote speaker at the online College Planning Untangled conference.

Below is a small segment of that keynote.

(If you’ve followed me for a while—can you guess what key principle I was speaking about here?)

speaking

I said:

“Here’s our third goal for tonight. Toward the end of our time together in this hour, I’m going to teach you one key principle that no one else you know is talking about.

One key principle that can untangle all the college confusion—and send your kid shooting like an arrow straight to a bullseye—without stress, pressure, or anxiety of any kind.

I’m going to give you a phrase to write down. Write this down now so you’ll be sure to catch it when I talk about it tonight:

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Melanie Lockert’s Jolting Student Loan Debt Wake-Up Call

Melanie Lockert of Los Angeles, California tells about the jolting student loan debt wake-up call she had right after completing grad school.

Lockert’s jolting student loan debt wake-up call

Lockert had wisely worked multiple part-time jobs throughout school, and for five years had made consistent monthly payments on her student loan debt. Yet, when she left grad school, she still owed a whopping $68,000 on her $81,000 student loan bill.

She’d worked so hard, and paid so faithfully—yet she still owed a staggering $68,000? How could this be?

The insidious nature of student loan debt interest

As Lockert dug into the “why” behind what had happened to her, she uncovered the reason. For five entire years, she’d paid only the minimum each month.

“When I graduated from NYU, I started to do the math and I realized I was paying $11 a day in interest,” she says. “That just really woke me up.”

Lockert was paying $11 a day in interest on her student loan debt

No wonder she wasn’t getting ahead.

Now Lockert warns others.

“When I was 17/18, I signed up for student loans not knowing how interest worked,” she told CNBC Select. “I subscribed to the idea that everyone has student loans, that it’s good debt. It wasn’t until I graduated from NYU when I was more broke than before that I realized the only way I was going to get out of debt was by paying more than the minimum.”

Photo courtesy of Melanie Lockert and Dear Debt

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Two Sentences to Help Your Teen Achieve More This Year

You’d love to help your teen achieve more this year—but motivating teens can be so hard. And you have limited time and energy for trying anything fancy.

Here—2 sentences that can help your teen achieve more this year.

Throw these sentences into family conversation occasionally—and watch your teen achieve, and grow, and later on—blossom.

teen acheive

1. “Let’s get some help from Khan Academy on that.”

A college student recently told me, “I can’t understand my online math teacher. He’s not used to online teaching. I can’t hear him hardly at all, and I can’t follow what he’s saying.”

Alarmed, I replied, “This is a huge problem! You need this class as foundation for other math classes you’ll take later. Can you quick drop this class and take a different one?”

“Nah,” she said. “I’m OK. I just get the basic concept he’s trying to teach, and then I find someone online who can teach it clearly. I’m OK.”

This isn’t exactly what parents want to hear (especially when they’ve just paid expensive college tuition), but it is a real tribute to the resourcefulness of the student.

Khan Academy can help your teen achieve by clearly filling in gaps in math, reading, science, history, and more—for free.

Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with a mission of providing “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”

KA serves students pre-K through early college, even providing free “get ready for grade level” courses that allow students to not just work at their grade level at their own time and pace, but make sure they have filled in all their gaps, pre-grade level.

Teachers love this—and many use it every day in their classrooms.

Khan Academy has distance learning resources that can also teach your kids, teens, and early college students grammar, engineering, chemistry, biology, arts and humanities, computing, economics, and finance—in a clear, step-by-step, interactive way.

Many Khan Academy resources are available in both English and Spanish.

Help your teen achieve by visiting Khan Academy today.

I especially love the “See what you already know” aspect of Khan Academy, where students of all ages are able to choose a unit, take a quick unit test to see which concepts they’ve mastered and which they may need to practice more—and then get teaching on the concepts where they need to grow.

Note that Khan Academy is in dire need of additional funding due to extreme use of its resources during the pandemic. If you work for a corporation that might donate to this very worthy cause, visit the KA donation page here.

2. “I’m so excited about research telling us that intelligence and talent can stretch and improve through focus and hard work.”

This is the second sentence that can help your teen achieve more this year.

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Live, Online Help is Here—Join My TRIBE Membership Waiting List

Doors to my TRIBE Membership are currently closed. Doors will open again for just 5 days in March of 2021. This page allows you to learn more, and join the Waiting List. (Space is limited.)

You’ve got a book that helps you get kids through college debt-free—but you want more.

When you have a question on a step you’ve just read about in this bookyou’d love to get access to the author to get that question answered.

That help is available inside Jeannie Burlowski’s TRIBE Membership.

Along with community and accountability that makes the whole process more fun.

Whether the kids you care about are in middle school or in high school right now.

(Learn what other parents are saying about this at the bottom of this page.)

The doors to my TRIBE Membership are currently closed.

Doors open just twice each year—for 5 days in March and 5 days in September.

Space is limited.

Join when the doors are open and get these 6 benefits:

1. TRIBE Members get access to the author online, in a group setting, 10–15 times per year.

Just 10–15 times per year—not a big time commitment!

Read your scheduled chapter in LAUNCH, and then attend the corresponding online group meeting only if you have questions or would like extra help. That’s it! No extra work for you beyond just the 10–15 online meetings each year.

Many of the parents, financial professionals, guidance counselors, and admissions consultants inside this TRIBE Membership think of it the way they think of their AAA auto club membership. “Use it only if you get stuck!”

Other members carefully put every single TRIBE Membership meeting into their calendars—using our gatherings as a way to keep accountable and keep moving.

2. TRIBE Members get the powerful boost that comes from accountability.

You might forget to read a book on your shelf—but when you’ve got an online meeting on your calendar, you’re going to show up, be prepared, and take action when the meeting’s over.

When people are expecting you—you show up.

And showing up is what keeps you moving forward on the debt-free college and thriving career journey.

Whether the teens you care about are being cooperative right now or not—and no matter your family income level.

And if you need to miss a session? No problem. Recordings are available inside the membership for two weeks after each session is over.

3. TRIBE Members save time. (They get the 3-session View From The Top of the Mountain class included for free.)

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Online College Planning Conference Starts Oct 4—Register Now

I'm the keynote speaker—plus I'm doing a breakout session on how to win scholarships

You know you need some good solid direction to jumpstart the college planning process for your family—but guidance counselors are hard to reach, and most in-person college prep conferences have been cancelled.

Time to register for a college planning conference that’s all online.

No need to buy a plane ticket or book a hotel room.

All the inspiring info is packed into just two hours—each evening—for a week.

Bring the kids.

Can’t make one or more sessions?

That’s OK—recordings will be available for 30 days after the conference ends. Just use the 30-day all-access pass included in your conference fee.

Hear me giving the keynote presentation at this conference.

I’ll be opening the conference Sunday, October 4th with a keynote titled: How to Get Kids Through College Debt-Free—WITHOUT SCHOLARSHIPS!

This keynote is inspiring, and exciting—and may save you so much on college costs that you could pay admission to this conference 200 times over.

Get a sample of my speaking—along with reviews from parents and students—at JeannieBurlowski.com/SPEAKING.

Later in the conference, attend my small group breakout session.

It’s titled How to Win More College Scholarships—Starting in 8th Grade.

(If I can teach your family non-scholarship strategies for getting college paid for, and then inspire your kids with scholarship strategies—your teen will be beautifully positioned to win at the college and career prep money game.)

Cost for this online conference:

$199.00 per family. (The value of this conference far exceeds this low, low price.)

Space is limited. See the schedule and register now at: CollegePlanningUntangled.com

college planning conference

Your conference admission includes online sessions from experts on:

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Got Kids or Grandkids Ages 12–26? You Need This

You’d love to see the kids you love get through college debt-free. It’s easier than you think—especially if you can start early.

Register instantly below—for free, courtesy of Thrivent Financial.

college debt-free

FREE, ONLINE EVENT:

How Grandparents Are Lighting the Way to Debt-Free College For the Kids They Love (1 hour)

Thursday, September 17th, 2020 7:00 pm CDT | 5:00 pm PDT | 8:00 pm EDT

FREE Register here. (Note: your link to get into the webinar will come to you from Thrivent Financial. Check all your email folders for “Thrivent.”)

Learn an innovative way for grandparents to build ongoing, loving connection with their grandchildren, leave a legacy that will last, and increase the probability that the grandkids will graduate college debt-free—all without spending one penny more than they are right now.

For parents and grandparents of students ages 12–26, and the professionals who serve them.

* This webinar is brought to the community at no charge, thanks to the generosity of Thrivent Financial. Nothing is sold in this webinar. This webinar is available at these times only and will not be replayed. Connect with a caring Thrivent professional at Thrivent.com.

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Your Med School Application—So Strong It Both Gets You In, And Gets You Money 

I wrote this article on creating a strong med school application at the request of the Harvard Crimson.

You’d love to put together a med school application so strong—that it both gets you in, and gets you money to help pay for med school.

Other students are accomplishing this—you can too.

Do you know the one specific principle that can take an average, dull med school application, and make it so outstanding—so riveting—that it inspires med schools not just to let you in, but to give you money to help pay for med school as well?

Building your application around this one specific principle works—even if you have lower grades and test scores.

Learn this one specific principle, and you can completely revolutionize the content of your med school application.

How do I know this?

Because I’m a professional academic strategist, and I’ve been helping students get into med school for 25 years at my website, getintomedschool.com.

Here, in a nutshell, is my best med school application advice.

In your main med school application essay, focus your efforts on constructing a flawlessly well-reasoned argument in your own behalf.

(I use the word “argument,” but of course I would never want you to sound argumentative. I want you to sound warm, and personal, and human—no question about that.)

In your med school application, think of yourself as a lawyer arguing the most important case of your career.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to know the three component parts of argument that lawyers use when arguing cases in court.

The three component parts of argument start with the letters E, A, and C.

Neglect just one of these three components, and your med school application will feel weak and unconvincing—no matter how many times you rewrite it.

Weave these three components together effectively, though—and you’ll have the med school admissions committee saying, “Wow. This makes absolutely perfect sense. I don’t even have a question about this. It’s totally clear to me that this person should be in medical school.”

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My 1/2-Day Class Changed This Kid’s Life (2-Minute Read)

It was 8:35 am on a Saturday, and I was standing at a whiteboard in a large classroom—drawing diagrams I’d need for the class I was about to teach. From behind me I heard a young male voice.

“Hi, I’m early. I wanted to say hi to you.”

I turned to see a high school boy who looked vaguely familiar.

“I came early because I wanted to tell you—” he said, looking over at my whiteboard, “I took this class from you before. When I was 12. My mom made me do it.”

We both laughed. But then he grew serious.

“I took this Strategic College Student class when I was 12, and then three years later I was in a bad car accident. I mean—it was bad. I hit my head on pavement.

I wasn’t the same after that. I couldn’t think the same. And I used what you taught me in this Strategic College Student class to get myself back.

Now I’m the captain of the debate team at a large high school, and I’m headed to Yale.

I just wanted you to know.

I came back to take this class again because you said that a lot of kids take this class when they’re 12, and it plants some seeds inside of them. Then they take this class again when they’re 15 or 18—and it really bears fruit. I’m here for the fruit. Can I give you a hug?”

He hugged me. And I swallowed a lump and felt hot tears in my eyes.

I knew that my Strategic College Student class had a reputation for being transformative for students—but I’d never heard this before.

Don’t miss your opportunity to plant seeds—don’t miss your opportunity to harvest fruit.

My 1/2 day Strategic College Student class is now available online for students nationwide. Access it now using the details you’ll find here.

Ideal age to attend this class? Ages 12–26 (and their parents).

Yep—all those people, all in the same room, all at the same time.

What are students saying about this class?

See more student and parent reviews of this class at JeannieBurlowski.com/SPEAKING.

Parents are encouraged, but not required, to attend with their students. Parents, in just 1/2 a day you’ll see your kids’ anxiety levels drop, and you’ll watch their sense of personal power and academic confidence steadily increase.

And you’ll have all the info if your kids ever need a gentle nudge back onto the right track later.

Your child doesn’t want to attend this class? Quick—read my article Should You Pay Your Teen to do Things?

If you’re wondering whether your kid is too young for a class like this, don’t miss my article 7 Reasons Your Middle Schooler Needs A College Study Skills Class.

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