What Nobody’s Saying About the College Scandal

By now you’ve heard about the college admissions scandal that has television celebrities such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin (and 48 other parents and college staff) facing prison time for falsifying college application information and paying bribes as high as $200,000 to $6.5 million to get students into elite and Ivy League universities.

This scandal is a big deal. It’s got celebrity and other high-profile participants scrambling to hire high-priced consultants that advise the wealthy on how to navigate life in federal prison.

Here, the top two questions every parent should be asking about this scandal:

college admissions scandal

First question: “Is elite and Ivy League education really so important to future success and human happiness—that parents should give everything to make it happen for their kids?”

Second question: “Do we sell our kids short—do we compromise the quality of their future lives—when we don’t push them toward elite and Ivy League education?”

Here are 5 reasons that the answers to these questions are “no” and “no.

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Could Graduating High School With an AA Degree Hurt a Kid?

Today I’m writing on topic I never, ever thought I would. Could graduating high school with an AA degree in any way do a student more harm than good? My eyes are bugging out just writing that.

graduating high school with an AA degree

Could graduating high school with an AA degree HURT your kid?

For many moms and dads, one of their proudest parenting moments occurs when their 17-year-old walks across the stage at high school graduation with two years of college already completed. An entire two-year AA college degree already sewn up—entirely at state expense. An amazing, stunning achievement! All while dodging the pitfalls of AP classes—and still enjoying a rich, full high school experience.

Parents who get to experience this proud moment get tingly with excitement thinking of their child confidently diving into third year college courses at age 18, finishing college with a bachelor’s degree at age 20, slashing college bills by half, and having extra years of life before age 22 to tour Europe, volunteer, or start piling up real world work experience that rockets their careers far ahead of their peers. (Making them stellar candidates for grad school or medical school, I might add—if that ever becomes a goal.)

Other parents aren’t so sure.

“Might graduating high school with an AA degree keep my child out of the Ivy League?”

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The Sweaty Truth About Sports Scholarships

Parents of athletes fork out thousands to cover sports expenses over the years. Many wonder, “Is all this time, effort, and money going to pay off big when this kid gets to college?” Here, the sweaty truth about sports scholarships.

truth about sports scholarships

1. The truth about sports scholarships: They can make it next to impossible to succeed academically. 

Student athletes are typically required to devote up to 40 hours per week to practices, travel, conditioning, and games. This article by NextStepU calls it “an unbelievable commitment in time and dedication…you may…be practicing at 6 a.m. or midnight or even twice a day.”

If your kid has an important test scheduled at the same time as travel back from a game, he’ll likely be told, “Too bad, you’re on a sports scholarship. Buck up and show that you’re all in on this sport.” Your daughter needs to study? She’ll likely hear, “Bring books and notes and study on the bus on the way.” Lack of quiet study space, pressure to repeatedly skip college classes, and sheer exhaustion from the schedule can wreak havoc with a student’s ability to focus on academics—the very reason he or she is at college in the first place.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy writes this, in Moneywatch:

Officially, D-I teams aren’t supposed to practice more than 20 hours a week though travel and other extra obligations aren’t included. In reality, the time restriction is often a joke. Conditioning or weight lifting, for instance, might be called voluntary, but the coach takes attendance and the kid who spends that time in the library could end up on the bench.

In the consulting work I do at GetIntoMedSchool.com, one of my clients explained his “B” in Organic Chemistry to me this way: “We flew home from a game, and I ran down the concourse and dove into the back of a taxi. I screamed at the driver to rush me to the building where my O Chem final was going on, but I was still 45 minutes late. The professor had no sympathy for my situation, and refused to give me any extra time. She said I should have made it a priority to be at the exam on time.”

2. The truth about sports scholarships: They’re not as lucrative as you think. 

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Do Families Need to Hire College Consultants? Really?

The dad sitting by you in the soccer bleachers tells you that he’s not worried about his kids’ college planning—because he’s hired a $5,000 college consultant to engineer the whole thing for him. You wonder, “Is this what parents have to do nowadays? Hire college consultants that cost as much as used cars? If parents don’t hire college consultants, do they shortchange their kids?”

It’s not necessary to hire college consultants—but it can be helpful in some cases.

Here are 10 things parents need to know before they hire college consultants.

hire college consultants

1. College consultants vary wildly in quality.

Some are fantastic, and some are terrible. Many high buck college consultants you see on the internet are simply moms or dads who went through the college application process with their own kids last year, and now they see themselves as experts on college planning and financing.

2. Ask a ton of questions before you pay a dime.

Ask lots of exploratory questions about how long they’ve been in business, and how much of their service includes walking you through strategies that really work to get kids through college debt-free. Ask what career planning tools they use to make sure your kid ends up being employable after college.

3. Be sure to ask your prospective college consultant this critically important question.

Ask him or her to explain to you the two huge changes Barack Obama made to the US college financing system on September 13th, 2015—and how those changes will dramatically affect your kid when he or she is a sophomore in college. If your prospective college consultant can’t answer this question, run away and don’t look back.

4. Look for this very good sign.

If a college consultant hands you a copy of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward and says, “We’re going to be walking through the steps in this book together,” consider that a very good sign. It means you’ll have excellent one-on-one support for the journey, and you won’t miss a single debt-free college or career planning strategy along the way. (College consultants, financial planners, and wealth managers who do this can be found on the “Approved Consultants” tab on this website.)

5. Don’t hire college consultants who tell you this:

Don’t hire college consultants who say, “Oh, we don’t worry about career goal at this point. We’ll just get your son into a good college, and then he can take random college classes to see what he’s interested in. We’ll hope it’ll all come together into some kind of career five years from now.”

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Manage All Your Kids’ College Planning—Mostly By Yourself

If you’re concerned that you’re currently LATE to college planning, read this article now.

college planning

College planning can feel like being lost in a jungle. And sadly, your kid’s high school guidance counselor (nowadays more properly called a “school counselor,”) can’t help much with hacking through the underbrush. Oh, he or she would love to, but budget cuts have slashed the amount of time counselors get to spend with college bound students, in some cases down to just eight minutes per year.

And your child, smart as he is, isn’t in any position to handle the complexity of college planning either. The stakes are high, both financially and career wise, and his brain won’t be fully developed until age 24.

And the internet? You sure don’t want to depend on the internet for college planning advice.

Don’t rely on the internet for college planning advice.

It’ll take you years to sift through everything the internet has to say about college planning. The bits and pieces of info and conflicting messages you hear from online resources will drive you insane. Plus, a huge percentage of what’s currently on the internet regarding college planning is sorely out of date, since President Barack Obama drastically changed US college financing on September 13th, 2015, and most of the world has not yet caught up.

You need a resource that will give you fast, accurate, specific instructions that the internet can’t provide. (I’ll provide a resource for you, below.)

7 things to do when you feel lost in the jungle of college planning

1. Don’t put off college planning because you feel overwhelmed.

I understand that you feel overwhelmed by the college planning process. Every parent does. But if you wait until your kid’s sophomore or junior year of high school to get started on college planning, 75% of the strategies you could have used to get your kid through college debt-free will be gone. Starting early is the best strategy, even if you can’t save a penny.

(If you’re worried that you’re currently late to college planning, read this article now.)

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These Top CEOs Went to College WHERE?

Your child feels a lot of pressure to “get into a good college.” Starting in 8th grade—or even earlier, he’s had the lie pounded into his head: “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”

This lie can cause unnecessary anxiety for your kid and for your family. It can cause feelings of deep shame when a kid doesn’t get into his or her “dream school.” And, worst of all, it can lead students to drastically underestimate themselves and their future potential.

Let’s nip this lie in the bud, right now.

Take a look at where the current top 10 Fortune 500 CEOs went to college.

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Can Community College Lead to a Master’s Degree?

You’ve heard that your local community college can save you thousands on college bills due to lower tuition costs. But could community college hurt your kid’s future career prospects? What if your daughter wants to get a master’s degree some day? Or a Ph.D.? Will having community college on her transcript hurt her chances of being admitted to grad school? To medical school?

community college

Here’s your answer. Nearly 20% of those who earned master’s degrees in 2016-2017 started out in community college. Fully 21.5% of doctoral-research degree earners in health and clinical sciences started out in community colleges just like the one down the street from your house.

These full-color graphs created by the NSC Research Center tell the story.

In my own work with law, medical, business, and grad school applicants at GetIntoMedSchool.com, I’ve never once seen community college hurt a student’s chances of being admitted to even very highly competitive grad school programs. One top 20 med school told me, “Oh, we are fine with students taking first year Biology and Chemistry in community college. A lot of times, they actually learn more there.”

Read on to learn how your child can get through community college at the lowest possible cost.

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I’ll be a featured speaker in Nashville at the Institute for Cultural Communicators iCON 2018 Conference, which runs June 25th–June 30th, 2018. iCON is one of the most popular conferences in the world for homeschooling families, but non-homeschooling families attend as well.

My particular session at this conference is open to the public.

The entire iCON conference is extremely valuable, but if you’re pressed for time, any student or parent can purchase a $97 one-day pass to this conference and benefit from a full day of programming that includes me presenting an extensive, in-depth session entitled How to Get Kids Through College Debt-Free—Without Scholarships! (Read on for a full description of this session.)

Seeing me at a conference is extra valuable.

One of the best things about seeing me at a conference (as opposed to seeing me at a one-evening class) is that you’ll be able to find me in hallways, at meals, and in the exhibit hall—and ask me individual questions you’d never get a chance to ask me otherwise. I love doing this, so please come and find me!

CLASS DESCRIPTION: How To Get Kids Through College Debt-Free—Without Scholarships!

Why would you want to prep for college or technical school the same old way everyone else does? That’s the surest route to mediocrity! In this jam-packed session, author Jeannie Burlowski will explain:

  • 7 things parents can do right now to put their kids on the fast track to getting through college debt-free
  • How kids as young as age 15 can get an exciting, liberating sense of possible career goal early on, and then sign up for only the amount of college absolutely necessary to accomplish that
  • How kids as young as age 12 can get a massive head start on racking up the 10,000 hours it takes to be viewed as expert in a career field
  • Why deeply inspired caring—not the fancy name of the college you attend—is the key to fulfilled, satisfied career life in the long term

For students ages 12–26 and their parents.

Register for iCON 2018 in Nashville now. Here’s how.

iCON is an extremely popular international conference for both homeschooling and non-homeschooling families. Space is strictly limited, so tell your friends—register early!

Find info and registration for the entire five-day iCON 2018 conference here. (My session is included in your full conference registration—no additional charge.)

Find info and registration for the special $97 one-day pass that includes my session here.

Date: June 25, 2018—June 30, 2018
Event: iCON 2018 (Nashville, TN): How To Get Kids Through College Debt-Free—Without Scholarships!
Venue: Lipscomb University
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Public: Public

Want me to teach this class somewhere near you? When I travel to speak, I pay my own airfare. Who do you know who plans conferences and events? Visit JeannieBurlowski.com/SPEAKING to learn how to bring me to your state.

My Best Debt-Free College Interview Yet

Listen On Your Drive to Work Today

To listen to my best debt-free college interview yet, click here.

Listen while you’re driving or getting ready in the morning, and you just might change the life of a student you love.

free college

In March of 2018 I was interviewed by Andy Earle, a Loyola Marymount University researcher who focuses on parent-teen communication and teen thriving and flourishing. I’ve been interviewed many times since my book LAUNCH came out in 2017, but this interview is by far the best. It’s the best produced, the most in-depth, the most inspiring, and the most informative.

To listen to the entire interview, click here.

You’ll feel a growing sense of hope for the teens and 20somethings you love.

I love what Andy Earle says about the debt-free college strategies I provide in LAUNCH.

After reading LAUNCH cover to cover, Andy says:

LAUNCH has become one of the most well-respected books on this subject (it’s the go-to reference book for financial planners and college consultants and coaches) because Jeannie isn’t just about doing college cheap, she’s about doing it debt-free and so effectively that it results in a great, satisfying career after college is over.”

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That Local State University May NOT Be Your Bargain Option

Many parents have only one strategy for lowering college costs. Send the kid to the local state university.

But is your local state university actually your bargain option — considering all the factors involved?

state university

The hidden costs of state university nobody talks about

At many state universities, it can take even the most diligent students six years to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Why? Because classes are full, so students struggle to get into the classes they need to graduate.

A state university education can be like buying a plane ticket, walking down to the gate, and then not being allowed to board — over and over and over again — because the plane is overbooked and every seat is taken.

Two extra years in state university can end up costing your kid a staggering amount.

Read the article I wrote here on how two extra years in college can end up costing students $300,000 in extra tuition, interest, lost full-time income, and stunted retirement savings. Plus, of course, a huge number of students get discouraged before the six years are up, and drop out — leaving college with a boatload of student loan debt and no college degree.

Yikes.

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