Want More College Money? Avoid These Costly FAFSA Mistakes

FAFSA Is Live as of October 1st

Today I’m featuring a list of 30+ mistakes that parents make when filling out the FAFSA form. These mistakes cost U.S. families millions in lost college financial aid money each year.

To make sure your kids get every penny they have coming to them, download and print my list of common FAFSA mistakes here: 30+ Common FAFSA Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

Share this post with everyone you know who cares about kids who’ll be in college next year, and then have the printout handy on your desk when you’re filling out your own FAFSA form.

FAFSA mistakes

You’ll get instant answers to questions such as: 

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What If This 12-Year-Old Ventriloquist Had Never Practiced?

I recently watched Darci Lynne Farmer, the 12-year-old singing ventriloquist from Oklahoma City, wow the audience and the judges on America’s Got Talent. Before the 7-minute video was over I laughed, and I cried. Real tears. I am not kidding.

And then I thought…

What if Darci Lynne had never practiced ventriloquism on her own at home? What if she’d just waited until age 18, signed up for ventriloquism classes, and then expected those classes to give her everything she needed to perform like a superstar?

Would Darci Lynne have ever gotten anywhere?

ventriloquist

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Which Colleges Are Still Taking Applications?

5 Cautions For You If Your Child is Headed to College in 1-3 Months

Ben and his parents sat up late at their dining room table, combing through all of Ben’s college financial aid numbers one more time. Ben’s dad ran his fingers nervously through his hair. The problem? It was already summer, and every college that had accepted Ben for the coming fall was requiring him to commit to loads of student loan debt in order to attend.

Colleges are still taking applications

“Is it too late to just try to go to a different college?” Ben asked. “I don’t know,” Ben’s dad said. “Are there any other colleges still taking applications?”

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Whoa! Slow Down on Applying for Scholarships!

I recently read an article by a well-meaning man pushing kids to apply for more college scholarships.

“Give up all your free time!” he said. “Come home every day and put in an hour or two applying for scholarships!”

This sounds good in theory, but in reality–no kid on earth is going to do that.

My advice to students is very different.

scholarships

“Make a workable, strategic plan,” I tell students. “Apply for only ten (10) scholarships each year, starting in 8th grade and continuing all the way through grad school.”

Why do I limit scholarship applications in this way?

1. Ten scholarships in 12 months is doable. A kid thinks, “I can knock out 10 scholarships in June and be done for 11 months.” The feeling of being done is a great feeling.

2. The feeling of never being done, of never having done enough–of trying to move a mountain with a teaspoon–is energy draining and exhausting. It makes kids want to avoid applying for scholarships altogether.

3. Many kids will realize, all on their own, that filling out scholarship applications is not that difficult. Once the 10th one has been filed, many students will keep going–applying for even more.  If they don’t though, that’s OK. They can be done.

4. Kids quickly do the math. “If I apply for 10 scholarships every year starting in 8th grade and going all the way through grad school, that could be 80 scholarship applications in total. A huge accomplishment! And really, not that difficult.

(Do you think there are no scholarships for 8th graders? Just google “scholarships for 8th graders.” The money younger students win will be held for them until they need it.)

5. If your child is already in high school or already in college and just now thinking about applying for scholarships, that’s OK. As long as a student has some college or grad school left, it’s never too late to start applying for 10 scholarships a year.

For further help, read these posts I’ve written on finding and applying for scholarships. There’s a ton of good information here:

Looking for Scholarships? Here are 1.5 Million of Them

Top 10 Ways to Help Your Kid Rake In More College Scholarships

Hilarious Idea Makes Kids Eager to Apply For Scholarships

 Parents, be sure you know every way possible to keep college costs down without getting scholarships.

Getting scholarships is a relatively small part of the picture when it comes to getting kids through college debt-free. There are many, many other strategies that parents can use that can end up being easier and more effective — even if they can’t save up a penny.

Learn about all the debt-free college strategies that have nothing to do with scholarships in this book:

You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:

bit.ly/burlowski

(Tell your friends.)

(You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.)

Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12 – 24? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.

What about you? What are your favorite places to look for college scholarships? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. She also helps students apply to medical school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.

“Can I Take a Full Load of College Classes in High School and Still Have a Full ‘High School Experience’?”

Yes.

A 10th grader contacted me recently and asked me this great question about taking college classes in high school.

“Jeannie, I know that you strongly recommend dual enrollment college classes in high school for kids who want to get through college debt-free. I want to do dual enrollment full time in 11th and 12th grades so that I’ll have two years of college done by the time I graduate from high school. But my parents are trying to steer me toward doing dual enrollment only just part time. They’re worried that if I take a full load of dual enrollment college classes in high school, I’ll miss out on ‘the full high school experience.’ What do you think?”

My answer is below. college classes in high school

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Hilarious Idea Makes Kids Eager To Apply For Scholarships

If you’ve got a child between the ages of 12 and 22, you know how difficult it can be to motivate him or her to want to apply for college scholarships.

Try this entertaining strategy, one that other parents are using with great success.

1. Give your son a meager allowance.

Make sure it’s just barely enough to cover his bare minimum life expenses. Set up an automatic bank transfer so that this amount goes into his bank account reliably, every two weeks.

2. List for your son all the purchases this money will have to cover.

“Son, we’ll expect you to use this allowance money to buy all your own school lunches, cell phone service, clothes, shoes, gas, football fees, school activities, and all your personal spending.” Add anything else to this list you can think of.

3. Then, wait for an emergency.

scholarships

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TONIGHT! This Free Event Could Save You TONS on College Costs

Ideal for Families With MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Your kid’s in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade?  It’s time to set him or her free to feel jazzed and excited about college. Plus — as a parent– learn 8 things you can do right now to keep that kid’s future college costs low.

live event in Minneapolis

 

I’ll be covering all this in this free live event in Minneapolis tonight, January 10th, 2017.

Give your middle schooler (or high schooler!) a huge jumpstart on college.  Bring the kids and join me tonight for a free live event sponsored by Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

I’ll be covering these important topics:

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Buy LAUNCH Before 1/11/17 — Get Bonuses Worth $248

Today I’m announcing the extra bonuses your family will receive if you purchase LAUNCH by January 11, 2017.

LAUNCH

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Hear Jeannie Burlowski Interviewed on the “Hey, Sister!” Podcast

I was recently interviewed by Krista Gilbert on her “Hey Sister!” podcast. It was a great conversation, almost an hour, full of practical tips for anyone who loves a kid age 12 – 22.

To listen to the podcast, click on Episode 19 here.

Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Strategies not just for getting your child into college, but for getting him or her through college debt-free.
  • Why your local state university is probably not your child’s bargain college option
  • Why the lowest college prices may be at private universities that look only at the FAFSA financial aid form
  • Why “dual enrollment” is better than AP when it comes to earning inexpensive college credit in high school
  • How to spread the scholarship application process over 8 years rather than trying to do it all during the senior year of high school
  • How moms and dads can navigate the emotional difficulty of “letting go” of college-bound children with grace and faith and hope.

podcast

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Want More Scholarships? GPA Matters Less Than You Think.

You’d love for your college-bound teen to get more scholarships, but you worry that his GPA just isn’t high enough. Am I right? Well, worry no more.

Good news. There are thousands of college scholarships available to students with GPAs as low as 2.50.

I’ll give you tips for finding more scholarships to apply for at the end of this post.

The question for today is: Besides high grades, what can your college-bound teen do to make himself or herself a powerful, attention-getting applicant who will get more scholarships than most other people?

The answer might surprise you.

scholarships

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