Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: College

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High school students have a lot of options to consider when choosing a college major, and it is more important that they get it right than get it fast. It is essential to start early and take this decision seriously.

Surveys indicate that 66% of college students change their majors more than once, and on the day of graduation, 40% of college graduates wish they had chosen a different major. In addition, the average freshman entering college only knows 60% of their options. This means they are making major life decisions without even knowing 40% of their options. Students often make decisions without much thought and with limited information. They will frequently choose a major based on a lifestyle and not their life work. Some people could sit in a cubical 40 hours a week for 40 years and love it. Others would be crawling the walls in 40 minutes!

During their high school years, students are often asked what their plans are after graduation.  The next question has to do with their choice of college and then their choice of a major. If they don’t know yet, they feel pressure to have an answer. To counteract these questions, they claim a major — not because they know what God wants them to do or even what they want to do with that major, but because they feel the pressure to have an answer when people ask.

Students should prayerfully consider all their options. Examine their interests, passions, and talents. Ask God to direct their path and submit to Him. Ultimately, it is not about a title, prestige, or money. It’s about being where God wants them, and using the gifts and interests that He has given them in order to have influence in the workplace and glorify His name.

Written by Jeff Reep, M.Ed., CPCC, Director of Career Services, Cedarville University

 

DID YOU KNOW? You can Register to attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool College Fair at one of our 2019 spring events and reserve a meeting time to connect with Cedarville as well as all of our sponsoring institutions in order to get your questions answered, gain insight into the college application process, and get information about majors, financial aid, and much more. Sign up today!

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Why I Chose the University of Mobile

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a college, and one of the most important is something you may not know to look for. It’s why I chose University of Mobile.

University of Mobile is not your typical college. UM has deep convictions and a strong foundation that set it apart. As a high school student considering what college to choose, you may think that convictions and foundation may not matter to you now, but those are two things that drastically affect the mission of those in leadership and the message that they send to students.

The mission and message of the leadership at University of Mobile is clearly gospel-centered in every area. Some claim accolades on a football field, but we claim a distinctly biblical worldview – and that is what matters in light of eternity.

In my years here, I have noticed that faculty and staff are focused on more than simply academics. An example of this in my own experience has been with my professors who not only prepare us academically, but also care deeply about our walk with the Lord and that we exhibit faithfulness in every area of life.

The gospel and its implications are what drive the faculty and staff here, and their distantly Christian worldview is evident in how they care for their students.

In any establishment that claims to have a Christian worldview, the first question to ask is: Are they gospel-centered above all else? For me, the evidence is clear for University of Mobile, and everyone who gets to be a part of this university is blessed because of it.

Students that go through this school will make an impact in the world through their counter-cultural views that were strengthened or even established at University of Mobile. A.W. Tozer describes how the Church effects change in the world, and I think his words are applicable to those who choose this school based on its distinctly Christian values. He states, “The Church’s power over the world springs out of her unlikeness to it, never from her integration to it.”

Gospel-centered leadership matters for so many reasons, but the most basic is that what we do with the gospel affects every facet of our life. The leadership here at UM is saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it drives everything they do and every decision they make.

It’s just different here. That’s why I chose University of Mobile.

 

Luke Criss is a senior at University of Mobile. Here is his advice on choosing a college. You can read more student blogs at umobile.edu/know-um.

 

 

 

 

See for yourself!

Schedule a campus visit at umobile.edu/visit.

Visit our booth at Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Conference in Mobile, May 9-11, 2019.

Learn about co-op courses for homeschoolers through our College of Arts & Sciences.

Discover more about faith and learning at umobile.edu/mission.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW? You can Register to attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool College Fair at one of our 2019 spring events and reserve a meeting time to connect with Cedarville as well as all of our sponsoring institutions in order to get your questions answered, gain insight into the college application process, and get information about majors, financial aid, and much more. Sign up today!

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Erskine College

I decided to tackle the college choice question from two different perspectives. As a parent, there are things you may be concerned about that are not on your child’s mind. Additionally, there are things you want for your child to experience. I will address four main questions to ask when reviewing college choices and answer them from both perspectives. I hope you will find this helpful, here goes:

What are your priorities?

  • As a parent you want to know that your student is receiving a quality education, that is one of the reasons you chose homeschooling to begin with. However, this is a larger investment and someone else will be assisting them with their learning, so it must be right! Green flags for you will hinge on the amount and types of student support available, financial commitment from the college to your family (in the way of scholarships), and whether the mission and values of the school align with your own. For instance, a large state university may be attractive because of its lower tuition cost, however many Christian colleges offer substantial scholarships and have the added value of being aligned with your faith. An example in point would be at Erskine College where we offer a $25,000 per year scholarship for homeschoolers so even though our initial price tag may seem daunting, the bottom line cost is very competitive with state schools.

 

  • For your student, you want to know that tutoring or other classroom help is available. It is especially helpful to have small class sizes as your child will likely receive more individualized attention in that setting. Additionally you want student life and activities to be available and that will not conflict with your faith. Along with this, you want opportunities for them to grow in their faith walk and have opportunities to be on mission for Christ, both at home and abroad. Academically, you want them to have opportunities to broaden their horizons with study abroad and to be well placed for job/internship opportunities as they progress in their studies.

 

How does this school align with your priorities?

  • While this may seem to be a repeat of question one, it is not in that every family will have different priorities and each school may meet them differently. This question helps distill all the disparate parts down to what matters most and how each school on your list ranks according to the priorities your family has set for this evaluation. This discussion needs to be iterative and really be a conversation between parent and student so that the best fit choice can be made. Discussing elements such as academic rigor, programs of study, and support services are basic to narrowing the list down. However, additional considerations must be made along side of the basics and include financial aid and student life, to include what activities are available for your student to participate. Most important to me as a parent is the spiritual aspect. Your student may have a very strong and vibrant faith walk but if they are on a campus where all the peer pressure is in the wrong direction and the professors openly mock faith then it becomes harder to sustain that walk. Some of you may feel that being in such an environment provides opportunity to be salt and light and I do not disagree, but I ask you to seriously and prayerfully seek God’s face on this specific point because many a young person has drifted away from the faith because of such an experience. Research from Barna backs my point here. To summarize, I would much rather have my child in an environment where they will be challenged in how to defend their faith by professors whose intent is to strengthen them rather than form the perspective of someone who desires to completely strip them of their biblical worldview.

 

What is the spiritual environment of this institution?

  • One thing I have always told parents, no matter what institution I have worked at is that you will see many pretty buildings on college campuses. You may also find wonderful facilities with the newest equipment. However, the most important thing is what happens inside those buildings and classrooms. Since I have always worked at faith-based institutions, that inference is to the spiritual aspect of campus life. Several questions for you ask in this regard are:

 

What opportunities are available for spiritual discipleship?

    • For example, at Erskine College we have student groups such as Reformed University Fellowship and Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Additionally, there are numerous churches of various denominations in the area which encourage student involvement with their discipleship programs. Another example is a voluntary, non-credit course on vocation and calling taught by faculty one evening per week

 

What opportunities are available for Christian service/ministry?

    • At Erskine, like many Christian schools, we hold Convocation and Chapel services twice per week:
      • Convocation is when the students gather to hear from a variety of speakers, from pastors to businessmen to athletes, on various subjects
      • Chapel is a time when the students gather to worship, pray, and hear from a variety of speakers, such as pastors or staff members
    • There are also Sunday evening student worship opportunities led by our campus pastor
    • Several Erskine examples of outreach include – collecting stuffed animals for victims of domestic abuse and Operation Christmas Child

 

Will my student be supported and encouraged in his Christian walk?

    • Again, this is very important in my estimation. Since your child is likely to be a significant distance away from home for the first time, having support both on campus and in the classroom is essential. Another Erskine example here is that professors often pray to begin class and incorporate a biblical worldview into the subject matter being taught

 

Will this school support our Biblical worldview?

    • I would not view this as being in lockstep but simply being an environment that is supportive. The church universal is a rather broad and diverse group, learning to get along with others who do not necessarily worship in the same way can be enlightening and can teach us to appreciate the differences God has implanted within us. With that said, there are certainly parameters that each family should consider and make decisions based upon. It is also important to know whether the administration of the school you select is dedicated to the values and mission of the school (i.e. not allowed to drift from Christian principles like Harvard and Princeton have done).

 

Is this school a quality investment?

  • This evaluation will differ from family to family, as each will value certain elements differently, but your evaluation should generally center around these four key aspects
    • Spiritually
      • Parent – Will this school align with our Biblical worldview or will faculty actively work to destroy my child’s faith?
      • Student – Will I have access to mentors who encourage me in my faith?

 

  •  Academically
    • Parent – Will this school equip my child for the calling God has given him or her?
    • Student – Will this school provide resources to equip me in securing a career following graduation?

 

  •  Socially
    • Parent – Does this school provide positive social activities?
    • Student – Will I fit in?

 

  •  Financially
    • Parent – Are there scholarships available to help fund the education?
    • Student – Can we afford my first-choice school? If not, what is my back-up plan?

 

Obviously, a lot to consider so starting early is a best practice. Especially when it comes to finding scholarships, seeking those out as early in the high school years as possible is great prior planning. Looking for scholarships, understanding the requirements and deadlines is key to staying on top of applications when senior year begins. God bless you in your search!

 

By Dr. Tim Rees who serves as Dean of Enrollment at Erskine College in Due West, SC

 

 

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bob jones university success

Maybe the prospect of applying to college riddles you with so much nervousness that it makes your stomach turn. Or you’re just so excited for the next chapter of your life to start that your fingers can’t move across the keyboard fast enough. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Whatever you’re feeling, know that millions of high schoolers across the world are feeling the same exact way.

You might be confused about where to even start applying. You might be overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the task ahead of you. You’re not alone. That’s why we’ve broken down the college application process into manageable steps, to make it easier for you as you embark on this next part of your life.

Do Your Research

Before you begin applying to colleges, you have to know where you want to go. This may seem like a daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be.

First, consider what you’re looking for in a college. Would you like to live close to home or far away? How big of a school would you like to attend? What college is best suited for your major? If you can, try to visit some schools you’re interested in to see if you like the environment.

However, even if you’re unable to go, you can still do a lot of research. Check out school social media accounts and scour their website. Another good resource is online forums where students post about their experiences at the college. Try to piece together the life you might lead at the college and whether you will be able to prosper and grow there.

Make a List

At this point, you should start compiling a list of colleges you would like to attend. One thing to consider while making this list is having at least a couple of “safety” schools—universities that may not be your top option, but ones where you are likely to be accepted.

The key to safety schools—which should be obvious—is making sure that these are schools you would actually enjoy attending. Many students apply haphazardly to safety schools, not expecting their other plans falling through, and end up stuck at a college they don’t like. That’s why it’s important to research, research, research.

While you’re researching, it’s also a good idea to start looking for scholarships and grants to see if you qualify for any the school offers. The U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion of grants and scholarships each year to high school students, a good portion of which tends to go unclaimed. Pursuing higher education is not a cheap endeavor, so it’s important to be diligent in your search.

Go Online

Once you’ve figured out which colleges you want to attend, it’s time to do the actual applying. Many colleges have you apply through websites such as the Common Application or Coalition. Others, like Bob Jones University, have you apply directly through their own website.

A lot of schools will also charge a significant fee just to apply. It’s a good idea to narrow down your list of colleges so it doesn’t get to be too much. Or look for ways to get the cost waived.

Be aware of the deadlines for applications. Some colleges have deadlines and others rolling admission, but it’s smart to apply as early as possible. The later you apply, the less financial aid you’ll get and the less engaged you’ll seem in the process.

Fill in Your Application

Once you’ve filled out the basic information, it’s time to start on the real application—the essays and the short answers.

The importance of the essays varies from college to college. But though the essays are significant, they’re not so much so that you need to agonize over them during every waking moment.

You don’t need to exhaust a thesaurus in order to write them, either. The entire goal of the essays and short answers are to see a glimpse of you as a person. To see what you’re passionate about, to see if you’d be a good fit at the university. That’s why it’s crucial to be articulate and sincere.

Get Everything In

This is probably the least exciting portion of the process—and unfortunately the longest. This is the part where you submit your high school transcript, your SAT or ACT scores, and your recommendations. It’s important to get all of these things in on time, as most colleges won’t even review your application unless they have them all in.

After you’ve done this, the only thing left to do is to review your application and submit. Then you can breathe.

Once your application is in, there’s nothing else to really do except sit back and wait. Though it’s excruciatingly difficult to be patient as you wait on the decisions, there is assurance in the fact that you can trust in God (Proverbs 3:5–6) because no matter what happens, His plans are the best for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

College, though it may seem otherwise, is not the end of the road. Even if you don’t get the answer you want, there are still a million paths to take sprawled ahead of you. Regardless of whether you get accepted into every college you applied to or none of them, your life is still in God’s hands and He is constantly molding you according to His will.

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By Andrew Redding for the Office of Admission at Bob Jones University, which is committed to providing an outstanding accredited Christian liberal arts education purposely designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of learning, loving and leading. Visit bju.edu for more information.

 

 

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erskine college

PREPARING OUR CHILDREN FOR LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL — AND WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS ANYWAY?

erskine college Preparation is a huge part of Parenthood. Joseph and Mary had to prepare the way for Jesus’ birth by traveling to Bethlehem, and once he was born, they were entrusted to raise Him in a way that was honoring and pleasing to God. Just like parents today, Joseph and Mary had no step-by-step instruction manual – they had to figure it out as they went along. Thankfully, parents today can look to the Bible for insight on raising Godly children and preparing for their future. Here are five ways we can imitate Christ in preparing our students for life after high school:

  1. Cultivate a strong work ethic. Even though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say it, Jesus probably worked in Joseph’s shop. As a carpenter’s son, he would have been expected to learn the family trade and to help provide for his family until he began his ministry. Work prepares our children for their future by teaching them:
    • Responsibility – by doing chores or summer jobs, students learn that they are accountable to others. This also helps build stronger family bonds as everyone pitches in to get things done.
    • Time management and learning how to say, “No,” in order to balance a schedule. Sometimes that means saying no to ‘good’ things in order that a greater ‘good’ can be accomplished.
    • Appreciation for what they have earned instead of contempt for what has been “handed” to them. We all remember how much more we valued the things we purchased with our own money – it is a gratifying experience and makes one grateful for the blessings in life.

Work helps students to recognize and develop their strengths.

  1. Teach Time & Money Management. There are many verses throughout the Bible that discuss stewardship. Jesus, himself, provides a perfect example of time management, as he consistently split his time between prayer with the Father and ministering to others. Here are some ways we can teach our students about time & money management:
    • Budgeting – creating a budget with our students will teach them about the reality of debt and loans – looking at long-term implications and learning to be a good steward of what God entrusts to us.
    • Setting up bank accounts.
    • Taking responsibility for financial transactions and focusing on saving up for large ticket items, where practical, are good ways to practice skills learned in consumer math type courses. Finally, living these principals out in the real world, such as shopping for the best deal and knowing when to say no to a particular purchase, enables our children to avoid possible debt traps.

Management also encompasses budgeting time in certain allotments, scheduling work/school/recreation opportunities and learning balance across these areas. Obviously, all this must be done in light of prioritizing God and family above all else.

  1. Engage Curious Minds. Have you ever wondered why Jesus used parables to get his point across instead of answering questions directly? By responding in parables, Jesus gives his followers a great gift: discovery. When we take time to think critically about things, we connect with the material in a way that is much more powerful than if someone just gives us an answer. You can engage your students by:
    • Encouraging the questions that cultivate critical thinking (example: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How)
    • Addressing social issues together from a Biblical perspective.

This mindset assists in supporting logical argumentation and learning to support opinions with facts. A Biblical worldview incorporates logical reasoning with the truth of God’s Word to form a complete understanding of our world.

  1. Encourage Ownership. Jesus was fully engaged in the work of the ministry; He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and he took opportunities to do things for others that he could have easily delegated to his disciples. An often-overlooked example of this was His commission of the 70 to go out and preach. He gave parameters but then sent them out to tackle the actual mission. Similarly, you can encourage ownership of the college selection process in your students by:
    • Having your child make the necessary phone calls and inquiry through various sources.
    • Having them write the letters to search and apply for admission and scholarships.
    • Making the research of college and majors a project and have them use the critical thinking skills and research capabilities you have instilled in them to complete the work. This can go a long way toward narrowing your list of colleges to consider and determine how much your child will need to save toward college expenses.
    • Praying with your child for wisdom and guidance throughout the process.

When we allow students to be fully involved in the admissions process, we give them an opportunity to become invested in their education.

  1. Pray for a Teachable Heart. Jesus spent time as a boy in the temple engaging the scribes and Pharisees in conversation. Even though He was God’s son, He took the time to listen and learn. Take the time to sit down with your student to help them:
  • Develop goals – Only God-given goals are worth pursuing and if He has called your child to something, he will provide the strength to complete the task. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • Create a plan – Be a diligent planner in correct correlation to God’s will in order to meet their goals. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance…”
  • Follow His lead – Allow God to direct their steps. In Proverbs 16:9, the Bible tells us, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

Jesus had a teachable heart, that’s why he spent three days in the temple questioning the scribes and Pharisees. The Bible makes it plain that inquiry is a spiritual pursuit, so it is a natural progression for our children to seek guidance.

So, what does preparing our students for the future have to do with Christmas? As parents, we want to give our children good gifts, and this Christmas, one of the best gift parents can give their children is a good foundation on which to build their future.

 

By Dr. Tim Rees and Kendra LaGreca who both serve in the admissions department of Erskine College in Due West, SC

 

Register to attend the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool College Fair at one of the 2019 spring events and reserve a meeting time to connect with Erskine and other sponsoring institutions whom will answer your questions, give you advice, and provide information about their college to your students.

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Choosing which college to attend will most likely be the biggest decision your son or daughter has made so far. It can be an overwhelming — but not impossible! — decision. In today’s post, Matt Dearden, Director of Admissions at Cedarville University, offers Five Words of Wisdom for walking through the college decision process with your son or daughter.

Five Words of Wisdom

#1 Begin with the end in mind.

What kind of person do you want your son or daughter to be after four years of college? Identify the characteristics that you want to define your son or daughter — academically, socially, and spiritually — and then choose a university that is most likely to produce the results you desire.

#2 Recognize the significance of the college years from a developmental perspective.

Going to college is certainly about earning a degree, but that is likely not the most significant outcome. Students moving straight from high school to college will navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood during their college years. Consider the following:

  • Who will be there to guide your son or daughter when they are making decisions about what they believe and who they are becoming?
  • Will these teachers and advisers share the core values you have been developing in your son or daughter for the last 18 years?
  • Will your son or daughter be encouraged to grow deeper in their Christian faith?

#3 Take time to understand the God-endowed talents, gifts, and abilities that your son or daughter possesses.

Do you believe that God endows every image-bearer with a unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities for a specific purpose? If so, then it is important to take time to understand what that means in the life of your son or daughter. As parents we are tasked with nurturing those God-given talents — even during the college years. Help your student choose a major and a career that are a good fit for his or her talents and abilities. Choose a college that is committed to helping your son or daughter develop their gifts for their God-ordained purpose.

#4 Ask the right questions to improve your chances of choosing the right college.

Develop questions that will help you determine a university’s ability to produce your desired outcomes and its interest in developing your son or daughter’s unique gifts, talents, and abilities.

#5 Visit universities during the academic year when you can experience the unique personality of the school.

Sit in on classes, attend chapel, meet with students and faculty, and get a sense for what makes each school uniquely different.

We will be praying along with you this year as you work through this incredible, life-changing decision. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help in any way!

1,000 Days of Life-Transformation

Watch the video below to hear Cedarville’s president, Dr. Thomas White, speak about his passion for equipping students for Gospel impact during their approximately 1,000 days of our campus.

Be Bold.

Pursue Your Passion.

Proclaim Christ.

Cedarville University will equip you with the in-demand skills and biblical knowledge you need to be a bold influence for the Gospel in your workplace, home, and church. We’ll help you discover and pursue God’s call on your life. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to go boldly wherever He leads.

What Makes Cedarville Unique?

  • Biblical worldview built into every course.
  • Comprehensive academics, including liberal arts and the professions.
  • Dynamic daily chapel, plus local and global ministry opportunities.
  • First-rate career preparation – 97% job placement rate.

 

 

 

 

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Of the many thoughts racing through a student’s mind as he approaches high school graduation, two of his preoccupations are likely, “What do I want to do for a career?” and “How do I pay for this?”

The affordability of a college education is a determining factor in whether a student goes to college at all. ‘Financial Aid’ is a broad term used by colleges to encapsulate all financial options – from scholarships to grants to loans. Knowing how to combine financial aid options with responsibility and hard work will provide students with an answer to the question, “How do I pay for this?”

Here are some tips:

1. Federal Grants and Loans

Most colleges and universities will ask your family for the FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a federal form based on your taxes from the previous year which allows the government to determine a students’ Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Based on the EFC, the government will designate an eligible amount of aid to that student. Some of this aid will be grants (do not need to be paid back) and some of it may be loans (must be paid back starting six months after graduation).

Students should read the fine print on the awards they accept to determine whether the amount is indeed a grant or if it is a loan. If taking out loans, students should pay close attention to the Loan Entrance Counseling required by the government, and would be wise to seek financial counsel on how much to borrow. It is better to keep loans as a last resort when other options (discussed below) have been exhausted.

2. State/Organizational Grants and Scholarships

Some states, like Florida, give out ‘Promise Scholarships’ to high achieving students. These scholarships may have limitations (GPA, location, or attending a specific university/college) but are worth looking into! Organizational scholarships are awards specific to certain corporations and businesses. Walmart, General Electric, Associated Press have all been known to have scholarships available. Smaller groups such as the Rotary Club or local businesses are also willing to help out students who show ambition and creativity. Look for awards in your hometown or search out corporations you have connections with.

3. Work Study/Campus Jobs

Federal Work Study is a form of aid for which students qualify through the FAFSA. This aid caps at $4000 per year and is earned by working a campus job. The funds can be sent directly to your loans or student account, or they can be given to you like a regular paycheck. A student can also determine the percentage of his paycheck he wishes to send toward his student account: i.e., 60% to account, 40% via paycheck. Regardless of whether a student qualifies for work study, he can very likely acquire a job on campus to help pay for books and incidentals.

4. School Specific Scholarships

University aid is aid through the school itself. Academic scholarships specific to the university with their own GPA and test score qualifications, scholarships based on ethnicity, and association with certain extracurricular groups and societies (such as Phi Theta Kappa) are all opportunities for additional aid. Both state and private colleges will list a wide variety of scholarships for which students can apply. For instance – Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan offers an award of $500 per year to Polish-American students. That’s enough to cover books!

5. Spend Wisely

It is very easy to spend money in high school and college, especially when everyone around you seems to have a bottomless bank account. Starting financial responsibility in high school (or even earlier!) will create habits that will last through a student’s college years. Saving money, budgeting for fun expenditures (eating out, shopping, travel), and avoiding debt are great ways to both fund your college education and guarantee wise decisions when paying for school. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is one option for financial education that comes highly recommended for soon-to-be college students!

 

Working hard and making wise decisions when it comes to college will pay off in the long run. Students who work for and through college tend to value their education more because it was earned! Be sure to check out sites like Fastweb.com for additional scholarships from outside organizations.

 

Preparing Your Teens for College: Helping Them Face the Challenges: Faith, Finances, and Friendships - eBook - By: Alex Chediak

 

 

For more on financial assistance and preparing for college, you may want to look at the eBook, “Preparing Your Teens for College: Helping Them Face the Challenges: Faith, Finances, and Friendships“, available in the Teach Them Diligently store.

 

 

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Article contribution by, Phylicia Duran, who is a 2008 home school graduate and alum of Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian university. Her educational background includes dual enrollment, CLEP testing, community college, online courses and residential study. She has filled the roles of Admissions Counselor, Social Media Coordinator and currently Coordinator of Group Visits at Liberty University and is passionate about spiritual and vocational discipleship, especially as related to home education.

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College For Free?

With the cost of college rising faster and student loan debt reaching astronomical proportions, many students are looking for alternative ways to earn their college degrees and to be able to do it debt free. Most people are familiar with the typical route one must follow to get student aid: the first step is to fill out the FAFSA forms (which, by the way, nearly half of high school students forget to do!), complete the appropriate college aid and scholarship forms, and search for other available scholarships and grants. But what if I told you that we never followed any of these steps and we were still able to get college for free?

 

Yes, you can go to college for FREE! Typically, this ‘free’ money comes in the form of scholarships, fellowships, or grants, all of which the student does NOT have to pay back (unlike student loans). Most of you are familiar with academic, merit-based, or sports scholarships, and I’m sure you always hear about that “full-ride scholarship” that everyone is shooting for. According to author Mark Kantrowitz, who is publisher of FastWeb and FinAid, less than 20,000 students a year receive a completely free ride to college. And Lynn O’Shaughnessy has noted that “among full-time college students at four-year colleges, just .3% received enough grants and scholarships to cover the full cost of college. These lucky students received a full ride through any combination of money from the colleges themselves, federal and state grants and outside private scholarships. The odds of receiving a full-ride private scholarship is even more remote. According to Kantrowitz, there are less than 250 private scholarships in this country that provide enough money to cover all college costs.”

So, if this is the case, what is one to do?

 

Well, there are a few options. If your student is not eligible to receive enough scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, you may want to check into tuition- free colleges available throughout the country. You may have to be from a certain state or region, from a low-income background, or may have to commit to on-campus work or service after graduation to qualify, but this may be an answer for one of your students. Like to travel and explore other countries? Several countries offer free college to eligible students as well. Or you can earn your college degree nontraditionally like my son did by going through one of the Big Three Colleges: Thomas Edison State University, Charter Oak, or Excelsior College for a FRACTION of the cost! By combining the work he was already doing in Jr. high and high school with earning college credits, my son was able to get his associates degree by age 15 and his accredited bachelor’s by 17- and the best part…It would have cost us around $6,000, but because of cash scholarships and contests he won along the way, the whole degree was practically free for us! (And we never had to fill out any of those nasty FAFSA forms!) So how did we do it?

 

That’s where my two favorite ways of earning money come in: cash scholarships and contests. Students (starting at ANY age!) can get money for a million different reasons and can probably qualify for dozens of random cash contests if they keep their eyes open. Did you know that there are scholarships for Prom’s Cutest couple, or for tall or short people, or for the best dress made from duct tape? What about the one for the best survival plan in case of a zombie apocalypse? Or by being a Pokemon World Champion? Or $1,000 for just filling out a form and getting your name randomly picked? These are just a few of the wild and crazy opportunities out there! All it takes is a little bit of time and research. Studies show that more than 2 BILLION dollars in free college money goes unclaimed every year!

 

The first thing we did was establish a goal: my son was to apply to 4 or 5 scholarships or contests a month while in high school and as he was earning his college credits. Some were more labor intensive while others were just writing a paragraph or filling out a form, so it was doable each month. The next thing we did was go to the library and check out scholarship books to see which ones he qualified for. Google became our next “go-to”. We researched every kind of scholarship and cash contest out there! (see below for a few to get you started) As we went about our normal routine we’d keep our eyes open for contests being held. Many times, the grocery store or a lunch out would reveal another opportunity. Once eating at Ci-Ci-s we heard about a $10,000 scholarship that a lucky student could earn just by taking a picture of himself by the Ci-Ci-s pizza bar and explaining why he deserved a scholarship. My son cranked that one out during lunch!

 

(Side Note: One tip that helped us tremendously was to keep a calendar with all the rules and deadlines clearly noted for each scholarship or contest. The calendar notes kept us on track and able to submit everything on time.)

 

Other places to find college cash are throughout your community and through company sponsored scholarships. Many places like the Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, the Lion’s Club, etc… offer scholarships, as well as homeschool groups, volunteer organizations, and companies. Find out what community service organizations offer. Check out private companies, or the companies you work for to see if they offer any type of college funding. My son went to my husband’s boss to see if they offered any type of financial aid for college. He laid out his whole plan, and even though the company did not have any college scholarships, the boss offered to pay for all of his testing fees and any cost associated with getting his credits! So, any CLEP or DSST he took, any proctoring fees, any classes he took online- all paid for! Other things to look for are cash contests. My son must have entered over 100 of those- poetry and writing contests, video contests, ones online or on Instagram, grand openings, dog photo contests, caption contests, etc… As he started winning a few, the money started coming in. A few times we even spent days listening to radio stations when they had contests like “the 100th caller gets $500 or $1,000 in cash!”. (And we won- twice! $1,500 for about 15 minutes’ worth of work- not too bad!)

 

Though many of these will not be for THOUSANDS of dollars and may only be $25, $100 or $1,000 here or there, don’t discount them. A little bit of money adds up in a BIG way. Just ask Kristina Ellis. For four years, while in high school, she applied to as many scholarships as she could (no matter the amount) and at the end of that time had not only enough in scholarships for a free ride at Vanderbilt University, but enough to pay for her master’s degree! She earned over $500,000 in scholarship money! (For her full story check out Confessions of a Scholarship Winner on Amazon.) And, personally, I can say that this works. My son was able to pay for his bachelor’s degree all with cash money that he earned either through scholarships or contests.

 

So, it is possible to get your college degree FOR FREE- and not be one of those with a full ride scholarship. With a little bit of research, some time, and some patience, soon the award letters will start rolling in. And little by little the cash will start adding up- free cash that you don’t have to pay back (unlike student loans!) Not a bad deal if I say so myself!

 

Check out College Out of the Box, FaceBook page, You Tube videos, and EBook for more information on how you can get your college degree in less time, for less money, and with NO student debt- no matter your age!

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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