College Net Price

We have been saving for college for 17 years, but nothing prepares you for the costs. We were disappointed when my daughter announced that her 1st choice school was one of the more expensive schools. I confess consoling myself with the fact that she probably wouldn’t get into it any way.

Then we got out the net price calculator. And, you know what? We found that some schools we thought would be less expensive are more expensive, and my daughter’s first choice….was actually more on the affordable side.

Here’s the link. Give it a try!


Major Matters

Recently, the New York Times published, “6 Myths About Choosing a College Major,” including the following: 1) For the big money, STEM always delivers. 2) Women want to have it all. 3) Choice of major matters more than choice of college. 4) Liberal arts majors are unemployable. 5) It’s important to choose a major early. 6) You need a major.

Get your library card to see this and other NYT articles for free.

In addition, publishes lists of types of majors, linked to schools with the best Return On Investment.

How to Keep Kids Excited About School

Now that the excitement of being back in school is starting to settle down, how can you keep kids excited about learning?  Read on.

Gallup, Inc. “How to Keep Kids Excited About School.”, 8 June 2017,

Six Ways to Keep Kids Excited About School

Recently, there have been gains in the U.S. high school graduation rate. Still, more can be done to help students feel involved and enthusiastic at school. Here are six ideas to address the school engagement cliff:

  1. Create hope. Hope is rooted in the ideas and energy that students have for the future. Hope expert Shane Lopez once said hopeful students envision a future that is better than the present and believe they have the power to make that future a reality.Gallup Student Poll results show that hopeful students are more likely to say they get excellent grades at school and are over four times more likely than their least hopeful peers to be engaged with school. A great way to help build students’ engagement with school is to find ways to help them build a positive relationship with their future and give them chances to test-drive that future today. Students have better days at school when caring adults encourage them in their quest for clarity about the future.
  2. Foster talent. When my daughter, Ella, was a kindergartner, a paraprofessional wrote her a kind note at the end of the school year, thanking her for helping to love and support her friend with special needs. That paraprofessional encouraged my daughter’s passion for developing others at a very young age. It was meaningful to have another adult at school recognize the strengths that I as a parent get to build each day.Ella is now a middle-schooler and dreams of becoming a special education teacher. It is important to identify what students do best and what they enjoy doing. A little personalized recognition, coupled with opportunities to identify and develop their strengths, can have big long-term school engagement returns for students.
  3. Care a lot. Teachers work hard to learn the names of students each school year, but it might be just as important for students to be able to name at least one adult at school who cares about them. While two-thirds of fifth graders surveyed in 2016 strongly agree that adults at school care about them, only about one in four high school students say the same. Each student needs someone who is their cheerleader. Many student-facing adults at school can fill this important role.
  4. Recognize creative teachers and teaching. Recently, I was privileged to honor teachers who had reached tremendous tenure milestones in our district. This kind of recognition is special, but insufficient. It is important to recognize teachers who boost engagement and help address the school engagement cliff by designing and implementing lessons that boost students’ ability to learn difficult material, while leveraging their talents, skills and interests to get work done.Gallup Student Poll results show that older students are less likely than younger students to strongly agree that their teachers make them feel their schoolwork is important. Leaders should take every chance to recognize teachers who help students feel that the content they are learning and projects they are completing are relevant. This could help blunt the effects of boredom and increase students’ desire to expend discretionary effort that can help facilitate their readiness for the future.
  5. Have fun. Last year, I snapped a picture of a group of high school students standing outside the school doors, waiting anxiously to get into a Friday night dance. It was fun to see how excited they were to get inside the building. I wondered what could be done to help students feel just as excited to come to school on random Tuesday mornings. Finding ways to make school days more fun can increase students’ positive emotions, and those good feelings can serve as a platform for building engagement that leads to learning growth.
  6. Model engagement. Teachers and school leaders have the unique opportunity to model engagement. Engaged staff members show students every day what it is like to live, learn and work together.Gallup research suggests there is a link between teacher engagement and student engagement.One way to help battle the school engagement cliff is to prioritize and model teacher and staff engagement. Teachers’ excitement and enthusiasm for learning, their support and care for one another, and their strong commitment to excellence will inspire students to commit to becoming their best selves at school each day.


Career Planning or/and College Majors

Before you plunk down your spare change on college, you might just want to have an idea what you want to study, if it requires a degree. It can only help to know what direction you’re taking. Here are some places to look for help.

BLSThe United States Bureau of Labor statistics provides the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  The Handbook looks at highest paying jobs, jobs with high growth rate, level of education required, types of training, and job projections, and gives you all the relevant information.


Gail Virtual Reference Library  (library card is necessary), provides 14 titles that are geared towards preparing for careers that do not require a college degree, and help to discern if those careers are right for you. These careers range from clerical exams to public safety dispatcher. In addition, there’s help for those trying to get through school, such as Boarding School Survival and Teen Guide to College and Career Planning.  For grown women, they have Learn, Work, Lead: Things Your Mother Won’t Tell You.  In addition, have in your mind that you want to attend Graduate School, there are test prep guides that may help you decide if that’s in your future.

college boardCollege Board has a great search engine for exploring what careers you can have by doing what you love, and helps to determine your major.

loyola What’s My Major? Quiz If you must go to college, and you must know your major, you must take this quiz. I like this one because it visually represents where each question it taking you, and in the end there is one answer, but many other paths that show what your capabilities.


College Bound High School Guidance

Take charge of your destiny, and take some work of the desk of your Guidance Counselor. Chances are that your Guidance Counselor is looking at these sites to help keep you on track with the right classes, and the right help for your classes when you need it.

NYC dept of ed

NY Department of Education gives all the requirements you need to graduate from a public school in New York, explains the three types of diplomas and also contains some helpful links to help you through High School. First, Credit and Graduation Requirements, . Second, Diploma Requirements Worksheet, which is a good check-list to make sure you’re not scrambling your senior year to finish what’s required. Third,  How to Read a High School Transcript.




Gale Virtual Reference Libarary has ebooks. (Get your library card for this one). Search for these titles:


major decisionMaking Your Major Decision Albany, NY: Peterson’s,      2013. 408 pp. This book explores various personality types and helps determine which college majors are best for each. It covers hundreds of college majors and careers best fit with each personality and shares how insights from the Myers-Briggs(r) assessment, the world’s most widely used personality tool, can help to succeed in college and life.

ahead of the curveAhead of the Curve: What Parents Need to Know to Get Their Kids Into College Amber C. Saunders. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson’s, 2014. 205 pp. This book offers parents a comprehensive and fun guide to help them prepare their high school students for college. In-depth descriptions of available resources for those getting ready for college and checklists of tasks to perform, questions to ask, and tests to take so that students can keep track of application requirements are also included.

eggheadEgghead guides to Vocabulary, Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus


another book.pngNovels for Students Sara Constantakis, ed. Vol. 1-45. Detroit: Gale, 2014. 355 pp. Provides critical overviews of novels from various cultures and time periods. Includes discussions of plot, characters, themes and structure as well as the work’s cultural and historical significance.


Khan Academy


Well known the free online video tutoring of academics, which will help you through all of your academics from elementary school on up, Khan also has a series of videos that will help you discern your options, including whether or not college is right for you. For purposes of this tutorial, however, I’d like to present their article, “Selecting high school classes in preparation for college”, which will help you pick the classes for any college, including the more selective ones. Khan is rich with all types of information, which you can watch to your heart’s content, including much overlap with the next two sections of this guide (Test prep, and beginning material for Exploring College Options 

college board

College Board  gives you a plan, so that you’re not overwhelmed. Figure out your tests, understand who you are and why you belong in (fill in the blank).  Identify your future career, by looking at yourself, your past and present. Figure out what High School classes you need to take, and what classes you’ve taken that you can use at what schools. Answer some easy questions, and get some idea of where you want to go, using their College finder search engine.  Then go on to the next step. (Don’t worry, I know there’s more, you can come back later).


Test Prep for College Bound High Schoolers

Experts recommend using as many ways to study for the test as you can.  Our library offers three online venues.

Experts recommend using as many ways to study for the test as you can.  Our library offers three online venues.  Get your library card ready for the second two venues.


Khan Academy

(Go directly or through our homepage, under Educational Resources). Khan has available the full length SAT, SAT Math Practice, SAT Reading and Writing, and SAT tips and strategies, along with tests for graduate and nursing programs.

learning express

Learning Express Library  (with your  Libary Card): Practice for the ACT, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and AP Exams. Sharpen your Math, Reading, Grammar and Writing, and Science skills in the Learning Express College Preparation.

lynda-com (with your library card): Lynda offers help via cheerful videos on preparing for the PSAT, ACT, SAT, from understanding the scoring and structure, studying techniques, pacing, understanding the questions, and reviewing the essays.