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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

College Common Sense TOS Review


Going to College and Paying For I

Online Video & Workbook 

dvd online


Price: $25.00 for 12 month log in access.


      They also offer an actual DVD and workbook for $50.00 (plus $5.00 shipping & handling).



What is it? -


This is a series of videos and workbooks created to help educate families step by step on how to prepare and pay for college.  I received the online video and workbook series to review.  I also signed up for FREE lesson plans The videos links & workbooks come in pdf format.  You print them and place them in a 3 ring binder.  So you will need the following: access to the internet, a printer, a 3 ring binder (or other folder form), paper & a pencil. 


The online course comes in seven sections:



The Big Picture

How Financial Aid Works

All About the Free Money

The System That Works

You in the Process

Pull It All Together



The site offers a free monthly newsletter as well.



Denise Ames has worked in Texas in the Financial Aid office for over 10 years.  She herself tells you everything you need to know step by step in this video series.  Although this series is recommended for teenagers, Denise does suggest having your 6-12 yr. old watch as well to grasp the information.


Click here to watch an introduction video Denise Ames has created and placed on youtube. 

This program encourages parents and teaches your child how to be responsible in finding money to help pay for their college education.  She talks directly to the student (child) to educate them.  She stresses that it is their responsibility to make sure they do what is needed to help get money for college.  


There are 6 videos (plus the introduction) and corresponding workbooks.  These workbooks will give you important concepts and exercises for your child to do.  The workbook sections can be printed so you can have them while watching the videos.  It is suggested that you, the parent, follow along while your child watches the videos. Each section is around 15-25 minutes long.  


With colleges having hundreds and even thousands of new students coming into them, they cannot possibly tell each family what they need to do to help pay for their child's education.  This is why Denise created this course for families.  



What I thought -


We (my high schooler and I) watched and used this course together.  



It answered many different questions that we had.  

*  Where do I find scholarship information?

*  How old do my children have to be before they can apply for a scholarship?

*  Who offers scholarships in my state?

*  What is a FAFSA?


  It also opened my sons eyes to what he can expect in order to apply and earn money for college.  There is a lot of FREE money out there for children to apply for.  This course shows you where to look to find it.


I like that the course is geared toward the student to make them aware and become responsible for their education so it doesn't all fall on the parent(s).  It also gave me a clear idea of what my son plans to do and his thoughts on going to college.  


A wonderful point that Denise Ames spoke about is the importance of starting out your life in college without any college debt.  I personally know several people who are in their mid 30's still paying their college debt and a few aren't even working in that profession anymore!  It was good to hear someone so professional talking about these young adults staying out of debt if all possible.  This goes along with the concept that we, personally, teach our children.  If you cannot pay cash for it, don't buy it.  Having no college debt may not work for everyone, but making it a goal is a great idea!



We did find the information a bit overwhelming at first.  But in all fairness, this is our first child we'd be sending off to college.  I would think every parent involved in this process feels a bit overwhelmed at first.  We also homeschool our children, so the part of the 'guidance counselor' also falls on us.  When a child is in public school the guidance counselor has most of the scholarship information for the student and the information he/she needs to apply.  This course taught us how to find that information and what to do with it.  We now have a much better outlook on what is to come with our children and their college path.


Overall, I found this to be very informative.  I would highly recommend this to any parent with a child who has college interest in their future.



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  1. You hit the nail on the head when you said we are the Guidance Counselor as well, and it can be quite daunting! Great review, and great resources from this program.