The College Checklist Podcast

The College Checklist Podcast is the podcast dedicated to guiding you through the complex world of college admissions. Host Lauren Gaggioli interviews experts from all areas of college admissions, college search, financial aid, scholarships, test prep and more to empower you take control of your family's college admissions process.

Don't forget to subscribe to The College Checklist Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio so that you'll receive the latest episodes right to your smartphone or tablet as soon as they're released!

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Health Tips for College Bound Students with Steve de la Torre (Episode 39)

Fitness pro Steve de la TorreFor this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, fitness expert Steve de la Torre. Steve’s been a personal trainer in Orange County for years, but – due to a change in routine – he recently started working out in the mornings. When he told me the effect that this change up had in his level of focus throughout the day, I just knew I had to have him on the show.

Steve has a really great philosophy of balance that anyone can easily incorporate into his or her life. In this episode, Steve shares his advice about how high school students can boost their energy, focus, and academic performance with just a few simple, effective health tips, tips they can carry with them into college. We cover a lot of ground and will touch on the importance of exercise, nutrition, and sleep for today’s busy, college bound students.


NOW OPEN!

The College Checklist Q&A Hotline

Do you have questions about the college admissions process? Not sure how to approach the SAT & ACT or how to pay for college?

No worries! Leave your voicemail on the hotline and I or one of our guests will answer it for you live on air!

Leave your Questions Here – (760) 913-7737


The College Checklist Podcast – Health Tips for College Bound Students

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About Steve de la Torre

Steve de la Torre of Personal Training RevolutionSteve de la Torre is a fitness professional, entrepreneur, and podcaster. Steve is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fitness and nutrition, mostly because he’s experienced being not healthy first hand. As he says on his website, he’s gone from fit to fat and back again. Steve has been a personal trainer in Orange County for over 12 years. He is also the founder of Personal Training Revolution and the host of the Fit Pro Inferno podcast.


Show Notes

In this episode, Steve and I discuss:

  • the importance of balanced nutrition
  • the importance of exercise
  • the benefits of morning workouts
  • the power of good sleep
  • tips to help you stick to your routine

Quotable Quotes

On Morning Workouts: “My mood shifted so dramatically by working out in the morning.  I was just on cloud 9.  I had incredible creativity and I was able to think fast.  I felt just amazing.”

On the Freshman Fifteen: “When kids go to college you can see the stress cycle in plain sight.”

Tip to help you follow through: “Recruit a friend that can keep you committed.”

Tip to keep you going: “Having enough water can boost your performance by 25%.”

Get in touch with StevE


Are you enjoying The College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

 

College Prep: Get Started Early for Success with Less Stress with Mindy Popp (Episode 38)

Mindy Popp of Popp and AssociatesToday’s episode of The College Checklist features Mindy Popp, the managing director and principal consultant of Popp & Associates. In this episode, Mindy shares her college prep tips for freshmen and sophomores in high school. She explains how these students and their families can reduce some of the stress of college admissions by using their early years to focus on becoming their authentic selves and by becoming familiar with the college prep process in bite-sized pieces. Mindy gives us some great advice on the simple but important steps families can take in 9th and 10th grade to prepare them for the college search process.

 


 

NOW OPEN!

The College Checklist Q&A Hotline

Do you have questions about the college admissions process? Not sure how to approach the SAT & ACT or how to pay for college?

No worries! Leave your voicemail on the hotline and I or one of our guests will answer it for you live on air!

Leave your Questions Here – (760) 913-7737


The College Checklist Podcast – College Prep: Get Started Early for Success with Less Stress

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About Mindy Popp

Mindy Popp, Principal at Popp & AssociatesMindy Popp is the managing director and principal consultant of Popp & AssociatesMindy has extensive experience both as a school-based college counselor and in the college admissions world. Among other positions, she has served as the Senior Assistant Director of Admission at Wellesley College. Mindy is also a member of many professional organizations, including NACAC and IECA.

 


Show Notes

Quotable Quotes

“Little decisions made every day can really add up and have a big impact.”

“It is important for students to engage in the world around them for their own benefit and personal growth.”

“Admission officers are able to tell if a student’s engagement in an activity is genuine and authentic.”

“Don’t be ashamed if something isn’t going well; let’s figure out how to address it early on.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Ask for help early on. Start in the 9th grade, and you’ll make more informed decisions.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: The Popp & Associates blog (http://www.poppandassociates.com/blog)* and College Admission by Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Never lose sight of who your son or daughter is and what he or she needs to be successful.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen*

*These links are affiliate links through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, we do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through our links. Thank you for your support of The College Checklist Podcast!

Get in touch with Mindy

Are you enjoying The College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

3 Things I Learned When I Bombed the ACT (Episode 37)

As a test prep pro, I take both the SAT and ACT periodically not only to check in on the tests to make sure they aren’t shifting in tone or content but also to stay connected to my students. The college admissions exams are stressful and a real test day takes everything up a notch.
I usually enjoy the experience on test day; however, on October 25th, 2014, I took the ACT and it did not go well.
Let me be clear. I love these exams, and I really enjoy taking these tests in the official environment. (It’s an illness…I know…) This experience didn’t lessen my love of the tests, but it did teach me a whole lot about the stress that a lot of my students face.
This episode of The College Checklist Podcast recounts the experience, as well as my 3 key takeaways from it so that my students won’t make the same mistakes I did on this test.

The College Checklist Podcast – 3 Things I Learned When I Bombed the ACT

My ACT History & Score Predictions

  • My high school ACT score from 2003 was a 31 composite (97th percentile).
  • In December of 2013, I scored a 34 composite (99th percentile). The section breakdown was 35 (English), 33 (Math), 34 (Reading), 32 (Science).
  • My prediction for this exam (October 2014) is a 31 composite (97th percentile). I predict that the section breakdown will be 33 (English), 25 (Math), 33 (Reading), 33 (Science).
Some will likely view my prediction of a 31 composite score on the ACT as a success, however, that score is equivalent to my high school score. After 7 years as a test prep tutor, by the rigorous standards I hold myself to, I bombed the test – in particular, the math section.
**Side note: I don’t want any student feeling as though this discussion of my score is a judgement of theirs if it is lower than a 31. I believe every student has a different highest score. My goal is always to help a student achieve their own highest score. I simply know my personal highest ACT score lies north of a 31. 

Attention College-Bound Families

Do you need help figuring out your test prep path? I am always happy to set up a free 30-minute phone consultation or exchange a few emails to help you decide your course of action.
Call me at (760) 814-9655 or send me an email – lauren@higherscorestestprep.com.

Time Management Tips for Students with Denise Levine (Episode 36)

Hear time management tips for students from Denise LevineIn this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, Denise Levine share some amazing, actionable time management strategies with us. While these are geared specifically towards our students, they can be really helpful for we adults too! I know I learned a lot about how I can manage my time much better from this interview. I hope that you find it as interesting and actionable as I did!


The College Checklist Podcast – Time Management Tips for Students

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About Denise Levine

Denise Levine, Outside In OrganizingDenise Levine is a personal organizer and makeover specialist and owner of Outside In Organizer and MakeoversDenise helps people nationwide take control of their clutter, their wardrobe, and their time. With a background in education as well, Denise today shares her tips and strategies that will help students make the most of their time and organize their study space.


Show Notes

Recommended Reading

*This is an affiliate link through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, we do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through our link. Thank you for your support of The College Checklist Podcast!

Three Basic Time Management Strategies

  1. Planning is a huge time management strategy.  Know when something is due and work back from the deadline, with a written plan breaking down each step.
  2. Schedule time to complete each steps of the plan.
  3. Become good at estimating how much time it takes to complete a task.

Three Basic Space Organizing Strategies

  1. Have a distraction free space to work. Think about the sensory things that support success.  For example, have good lighting and comfortable seating.
  2. Organize information so you can find what you need when you need it.
  3. Have the right emotional support where you study and how you study.  For example, you might do well with a study partner.

Quotable Quotes

“What is the difference you feel inside when you are late for something vs. when you get there early.”

“Organizing is a process, not an event.”

“If you know it is difficult for you to wrap up at the end of an assignment, set the vibrating feature on your watch.”

“Time management is something you practice.”

Get In Touch With Denise

How to Improve Your SAT Scores with Debbie Stier (Episode 35)

"WIth SAT prep you need to get out of your comfort zone and do the work." -Debbie StierIn this episode of the College Checklist Podcast, I interview Debbie Stier, author of the Perfect Score Project. Debbie shares insights from her journey as she tackled the SAT the year before her son Ethan did in order to figure out the best methods of preparation for the test. Debbie even went so far as to take the SAT an incredible seven times in one year. She shares some great tips on what to do and what not to do in preparing for the SAT, including some great test day tips.

Debbie’s #1 takeaway from her SAT journey is that preparing for the SAT is not a fast process, but it does not need to be a reviled rite of passage. I can’t agree with that statement enough and am grateful to Debbie for sharing her experience with us in this episode.

As an added bonus, at the end of the episode I’ll share with you a way for you to win a free copy of Debbie’s book.


The College Checklist Podcast – How to Improve Your SAT Scores

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About Debbie Stier

Debbie Stier, Author of The Perfect Score ProjectDebbie Stier has a background in the publishing world and is the author of The Perfect Score Project*. In 2011, Debbie took every SAT offered in an effort to motivate her son Ethan. The book that results is part memoir, part research project that will open your eyes to all of the aspects of the SAT – from history and facts about the exam to the implications of a good SAT score to the touching (and stressful) moments that Debbie and her son share on this journey.

Show Notes

Are you enjoying The College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

A Few Tips for HIgher SAT Scores

  • Physically cross out the wrong answers.
  • Keep your own time.  Wear an analog watch and, at the beginning of each section, set it at the top of the hour.
  • Bring snacks, nothing big, dark chocolate and apples are good.
  • Sit in the front row to minimize visual distractions.
  • The night before , watch quiet TV and keep yourself from distractions.  Make it a peaceful night.

Click here to hear my top 5 tips for higher SAT scores.
Click here to hear my top 5 tips for higher ACT scores.

Quotable Quotes

“To be good at the SAT is to be good at reading, writing and math.  It is not mutually exclusive to improving your GPA.”

“For SAT prep you need to be methodical.  You need to choose one good plan and stick with that plan.”

“Learning vocabulary is not a short process. It takes time.”

“With SAT prep you need to get out of your comfort zone and do the work.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Try to have fun. Go into it with a positive attitude and it can be a wonderful shared experience.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: The Perfect Score Project* and The College Solution by Lynn O’Shaughnessy*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Pick one town and go on college tours. Do 1 per day and see all you can at that college.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien*

*These links are affiliate links through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, we do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through our links. Thank you for your support of The College Checklist Podcast!

Get in touch with DebbiE

Want to win a free copy of The Perfect Score Project? Share your favorite takeaway from this episode in the comments below!

Submissions are due by 11:59pm Monday, November 3rd. I’ll notify the winners by email.

Tips for Great College Visits with Jessica Velasco (Episode 34)

"The sollege campus visit that you make can play into the admission decision." - Jessica VelascoIn this episode of the College Checklist Podcast, I interview Jessica Velasco, an independent college counselor who also has experience as a college admissions officer.  Jessica’s experience on both sides of the college admissions process gives us unique insight into what colleges are really looking for from their applicants.

Today we take a dive into campus visits. Jessica explains the different ways that you can visit a college campus and shares some of her tips on how to get the most out of your college visit. She details the importance of these visits, when to start making visits, what time of year to go, and what to do while on campus.


The College Checklist Podcast – Tips for Great College Visits

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About Jessica Velasco

Jessica Velasco, Founder of JLV College CounselingJessica Velasco is an independent college counselor and founder of JLV College Counseling. She started her counseling company after working in higher education for ten years. Jessica has worked in college admissions and career centers at 3 colleges, including 2 years as Director of Admissions at Northwest University, just outside of Seattle. Her experience in these positions on the “other side of the desk” make her a wealth of information to her current clients.


Show Notes

Are you enjoying The College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

Quotable Quotes

“It is so important to go see the campus to get a feel for the college.  It’s important to see if you are going to fit in to the community.”

“Register with the admissions office and let them know what you want to see.”

“The campus visit that you make can play in to the admission decision.”

Resources Mentioned

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Don’t choose a college based on prestige and reputation.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: Admission Matters by Sally Springer, Jon Reider, and Marion Franck*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Early on, really think about what you want and what you don’t want in a college.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee* and The Big Book of Berenstain Bears*

*These links are affiliate links through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, we do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through our links. Thank you for your support of The College Checklist Podcast!

Get in touch with Jessica

How to Memorize SAT Vocabulary Words with Master of Memory Timothy Moser (Episode 33)

With the PSAT and SAT right around the corner, now is the perfect time to talk about the dreaded SAT vocabulary words. And who could be better to help us learn new strategies for remembering vocabulary than the Master of Memory himself, Timothy Moser.

In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, Timothy and I start by discussing overall strategies for memorization and the dive deeper on memorization techniques that are specific to PSAT and SAT vocabulary. We cover everything from using mind palaces to memorize phone numbers to a using unique stressed-syllable approach to memorizing vocabulary words.

We also discuss why the PSAT taken in October of the junior year of high school is so important in obtaining financial aid, the upcoming changes to the SAT, and how those changes will affect the October 2015 PSAT.

The College Checklist Podcast – How to Memorize SAT Vocabulary Words

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About Timothy Moser

Master of Memory, Timothy MoserTimothy Moser is a prolific podcaster as well as a PSAT& SAT tutor who specializes in helping students memorize vocabulary. He hosts 3 podcasts – Master of Memory, Accelerated Spanish, ACE Productivity – and tutors students through his company, Tutoring for Scholarships. He has also created 2 e-learning courses. You can learn more about them here: http://masterofmemory.com/courses/

Show Notes

Are you enjoying The College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

Quotable Quotes

“Students who finish in the top 1% on the PSAT for their state get options for financial aid they might not have believed were possible.”

“Anytime you are studying make sure whatever you are working on will actually improve your score.”

“I was home-schooled so I was the valedictorian at my graduation.”

Strategies Mentioned

  1. Memory Palaces and How They Work 
  2. Stressed Syllables to Memorize Vocabulary for the SAT

Get in touch with Timothy

The Birkman Method for Students with Arlene Kaplan (Episode 32)

Birkman Method for Students with Arlene KaplanToday’s episode of The College Checklist Podcast delves into the value of knowing one’s self well. Though not a traditional part of the college admissions process, I believe that the more time students invest in getting to know themselves before heading off to college, the better invested their time will be in their collegiate studies. Arlene Kaplan shares with us the Birkman Method, an in-depth personality assessment that reveals your interests, your strengths, your needs, your stress behavior, and what occupations are ideal for you. It can also help our high school students identify the kind of college environment and careers in which they will thrive. (I wish I had completed one before I applied to college!)

Arlene and I are friends and when she showed me the Birkman Method, I immediately saw the practical value it would have for college-bound students. Shortly after recording this episode, I completed the assessment myself and learned a great deal about myself in the process. I even share those insights at the end of the episode, so be sure to stick around to see the practical application this can have in your student’s (or maybe even your own) life.

The College Checklist Podcast – The Birkman Method for Students

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About Arlene Kaplan

Arlene Kaplan, Birkman Method Senior ConsultantArlene Kaplan is the founder of AK Consulting. Arlene helps her clients make critical career and personal decisions so they can take action with confidence. Her practice is rooted in a really interesting assessment called the Birkman Method. Arlene consults with clients virtually, helping them identify their natural strengths and passions and untangle the roots of some of the stresses in their lives. Arlene has a Masters in Human Resources/Organization Development from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Ohio State University.

Show Notes

Are you enjoying the College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

Quotable Quotes

“We are each unique and if we understand ourselves we can make something happen that works for us.”

“There are several colleges that use the Birkman Method for their students.”

“It should not close down options but provide focus.”

Get in touch with Arlene

If you’re interested in taking a Birkman Assessment with Arlene, be sure to mention that you heard her on The College Checklist Podcast for a special offer!

Scholarship 411 with Sam and Max from Scholarship Superhero (Episode 31)

Scholarship 411 with ScholarshipSuperhero.com

Are you looking for the latest scholarship 411? In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, I chat with Sam and Max from ScholarshipSuperhero.com. Sam and Max provide tips on how to find (and win) scholarship dollars.  In today’s day and age of expensive “sticker prices” for college tuition, private scholarships are an excellent way to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for a college-bound family. Sam and Max certainly walk the scholarship walk so they can talk the talk/ Sam just graduated college and Max has only a few credits left. As recent university students, their insights into the scholarship search process are up-to-date and practical.


The College Checklist Podcast – Scholarship 411

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About Sam and Max

Sam and Max are the founders of ScholarshipSuperhero.com. They offer various services to support students who are applying for scholarships. Together, they help students wade through all of the scholarship 411 available – first cutting straight to the best scholarship fits and then helping their clients win those awards. Sam is a recent graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Art. Max is a senior who will be graduating from NYU with a concentration in behavioral finance. Both Sam and Max have won scholarship money which helped to significantly defray their college costs


Show Notes

Are you enjoying the College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast.

Resources MentioneD

Quotable Quotes

“The PSAT is just as important as the SAT in obtaining scholarship dollars.”

“The average tuition right now for a state school is $23K a year and double that for a private university.”

“75% of students have taken out student loans.  The average student leaves school $30K in debt.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1:  Break down the cost of college and understand how you are going to pay for it.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: ScholarshipSuperhero.com and CollegeConfidential.com

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3:  Focus on what you want out of college.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass*, The Autobiography of Malcolm X*, Speak with Distinction by Edith Skinner*, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn*

*These links are affiliate links through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, we do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through our links. Thank you for your support of The College Checklist Podcast!

Get in touch with Sam and Max

What Is A Gap Year with Sandy Furth (Episode 30)

What is a Gap Year with Sandy FurthIf you’ve every found yourself at a dinner party with other college-bound families and heard the term Gap Year, it may have left you scratching your head. I know in high school I was confused wondering, what is a gap year? I mean, what is it exactly. Is it a year off or is there a set Gap Year program to pay for and attend? Do I have to travel internationally or are there Gap Year programs in the United States? And what will I be doing as a part of the program? Does a program have to have a specific focus? Are there ones that will point me in the right direction for a career by allowing me to sample different industries? And how a Gap Year affect my chances of getting into college?

Seriously! What is a Gap Year?

Although they’ve been around a while, if you haven’t heard of Gap Year programs, you’re not alone! In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, Sandy Furth and I discuss information regarding Gap Year programs.  Sandy details the background, benefits, and impact of a Gap Year on the college admission process.

Wonder no more! Your Gap Year questions will be answered here!


The College Checklist Podcast – What Is A Gap Year?

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About Sandy Furth

Sandy FurthSandy Furth is an independent and international educational consultant and founder of World Student Support. Sandy’s practice helps families identify appropriate schools and programs that meet the specific needs of their student, internationally or in the United States. Sandy has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, Master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a teaching certificate (Educationally Handicapped) from the University of Colorado/Denver. In addition, she has her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. Sandy has taught for over twenty years in Colorado, Malaysia, Japan, and England.


Show Notes

Are you enjoying the College Checklist Podcast? Let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes! Click here to review The College Checklist Podcast

Resources MentioneD

Quotable Quotes

“A gap year is ‘time on’ or ‘time in between’ to pursue a passion or pursuit a student might not have time to pursue while in school.”

“A gap year needs to be structured with a goal in mind.”

“Students come back with more of a goal of what they want to do in life.  They experience a little bit of the real world before they step out in to the real world.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Getting in to a college is the beginning. Taking advantage of everything the college has to offer is the goal.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: The College Finder by Dr. Steven R Antonoff* and College Match by Dr. Steven R Antonoff*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Take a deep breath, you will find the right fit

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: College Unbound by Jeffery Selingo* and Doing School by Denise Clark Pope*

*These links are affiliate links through Amazon. You will not pay extra; however, we do receive a small reimbursement if you purchase through our links. Thank you for your support of The College Checklist Podcast!

Get in touch with Sandy