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 to 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!

What If College Isn’t For You? An Overview of the Skilled Trades with Rick Seigmund (Episode 52)

There is a growing skills gap in America but – make no mistake – the skilled trades are in high demand. For those families looking for alternatives to college that still afford the opportunity for young men and women to find high paying jobs in an industry they are passionate about, the skilled trades might be the perfect match.

In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, Rick Seigmund of Work Strong America joins me to talk about a viable option for those students for whom college is not the right fit. There is a growing shortage of skilled trades people and, in an environment where many college grads are having a hard time finding work, pursuing a trade may be the answer for some. It also gives entrepreneurial individuals a chance to own their own business.

[Quote]   “The older skilled tradesmen are retiring in the next 10 to 15 years.  The skilled trade gap is one of the biggest problems facing the US and Britain.” - Rick Seigmund on The College Checklist Podcast


Listen Now: An Overview of the Skilled Trades (Episode 52)

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About Rick Seigmund

Rick Seigmund is a husband and father of 2. He was raised in a fine woodworking and furniture making family business and spent a good portion of his adult life as a custom home builder. He also has served a 5 year stint in Federal law enforcement. His business and podcast is Work Strong America. It focuses on encouraging the skilled trades to the next generation of young men and women with an outlook on the possibilities of entrepreneurship

Show Notes

Resources Mentioned

*This link 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!

Quotable Quotes

“The older skilled tradesmen are retiring in the next 10 to 15 years.  The skilled trade gap is one of the biggest problems facing the US and Britain.”

“A welder in San Diego can start at a $40K annual income after training.”

“Going in to a skills trade gives individuals a chance at owning their own business.”

Get In Touch with Rick

The True Value of a College Education with Josh Elledge (Episode 51)

In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, it was an honor to have my friend, savings expert Josh Elledge, on the show to explore the true value of a college education in today’s economy. We discuss some interesting facts about college recently shared in Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath, as well as some valuable savings tips for college.

In this episode, I also mention a free course that my father and I offer about leveraging your SAT and ACT scores for cash for college.

Enroll in the free course here: higherscorestestprep.com/3Ways.

The Value of a College Education with Josh Elledge


Listen Now: The True Value of a College Education (Episode 51)

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About Josh Elledge

Josh Elledge is one of the nation’s leading experts on consumer savings. He is on a mission to help Americans save money and time so that they can give. He is Founder and Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel.com, which bolsters the buying power of the average U.S. family by combining technology, coupons and smart thinking for extreme savings on everyday items. He is also the host of the 90 Days to Abundance Podcast – where three days a week he shares deals, and tips for earning and saving money.

Show Notes

Quotable Quotes

“When thinking about what college to attend it is far better to be a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond.”

“It is better to feel smart than to be smart.”

“The best way to cut your grocery bill in half is to apply very high quality coupons with very good sales.”

Get In Touch with Josh

Don’t forget to use Josh’s code – ANGEL10 – for a 10% discount on my online SAT and ACT prep course.

An Overview of The College Checklist Podcast (Episode 50)

Today, I am so excited and proud to bring you episode 50 of The College Checklist Podcast! This was a really fun one to record because it was a trip down memory lane. It features past guests who were once again so generous with their time and knowledge. It runs like a highlight reel of the podcast so far and has reinvigorated me for future episodes!

Thank you so much for helping me celebrate 50 episodes and for your continued support of The College Checklist. Without you, this would not be possible.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

College Checklist Podcast Celebrates 50 Episodes!


The College Checklist Podcast Celebrates 50 Episodes!

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 Show Notes

This episode (indeed, this whole show) would not have been possible without the generosity of the guests listed below. If you listen to the show and appreciate their advice, please reach out to these wonderful guests and say thank you!

Shannon Brady

Shannon’s Episode: Self-Discovery and the College Admissions Process (Episode 15)
Shannon’s Website: BradyCollegeCounseling.com

Wendy David-Gaines

Wendy’s Episode: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing for College (Episode 23)
Wendy’s Website: POCSmom.com

Todd Yuzuriha

Todd’s Website: JuniorAchievementRadio.com


Want to hear me on other shows talking about the SAT & ACT, how I run my business, tips for success on the tests, and more?

Here are a few of my guest appearances:


Bob Verbarg

Bob’s Episode: Learn from Our College Search Mistakes (Episode 45)

Dad’s Favorite Episodes

1. Get Started Early for Success with Less Stress with Mindy Popp (Episode 38)
2. Tips for Great College Visits with Jessica Velasco (Episode 34)

Jeannie Borin

Jeannie’s Episode: An Overview of the College Admissions Process (Episode 2)
Jeannie’s Website: College-Connections.com

Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne’s Episode: The Parent’s Role in College Prep (Episode 43)
Suzanne’s Website: ParentsCountdownToCollegeCoach.com

Rachelle Wolosoff

Rachelle’s Episode: Networking and the College Admissions Process (Episode 8)
Rachelle’s Website: CollegeSearchExpert.com
Rachelle’s Phone Number: 516-208-7835
Rachelle’s Email: rachelle [at] collegesearchexpert [dot] com


In an email, Joyce mentions that her favorite episode was Comparing the Cost of College (Episode 26) featuring Jimmy Becker, co-founder of CostofLearning.com.

Jimmy also did a guest post for our blog not too long after the episode aired. Click here to read about the accuracy of colleges’ net price calculators. It’s a great read! Be sure to check it out!

I would also recommend Jodi Okun’s episode All About Financial Aid (Episode 20) to help you get a nice overview of all of the steps (and forms…) needed when you’re gearing up to pay for college.


Celest Horton

Celest’s Episode: Creative Ways to Pay for College (Episode 16)
Celest’s Website: HowToPayForCollegeHQ.com

Learn how to earn a debt free degree in Celest’s course – Debt Free Degree 101! Check it out at DebtFreeDegree101.com.


I also had some students write in regarding their experience working with Higher Scores Test Prep. This was a sweet surprise for me, but it also reminded me that I have some solo episodes that you might find helpful.

Here’s what I’d recommend to you if you’re looking for help with SAT and ACT test prep.

1. My Top 5 Tips for Higher SAT Scores (Episode 10)
2. My Top 5 Tips for Higher ACT Scores (Episode 11)
3. 6 Steps for Setting Up the Perfect Testing Timeline (Episode 42)
4. A Warning about the new SAT for the Class of 2017 (Special Edition)


Ethan Sawyer

Ethan’s Episode: A Walk with the College Essay Guy (Episode 29)
Ethan’s Website: CollegeEssayGuy.com


Thank you to everyone who made this episode possible!

Most especially, though, I thank my parents who have been my rocks as we embarked on this great new adventure together. Without you, none of this would have been possible. I love you!

Getting Homeschooled Students Into College with Karen Childress (Episode 49)

This episode of The College Checklist Podcast features Karen Childress, a homeschooling mother of 7. Her sixth homeschooled child is graduating from high school this year and headed to college like his siblings before him. Karen shares her tips on how to prepare homeschooled children for the college admission process.

While Karen’s tips are great advice for the homeschooling families in our audience, she shares great tips that – frankly – all families (even traditionally schooled ones) will benefit from.


Help me celebrate episode 50!

As you’ll hear me mention in the podcast, next week I’ll be celebrating 50 episodes on the air! Woohoo!

I would love for you to be a part of the celebration! Join me on the show by leaving a voicemail or sending me an email.

I’d love to know your favorite episode or the best piece of advice you’ve learned from the first 50 shows…

Leave a voicemail: (760) 913-7737

Email me your thoughts: lauren@higherscorestestprep.com

Not only will this be a great way to celebrate, it will also help me make the next 50 even more valuable for you and your fellow listeners.

Thanks for joining me! : )


Getting Homeschool Students Into College with Karen Childress


Listen Now: Getting Homeschooled Students Into College (Episode 49)

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About Karen Childress

A mother of 7, Karen has been homeschooling her children for the last 23 years. While she still has a high school senior and junior at home, her 5 oldest children are homeschooled high school graduates – 2 of which were National Merit Finalists and 3 of which were National Merit Commended. Karen has valuable knowledge and insight into what the college admissions process looks like for a homeschooled student today.

Show Notes

Quotable Quotes

“You need to think about college preparation when your student is in the 8th grade.  Look at the most stringent college entrance requirements and use those as your baseline.”

“Keep really good records, starting with the 9th grade to meet college transcript requirements.  Quarterly updates help you remember all the details.”

“The homeschooled student has time to pursue what really interests them.  They are not limited by the extra curricular activities a school offers.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Keep good records.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: http://hslda.org/

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Make a timeline and tackle each item step by step.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: The Scarlet Pimpernel*

*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 Karen

Karen’s Website: www.KarenTrina.com
Connect with Karen on Google +


Don’t forget to call in to share your favorite episode or piece of advice!

College Checklist Hotline: (760) 913-7737

Colleges That Change Lives with Maria Furtado (Episode 48)

In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Maria Furtado, the Executive Director of Colleges That Change Lives – a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process.

Maria enjoys helping students and families as they take on the college search process, and she believes that finding the right college should be about “fit,” not just settling or chasing the name brand. Maria also believes that it’s OK, and actually preferable, to enjoy talking about colleges and that the search process should be fun.

In this episode, Maria explains CTCL’s mission and how CTCL colleges are the same and how they differ from other liberal arts colleges.

Maria Furtado on The College Checklist Podcast


Listen Now: Colleges That Change Lives (Episode 48)

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About Maria Furtado

Maria Furtado is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Colleges That Change Lives. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years, and has worked at two CTCL schools. Maria speaks all around the country to students, parents and counselors about college rankings and popular misconceptions about college admission, and the strength and worth of a liberal arts education.


Show Notes

Quotable Quotes

“A liberal arts educations is (a) not just for liberals and (b) not just about the arts.”

“The goal of a liberal arts education is to touch many different academic areas…to scratch the educational itch sometimes the students don’t realize they have.”

“You can do the college admissions process without it being miserable.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Hold on to your sense of humor.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: www.ctcl.org*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Ignore the hype.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood*

*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 Maria

Colleges That Change Lives Website
Colleges That Change Lives on Twitter
Colleges That Change Lives on Facebook

Free Workshop Announced for Monday, March 30th

Click here to sign up!Higher Scores Test Prep’s CFO, Bob Verbarg, and I will be hosting a free, online workshop this coming Monday, March 30th at 5:00 pm PT / 8:00 pm ET.

In this presentation, you’ll learn:

  1. How to leverage your SAT or ACT score to pay for college even at a “test-optional” school.
  2. How important a college degree is to your future earning potential no matter which college you attend.
  3. How your SAT or ACT score can help you get a great job long after you’ve graduated.
  4. BONUS: We’ll share great advice to help students in the Class of 2017 navigate the changing exams and still get cash out of their test scores.

To join us, please register at www.higherscorestestprep.com/workshop.

All About Gap Years with Ethan Knight, Executive Director of the American Gap Association (Episode 47)

In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ethan Knight, the Executive Director of the American Gap Association. Ethan has established an accreditation process by which Gap Year Programs are becoming more regulated, ensuring students participate in programs that are both educational and safe.

Ethan shares with us his own experience taking a gap year, as well as some of his favorite programs that have been accredited through his organization.

All About Gap Years with Ethan Knight


Listen Now: All About Gap Years (Episode 47)

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About Ethan Knight

Ethan Knight is the Executive Director of the American Gap Association. He has been known to say that passion is a better predictor of success than IQ will ever be. In 1996, he took a Gap Year of his own after graduating high school before attending Willamette University and graduating with majors in English and Philosophy and a minor in Environmental Sciences.


Show Notes

Quotable Quotes

“We are seeing a shift in education to experiential learning to open up students to a variety of ways they might engage with the world.”

“Research shows that students who take a gap year are almost 75% more likely to say they are happy or extremely satisfied with their career than those that don’t take a gap year.”

Reflecting on his own gap year experience: “For every step I took outside, I felt I was mirroring a step inside.”

Regarding taking a gap year: “You can work as an intern in the field you’re interested in and see if it is a good fit.”

Resources Mentioned

To explore the various programs that Ethan shared during this episode, visit the American Gap Association’s Accredited Member Page.

Want to hear more about gap years? Click here to hear episode 30 of The College Checklist Podcast featuring Sandy Furth.

Get In Touch with Ethan

Email: ethan [at] americangapassociation [dot] org

The Senior Year College Checklist with Ian Fisher (Episode 46)

Senior year. Many students imagine it’s an entire year dedicated enjoying notable lasts – last football game, last school play, last team dinner, last dance – and to saying farewell to dear friends. Not many students envision all of the work that goes into the year that has a lazy syndrome named after it – Senioritis!

In this episode of The College Checklist Podcast, Ian Fisher from College Coach walks us through all of the steps of the senior year college checklist – starting the summer before senior year. This is a comprehensive look at what college-bound families should be considering as they move forward and cross the college admissions finish line.

Ian Fisher on The College Checklist Podcast


Listen Now: The Senior Year College Checklist (Episode 46)

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About Ian Fisher

Ian FisherIan Fisher is a college consultant at College Coach, a division of Bright Horizon Family Solutions. His expertise as a college consultant comes from many years spent in admissions at his alma mater – Reed College. Ian holds his masters in Education Policy from Stanford.

Get in touch with Ian

GetIntoCollege.com
Email Ian: Ian [dot] Fisher [at] getintocollege [dot] com

Quotable Quotes

“You can put yourself in a good position and be ahead of the game if you start working on your college applications over the summer before your senior year.”

“The summer is also the time to start on the essay.  The more personal the student makes his or her easy the more you are able to learn about that student. You want to have your essays done before you begin your senior year.”

“Make sure your grades and performance is just as good as it has always been in the first semester of your senior year.”

“Get letters of recommendation in your academic classes, ideally from teachers from your junior year.”

“After the admission applications are in it is important to make sure you meet the financial aid application deadlines.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Ask as many questions as you can at the beginning of this journey.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Break the process in to smaller chunks.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon* and All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy*

*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!

A Warning for the Class of 2017 (Special Edition)

I’m so saddened by some of the tactics that are being taken by many publishers and test prep companies. Equally bad are the volumes of misinformation about the new exams that are floating around out there.

I have seen and heard from many of you listeners about companies capitalizing on the frenzy that the changes coming to the SAT and ACT are causing at many stressed-out families’ expense. There’s lots of bad advice out there: much of which is being given by test prep companies only interested in making a quick buck, some of which is being given with good intention but is – ultimately – equally harmful.

The new SAT is coming. Are you ready?

So here it is – a special edition of The College Checklist Podcast that was triggered by one of those events that was born of bad information. Sometimes a girl’s just got to turn on her microphone and set the record straight.

Click here to learn more about my recommendations for SAT and ACT testing timelines.

Click here to learn an alternative timeline for potential National Merit Scholarship students in the class of 2017.

To stay up to date on all of the changes coming to the SAT and ACT, be sure to check in here from time to time: Special Resources for the Class of 2017.

Learn from Our College Search Mistakes with Bob Verbarg (Episode 45)

This is a very exciting episode for me because I had my father and CFO Bob Verbarg on to talk about what we’ve both learned about the college admissions process from producing The College Checklist together. In addition to taking care of the finances for Higher Scores Test Prep, Pops also helps me edit the podcasts. He takes extensive notes that then become the show notes (like the one you’re reading now).

Part overview of past 44 episodes, part trip down memory lane, this episode is an honest discussion about some of the choices we made when I was applying to college and a helpful overview of the most informative episodes of The College Checklist.

We hope you enjoy it!

What we would've done different with our college search.

 


Listen Now: Learn from Our College Admissions Mistakes (Episode 45)

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About Bob Verbarg

Bob retired in 2008 after 33 years in senior management positions with a national payroll processing firm.  The family moved 7 times during that period and he is ever grateful to Francine and his children for their willingness to cheerfully relocate so often.  He always enjoyed sports, particularly golf and tennis, but after a 2010 MS diagnosis he has been sidelined.  He is very proud of Lauren for her dedication to her students’ success and for her entrepreneurial spirit in starting Higher Scores Test Prep.  He is proud to be a part of the team.


Show Notes

Past Podcast Rundown

Other Resources

Quotable Quotes

“Knowing now what I’ve learned from the guests in your podcasts, we would have done things very differently in the college search process.”

“One thing that jumps out at me, and I’ve heard it from several of your guest, is start early. I wish that we had started earlier, particularly with college visits.”

“Networking is important for a high school student.  Talk to people in the field you are interested in studying.”

Regarding taking a gap year: “You can work as an intern in the field you’re interested in and see if it is a good fit.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Start early and get help.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2: The College Checklist Podcast

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: If you didn’t start early, sit down as a family and agree on your priorities given the time you have remaining.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand*

*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!