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!

The College Checklist Podcast Celebrates 50 Episodes!

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)

Subscribe to the College Checklist Podcast

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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!

Test Optional Colleges: What Are You Risking By Opting Out with Paul Hemphill (Episode 44)

You may have heard a lot about test optional colleges and, at first glance, applying to test optional schools may seem to be a good deal for parents and students alike. One less (big) box to check off your college checklist, one less worry, one less fee – sounds great, right?

Not so fast! In today’s interview with college planning advisor Paul Hemphill of Planning-For-College.com, we discuss some of the hidden costs of applying test optional.

To be fair, this is a controversial topic and there are many differing opinions on it. That said, there is sound logic in the stance that Paul and I both take. It is worth hearing all of the facts before you make the testing decision for your student and this is the side of the argument that tends to get lost in the conversation.

Paul Hemphill on The College Checklist Podcast


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!

Call now! (760) 913-7737


Test Optional Colleges: What Are You Risking By Opting Out?

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About Paul Hemphill

Paul Hemphill is an independent educational consultant at Planning-For-College.com. With a background in marketing, Paul takes a very unique approach to the college admissions process by helping students craft their brand. He is a recognized expert in the field and has appeared on numerous television shows to share his wealth of knowledge about the college admissions process.


Show Notes

Resources

Quotable Quotes

“When students opt not to send their SAT or ACT scores they are signaling to the college that they have something to hide.  Not to submit them is really risking rejection”.

“If I can’t get a son or daughter in to at least one of their first 5 college choices I give the parents the money back that they paid me.”

“Colleges are going to do whatever it takes to get a student to go to their school.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1:  Parents need to decide the exact dollar figure they can spend on college.  For help use CollegeData.com and click on the “Net Price Calculator” tab.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2:  CollegeData.com, Planning for College by Paul Hemphill*, ParentsCountdownToCollegeCoach.com

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Attend one of Paul’s on-going webinars.  Find it at Planning-For-College.com

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his 2nd Inaugural Speech*, Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonheoffer*, The Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis*

*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 Paul


 

Need help planning your testing timeline?

I’m happy to help! Fill in the form below and I will be in touch!

A Parent’s Role in College Prep with Suzanne Shaffer (Episode 43)

This week on The College Checklist Podcast, Suzanne Shaffer joins us to discuss the parent’s role in college prep. Suzanne provides her insight as to how much parental involvement in the college selection and admission process is ideal. With great candor, she shares stories from her own experience helping her daughter with the college admissions process.

A Parent's Role in College Prep


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!

Call now! (760) 913-7737


The College Checklist – A Parent’s Role in College Prep

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Subscribe to The College Checklist Podcast on Stitcher Radio


About Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer - Parents Countdown to College CoachSuzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parents Countdown to College Coach blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze. She is a regular contributor as a college expert on Gal time and Zinch. She provides expert college content for University Parent and TeenLife Magazine; Suzanne is also a top college advisor for Student Advisor and the Unigo Expert Network.

 


Show Notes

Quotable Quotes

“Get a huge wall calendar and put it in a prominent place so everyone can see deadlines, or get an app so everyone can sync calendars.”

“You must plan ahead and let your student know what the family can afford for college.”

“The best way parents can reduce stress for their student is to not apply pressure themselves.”

Lightning Round Q&A

Q1: What’s your best piece of advice for families as they begin this journey?
A1: Pace yourself and stay organized.

Q2: What is your favorite college admissions book, blog, or tool that no family should be without?
A2:  Fiske Guide to Colleges*

Q3: What should a family who is overwhelmed by the college admissions process focus on?
A3: Tackle one task at a time, and break it in to small, doable segments.

Q4: What is your all-time favorite book?
A4: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott*

*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 Suzanne