Make a plan to graduate college in 4 years!

We all want to save money… especially during an endeavor as expensive as college, right? Come to find students can save tens of thousands of dollars by graduating in 4 years. Though it is more work compacted into a shorter time span, It allows the student to get their studies finished and reap the benefits of their chosen career sooner—not having to drag out school and deal with the consequences that may yield.

Many students fail to graduate in 4 years due to 3 reasons: 1.) either they take too many classes that do not count toward their majors, 2.) they take too few of classes resulting in a longer college experience in order to earn the required amount of course credits, 3.) they work or become too involved with outside activities that interfere with their studies and result in neglecting their studies. It is immensely advantageous for the student to try their best to keep these 3 obstacles from hindering their ability to meet the goal of graduating in 4 years.

Students neglect to consider the cost of even one additional year in school; Complete College America estimates that an extra year of college can cost as much as $68,153. Not only are students who take more than 4 years to graduate missing out on the income they would earn in their new job with their new degree, but they are paying for room and board (if they are living on campus) and they are paying additional years of unnecessary student fees (“The Price of Not,” 2017).

Colleges realize that it benefits not only the students, but that institution as well, fas when students graduate in 4 years, there is a decrease in the dropout rate (meaning more money for the institution). For this reason, initiatives have been set in place at a number of schools to encourage graduation in 4 years. One initiative some schools have incorporated includes a flat rate for a semester of tuition as opposed to paying per course/credit.

For students to be on track to graduate in 4 years, students should pace themselves by taking (5) 3 credit hour classes a semester (15 credit hours total a semester). To graduate even earlier or if you find that taking 5 classes a semester simply isn’t compatible with your schedule, most universities offer a summer semester in which you are able to take 2 or 3 classes over the course of 2 months in order to keep on track to graduate in your choice timeframe.



Ward, Lisa. “The High Price of Not Completing College in Four Years.” The Wall Street Journal,                    Dow Jones & Company, 8 June 2017.

College Rankings

Emory University is ranked #21 in the 2018 edition of “Best Colleges: National Universities”. Harvard University is ranked #1. The University of New Mexico is ranked #181.

We get so caught up in these numbers, likely because they are easy for us to understand. There’s something wrong with this. The whole college experience cannot be measured by a series of data points, and everyone is different—including the researchers that take the data as you will notice that the rankings differ among the different companies that join in on the ranking hype and contribute their findings and data points.

Student A may desire to attend a college with a well known basketball team because he plans to join the team. He also wants to attend a school in a small college-town located no more than an hour drive from his parents house; he also wants his school to have an excellent exercise science program.

Student B may desire to attend a single-sex college near the beach that has a superb choral program as she aspires to be a choral conductor.

Student C is only attending college because her parents will be disappointed if she doesn’t, so she is going to attend and make the most of her situation by embracing the social scene. Her major is undeclared; all she cares about is going to a college that has top-notch greek life. She has her eye on Phi Mu.

All three of these students are looking for completely different characteristics in their college search.

My point is that we should look at the rankings, consider them slightly, then let them go as we realize that the aspects that were important to the researchers who took and calculated the data in order to find the rankings may not be concerned with aspects that you or your student may be concerned with. Just like no two students are the same, no two schools are the same—much less able to be set on a ranking scale.

Senior Application Checklist

Seniors, please work toward crossing off all items on this application checklist:

__ SAT (i.e. subject tests)—If you believe that your score is not representative of your abilities, try a different studying method (ex: a tutor, SAT practice online or from the SAT practice book) and retake the test.
__ ACT—Even though your school may not require you to take both the SAT and ACT, it is a good idea to take both. Some students do better on the SAT than the ACT and vice versa.
__ Transcript—Please make sure that either you or your school’s guidance counselor has sent your colleges your transcript.
__ Teacher Recommendation(s)—If possible, you want to ask for recommendations from teachers who not only know your abilities academically but know your character. Colleges like to see these recommendations because they say what grades and test scores cannot.
__ School Recommendation
__ Application



What is FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is an application that must be filed annually as it determines the amount of financial aid you are eligible to recieve.

When should I file mine?

A FAFSA can be filed for the 2018-2019 academic year any time between October 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019; however, it is best to go ahead and submit yours as close to October 1st as possible. This is not something you want to put on the back burner and risk forgetting about. Know filling out the application is not necessarily a quick process. Set aside an hour or so to complete your application.

Please visit on or after October 1st to create your account and begin your application.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Cumulative Numeric Average:
1.) Add up all of your class grades
NOTE: Use the grade from your transcript as each school differs in how many points (if any) are added to AP and Honors classes
2.) Divide the total from step 1 by the number of classes you have taken (include all classes listed on your transcript, including any failed classes)
3.) This value is out of 100

Academic GPA:
MOST colleges use the scale of A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, F=0
1.) Go through each of your ACADEMIC classes on your transcript and assign each of them a number according to the scale above (ex: if you made a 94 in science class, assign that class a 4 because it’s an A)
2.) Add all of the assigned the numbers from step 1 up. Divide the total by the number of ACADEMIC classes taken. This will give you your estimated academic GPA.
3.) If your college adds additional points for Honors or AP classes, do so. If you are getting your grades off your transcript and your high school adds a certain amount of points to Honors and AP classes but your college doesn’t add points, be sure to take those points off of the individual classes before assigning them a 4-0.
NOTE: This is simply a common way of calculating Academic GPA; however, each college may calculate their GPAs differently. Please contact your college’s Office of Admissions to inquire about how they calculate their GPAs.

HOPE/Zell Miller GPA:
To qualify for HOPE, students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. To qualify for Zell Miller, students must have a 3.7 GPA or higher.
1.) If looking at a transcript to find grades, remove all extra points that have been added for Honors or AP classes (if applicable).
2.) Find all HOPE eligible classes. Not all classes are counted in this equation.
3.) Assign final grades of classes (without additional Honor/AP points) a 4 if an A (100-90), 3 if B (89-80), 2 if C (79-70), or a 0 if F (69-0).
4.) Add .5 to any AP or college classes. (ex: if you made a 96 in AP science class, assign that class a 4 because it’s an A, but then assign the .5 because it’s an AP class = 4.5)
5.) Add up all of the numbers assigned to each grade in step 4 (including the .5 for each AP or college class). Divide this total by the number of HOPE eligible classes you have taken.

Common App Tips

The 2017-2018 Common App launched August 1. The Common App supplies you with some tidbits to get the ball rolling when using this handy app:

Roll your information over. If you had logged into the Common App prior to August 1st, you will be asked if you’d like to “roll it over”. If you choose “yes”, you will be walked through 3 steps in order to access your data. The 3 steps are as follows:
To begin… Sign into your account using the same email and password that you created your account with. You will be asked a few questions and the roll over process will begin.

Check out your dashboard. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your dashboard simply because you will need to check it numerous times throughout the application process.

Look over your Common App account. You can click the “Common App” tab to begin crafting/continue crafting your application. You may find that some of your information such as questions as to your job, family, and some testing scores have failed to roll over—that’s completely normal. You are re-asked these questions because student’s answers tend to change from year-to-year.

Look over the updated essay prompts. You will find that in addition to the 5 essay prompts from last year, there are 2 more new ones. It would be wise to begin looking over them, thinking about which topic best suits you, and then begin thinking of ideas to make your essay stand out among the rest.
Create the best work possible. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed simply because the app went live August 1st. It’s imperative to take your time and pace yourself in order to produce the highest quality work. Also, don’t forget to have others review your work before submitting it.
Know that Common App support is available to you 24/7. Help is only an email away: . Additionally, you can follow @CommonApp & #CommonApp on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay in the loop regarding news and updates.

Happy applying! (Common App, 2017)

Performing & Visual Arts College Fair

On September 25th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, NACAC Performing and Visual Arts college fair will connect you to colleges and universities with majors for students passionate about the arts, as well as other specialized arts programs.

REGISTER FOR FREE here to receive fair details, avoid lines outside, and share your contact information with your choice schools.


How to Reduce Stress – College Admissions

Jill Madenberg is a college admission professional who knows the college process like the back of her hand. Through many years of helping parents and students through this often anxious and stressful time, she has come up with some tips and tricks for those going through the process in order to reduce stress:

1. There are around 4,000 colleges in the country. If you want to go to college and you are willing to put in the work, you will get into schools that would love to have you.

2. Parents tend to stress out their students by lovingly bombarding them with questions and deadlines. Designate one hour a week to discuss the college process. Sundays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. seem to work well. Parents are not allowed to discuss or ask their student anything regarding the process outside of this window unless the student brings it up first.

3. Upcoming high school seniors: It’s crucial to relax over the summer; however, it is also crucial to make a dent in your college admissions work. Otherwise, senior year will be even more stressful than necessary.

4. Making a real visible difference in a group or club looks better on a resume than a “president” or “secretary” position. Don’t get hung up on a big title. Remain authentic.

5. Be open to looking beyond the schools your classmates and friends are going to. You can have the most wonderful experience at a school you didn’t even know existed. Schools try and create diversity through accepting students from all around the world.

Don’t allow the process to overwhelm you. It can be happy and exciting if you allow it to be!

Oglethorpe University Hosts Workshops


The Oglethorpe Office of Admissions is hosting a few upcoming events, and YOU are invited! Be sure to mark your calendars as these events are designed to help you through the most complex parts of the college application process—you won’t want to miss them!

On Saturday, September 30th there will be a college essay writing workshop, hosted by published author, Betty Londergan. During this empowering interactive workshop, you will be given tips and tricks as to how to most effectively communicate your story in your application. If interested in this event, please RSVP here.

Later in the Fall, there will be a series of financial planning & fast application workshops. The goal of these workshops is to help you complete your application and equip parents with financial strategies for success. Admission Counselors will help students complete their applications and ensure that all admission requirements are completed. Additionally, parents will hear from both Oglethorpe University’s Director of Financial Aid and a financial planner—both of whom will provide valuable content about how to claim your state and federal awards, leverage current investments, and minimize debt. Registration for this informative event will begin September 15th.

To learn more about these events, please click here.

I hope you’ll take advantage of these awesome opportunities!

If You Handwrite Your Notes, You Might Be Ahead of Your Peers!

Technology is so wonderful. Thankfully, I have my laptop to my type notes on. My professor lectures at the speed of light, so without my Mac I could only dream of being able to keep up with his speed when I’m taking my notes, much less retain the information… If you’re of this mentality, then science has some news for you:

In a recent study, psychologists sat two groups of students down in front of a TED Talk to take notes: one group taking notes on their laptops while the other group did it the good ole’ fashion way—with a college ruled notebook and pencil. The two groups were then tested on how much information they were able to retain from the video. As far as remembering dates and such, the results were pretty equal among the two groups; however, when it came to conceptual thinking, the students who had handwritten their notes surpassed those with the lean, clean technology machines. This is due to the simple fact that when you handwrite your notes, it is undoubtedly slower so we are forced to summarize the information into our own terms. This is a second step of processing that we aren’t afforded when typing notes simply because, with a laptop, we have the time to type the professor’s wording out almost verbatim.

Though you may not get every word down in your notes, the extra step of processing sure goes a long way. Perhaps we should consider cutting out “note taking” in our laptop’s job description in order to get the most out of the lectures. Read the full article by clicking here.