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Did you know that billions of dollars in scholarships go unused each year?  For twenty years, I’ve counseled college students and their parents.  The most frequent question parents ask is where can I find scholarships for college?  The rising cost of college is causing tensions to rise across the country because parents cannot afford to send their sons/daughters to the four-year college of their choice.  When parents receive information regarding their student’s financial aid award, they learn that they must find $5,000-$10,000 to fund their child’s education.  One family sought after money by hiring a $1,000 scholarship consultant.  Later the parents discovered that by researching the internet they could discover the scholarships on their own. 

     When parents ask how soon they should begin to look for scholarships, my first response is the ninth grade.  By the time that your son/daughter reaches 11th grade, they should have a binder containing scholarship information.  When your son/daughter reaches 11th grade they should begin to send out scholarship letters to organizations that allow for early submissions.  Let the summer before senior year provide you with an opportunity to send out hundreds of scholarship forms and letters.  In fact, here are 12 ways that a student can begin to uncover the 90 billion dollars in scholarships:

  1. Send a letter to your local college fraternity of sorority requesting information about their scholarship.
  2. Contact your local rotary club to ask about their scholarship application.
  3. Visit your local legislator’s office to inquire about new scholarships offered by the state or federal government office 
  4. Visit local stores (i.e. Home Depot, CVS, super markets) to inquire about scholarships.
  5. Contact local colleges to ask about a free list of scholarships that they offer
  6. Visit the internet and conduct a search for scholarships. Some of the topics you can enter include (free money, scholarships, college financial aid, money for            college, free scholarship, government grants of scholarships etc…)
  7. Ask your local religious organizations about scholarships 
  8. Start a family scholarship fund that allows family members to contribute funds.    Set limits on the amount of money a family member can request.
  9. Ask your employer about scholarships offered to children of employees.
  10. Ask your company’s credit union representative about scholarships that they offer to students.
  11. Enter writing/essay contests for college bound students. Look for opportunities in            magazines like the Writer’s Digest and others.
  12. Students can make a scholarship appeal on a local radio program and receive funding from their listeners.

If you implement these steps, you have the potential to uncover billions of dollars of hidden scholarships.  Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized speaker and author of “Seven Secrets of How to Study, offers 100 scholarship websites in his book.  You can send an e-mail to You can contact Dr. Jones free at 1-610-544-5480








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8 Rules for Selecting a College

During the senior year parents engage in the annual ritual and conversation about selecting a college. Today college cost is frequently at the top of the list of issues that parent’s must confront. Even today money should not be the only reason that you select a college for your student. Your student’s ability to live within the philosophy of a college can make a big difference in their success. Sure colleges can put up an advertisement and send you a mailing every week but there is nothing like visiting a campus and talking to the faculty and students who’ve made a commitment to a particular college. The truth is there are over 6,000 colleges that a student can select from and all change in size and mission. Some colleges are owned by your state, some private and others are community colleges.

There are eight rules that will help you to select a college that fits your needs. There are some simple rules that you can follow to reduce your stress. These practices will help you to make a reasonable decision about the top colleges that you select. Here are the 8 rules:

  1. When you go on a college tour always arrange a meeting with a faculty member and student.
  2. Always talk to the financial aid office after you have received their financial aid package.
  3. Attend a classroom lecture to get a sense of the class sizes.
  4. Check out what students are saying about the college on the internet.
  5. Ask if advising is mandatory or voluntary. Advisors can be a critical part of a student’s success.
  6. Ask if their professors teach classes or mostly teaching assistants.
  7. Ask how many students from your high school have attended the college. It could be a sign that your former classmates really liked the college.
  8. Take several friends with you and go on a campus tour together. Sometimes it is good to get more than one perspective on the college you are visiting.

It is never too early to start your college search process. Colleges are putting out all kinds of information every day. You can go on some college websites and download videos and podcasts about the college. Some colleges also offer website recordings of several aspects of the college. Some colleges even offer a virtual tour of their campus.

You should find ways to creatively engage in conversations with their students and alumni. You want to know how happy they are about their college experience. It’s even better when you can talk with students who are in a particular major. They can share their success and also talk about their challenges with their major. The beauty of a campus is not the only thing to consider. You want your son/daughter to have an enjoyable experience. Take the time to compare the colleges you have selected and what they offer.

Another thing that you can do is pick up a few books that the faculty has written. These writings will reveal their opinions and thoughts. It is a great way to know if the faculty is keeping up with current trends. Get started to day and you will have an easier time making a college decision that you won’t regret.

Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized author who has written the “Seven Secrets of How to Study.” “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide,” and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide.  Get these books for your home right away.  You can contact him at 610-842-3843 and at or visit

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Athletes Drop Out Rate a Crisis in the Making

Springfield, Pa.  According to Dr. Stephen Jones each year more than 50 percent of African American students drop out of high school and college. This has a significant impact on athletes who play sports.  The drop out rate is greatly affected by poor college preparation and study skills. The lack of academic preparation is evident in middle school and high school. Too often athletes are accepted to college without the preparation they need to graduate. The student athletes’ athletic prowess is valued more than their intellectual abilities. Some athletes are also blindsided when they uncover the huge academic deficits when they start college classes. This crisis will continue because of the abundance of athletes who can replace the athlete who is in academic difficulty.

This problem must be attacked head on. Athletes deserve to be prepared to succeed at all levels. The NCAA requires colleges to have an academic support center. Unfortunately often the academic gap is too large even for the tutors that are assigned to students.  Although these students have graduated from high school these students arrive to college academically three and four years behind their peers. Middle schools and high school students must get academically caught up prior to enrolling in the college. Many of these students are coming from schools that are not making academic progress. There are some very basic elements of the education process that are critical for students to succeed in college and they include the ability to read and compute.

This crisis is not one that we can ignore. Too many extremely bright African Americans are ending up in prison. This includes former college athletes who do not have a degree.  Every so many weeks it seems that there is an article about some athlete who is escorted into a court room and sent to jail. This is especially detrimental when they leave a stable wife and children to make it by themselves. This foretells a disastrous educational outcome for their children who cannot afford to attend the better schools.

 Some organizations and colleges are tracking the exceptional student athlete as early as ten and twelve year old. Yet attention and devotion to ensuring that they maintain high levels of academic performance is given little attention. It seems that there is a viscous cycle of poor study skills and academic preparation that’s repeated in inner city communities throughout the country. A fundamental academic requirement must be established for athletes early in their K 12 experience. Colleges and school districts must make a greater commitment to these students. There must be a break in the pattern of the deepening despair that has become a viscous cycle for so many athletes who do not graduate. Too many families can point to athletes in their family who have never competed a high school diploma or college degree. 

The same energy that is used to identify talented athletes should be used to help athletes to become scholars.  We need to let athletes know that they are required to study and earn the best grade. Creating a forum where parents can get a better understanding of their role to help students to get good grades should be encouraged. School district must identify staff who will work with the athletes to make sure that they are competing in the classroom. The athletes often need a course in time management because their game schedules are so crazy. Each school should have meetings to plan how they will better serve athletes so that they can go to college and have the academic skills to graduate.


Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized author who has written the “Seven Secrets of How to Study, the Ultimate Scholarship Guide and the “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide.”  You can contact him at 610-842-3843 and at


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Each year thousands of students enter high school thinking about their future. They want to know the best courses to get ready for college.  They may be the first person in their family to consider college and they are not familiar with Advanced Placement (AP) courses. What is an Advanced Placement (AP) course? It is a rigorous course that gives high school students an opportunity to experience college level instruction. Students who take an Advanced Placement test at the end of the year and score a 4 or 5 are eligible to be given college credit. They are rewarded for demonstrating the knowledge that they’ve obtained while in their high school classes. Most students say studying for an AP test is more intense but it is worth it. 

What are the secrets to performing well in an AP course or on an AP test? A student should not wait until their senior year to take all AP courses. The amount of work will overwhelm the student who is enrolled in too many AP classes. A better goal is for each student to challenge themselves to take two or more courses each year.  Each student must ask themselves how hard they are willing to study and to prepare for tests. There are ten benefits that you will receive from enrolling in an AP course:

  1. Advanced placement classes prepare you for the rigor of college '

      2, You will do more and learn more in each of your AP classes

  1. Your instructor will know how to challenge you to get you prepared for college

      4. You will get better preparation for college level math and science classes 

  1.  You will improve your writing skills

      6.  You will be more prepared to have greater success during your first year of college

  1. You will position yourself to earn a 4 or 5 on the AP test at the end of the school year

      8. You benefit from getting more motivated to pursue a college degree

  1.   Start reading and researching a significant amount of information on each class subject 

      10. You’ll gain confidence in your ability to succeed on challenging tests


It is important to be prepared for every AP class. To avoid the pitfalls of procrastination you need to find a quiet place to study.  Devote yourself to researching and asking questions during your classes. You should seek to be very clear on assignments and know the teachers expectation for the class. Create an effective study skills plan that starts with organizing all of your learning materials, books and notes. Begin with the end in mind. Determine what you would like to learn from each course and what grades you want to achieve. Instead of making plans to study at the last minute follow a calendar. Students who want to perform well in AP classes must study for each test at least three to five days ahead of the scheduled test.

When you follow these strategies you are on your way to earning A+ grades in your AP class.  There is one more thing that is a vital factor in your success. You must have a positive attitude and expectation that you will earn a good grade during your AP class. Approach each class believing that you are going to earn an A+ grade and you will be on your way down the road to a successful academic year.


Launch into each study session with enthusiasm and excitement about the new information that you will uncover. It’s important to invest additional quality time studying every day. Remember the formula for success in an AP class is a commitment to critical thinking every day without losing your motivation to pursue your college dream.  Dr. Stephen Jones is an education advocate and author of the Seven Secrets of How to Study and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide. Go on the internet at to order a book or to order by telephone call 610-544-5480.


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10 Terrible Mistakes new College Students Make

Every year millions of students go off to college with all kinds of hopes and dreams.  During their high school graduation they are told the future is bright.  As is common with any new experiences there are a lot of adjustments that students must make.  There are a lot of encounters with roommates and adjustments for different ways of living.  For example one student might be very accustomed to a clean room while the other likes to leave their clothes wherever they take them off.  This is a common occurrence on a college campus.  A good book for a college freshman is “Who Moved My Cheese” By Spencer Johnson.  There will be plenty of changes during the freshman year. The first year of college is a significant time when students grow and change emotionally and intellectually.  Here are a few mistakes college need to consider:                                   

  1. Regularly arrive to classes late during the first month

      2.Avoid tutoring because they already had the material during high school

  1. Study difficult subjects by themselves

      4. Avoid professors who encourage you to come to office hours for help

  1. Eat unhealthy meals gain 30 pounds and feel sluggish all of the time

      6. Avoid the resident assistant because they might ask how your classes are going

      7.  Only meet the faculty advisor when it is time to get the classes for next semester

      8. Never go to the lectures that are offered by your department

  1. Don’t participate in fun activities and sporting events on campus

     10. Never organize a study groups to study with


Attending college can be one of the most challenging experiences in life.  I have met many students in college who do not take advantage of services like tutoring and learning how to study from a counselor.  College should be a time of exploration where a student can find out many things about themselves.  A new student shouldn’t let other students tell them what to do when to have fun rather than study.  A first year student can have a challenging first year by failing to manage the number of activities that they are involved in.

Each student should allow their year to be a time of seeking new information about themselves and their career. They should not get distracted by those who tell them that college is too hard and you should drop out. If they are not exactly sure about their career they can take a career test at the college’s career center.  Sometimes just by talking to a company representative a student can identify some area of interest.  For example did many math majors are hired by an insurance company or finance company?  The freshman year is not too early to visit the career center. It may help the student to stay focused on their goal to graduate

Going to college is a great way to take the limits off of a student’s career possibilities. When a student meets professors in they are building a relationship that could last for four years.  There may be questions that your professor is willing to answer when a student is in their office. You can build a good reputation as a student who is serious about your major. Each student should challenge themselves to avoid the mistakes that will prevent them from having a good first year in college.  Make this freshman year a success by exploring all of your options and getting help when it is necessary. Dr Stephen Jones is education consultant author of three books the Seven Secrets of How to Study available at .


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