Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: College Common Sense


My kiddos are 7th grade, 4th grade, and 2nd grade. That seems way too early to be thinking about college, right? But I know it will be here before I know it and College Common Sense wants to help parents prepare, and not be caught off guard with the ridiculous high costs of college, which will be here before we know it. I was given Going to College and Paying for it Online Video and Workbook to review, and honestly, was completely unsure about how this would relate to my kids at their ages, but excited about hearing the information.

denise amesDenise C. Ames is a Financial Aid Consultant, who is passionate about helping young people find money for college. When I first heard we were going to review this, I signed up for her free lesson plans and free newsletter. I wanted to start checking it out and seeing what I was getting into. ;) There is a wealth of valuable information in these and on her blog that she offers totally free. I was very impressed already and looking forward to getting the subscription to check it out too. Along with the Going to College and Paying for it Online Video and Workbook which is $25 for a 12 month subscription, she also offers the Going to College and Paying for it DVD and Workbook which is $50 + $5 shipping.

The series is divided into 6 videos that are roughly 20 minutes each, and include an accompanying PDF workbook. The topics are:

1 - The Big Picture
2 - How Financial Aid Works
3 - All About the Free Money
4 -  The System that Works
5 - You in the Process
6 - Pull it all Together

Your subscription gives you access to all of these for the whole year. 

There is a short intro document that lays out the program and has instructions for completeing the activities. She suggests that you get a scholorship binder and a spiral to do your assignments in. She divides the assignments into different groups:

A. Parents of students of elementary school age
B. Parents AND students of middle school age
C. Parents and students of high school age
D. Parents and students of college age 

Since my kids are younger (A and early B), I decided to watch the videos first on my own, then have them do the assignments that applied to them. Like anything though, when the kids hear sound, any sound, coming from the computer, they all come trickling in to see what they are missing - lol. The videos are simple with Ms. Ames speaking, though she does put some of the information she is discussing on the screen too. The kids didn't last long - haha! I ended up listening to each of them on my own.They weren't very exciting for kids. ;)

The video covers all the info in the workbooks, but she adds on to explain it all and help it make more sense. I highly recommend following along in the workbooks and making notes as you go. I printed them out and put them in the front of our binder. Video 4 describes how to set up a binder to use for tracking the scholorships, etc. This is something that I will continue to build over the years since they are so young now. I also added in loose leaf paper to act as the "spiral" she mentions so we could keep it all together and not lose anything.

Now for my opinion - these videos are full of fantastic information. She says the program is for elementary age children on up. Honestly, think it is more for parents of elementary age on up ;) Even C, in 7th grade, has no idea what he wants his major to be or what college he wants to attend.  I had a very hard time getting any of the three to do the activities. It was more ME doing them for them. We completed the All About Me page together, as described in the All About Free Money Video, but again, it was mostly me doing the "work." I do think that it is good information for all parents to hear. I like how she encourages you to find your child's strengths - never too young to start looking for those!

I think if you have children 9th grade or up, you should make them sit with you and watch it and do the activities. They are definitely thinking more about what they want to be and where they want to go to school  at that age and will have more input for you.

Listening to these brought back a lot of memories from when I was preparing for college. I had no idea what I was doing, and my parents didn't either. I wonder how much money we let slip through our fingers! She mentioned that there are over 40,000 scholarships out there, waiting to be taken! I had no idea. The more I listened, the more excited I got. It is almost like a game to try to acquire money for college! Maybe finding "free money" will help take some of the sting out of the kids heading to college.

Click here or on the banner below to read more reviews from other Crew members.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts!!