Accepting applications for 9th and 10th graders. Limited availability for 11th graders.

Your "Burning Questions" About the SAT and ACT

Top of the morning,

Quick reminder that we're doing a live, unscripted Q&A tonight on everything you need to know about the SAT and ACT, especially in the face of the confusion, half-truths and urban legends about the world of test-optional policies.

Wondering which test is best?  We'll help you figure that out tonight.

Wondering which test colleges prefer?  Ditto.

Other issues on tap include:

*Are high school teachers who moonlight as SAT or ACT tutors best suited to help you "crush" the test?

*Should you allow the College Board to send your SAT score to colleges, no charge?

*Do colleges see how many times your kiddo  took the SAT or ACT?

*Do colleges care how many times she took the SAT (or ACT)?

*How many times does he need to take the SAT or ACT?

Tonight, we will answer these and any of your "Burning Questions" about the SAT or ACT, when you join me and our head tutor, Marissa U, for our SAT and ACT Town Hall meeting.

You can pre-submit your...

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SAT and ACT "Town Hall"

The latest ACT scores have started coming out, and the Internet is abuzz with questions and comments like:

*Why was her score so low?  She's got a 94 average in school!

*Should we take the SAT instead?

*Which one do colleges want?

*Is there any point in taking the SAT or ACT?  Aren't colleges test optional these days?

*How many times does he need to take the SAT or ACT?

*Do colleges see how many times he took it (SAT or ACT)?

*Is it OK to sing a sad song with an upbeat tempo?

*Do colleges care how many times she took the SAT (or ACT)?

Just kidding about that second to last one, I wanted to check if you were reading all the way down there.

Tomorrow night, we will answer these and any of your "Burning Questions" about the SAT or ACT, or college admissions, scholarships, financial aid if you insist.  I'm hauling in our head tutor, Marissa U, for our first ever SAT and ACT Town Hall meeting.

You can pre-submit your questions ahead of time (as opposed to...

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FAFSA Problems, Boston College Negotiation, More!

Good morning!

We're hitting the airwaves this morning -- 10:00am EST --  for College Coffee Talk, our live show about college admissions and financial aid news that you can use!  

Here's what's on tap for today:

*A long list of FAFSA problems

*Boston College Negotiation Case Study

*Your questions!

Join us on our Facebook page,, or click this big blue button:



Grab a cup of joe and we'll see you at 10am EST (recorded if you can't make it).  This is a great opportunity for Q&A, live, free college coaching, anything goes!

- Andy "Java Jive" Lockwood

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11th Graders' Workshop Starting Now

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About Tonight's Meeting for 11th graders

Webinar Tutoring  

I just finished tweaking tonight's "encore" presentation, "Late Stage College Planning for Juniors" and have been patting myself on the back since, because of all of the clever phrases and analogies I came up with.  Here's a few, submitted for your approval:

"The college process is like a train, it comes into the station and leaves the station, whether or not you are 'ready.'"

"There is life beyond the same Rear Window Sticker Colleges that everyone applies to"

"Each college application must have a 'Thread of Continuity' that runs through it, tying everything together"

There's a whole lot more where they came from, I'm merely scratching the surface (who's excited now????)!

If you're getting sick to your stomach about where to even get started in the process of making a list of colleges that your kiddo can even get into...

...i.e. are there any "Safety Schools" any more?  Or...

Do I have a snowball's chance in hell at...

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Gameplan for 11th Graders

Webinar Tutoring  

A client, Ava, just got into her Early Decision college.  Everything went silky smooth, and there wasn't a hint of a scintilla of any drama whatsoever during the 10 months we worked together.


Here's what really went down.  Literally the day before she got the GREAT news, Ava's mom and I spoke on the phone for about 25 minutes.  Most of the conversation was along the lines of:

*She's so bummed out, she doesn't think she's going to get into a "good school"

*None of her friends are getting into their top choice colleges, she's really, really nervous"

*What can we do, while we wait to hear from [College]? Anything?"

*When I ask her anything, she yells "I don't want to talk about it, mom!" and leaves the room.

That was Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I logged into my email, to see "I GOT IN!" screaming at me at the top of my inbox.

It's quite a roller coaster, this college admissions game.  You're down in the dumps one day,...

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Get this right now for 10% off [Warning: bad puns inside]

Good eeeeeve-a-ning...


(I know it's morning, just go with it.)


My undead but lovely Countess Pearlticia and I have never done anything like this in our 350+ years together, but right now, you can invite us (careful!) into your corner to help you conquer the FAFSA, CSS Profile and all other of your financial aid demons for 10% off  - AND claim a big fat bonus (see below)!



Why are we doing this goofy Halloween sale and gutting our prices?  

  1. It’s our way to say “thank you” for being part of our community and helping refer and otherwise spread the word about our college planning services
  2. It’s indisputable that this is one giant, MONSTA of a deal!  We actually lowered our many businesses do THAT????  (There’s a recession out there in case you didn’t notice.)
  3. Pearl, the mother of our four “Children Of The Night,” prepares approximately 400 of our clients' financial...
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Hunter's 529


Apparently First Son Hunter Biden used about $40,000 of his daughter's 529 college savings fund for drugs and prostitutes, according to the IRS. 

These are not "Qualified Higher Education" expenses under the Department of Treasury Rules, so I can see why they're miffed.

Here are some other, non-qualified things you can do with your 529:

  • Fund a Super PAC
  • Purchase jet skis
  • Buy crypto through Sam Bankman-Fried

Proper use of the 529 is pretty much limited to direct college expenses, such as tuition, rent, books and even laptops. 

I don't know if Hunter used his 529 for The Laptop.  He would not turn my calls.

But here's the thing about the 529...

In financial aid, it PENALIZES, meaning, reduces your eligibility for aid.   Pretty weird, right?

One one hand, the government incentivizes you to save for college by creating the 529 plan.  

On the other hand, if you actually DO save money this way, you'll receive less financial...

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Watch Out -- Financial Aid High Jinks

Good morning!

I'm in the midst of three college drop-offs over a grueling,10 day stretch, but wanted to tell you about two financial aid-related stories that caught my bleary eyes over the past couple of days.

The first was about alleged price fixing among elite colleges.

The second related to incredible, nauseating amounts of cash spent by public universities on the most STUPID stuff.

Sadly, neither of these stories is breaking news. This stuff has been going on longer than the 21+ years I've been a college advisor.  

The first story was about U Chicago paying $13.5M to settle allegations of financial aid price-fixing.  I'm embarrassed to say that I don't quite get the plaintiff's point. According to the summary I read, it looked like the allegation was that U Chicago colluded with 16 colleges, including Brown, Columbia, MIT and Duke. 

But the collusion was not about U Chicago sharing their applicants' files and coming up with identical awards, they way the...

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The Nitty Gritty About Scholarships

If you like money, you'll want to watch the interview I just did with my friend and colleague, scholarship search expert and bundle of energy Jean O'Toole.

Here's the scoop on what we covered:

  • What's the deal with those weirdo, gimmicky, obscure or just plain wack-a-doo special scholarships that everyone talks about?
  • Which scholarship search websites are actually worth spending time on?
  • How to sniff out a scholarship scam and avoid getting ripped off
  • The best time to start your search for scholarships (this will surprise you)
  • The oddball reason corporations need you to take their scholarship money
  • How to win a scholarship for an "Invisible Disability"
  • A ninja way to "raid" high school scholarships -- Pretty sneaky, sis!
  • Are there really scholarships for families who don't qualify for financial aid?
  • The biggest mistake families make in the scholarship search process
  • More

This was a high energy, high octane interview, so I hope you check it out and get ready to take a whole lotta...

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Before your click outta here, can you answer this college application question...

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...or will he or she risk losing out to another competitor-applicant, who did what it takes to stand out on the college applications and essays?

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