College and Career Ready with Coach Sonia

52. Maximizing Financial Aid: FAFSA Updates, Scholarship Strategies, and Money-Saving Tips w/the College Funding Queen

October 31, 2023 Sonia Cacique
52. Maximizing Financial Aid: FAFSA Updates, Scholarship Strategies, and Money-Saving Tips w/the College Funding Queen
College and Career Ready with Coach Sonia
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College and Career Ready with Coach Sonia
52. Maximizing Financial Aid: FAFSA Updates, Scholarship Strategies, and Money-Saving Tips w/the College Funding Queen
Oct 31, 2023
Sonia Cacique

Are you ready to cut through the haze of confusion that often surrounds the question of HOW TO PAY FOR COLLEGE? Join us in a conversation with renowned higher education expert, Abisola Ude, aka the College Funding Queen. She has been featured on ABC News, Fox News, CNBC, and so many other news outlets and today she is here to share her tips and tricks with the College & Career Ready Community!

A passionate advocate for educational equity, unravels common misconceptions about this journey, emphasizing the importance of starting your financial aid process early and making smart choices in your college selection.

Listen to this episode and get ahead of the game.  Be one of the first to listen and empower yourself. We talked about topics that many aren't openly speaking about. Join us!

Ways to connect with the College Funding Queen:
Instagram
TikTok
Website

Send us a Text Message.


Career Connections Summer Course

✔ Define interests, abilities & career goals ✔ Explore employment opportunities and trends 
✔ Create your LinkedIn profile ✔ Establish S.M.A.R.T goals  ✔ Create a personalized roadmap

It is a 5-week Self-Paced Online Course w/ Weekly Virtual Group Sessions; first group session starts July 15th.

For more info: www.CollegeCareerReady.org/Course


Connect with Sonia Cacique
LinkedIn
Instagram

Join our College and Career Connections Club for free at www.CollegeCareerReady.org/join

"Stay well, be present, and enjoy the journey"



Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you ready to cut through the haze of confusion that often surrounds the question of HOW TO PAY FOR COLLEGE? Join us in a conversation with renowned higher education expert, Abisola Ude, aka the College Funding Queen. She has been featured on ABC News, Fox News, CNBC, and so many other news outlets and today she is here to share her tips and tricks with the College & Career Ready Community!

A passionate advocate for educational equity, unravels common misconceptions about this journey, emphasizing the importance of starting your financial aid process early and making smart choices in your college selection.

Listen to this episode and get ahead of the game.  Be one of the first to listen and empower yourself. We talked about topics that many aren't openly speaking about. Join us!

Ways to connect with the College Funding Queen:
Instagram
TikTok
Website

Send us a Text Message.


Career Connections Summer Course

✔ Define interests, abilities & career goals ✔ Explore employment opportunities and trends 
✔ Create your LinkedIn profile ✔ Establish S.M.A.R.T goals  ✔ Create a personalized roadmap

It is a 5-week Self-Paced Online Course w/ Weekly Virtual Group Sessions; first group session starts July 15th.

For more info: www.CollegeCareerReady.org/Course


Connect with Sonia Cacique
LinkedIn
Instagram

Join our College and Career Connections Club for free at www.CollegeCareerReady.org/join

"Stay well, be present, and enjoy the journey"



Speaker 1:

Welcome to the College and Career Ready podcast, your go-to resource for all things related to preparing our students for success in their college and career journey. My name is Sonia Casique and I will be your host and guide on this exciting journey toward the bright future. Our mission is simple who empower our parents and students by elevating their confidence and resourcefulness? We believe that you deserve all the tools and support necessary to open the doors to endless possibilities of success, and with our community, you don't have to do this alone, so come with me and let's get started. Welcome to the College and Career Ready podcast.

Speaker 1:

In today's episode we have Abisola Ude. She is a higher education speaker and advocate for educational equity for minority students. She has a passion for education equity, but began early on with federal relations, tackling education issues, students faced from higher education and access to retention due to a lack of supplemental services and financial aid. She actually served two terms on the Education Advisory Committee for the City of Laurel and now she is headlining professional conferences and events with a variety of audiences, with sessions on navigating financial aid, the power of self-advocacy and so much more. So we are very delighted to have her here today because she's going to be sharing with us some very important topics for students and parents. Abisola, can you go ahead and introduce yourself to our audience and tell us a little bit about your professional crown?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, of course. So again, my name is Abisola Ude, also known on social media as the College Funding Queen. I am a native of the DMV area, but I definitely love to support families nationally, and this support started from my own academic journey. So I studied government relations and then also went on to study public policy and then so through my time I've been able to work at different universities as I was studying for my master's etc. And in my time in higher education I found that there was just like this pocket of needs, supplemental services, so that kind of got everything jump started with the College Funding Queen, etc. But, yep, I have a background in government relations, specifically tackling educational issues, and then, of course, on top of that, have a higher education background. I currently manage national programs and yeah, it's a little bit about me.

Speaker 1:

I love it. I love it. Why don't you? Can you tell us a little bit about what you had in mind when you were pursuing your degree, because I hear from your story that this is something you saw after the fact, like when you were doing your degree, that you're like, ooh, there is a need here, but what made you go into the specific career path?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, sure, so funny enough, I actually wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up.

Speaker 2:

When I was younger, so I actually wanted to be a lawyer, but I just decided that I think studying political science, government relations is different words, essentially per university. But that was a good pathway for that, but also because I loved advocating, so I thought I was going to be a lawyer and or lobbyist, essentially for an organization, things like that. But just like life would have it, during my time at my undergraduate university I found myself needing to advocate for myself regarding financial aid, and I saw a lot of my friends and others around me essentially had the same issue. Like they had these dreams and goals that they desired, but they didn't have the funding to remain in school, so some of them had to drop out, some of them had to take on huge loans, all these different things. But I learned how to advocate for myself so that neither of the two would happen, and so going into that basically made me want to go into public policy, specifically education policy and looking at different supplemental programs.

Speaker 2:

So that's when I went on to do my master's in economic and education policy and learn just a lot of the back end things that can support a student's education, so that they won't be in the places where myself and my friends were essentially so I ended up leading a dual enrollment program, so that was for high school students who were also in college, and during that time I was able to then teach them the things, the tools that I myself was using, of self advocacy, so that when they do get into the space of undergrad, of course the number one issue for why folks are one of the top issues, why folks can't continue and retain in college, is because of financial aid.

Speaker 2:

But it's great that we have all the different supplemental programs that like help with tutoring and things of that nature. The tutoring will go, but so far if they can't afford to remain in college. So that's pretty much to answer your question why and how I went through that process choosing what I majored in and what I continue to study in while in school and then leading up to what I do now.

Speaker 1:

Essentially, yeah, thank you for sharing that, because I always like to broaden the eyes of parents and students about the many opportunities that are out there, and sometimes self discovery is in the process. A lot of high school students feel like they have to figure out all life planned out for the rest of the next 10 to 15 years in high school, and sometimes you get to experience things in college that really just exposes you to other things that you never even thought of. I love that.

Speaker 2:

Definitely.

Speaker 1:

Super. Thank you for sharing that. So let's go straight into the college application journey. So what are the most common questions, or you or misconceptions that you think are out there as far as college application?

Speaker 2:

college application misconception. Let's talk about that. Yeah, yeah, there's many. Oh, my goodness. Let's actually start with the basics, right. A lot of families believe that financial aid because college, the college journey of course there's a lot of financial aid. Of course there's choosing school and where to go in state, out of state, how many schools to apply to, like all those things. But there is the financial aid piece that I think people think about that too late in the college journey so they don't put it as a part of the college application journey. And it's so crazy because just by doing that could actually be the difference between a full ride or not. So the way to put that in maybe we'll go into more detail later- but just to very like brief and high level about.

Speaker 2:

That is something that I recently posted about why your child should apply to college early. So I'm talking about early action versus regular admission if that school has that as a possibility, and the thing is that many families don't know. A misconception is I'm going to think about financial aid later on down, once I get the financial aid package. So if you thought ahead in the college application process, you know that by applying early action actually gives the child more priority scholarships or, let me say it like this, gives them more opportunity or more eligibility to have priority scholarships from the school themselves, and that gives them an advantage over those who apply regular decision or rolling admission, so on and so forth in the spring semester. So that's a really big one, especially because you're talking about money.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely now with early action or early decisions. Early decision actually they're pretty much bound to that university, correct? So tell us a little bit more about that, so parents understand that as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So to even be very clear, I'm talking about early action. That is what I always recommend. Right for priority. Now there is early decision. Early decision is a binding agreement, so the issue with that is that most of the times, the school will give you a decision, which is a binding agreement, before they even give you financial a package. Now, I don't know anyone who wants to, any parent that wants to say yes to a job, leave their other job and not know how much their salary is going to be for their new job, right? So it's just a risk. And some families do that because of legacy. So there are specific institutions where families have been in that institution for years down the line and every single generation went to that university. So I know that there's folks who do that and kudos to them, right, we're being able to take that risk on just for the sake of legacy. But for everyone of that, I definitely do highly recommend early action over regular decision, billing, admission, etc.

Speaker 1:

Perfect, perfect. Thank you for clarifying that, because we want to make sure that parents don't. They usually get those confused and, yeah, early decision is definitely binding. How many colleges do you think a student should apply to?

Speaker 2:

Okay, so this is relative. Yeah, I want to say my rule of thumb is to have at least 15 to 20 colleges. I know that sounds maybe like a lot. I personally applied to about 30 schools, but I want to go ahead and narrow down that answer. So the reason why I give it a large number is for a couple of things. Number one you want to have, I would say, at least 50% of the number of colleges that you apply to be your safety school. And the reason why are safety schools and safety schools just simply mean the school that you have a higher chance of getting accepted into.

Speaker 2:

So a safety school for one person could be different from another. So that's usually your in state schools, your state flagship school. That also means a school that everyone in your family has gone to. So admission sees that trend there. So there actually could be more of a opportunity for you to go to that school, because of family history essentially, and so many other things essentially.

Speaker 2:

So 50% at least of whatever number of folks choose I say 15 to 20 or so, but whatever that number would be for you, 50% at least being your safety schools to make sure that you actually get somewhere, you get in somewhere and then you use that other 50 for your dreams, your aspirations and your goals, essentially. So that other percent can be. Whether it's in, say, out of state, doesn't necessarily matter, but use that 50% to reach to use for those reach goals. Or there's those reach schools. So for some people reach schools could be Ivy Leagues, not for everybody, but it could be that those Ivy Leagues, the reach schools, could be that out of state school that is five states away from you. Essentially the reach school could be the number one business school in the nation. Essentially that has that program that you really like. So I definitely recommend about 15 to 20, but at least 50% be that safety school.

Speaker 1:

Perfect, perfect, good, good and any recommendations on college selection. So let's give two scenarios. So the first scenario is a student. Let's talk about that one first. A scenario of a student who knows what degree they want to pursue. How can they narrow that selection down?

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, for color selection.

Speaker 2:

Okay, perfect. So I am big on Google. You think Google to your advantage, you the algorithm to your advantage. So it still is a part B to the previous question, right, about safety schools. So you want to definitely make sure that your safety schools actually have the program or programs you are interested in, the major or majors that you were interested in.

Speaker 2:

But also, on top of that, you want to look at where are most people who are being employed in the area of, let's say, business, where they coming from. They coming from schools mostly on the west or the east coast, or from this school versus that school. So I would see what schools are very well known for, the business major essentially, and graduate a large amount of folks who are able to, within the year or so of graduating, landing a job. So you obviously want to be smart in that regard. And then again, just choosing the schools that are still safety schools, that still do have those programs right, just because they are local to you does not mean that it would be, it won't be a great opportunity for you to still learn the major business essentially at that local school.

Speaker 1:

Perfect, perfect. And for students that have no clue but they know they want a four years of great. So how do we make them pick or do college selection?

Speaker 2:

I would definitely say, let me start with this Don't go somewhere just because your friends are going. So that's like the problem.

Speaker 1:

Yes, thank you Not supposed to do first.

Speaker 2:

Exactly that's what you're not supposed to do. Just oh, my friends are going to X schools, I'm gonna go to X school as well. That is a bad decision to make because you're making a decision based off of someone else's future and not your own. So there's what not to do. If you have no idea, you know what you wanna study again, the best thing for you to do is choose schools that are number one safe for you to go to meaning safe safety schools.

Speaker 2:

Again, just going back to that and also think about what you could possibly major into, because there are folks who I, honestly, was one of those people. If I'm going back to my high school, I knew I was talking about my college career and how I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, things like that. But if I go back a few more years into early high school age, into about to apply to college age, I wanted to be a lawyer. I was also thinking about business. I was thinking about, I think, three major things, but those two that I remember for sure are law and business and, funny enough, I'm in the mixture of the two right now regarding my career and my business and things of that nature, so I would encourage those students to think about what they could possibly do and what colleges have those options available.

Speaker 1:

I know you're gonna like this next question. Let's talk about return on investment, because I always tell students going to college is really like seeing what's your return on investment as far as what you're gonna get paid for essentially, ideally once you graduate and how much you're going to owe. So do you recommend that? Do you recommend students having that bigger picture as far as finances?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So for me, the return on investment. People like to think that if they go to a certain school they are going to make a certain amount of money and honestly, statistically speaking, yes, there's research out there about that correlation and stuff like that, but honestly, that is not for the larger majority. So you can go to an Ivy League and still make less than someone who did not. Why? Because the Ivy League is not employing you. They're just giving you the free right. It's going to be the different employer who's gonna employ you, and I'm not, I'm sure, because I'm not every employer out there, but I'm pretty confident to know that employers are not looking at your degree to determine what salary you're gonna make for the same position for two candidates who went to an Ivy League and not on Ivy League, I'm gonna pay the Ivy League more. So, because we have that understanding, then, when we think about return on investment, we wanna think about the loans. That's what we wanna think about. We wanna think about what school is going to not charge you as much, right? What school is going to be as close to free as possible, because that is now where you have more power on the return on investment. Right? Because you can't determine your salary right Out of college, regardless of what you make.

Speaker 2:

You can't determine, you can only have a range, but you are in the driver's seat essentially the parent and or the student of how much loan do you take on. Now people can say, no, that's not true. Everyone has to take loans, things like that. That's why I say apply to at least 20 colleges and also negotiate your financial aid. Also, apply for scholarships. On the front end, do all the things that you have leadership in doing so that you have the least amount of loans, essentially to pay for that college to go to, so that when you end up having that full-time job, you're not doing pay as you go with nailnetcom and Sally May, but you're able to pocket more of that money because you on the front end, made smart decisions of what school to go to, what was going to cost you the least amount of money essentially.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I love that. I love that. I think you and I are speaking the same love language. Is that the same? Oh, my goodness, that's exactly what I talk about Super. So what about scholarships? And we know they're institutional, but where can students and parents find more resources for scholarships?

Speaker 2:

So resources for scholarships there are like too many resources for scholarships. The US Department of Education actually let us know I think it was back in 2022. I'm not sure the number now, but there are literally billions of dollars in scholarships that go and claim every year.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, please explain that. Please explain that, because so many parents say the opposite. They're like we can't find any scholarships. So let's dive into that topic.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to give you the nitty-gritty of that. So there are. You first asked about what resources are there for scholarships, and I'm telling you that there's too many resources out there and there's money that's just literally sitting there, essentially, and so to just put the two items in just one thought is essentially that we're all going to the same websites. That's the issue. We're all going to school and this is not going to be. These resources are not good. I'm saying that we have all made them the top resources to go to.

Speaker 2:

And think about it just in a regular mindset Right, if a million people are going to the same website, then we, as the million people, are each other's competition and there will be some who will win, but literally not everyone will win. So out of that million, 100,000 got those scholarships. There's now the 900,000 people who are like this doesn't work. And if, hey, there are other resources that are out there. There are other websites. So, when it comes to resources, I will actually give a tip how to find those resources. Right, because I can list all these different websites, which is nice, but what I think is to actually teach you all how to fish. That'll be better than just to give you I love it.

Speaker 2:

So you can get as many fish as possible. And so what many families make as a big mistake is just searching scholarships for high school seniors, scholarships for high school juniors right 2023. And so everyone is searching that because everyone is a high school senior, right, that's graduating 24 and they're currently in 2023. So everyone is going to be using Google, obviously, and everyone's going to get the same 10 websites on that first page. So there are two tricks here to do to find the best resources. Number one is not click on the first page of websites because everyone's there. No one is strategic enough is really the best way to go on the seventh page to see what website was there? Right, no one's seeing those websites, those, I believe, the billion dollars plus money that's going unused because everyone's going to the same Scholarships.

Speaker 2:

Everyone knows about Gates scholarship, everyone knows about the McDonald's scholarship, everyone knows about the same exact scholarships. On our going toward the same exact scholarships, another thing is that a great resource is, or a great way to find a resource, is to be very specific in your search. So no more high school college scholarships 23, three or whatever. Right now it's think about your actual self. I call it the profile stacking method. I of course have families that I teach and things like that about these strategies. Of course, when you are stacking your profile, you're getting a more narrow search and you're not getting these major websites that have tons of scholarships. You're actually getting the scholarship itself that nobody knows about.

Speaker 2:

So I would put for myself, for example, maybe African American woman in policy scholarship or something of that sort, or just make it even longer. Think about hobbies, think about skills that a person has, think about a possible career path, think about even your location. So I can say African American woman who are setting policy in the East Coast or something very specific. You're not going to. Just, you might get scholarshipscom right there, but you will see some organizations pop up. Yeah, you will see orgorg pops pop up more than thecom. Essentially, that's another way, essentially to fish. So hopefully that is a better way of thinking about resources not what are the resources, but how can I find better resources?

Speaker 2:

I love that.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Yeah, and when you say it it's like duh. But you're right, everybody is searching for the same spot and that's why we're going to the first two pages. Yep, I love that. I love that. I love that, okay, super, all right, let's dive into FAFSA, because time is clicking and FAFSA's time is not clicking, let's just put it that way. So tell us about the changes and the delays and everything going on with FAFSA.

Speaker 2:

So I joined everyone and their mother who was what the heck? Fast though. What is going on? Why is the form being opened so late and why don't we have a date yet? It's getting close to the time. We're all scrambling.

Speaker 2:

There are major updates, the fast of form, and I Want to share at least like a couple of them that come to mind. Yeah, one is like everyone knows the form is now opening in December and it's no longer opening in October. So one thing to note, because this is a big question, is when should a family apply for FAFSA? Essentially it is when the student is in their high school senior year, so normally that would be October, like for those who are seniors now, which right now in October, right?

Speaker 2:

Another major change is the EFC and the SAI. So the EFC, which no longer exists anymore, is the estimated family contribution number. That number was used by number one, the federal government, to determine what federal aid you can get. So the federal Pell Grant subsidize direct loans and all the work, study and so on and so forth. And then also that same EFC number was used for Schools to calculate how much they'll be able to give and financial aid, and then that also that same number was also used for state Government for those who are aware of state government, that most states do have funds for your school to go to, for your child to go to A school within their state. So that number was big. Right, that was pretty much like the test score, essentially Filling out the sense like what's my EFC? But now there's the SAI, that's the student aid index. So there are different measures Now within the form, through different like a variety of questions, and those questions haven't necessarily been outlined for us yet, but essentially it's going to determine what your SAI is.

Speaker 2:

The SAI Will go into the negative as low as, I believe, $1,500, which is better, right, it is better in a way for families because simple math, right. So the cost of attendance is 50,000 per year, let's say for school X, and your EFC beforehand was because it couldn't go negative, it was zero and your total need is 50,000, which the federal government knows, the state government and your school knows. Now the SAI that can go as low as negative 1,500, your need right can be. So it's 50,000 Actually, plus 1,500, which would make your total need more than the cost of attendance. Now, obviously that's a case scenario. It won't be everyone's scenario, but it's possible, which is great, that that's actually a possibility for families to be able to show the federal, the state and the school that, yeah, funding is needed for this child Assorted Essentially. So that's a really big change which everyone should definitely look out for. Another thing is that there's going to be a different language essentially of who should with the parent, who should file essentially and have their own FASTA, fsa ID, which is basically like your login information essentially for the FASTA. So there is like a new pathway document that's actually available online right now. Anyone can search it on studentaidgov, which will show which parent Is liable essentially for sharing their information.

Speaker 2:

And then the last major thing, because there are different major changes, but of course I'm only going to give the ones I think are the most important. Yeah, that's is about special circumstances. So I have had so many families where it's more so the child that necessarily the parent to, are coming to me like hey, my parent is not giving up their tax information For my FASTA and I can't even fill it out, which puts a lot of family for really the child at a loss, right at a disadvantage in the financial aid Situation essentially for their school. So now the FASTA is allowing for Special circumstances. If there is something of that sort, you can enter in that information. Now we don't know what that process is going to look like. There is it. We don't know too many details yet until of course comes out, or maybe they share with us what those sample questions will look like, but there will be some level of the FASTA, the federal government through the FASTA form, acknowledging special circumstances, which I think is very big.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, super, super. Do you have any recommendations as far as where parents can receive help and aid in filling the form, because parents adding Things that are unnecessary can negatively affect their child's FASTA.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so the resources are Plentiful, right. So again, google. You can find it on Google and of course, I put myself out there. Obviously, I help families to do that, so there is yes and the need.

Speaker 2:

They can definitely just click the link in my bio. It's always there 24-7 essentially can always book a time for us to go through the FASTA form and any other questions you have. Essentially there needs to be like a strategic outlook, essentially for the scholarship search and just the overall college journey. But aside from that, there are others I am forgetting some of their names, but there are a lot. Yeah, there are a lot, and I'm sure that even some schools actually have like your actual local high school or local, yeah, community college or something of that sort. Normally they have FASTA workshops. So I would look up those FASTA workshops and webinars. Also, there is one that comes to mind the National College Attainment Network, cncen. Okay, they have workshops, not necessarily like they don't tell you how to fill it out, but essentially they just share details about the form so there is some sort of at least support and resource in that regard.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely super, super loans. As far as loans, you have any tips or things to look out for in consideration when they do feel they're gonna need to get a loan.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So with loans, the best thing I would say is avoid all costs, obviously but, you can't avoid loans which of course that is the case for a lot of Americans then the best thing to do is to not just take one and run with it but to make a comparison. Essentially, I believe it's nerdwalletcom that actually does that for you, so it would tell you the namecom, will tell you the name of the company, whether it's private or whatever the case is, and essentially what the eligibility requirements are If they're going to do a software or a hard pool with interest rates going to look like, what their payment can look like and things like that, on a monthly basis. Some of them allow you to make your own payment plan, others are setting stone. So my recommendation, honestly, is just to do the homework right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's something that you just really can't avoid, unless you just don't necessarily have the freedom to do that. You just have to go to the first place because it's an emergency type of situation, which is again why I do just advocate for folks to just be a student, essentially, and be ready to learn these things before the time happens, so that when that time you have to get a loan, you're not scrambling. So, even though you're applying for scholarships, you're negotiating your financial aid, you're applying for colleges all these different things still look at these loan options so that, if the time comes to do that, you already know what the best few options are and you're able to explore that without the extra emotional pressure and stress man.

Speaker 1:

Abisela, you have shared so much great information with our parents. What about three takeaways? So let's discuss three takeaways and then something they can do today. So let's start with that Three takeaways.

Speaker 2:

So we didn't really talk too much about financial aid negotiation. But folks need to know that. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Let's talk about it right. Dive right in, dive, right in.

Speaker 2:

So financial aid negotiation is simply it's appealing your financial aid. People need to know that is something that it's possible. Now, every school deals with it differently. Some have a home process, some do not, and so you won't know until you just end up knowing right when you advocate for yourself, right if you're the student or you're the parent advocating on behalf of your child, and so that's one major takeaway. Like through all this process, you want to go literally the furthest mile. The furthest mile is not applying to all the scholarships you can, and just and learning about the loans, and the furthest mile actually is at the end of the day, after you apply to everything. You've learned everything about the loans and everything that you've done is to, with that financial aid package, say, hey, I want to see if you can do more. Right, that's essentially just the paraphrase for that, and so, of course, you know what. That is one action that you can do in one major takeaway honestly, after the whole entire college process, to make sure that after you get which is going to be in the springtime that financial aid package, to negotiate that financial aid, of course I teach people how to do it. I have the resources for you, templates and things like that, which are all in the college and in between bio, on Tik Tok, on Instagram, et cetera.

Speaker 2:

The second takeaway I would definitely say is for the college application process. Now, through this podcast, thanks to Sonia, you know that you can apply early action and get priority scholarships. So if you have a child, that's just oh, like I have too many exams, let me just wait till December to start applying so I can apply in the for January's regular admission or whatever. You was a pair. Now you know that if they apply by the early action deadline, they can get more money. You as a parent can say no, we're applying pressure in this area. Let's get you if you need some support, and maybe I'll enroll you into a program or something to make sure that you are applying by this early action deadline, because it can make or break the financial aid journey. So there's that and the action behind that, like I said before, is to literally find out what those deadlines are for those schools the five to 10 to 15, to 20, 25 schools. You're going to be applying to find out the early action deadline and if you feel like you need help, reach out for it. I tell people all the time I'm here for you. I literally have a whole entire boot camp that's going to be for those who are applying for college, actually for this upcoming school year.

Speaker 2:

And the third key takeaway I would say don't be afraid to ask for help in anything about this college journey. I speak to parents every day and they're like I have no idea and things are always changing and like in this sphere of higher education, and things are always changing literally like the faster before our eyes, just change. This is one big example, and so I would say a key thing is to always ask for help if you need it. I know that is what helped me to be able to thrive, essentially through my own college career and then, of course, even when I was doing my master's and things like that, it was through asking questions. It was through staying connected to the people who have all the answers and being humble enough to just say I don't have all the answers, but I'm connected to everyone who does, yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

And so I guess, just to like end with, one major thing that everyone can do is to be connected to a resource. I believe Sonia is an amazing resource, right, there's, of course, myself and there's so many others as well but stay connected to a resource so that you don't have to know everything. You just need to be connected to someone who does, so that in that way you're working smart and not hard. So I tell parents, you don't need to become the college funding thing, there's already one here, right? Like you don't need to become all things to all men. You can just simply do what you need to do. You already have the burden of work and all these other things.

Speaker 2:

Like, stay connected to those who can help your child, and your child will thank you, not because you were the superhero and you knew everything, but you were the superhero who knew how to call the slide kick when you need help. Essentially, like, just come here for a second. I know this is my home, this is my place, this is my theme. Like I'm gonna call in some help. I'm gonna call in those experts essentially to support so that my child gets the all around. Remember, I was literally studied this right.

Speaker 2:

The supplementary service that all around help the child's growth in their career, but of course, just throughout their life essentially, yeah, that's fine.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I love that. Parents, there's no excuse at all. You heard it. We told you all Thank you so much, and so tell us where people can connect with you. Tell us a little bit about more what you do on your Instagram page, what you share and how can people work with you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely so. Again, my social media platforms are TikTok and Instagram it's the College Funding Queen and simply on my page I share about all things financial aid, scholarships. I don't talk about loans too much because I'm trying to educate folks to the point where they don't have to rely on the loans but, of course, in the times where that is a subject when things change, I pretty much am sharing those items, essentially different tips and tricks about everything regarding the financial aid journey and the college journey overall, and my main audience is for those who are about to go to college or currently in college and again, that could be anywhere between the high school folks and even also who are in higher education, thinking about getting their master's and their PhD and things like that. I love to talk about financial aid and negotiation because not many people are talking about that. It's just a lot of supply for scholarships, but there is a faster way of getting additional funding and that's through advocating for yourself, so I do teach people how to do it, and a major service that I have going on it's every so often, so I'm not sure when people are gonna hear this but a major support are my boot camps, my online programs and webinars that I have throughout the entire year.

Speaker 2:

Currently, right now, october 23, and also through November, I will be having college the college prep boot camp and so that's specifically this one for high school seniors and their parents who are in the college application process and who wanna make sure that they do all the right things. So we're gonna be talking about FAFSA, going in depth with that, talking about how to get more money on the front end before you even get the school that you are applying to, get into the school that you're applying to, and so much more. So there's that I also, of course, help folks to fill out the FAFSA form and then also just discover what their strategy needs to be for their own scholarship journey. And that's who I am, what I do and just ready to connect with anyone who needs support.

Speaker 1:

Oh my goodness. Thank you so much, abby Sola, for being here with the College Career Ready Podcast, for sharing your helpful tips for parents, and hopefully we'll have you again on the podcast, because this is a great conversation, definitely, definitely. Thank you so much. Thank you for joining us. Sweet friend, as always, stay present and enjoy the journey. I'll talk to you next week. Hi, friend, thank you for listening in. If you enjoyed this episode, you would mean so much to me. If you share it with a friend, share it with them right now or, even better, tag me so I can personally thank you for helping us build our community. I'm so thankful for each and every one of you. Let's keep on touching all talk to you soon, adios.

Navigating the College Application Journey
Navigating Scholarships and Finding Resources
Major Changes and Tips for FAFSA
Asking for Help in College Journey

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