finding scholarships

On the June 2nd  episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, Sally Ganga stepped back into the hosting chair, covering topics from Greek life to challenges for community college students, and 529 college savings plans.

Considering going Greek?

Former admissions officer and sorority member Karen Spencer joined Sally to weigh the pros and cons of joining a fraternity or sorority in college.  Karen shared her personal experience of attending a small liberal arts college in a small town, and explained that joining the sorority was the best social opportunity offered.  From organized community service, intramurals, leadership opportunities, and a built in support system, Karen highlighted how a sorority or fraternity can provide that feeling of home away from home.

But is Greek life right for every student?   And if you are on the fence about pledging, what factors should you consider?  Tune in to this podcast to hear the full discussion before you “rush” into anything!

Debt and Obstacles for Community College Students

For the second segment, Jessica Braithwaite, a postdoctoral research associate at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, came to discuss the many obstacles hindering community college students’ graduation rates.

According to Jessica, one of the greatest challenges for students is navigating and passing any developmental classes in which they may be placed. Because community colleges accept all students regardless of skill level, more than two out of every three community college students take at least one developmental class. These classes become a deterrent for graduation because they are non-credit classes, but still cost the same as credit-bearing courses, which leaves many students with a lot of debt, no closer to graduating.  High school students and their parents considering a community college option should absolutely tune in to this segment to hear the full discussion on what they should be doing now to better prepare them for success in community college.

Using a 529 Plan to Pay for College

Financial aid expert, Laurie Peltier, wrapped up the radio show with a segment on 529 plans.  Laurie explained why the plans are a popular savings option for families where the money will grow tax free year after year, and withdraws are tax free if used for a child qualified college expenses.  Tune in to find out what expenses can be covered with money from a 529 Plan and at which types of institutions.  Laurie also discussed when families should use these funds: is it better to use it all at once? Spread out over four years? Or wait until the end of schooling to allow the fund to grow?  Listen to the full segment to find out!

Stay tuned for this week’s episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, airing live Thursday at 4 PM EDT, where Elizabeth Heaton will be chatting with an Associate Director of Admission from Connecticut College to get an insider’s view of their admissions process; she will answer various listener questions; and finally, have a discussion on using retirement savings to pay for college.


Written by Lauren Randle
Lauren Randle is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Lauren worked as a senior admissions officer at Georgetown University and previously held positions in college counseling at Malvern Preparatory School and the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. Visit our website to learn more about Lauren Randle.