In the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, host Ian Fisher helped listeners brave the cold, with an hour packed with resources and information—for parents looking to help their students better manage their finances, for high school students looking for summer opportunities in STEM fields, and for seniors finishing up their college applications.
Money Management 101
In the first segment, Ian welcomed College Coach finance expert Kathy Ruby, who provided some excellent advice and resources for parents looking to help their children manage their money. With students heading back to college in the new year, it’s a great time for them to start thinking about creating a budget, and there are a ton of helpful tools available to help them do just that—from apps to websites to software. Here are some of Kathy’s recommendations:
- Mint is by far the most popular and most highly rated
- You Need a Budget (YNAB) is also very popular, but unlike others, is not free
- Wally is an app that allows you to take photos of your receipts
- The Motley Fool 60-Second Guide to Budgeting
- Many banks also have budgeting systems already built in to their own apps and websites.
- Qapital helps students set multiple savings goals
- Acorns aids students in investing their spare change
- org and Choosetosave.org both assist students to find the best ways to save money
- Apps to compare prices on items: RedLaser, Ibotta, idealo, RetailMeNot, GasBuddy
- Apps that help you gain points or rebates on things you buy: ShopKick, MobiSave, Ebates
- Khan Academy offers a whole section on finance
- Consumerfinance.gov is a government resource designed to ensure banks and other financial institutions treat customers fairly
- Book recommendation: Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not) by Beth Kobliner
STEM Summer Programs
With the artic chill hitting much of the country, it’s a good time to think about summer, yes? With that in mind, Ian kicked off a new series on summer opportunities for high school students. College Coach expert and former MIT and Caltech admissions officer Zaragoza Guerra joined Ian for a robust discussion about summer activities for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Ian and Zaragoza first started the segment by talking about the benefits of summer activities in the application process. They addressed the key questions: why does summer matter, and what’s the best way to approach summer planning? The secret is to focus on your own interests, knowing that summer provides a great opportunity to take a deep dive into something that you love doing. For students whose passion lie in STEM fields, Zaragoza provided some excellent resources that are available to help students find the best opportunity for them, whether it is a math/science/engineering program at a college, or a research project or internship:
- American Mathematical Society provides a list of residential summer programs for students to study math
- Rochester Institute of Technology’s website has a list of summer research internships in the life sciences and biological sciences.
- Science Buddies and the Society for Science and the Public each provide help and guidance for independent science research, for students who want to work more on their own
- MIT and Johns Hopkins have lists of formal science/math programs on their websites. Stanford also has a guide on how to find and obtain an unpaid internship.
Ian and Zaragoza also spent some time talking about specific programs that might stand out more on college applications. While they stressed that it’s always more about how well the program fits a student’s interests, there are some programs that are more notable, in part because they are more selective. They include:
- RSI (Research Science Institute), connected to MIT and Harvard
- RISE program at Boston University
- Operation Catapult at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
- MITES and the Women’s Tech Program at MIT
Regardless of the summer program or activity, both Zaragoza and Ian closed the segment by stressing that it’s not just about attending and “checking the box” on your resume, but what you do with the program once you’re there. That’s where the impact on your college application will happen.
College Applications After January 1
We’re past the crunch time, with many January application deadlines in the rearview mirror. But there are still colleges out there with later deadlines, and there are plenty of students who are still working on their applications. Ian welcomed College Coach expert Mary Sue Youn to the program to provide some tips and guidance for high school seniors, both for those who are done with their applications, and those who are still working.
For those who are done (or who think they are done!), Mary Sue talked a bit about what’s next. She provided some good advice for checking the status of the applications, including insight for those lucky students who have been accepted Early Action or Early Decision and have made their final college choice. She and Ian also discussed colleges that have deadlines post-January 1; many have late January/early February or even later or rolling deadlines. They talked about how to find these schools, and some advice for students in these last few months of the process.
All in all, a ton of great information in this week’s episode—enough to make you forget about winter for a while! And the next episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation promises to be just as informative, with segments on summer programs for writers, a look inside the Fordham University Admissions Office, and everything you need to know about 529 and prepaid college savings plans. Don’t miss it!