College Scholarship Interviews

In 2019’s first episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, host Ian Fisher and his guests get into the New Year’s spirit by suggesting some resolutions for high school students and their families, and then tackles how seniors can successfully navigate panel interviews during college scholarship events this winter and spring. Finally, Ian’s finance guest offers some insights about the advantages and disadvantages of using a Roth IRA to pay for college.

New Year’s Resolutions for High School Students

In the first segment of the show, Ian and his guest, college admissions educator Jen Simons, have a thoughtful chat about some New Year’s resolutions for high school students and their families during the college search and application process. They begin with the seniors (because the seniors are almost done!), encouraging them to take the time to enjoy their last bits of high school, and then they move on to some more practical suggestions for younger high school students as they prepare for college (hint: read, read, read!). And finally, Jen and Ian offer some sage advice about time management for high school juniors as their college search begins to pick up pace.

Preparing for Scholarship Interviews

In the next segment, Ian welcomes Emily Toffelmire, former admission officer and scholarship event planner at the University of Southern California, to offer advice to high school seniors who are facing a panel interview in hopes of winning a higher level scholarship at a college or university. Emily reminds students that such interviews are usually part of a larger dual purpose event, where the college is trying to show their best side and recruit you, while at the same time assessing your fit for the institution. She points out that while the interview is certainly the most important part of the event, you should also remember that you’ll be “on display” throughout your visit, and you’ll want to behave accordingly. Emily and Ian offer some great suggestions on how to prepare for questions you might receive from different types of panel members, and encourage you to do lots of research about the school and your academic department ahead of time. Good luck!

Using a Roth IRA to Pay for College

And finally, Ian wraps up the show with college finance educator Beth Feinberg Keenan and a discussion of using the Roth IRA as a tool to pay for college. Beth explains that while Roth IRA’s are best suited for parents who will be over 59½ when their child is in college, those who will be younger than that may also be able to use a portion of their Roth tax-free to pay for college. There are some drawbacks though, in that IRA withdrawals inflate your income and can have an impact on financial aid eligibility in later years, so tune in to learn more!

And please join us for our next episode when Ian returns to talk about “scam” honor societies and whether they are worth joining, what to do now that your applications are all submitted, and tax breaks for when you are saving for college and repaying educational loans.


Written by College Coach
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