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Choosing the Best College for Your Child

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Choosing the Best College for Your Child

Transitioning from high school to college is one of the biggest leaps our kids will make in their academic careers. There are new responsibilities, a higher level of self-sufficiency, and of course, an entirely new social circle. But, before they are settled into their dorm rooms, with shower caddy and flip-flops, a major decision has to be made: Which college is the best fit for them?

So often we get caught up in the glossy brochures, well-crafted “Welcome to Campus” videos, and the very impressive U.S. college rankings that we forget to ask the most important questions. When it comes down to helping our kids choose the best school for their needs, we need to weigh several factors.

Here are some questions to get the conversation started:

1) Are you Comfortable here?  Beyond class size and student-to-professor ratio, the best fit college needs to offer your child a space in which they find comfort and peace of mind. Even if your child decides not to live on campus, college will become their home and their primary hub for the next few years. You want to make sure you and your child feel safe on and surrounding campus.

2) What’s our emergency plan? Emergencies can occur at anytime, but they are doubly difficult when your child is away and you can’t get to them. Before selecting a college make sure there are family members or friends in the area that serve as refuge for your child in case of an emergency or even for a Sunday dinner escape. You also want to discuss the best course of action if something happens at home and your college student needs to return abruptly.

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3) Are there opportunities for career development? The college classroom offers a lot in terms of information, but real world experience is vital for the résumé and a competitive edge. Ask the university where their students usually find internships and externships in your child’s field of study. Research the local area and make sure that there are businesses and opportunities available for your child to apply classroom knowledge, while building their portfolio through paid or unpaid work experiences.

4) How will you engage in the college community? Every college will tell you about how many social clubs and organizations they have on campus. But, are these groups ideal for your child? Are there efforts and spaces that cater to the needs of students of color? How many cultural organizations and programs are available to your student? College is more than a classroom; it’s an experience. Be sure that your child will get the best out of the education and social components of college. A strong network is important for success in life.

5) How does the program of study and faculty rank nationally? While a college or university may have a great reputation, every school or program it offers won’t be as competitive as others. Do some research on faculty members and alumni of the school or program your child will enter. You want to know how professors are contributing to the field, what connections they have to industry insiders, and what pathways exist to connect current students with successful alumni. Find out the percentage of graduates from your child’s intended program of study who are working in the field and forging paths to success.


Melissa A. Rowe. M.Ed. is a writer and educator who works with parents, teachers and organizations to help young people succeed in school and in life.

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Teens Apply: Scholarship

Published in TEENS

will i am is a seven-time Grammy Award winning musician, producer, director, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is also the recipient of a Latin Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, two CLIO Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a VH1 Do Something Award, the BMI President’s Award and a Webby Award. launched the foundation in 2009 to TRANS4M lives through education, inspiration and opportunity. As a part of his commitment to philanthropy, and the foundation administer charitable activities and programs targeted towards providing college scholarships ( scholarship), financial literacy and home mortgage assistance ( Home) and college preparation and student life ( College Track).

Apply here: will i am scholarship


Teens Apply: TOP 10 January Scholarships

Published in TEENS


College is expensive; yet that doesn't mean you and your children can't prepare now with a game plan to earn free money (scholarships) for school!

Here are top 10 scholarships with upcoming deadlines by the end of January 2014:

#1 - The Emma Bowen Foundation Scholarship was created in 1989 to prepare minority youth for careers in the media industry. Learn more here:

#2 - The Burger King Scholars program is designed to help high-school seniors who are looking to start college next year. Annually, the program awards more than $1.4 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 students.  Learn more here:

#3 - The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (also known as the Bill Gates Scholarship) awards scholarships each year to African American students who plan to enroll full-time in a two-year or four-year college or university program.  Learn more here:

#4 - The Ron Brown Scholar Program provides scholarship awards to African-American high school seniors who are excelling in their academics, exhibiting exceptional leadership potential, and actively serving in community service activities.  Learn more here:

#5 - The Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship Program is sponsored by Discover Financial Services. The program recognizes students in their junior year of high school who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their communities.  Learn more here:

#6 - The National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) provides four scholarships each year to African-American students currently in law school. Each applicant will be required to complete an essay on a topic that is related to the specific scholarship for which they are applying.  Learn more here:

#7 - Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarships (RMHC) for African American Future Achievers are awarded to eligible high school students with high academic performance and community service as well as financial need.  Learn more here:

#8 - The Talbots Scholarship Program awards one-time scholarships to women who want to go back to school to earn their undergraduate degree after graduating from high school or receiving their GED at least ten years ago. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.  Learn more here:

#9 - The Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarship Program awards scholarships to college juniors and seniors who demonstrate leadership qualities in support of freedom, American values and constitutional principles.  Learn more here:

#10 - The NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in the field of aeronautics. It is a renewable scholarship for U.S. citizens and nationals. Learn more here:

To search for other great scholarships, click on our teen tab at

[* List adapted, researched, & shared from The Dallas Weekly]


Teens Apply: Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation Scholarships

Published in TEENS


First Generation Scholarship

This scholarship will be awarded to eligible young men and women who are first generation college attendees.

Girls Who Rule The World Scholarship

This scholarship will be available to young women who have completed the "Girls Who Rule the World" program.

Steve and Marjorie Harvey Endowed Scholarship

This scholarship was created to fill a need at Spelman College. The scholarship is available to female juniors and seniors who are at risk of not completing their education due to a disruption in personal funding. The Harvey's thought it imperative to create a scholarship that would help keep deserving young women in school, and help them achieve their ultimate goal of graduating from Spelman.

Eligible candidates must be full-time junior or senior level students with financial need and academic merit as determined by the Spelman Program Administrator. The scholarship is renewable for junior level recipients through their senior year, as long as the selection criteria are met.

This scholarship is administered directly through Spelman College. The application process begins every March for the next school year.

Learn more:


Teens Apply: Emma L. Bowen Foundation

Published in TEENS


It's been a long and life changing journey serving as Editor-in-Chief of Urban Parenting Magazine, but this journey would not have been possible without the path paved by Emma L. Bowen.

When I was a High School senior, I had the amazing opportunity to be selected as an Emma Bowen Intern for NBC 6-WTVJ in Miami, Florida. For four summers until I graduated from Howard University, I learned and refined my craft as a journalist from some of the nation's leading professionals in media. In 2014, the Emma Bowen Foundation will be celebrating 25 years of tirelessly seeking to increase diversity in media and I want to share their application opportunity with you (apply now, due January 31, 2014). Learn more about this groundbreaking organization below:

The Emma L. Bowen Foundation was created in 1989 to prepare minority youth for careers in the media industry. The Foundation’s program is unlike traditional intern programs in that students work for partner companies during summers and school breaks from the summer following their senior year in high school until they graduate from college. During the four-year program, students have an opportunity to learn many aspects of corporate operations and develop company-specific skills. Corporations have an opportunity to train and mentor students with the option of full-time employment upon completion of their college degrees.

Students earn an hourly salary and matching scholarship funds for college expenses. Academic excellence is also a key component of the program—students are required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average to remain in good standing. The Foundation staff works closely with corporate partners to monitor each student’s academic and work progress. An annual summer conference, a mentoring program and a technical program are also provided to further enhance the student’s knowledge and experience. Resource guides for both students and corporate supervisors are provided to maximize the student’s experience and productivity while in the program.

This unique, multi-year program prepares a diverse group of talented young professionals to enter the workforce with specific job-related skills, knowledge of the corporate environment and a strong foundation for future advancement. Students work in a variety of functional areas (e.g., marketing, sales, finance, public relations, production, operations, human resources, technology, news, web design, promotion, etc.) and rotate each summer.

To learn more, visit:


Teens Apply: Tom Joyner Full Ride Scholarship

Published in TEENS


(DALLAS ) The Tom Joyner Foundation® announced the ‘Full Ride’ scholarship program that will cover all the expenses of one student planning to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the fall of 2014.

“The cost of a college education isn’t getting any cheaper,” said Tom Joyner, chairman of his Foundation and host of the top-ranked nationally syndicated radio show. “So, I want to help a graduating high school senior with a chance to attend a black college to pursue their dreams.”

The winning student will receive full tuition and stipends for up to 10 semesters to cover on-campus room and board and books. Students must meet the required academic standards each semester to renew the funds each year. Graduating high school seniors can apply for the scholarship by going to the Tom Joyner Foundation website to download an application. (Click here to download the application). To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:

  1. A United States Citizen
  2. Current high school seniors attending school in the United States (applicant must be anticipating completion of high school degree in the spring of 2014).
  3. Minimum high school grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.00 grade scale, excluding home school studies) and Minimum SAT score of 2100 (combined math essay and verbal score) or ACT score of 30.
  4. Applicants must apply and be accepted to an HBCU by July 1, 2014.
  5. Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities.
The applications must be postmarked no later than January 17th, 2014. Interviews will occur in April 2014.

Learn more here:


Teens Apply: Shawn Carter Scholarship

Published in TEENS

Shawn Carter, Jay Z

The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation was conceived of in 2002 and officially established as a 501(c)3 public charity in 2003 by Shawn & Gloria Carter.With an original vision and mission to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning, Shawn and Gloria Carter kicked off the Foundation’s efforts by awarding one student with full college tuition in 2002. In 2003, the Foundation provided 50 scholarships to students in 50 different states. Since 2004 the Foundation has provided scholarships to a growing number of students from across the nation. In 2005, in addition to providing scholarship awards, the Foundation launched the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation College Tours. Since the Foundation’s inception, over 750 students have received awards totaling over $1.3 million dollars. The Foundation is currently on the precipice of growth and is reviewing its current grant-making priorities as it plans for expansion as the Shawn Carter Foundation.

Shawn Carter Scholars are studying at over 100 institutions of higher learning throughout the nation.

Shawn Carter Scholars receive financial support from the Shawn Carter Foundation from college admission to college graduation.

To learn more visit:


Check UP: Young Teen Development (12-14 years of age)

Published in Parent


Developmental Milestones

This is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. Hormones change as puberty begins. Most boys grow facial and pubic hair and their voices deepen. Most girls grow pubic hair and breasts, and start their period. They might be worried about these changes and how they are looked at by others. This also will be a time when your teen might face peer pressure to use alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs, and to have sex. Other challenges can be eating disorders, depression, and family problems. At this age, teens make more of their own choices about friends, sports, studying, and school. They become more independent, with their own personality and interests, although parents are still very important.

Here is some information on how young teens develop:

Emotional/Social Changes Children in this age group might:

  • Show more concern about body image, looks, and clothes.
  • Focus on themselves; going back and forth between high expectations and lack of confidence.
  • Experience more moodiness.
  • Show more interest in and influence by peer group.
  • Express less affection toward parents; sometimes might seem rude or short-tempered.
  • Feel stress from more challenging school work.
  • Develop eating problems.
  • Feel a lot of sadness or depression, which can lead to poor grades at school, alcohol or drug use, unsafe sex, and other problems.
Thinking and Learning Children in this age group might:
  • Have more ability for complex thought.
  • Be better able to express feelings through talking.
  • Develop a stronger sense of right and wrong.
Positive Parenting Tips

Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your child during this time:

  • Be honest and direct with your teen when talking about sensitive subjects such as drugs, drinking, smoking, and sex.
  • Meet and get to know your teen’s friends.
  • Show an interest in your teen’s school life.
  • Help your teen make healthy choices while encouraging him to make his own decisions.
  • Respect your teen’s opinions and take into account her thoughts and feelings. It is important that she knows you are listening to her.
  • When there is a conflict, be clear about goals and expectations (like getting good grades, keeping things clean, and showing respect), but allow your teen input on how to reach those goals (like when and how to study or clean).
Child Safety First

You play an important role in keeping your child safe―no matter how old he or she is. Here are a few tips to help protect your child:

  • Make sure your teen knows about the importance of wearing seatbelts. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 12- to 14-year-olds.
  • Encourage your teen to wear a helmet when riding a bike or a skateboard or using inline skates; riding on a motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle; or playing contact sports. Injuries from sports and other activities are common.
  • Talk with your teen about the dangers of drugs, drinking, smoking, and risky sexual activity. Ask him what he knows and thinks about these issues, and share your thoughts and feelings with him. Listen to what she says and answer her questions honestly and directly.
  • Talk with your teen about the importance of having friends who are interested in positive activities. Encourage her to avoid peers who pressure her to make unhealthy choices.
  • Know where your teen is and whether an adult is present. Make plans with him for when he will call you, where you can find him, and what time you expect him home.
  • Set clear rules for your teen when she is home alone. Talk about such issues as having friends at the house, how to handle situations that can be dangerous (emergencies, fire, drugs, sex, etc.),  and completing homework or household tasks.
Healthy Bodies
  • Encourage your teen to be physically active. She might join a team sport or take up an individual sport. Helping with household tasks such as mowing the lawn, walking the dog, or washing the car also  will keep your teen active.
  • Meal time is very important for families. Eating together helps teens make better choices about the foods they eat, promotes healthy weight, and gives your family members time to talk with each other.
  • Limit screen time for your child to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programming, at home, school, or afterschool care.

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