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Scholarship Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

More than ever, colleges and universities around the United States not only welcome students with disabilities into their programs, but also cater to their needs through supportive staff, academic assistance programs, free shuttles and more.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 11 percent of undergraduate students in the U.S. reported having a disability—to put that into perspective, that’s over 2 million students. Although opportunities exist for students with a wide range of disabilities, the cost of college can still deter high school graduates from pursuing higher education.

Nitro College has put together a comprehensive list of Scholarships that are available for your students. If you have students living with a disability and want know how to finance their college degree, sort through the scholarships below and click “view scholarship” to apply directly on their website. If the scholarship deadline has passed, check the website to see when their next scholarship application is available—all scholarship opportunities are annual. Here is the link:

How micro-internships work for students and companies

Employers explain how project-based internships can give students a foot in the door while letting them test talent before committing.

Micro-internships,” or project-based internships, are emerging as a way for students to get a foot in the door and for employers to test talent before making a commitment.

Lasting just days or weeks, micro-internships can create a more meaningful experience, too, according to Jeffrey Moss, CEO of Parker Dewey, a platform that enables such arrangements. Rather than longer programs that involve a fair bit of busy work, micro-internships often focus on one, substantive project.

This could have an intern writing a blog post or compiling research, for example, he said. For many companies, these are tasks that are important, but don’t always get done. “It gives the career professional or student early insight into what the job is really about,” said Moss, “and manager buy-in is high. Rather than a department head trying to create an interesting day or weeks full of intern work, micro-interns get specific projects done for the manager.”

Testing talent before you hire

For employers looking to test drive talent, Moss said, micro-internships offer insight into the way a person works. Projects are tangible and can demonstrate how someone executes instructions. For students or career re-launchers, they offer a chance to showcase their talents as they grow. “They develop an authentic relationship with someone who may be their manager down the road,” Moss said. “They’re paid for their work and get real-world experience for their resume, typically in a few days or weeks, and generally done remotely.”

The ability to work remotely creates a more democratic system for interns, as well. Students who don’t have access to large markets or businesses can still get a foot in the door. For underserved populations, that access could be a key factor in their career trajectory.

Immediate gratification

Adam Rekkbie was an undergraduate at Bentley University when he learned about the opportunity to do project work through Parker Dewey. “I figured this would be a good way for me to earn a little extra money while also expanding on my skills and learning more about different industries,” he said in an email to HR Dive.

Generally, employers choose students to work on a project, building a relationship with them and offering help along the way, Moss said.

Rekkbie has completed nine projects to date, and they run the gamut: market research, creating a business plan for a doctor, migrating and cleaning up data, product research and more.

Everybody wins

Rekkbie said the arrangement was a win-win for him and the employers. As a full-time student, he enjoyed the flexibility of working around his schedule. He also said he gained insight into a broad range of industries while still making money.

And employers say the fast access to high-quality talent is invaluable. Ryan Sarti, director of marketing and sales operations at Sturtevant Richmont, is a convert. In a one-person department, he said, several projects are high priority but bandwidth is limited. With micro-internships, he can spell out what he needs and when and then choose among candidates. “I can organize a project quickly, hand it off with minimal time and feedback, and get really good high quality work done,” he said.

Larger companies are using micro-internships as a way to test potential employees, Moss said. Microsoft, for example, is using them for immediate support and early access to talent.

Growing the talent pool

Feedback throughout the project is open-ended. Sarti said he likes to give and get detailed comments. Interns ask good questions, he said, and the more feedback you give, the more they grow. That’s critical because, after all, they may be working with you one day, he said.

Rekkbie noted the networking opportunities, too: “I have had a couple clients I did work for come back to me and ask for help on additional projects because of how satisfied they were with my initial work,” he said. “These clients also provide me with valuable insights related to careers.”

And while students may not snag a job directly from the internship, Moss said, they’ll be better able to articulate to other employers the direct experience they have.

This post was from HR Dive/Education Dive and authored by Riia O’Donnell

FAFSA deadlines your students should know

For students seeking federal financial aid to pay for college, the deadline to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is on June 30 each year. But to maximize their chances of getting aid, every prospective and current college student would ideally promptly submit the FAFSA shortly after the application opens on Oct. 1 of the school year before the aid will be used.

This is often not the case. In fact, experts say many students wait to submit the FAFSA until their state deadline or even later. The federal application remains open for a full 21 months, not closing until June 30 nearly two years after the application opened for a given award year.

In the 2020-2021 aid cycle, for example, the FAFSA will open on Oct. 1, 2019, and the last day for students to submit the form is on June 30, 2021. This means that rising high school seniors who plan to begin college in 2020 should prepare to fill out the FAFSA starting this October.

To be eligible for federal financial aid like work-study, student loans and the Pell Grant, as well as a range of other college and state need-based aid, students must submit the FAFSA. In addition to keeping the federal deadline in mind, they must juggle multiple independent FAFSA deadlines unique to their college and state. The difference between filing early, on time and late can amount to thousands of dollars in funding to pay for college.

Each state has its own grant and scholarship programs, usually for residents only, that often have deadlines much earlier than the federal deadline. State and institution deadlines can come as early as November, or in the early spring months of the following year.

But if a student misses an institution or state deadline, there is still hope for financial aid.

“Unless you missed the June 30th deadline for FAFSA, opportunities for limited aid (Pell Grants and Federal Loans) should still be there as long as the student remains enrolled at least half-time and meet all other requirements,” Marty Somero, director of financial aid at the University of Northern Colorado, wrote in an email. “A student should certainly check with their school on any exceptions to missed deadlines especially if there were true extenuating circumstances such as a death of a parent.”

Plus, some states like Indiana will allow students to appeal if they miss the state deadline because of extenuating circumstances. Colby Shank, assistant commissioner for financial aid and student support services at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, says the state’s scholarship money is guaranteed for students who meet the qualifications and submit the FAFSA by the state deadline on April 15, a common state deadline because it falls on Tax Day. But this isn’t the case for all states, he says, as some states offer funding until it runs out.

Limited funding and strictly enforced deadlines are just two of the reasons students should apply for financial aid well before the FAFSA deadlines, experts say.

“It takes a little time for the college to take that FAFSA and turn that into money for the student on the first day of class. You don’t want to delay. If you didn’t file your FAFSA before the start of class or not too soon before the start of class, you don’t want that to impact your ability to register for classes or actually attend,” Shank says.

“Earlier is always better,” he says. “The best time to start thinking about it is when the FAFSA opens the prior fall. Many individuals are first-generation college students, so it gives them more time to understand the types of questions that will be on the FAFSA. It gives you time to get your FSA ID created, and then if you do run into any troubles, there are a number of places you can reach out to that can help you, and there’s still time before your state filing deadline.” The FSA ID is a username and password that must be created to fill out and sign the FAFSA online.

Though there may be flexibility in some deadlines, like institutional deadlines, Blaine Blontz, founder and lead consultant of Financial Aid Coach, says students will maximize their aid by being aware of all the different grant and scholarship deadlines and submitting the FAFSA early.

There are other advantages as well, he says.

“Something that I’ve seen with the families I work with is just the peace of mind that comes with meeting the deadlines,” Blontz wrote in an email. “Do you need to complete financial aid forms the week of Oct. 1? No, that’s not necessary. Is it nice to have all of your requirements in before Thanksgiving, even if you are not considering early action or early decision? Absolutely.”

The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of state deadlines for the FAFSA annually, and Shank says students should also check their college’s website to find deadlines for specific grants and scholarships, or contact their financial aid office if the submission deadline isn’t clearly stated. Below are the 2019-2020 FAFSA deadlines by state, as compiled by the Department of Education.

 FAFSA Deadline by State
AL Check with your financial aid office.
AK Alaska Performance Scholarship: June 30, 2020 (priority deadline).Alaska Education Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
AZ Check with your financial aid office.
AR Academic Challenge: June 1, 2020, by midnight CST.Workforce Grant: Check with your financial aid office.Higher Education Opportunity Grant: June 1, 2020, by midnight CST.
CA For many state financial aid programs: March 2, 2020 (date postmarked).Cal Grant also requires submission of a school-certified GPA by March 2, 2020. Applicants are encouraged to obtain proof of mailing their GPA and to retain a copy of their GPA form.For additional community college Cal Grants: Sept. 2, 2020 (date postmarked).If you’re a noncitizen without a Social Security card or had one issued through the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, you should fill out the California Dream Act Application found at You do not need to fill out a FAFSA form to be eligible for California student financial aid. Contact the California Student Aid Commission ( or your financial aid office for more information.
CO Check with your financial aid office.
CT Feb. 15, 2020, by midnight CST (priority deadline).
DE April 15, 2020, by midnight CST.
DC May 1, 2020 (priority deadline). For DCTAG, complete the DC OneApp and submit supporting documents by May 31, 2020, to be given priority consideration.
FL May 15, 2020 (date processed).
GA Check with your financial aid office.
HI Check with your financial aid office.
ID Opportunity Grant: March 1, 2020, by midnight CST (priority deadline).
IL As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
IN Frank O’Bannon Grant: April 15, 2020, by midnight CST.21st Century Scholarship: April 15, 2020, by midnight CST. Adult Student Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019. New applicants must submit additional forms at Ready Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
IA July 1, 2019, by midnight CST. Earlier priority deadlines may exist for certain programs.
KS April 1, 2020, by midnight CST (priority deadline).
KY As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
LA July 1, 2020
ME May 1, 2020, by midnight CST.
Md March 1, 2020, by midnight CST.
Ma May 1, 2020, by midnight CST (priority deadline).
MI March 1, 2020, by midnight CST.
Mn 30 days after term starts, by midnight CST.
MS MTAG and MESG Grants: Sept. 15, 2019, by midnight CST.HELP Scholarship: March 31, 2020, by midnight CST.
Mo Feb. 1, 2020 (priority deadline).
MT Check with your financial aid office.
NE Check with your financial aid office.
NV Nevada Promise Scholarship: April 1, 2020.Silver State Opportunity Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.All other aid: Check with your financial aid office.
NH Check with your financial aid office.
NJ 2019–20 Tuition Aid Grant recipients: April 15, 2020, by midnight CST.All other applicants:
Fall and spring terms: Sept. 15, 2019, by midnight CST.
Spring term only: Feb. 15, 2020, by midnight CST.
NM Check with your financial aid office.
NY June 30, 2020, by midnight CST.
NC As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2018.
ND As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
Oh Oct. 1, 2019, by midnight CST.
OK As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
 OSAC Private Scholarships: March 1, 2020.Oregon Promise Grant: Contact your state agency.Oregon Opportunity Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
 All first-time applicants enrolled in a community college, business, trade, or technical school, hospital school of nursing, designated Pennsylvania Open- Admission institution, or nontransferable two-year program: Aug. 1, 2019, by midnight CST.All other applicants: May 1, 2020, by midnight CST.
PR Check with your financial aid office.
RI Check with your financial aid office.
SC Tuition Grants: June 30, 2020, by midnight CST.SC Commission on Higher Education Need-based Grants: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
SD Check with your financial aid office.
TN State Grant: Prior-year recipients receive award if eligible and apply by February 1, 2020. All other awards made to neediest applicants.Tennessee Promise: Feb. 1, 2020 (date received). State Lottery:
Fall term: Sept. 1, 2019 (date received).
Spring and summer terms: Feb. 1, 2020 (date received).
TX As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2018.Texas public colleges: Jan. 15, 2020 (priority deadline).Texas private colleges: Check with your financial aid office.
UT Check with your financial aid office.
VT As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
VA Check with your financial aid office.
WA As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
WV PROMISE Scholarship: March 1, 2020. New applicants must submit additional forms at Higher Education Grant Program: April 15, 2020.
WI Check with your financial aid office.
WY Check with your financial aid office.

Source: Federal Student Aid

This report was from U.S. News & World Report.

Emma Kerr is the paying for college reporter at U.S. News & World Report. Prior to joining U.S. News, she covered education in Maryland for the Frederick News-Post and made stops at the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Daily Beast, among others. She graduated from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, where she studied English and international studies and began her career as a news reporter at its student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can connect with her on Twitter at @EmmaRKerr.

New 5th addition available – Fundamentals of College Admission Counseling

The newest edition of the classic textbook, Fundamentals of College Admission Counseling, is now available for pre-order!

The fifth edition equips practitioners with the core knowledge and skill sets necessary to effectively assist students and families with postsecondary planning and college enrollment

About the textbook
Completely updated, Fundamentals of College Admission Counseling is the definitive textbook for graduate programs in secondary school counseling and a must-read guide for practicing counselors.

The book includes 26 chapters authored by leading practitioners, researchers, and higher education faculty. Among the core chapters are “Framework for College Counseling” and “Demystifying Enrollment Management.” You’ll learn about counseling foundations and theory, ethics and practice, student pathways and options, how to serve diverse populations, and more.

Expanded and updated
New chapters in this edition include:

  • Foundations of Standardized Admission Testing
  • Advising Students and Families About Paying for College
  • Counseling First-Generation Students and Families
  • Technology Tools for the Savvy School Counselor
  • Serving Undocumented Students
  • Counseling International Students at US High Schools
  • Advising the Transnational Applicant

Shipping information
The hardcover textbook will begin shipping in late June for arrival in plenty of time for the Fall 2019 semester.

Bulk purchases
Discounts are available for bulk purchases by contacting NACAC customer service.

Fundamentals of College Admission Counseling is published by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the trusted source in college admission.

Consider a Degree in Accounting

Are any of your students good with numbers? Have they considered an Accounting Degree? It’s an in demand job that pays very well. Here is everything they need to know about this degree:

Why Get a Degree?


Accounting is a profession that can be self-taught; however, a degree in accounting is essential to long-term success. Some people are simply naturally gifted with numbers; whereas, others must work hard to become skilled in the art of mathematics. Either way, accounting degrees are critical to learning the intricacies required to follow accounting practices to the letter of the law. These courses and degrees will also help to pass your state and national exams far more easily. Also, keep in mind that the higher the degree you complete the more money it will be possible to make.

It is important to note that highly trained professors from accredited colleges and universities are the best resources to minimize the risk of errors that can cost businesses thousands or millions of dollars and to keep you from making those errors and facing fines and the loss of your license. The government takes accounting practices incredibly seriously and so should you. Throughout your coursework, you will learn a variety of accounting skills that will help make you more employable in the long term that are quite difficult to learn on your own. These will also prepare you for credentialing tests that you would not have the opportunity to sit for if you don’t earn a degree from an accredited program.


It is essential that the college or university of your choice is regionally accredited or that the accounting program is accredited by a professional accounting organization. The exception to these rules is that if you are in pursuit of an entry-level accounting certificate program. It is ideal to complete these certificates from accredited schools; however, it may not always be possible or necessary. If you do complete an entry-level accounting certificate, be sure to continue your education from an accredited college or university to improve your employment opportunities and pay in the future.

Accreditation Agencies:

  • The Association for Advancing Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Degree Options



If you’re brand new to the field, a certificate in accounting might be a good starting point.

You don’t need any prior certification to start working toward a college degree. However, for those who are in school part-time and looking for relevant work experience to keep them financially afloat along the way, a certificate in accounting can be a valuable asset. It can also be helpful for business owners who lack a background in accounting but want the knowledge to manage their own finances legally and properly.

Accounting certification typically consists of a series of lower level classes designed to get your feet wet in the industry. You’ll learn about basic bookkeeping and receive an introduction to the fundamentals of accounting. It won’t be enough for a full-fledged career, but it can be helpful to have under your belt. 2

Accounting Certificates Available:

It is possible to complete a certificate in accounting to begin basic, entry-level accounting jobs. Other certificates are available as post-graduate certificates for those who have already completed higher level degrees. You can find these entry-level, one-year accounting certificates at for-profit colleges and universities, community colleges and technical schools.

  • Certificate in Accounting – An accounting certificate prepares high school graduates with general, entry-level accounting skills. This certificate will typically cover a wide variety of accounting topics rather than one specific focus.
  • Bookkeeping Certificate – A bookkeeping certificate focuses on basic bookkeeping skills that are ideal for small businesses, such as statistical reports, financial data, spreadsheets, and data entry.
  • Accounting Clerk Certificate – An accounting clerk certificate places emphasis on accounting records and financial statements, including accounts payables and receivables, and payroll.
  • Payroll Accounting Certificate – A payroll accounting certificate allows students to apply for entry-level payroll jobs with an in-depth knowledge of state and federal payroll taxes, benefits, garnishments, stock options, and pension plans.

Associate’s Degree in Accounting


An associate’s degree is a two-year degree that can get you started on the road to an accounting career. Associate’s degrees are generally offered at traditional four-year universities, community colleges, technical colleges, and online schools. If you can get a bachelor’s degree at an institution, you may be able to get an associate’s degree there as well.

When you sign up for an associate’s degree, you’ll have some flexibility in how you want to go about achieving it. Most schools give students the option of completing their degree in an accelerated one-year program, a traditional two-year program, or a longer, more flexible part-time arrangement.

Associate’s programs generally require about 60 semester hours of class work. Required courses can vary based on the school and program but may include any combination of core classes and lower level accounting classes. While less comprehensive than more advanced degrees, an associate’s degree can provide a solid foundation of basic accounting knowledge. It’s also a great stepping stone for those who may wish to continue their education in the future.

An associate’s degree isn’t enough to qualify students to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, but it can be enough education to get a job as a bookkeeper, administrator, or assistant in an accounting firm. The average salary for jobs that an associate’s degree would cover hovers at around $40,000 per year.

Students who graduate with an associate’s degree in accounting should have an understanding of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). They should leave the program with a clear grasp on the ethics and expectations surrounding the integrity of the accounting profession. They should be able to keep precise financial records with accuracy and attention to detail.

Associate’s Degree Example Courses:

  • Accounts Payable and Receivable
  • Bookkeeping
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting


For those who are seeking a more traditional degree in accounting, a bachelor’s degree is a good place to begin. A bachelor’s in accounting requires students to take at least 120 semester hours of class work. This generally consists of a core group of well-rounded topics, including English, history, social sciences, and electives. Students are also required to take a group of business core classes along with their general education requirement, which includes classes like lower level accounting and business courses.

Along with their general education and business requirements, students who are earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting must take the course load that comes with the major. These classes include advanced accounting courses, as well as courses where students get a more in-depth look at taxation, auditing, information systems, and ethics.

Bachelor’s degree programs generally take students four to five years to complete, with a full-time credit load. This degree opens the door for students to move forward with their education and pursue a graduate school program in accounting. Though many accounting firms require their employees to hold a graduate degree, a bachelor’s degree can be enough to secure a position in many industries. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you may be able to find work as one of the following:

  • Accountant
  • Analyst (budget and finance)
  • Bookkeeper
  • Credit examiner
  • Financial consultant
  • Payroll administrator
  • Risk assessment advisor
  • Tax advisor

Accounting employees with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn an average of about $45,000 to $60,000 per year upon graduation, depending on the position. This salary tends to increase over the first five to ten years due to the increased experience you’ll have under your belt; however, salary growth usually tops out at that point unless additional credentials are earned.

Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you should come away with a solid knowledge of the GAAP, along with the ethical practices and considerations that go hand in hand with accounting as a profession. You should also be able to create financial reports for a wide variety of client and industries, addressing the pain points and unique needs of each organization.

Bachelor’s Degree Example Courses:

  • Auditing
  • Financial Reporting
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Fundamentals of Tax
  • Managerial Accounting

Master’s Degree in Accounting


If you’re looking at accounting as a lucrative career path, you’ll probably end up with a master’s degree at the end of your journey. Students who want to pursue a master’s degree in accounting generally must have already completed a bachelor’s degree, which doesn’t necessarily have to be in accounting. However, to make sure you possess at least a fundamental understanding of the subject, your school may require you to take supplemental accounting courses prior to master’s enrollment.

Before enrollment, you may have to take a GMAT or GRE exam. These are standardized tests that most business students are required to take before they’re admitted into a graduate degree program. Master’s degree candidates may also be required to submit letters of reference, and undergraduate university transcripts.

Master’s degrees in accounting usually take one to two years to complete with a full-time workload. You may be able to choose between a variety of accounting degrees, including Master of Accountancy (MAcc), Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA), Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus in accounting.

A master’s degree in accounting may open the door to many of the following positions:

  • Actuary
  • Appraisal specialist
  • Auditor
  • Budget analyst
  • Compliance manager
  • Forensic accountant
  • Internal auditor
  • Risk assessor
  • Tax examiner
  • Treasurer

Master’s degree graduates can expect to earn a minimum of $50,000 per year, with income potential reaching up to $130,000 depending on your chosen concentration. Upon graduating with a master’s in accounting, you’ll be ready to sit for your CPA exam, if you choose to do so. This certification, though challenging to obtain, can earn accountants an average of five to ten percent more income annually.

Upon graduating with a master’s in accounting, you’ll have a thorough understanding of accounting theory, as well as the everyday skills required to use it in practice. You should be able to take the information you’ve learned and apply it directly to business decision-making, both ethically and logistically. You’ll be able to extrapolate valuable information from data and use it to lead your client or organization to financial success.

Master’s Degree Example Courses:

  • Applied Statistics for Business Decisions
  • Contemporary Issues in Accounting
  • Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Federal Taxation
  • Financial Statement Analysis

Post Graduate Accounting Certifications


The three major degrees discussed above, and doctoral degrees, are the most common tiers in any postsecondary concentration. However, depending on your career goals as an accountant, you may choose to obtain a post-graduate certification in lieu of an advanced degree.

To qualify for eligibility to take the Uniform CPA Exam, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and 150 semester hours of college credit. As the bachelor’s degree only covers 120 semester hours, you’ll need to obtain additional credits after graduating.

While some students choose to make up these hours in a master’s program, many schools offer a one-year accounting certification. This allows students to take a faster track to CPA licensure than they would have access to with a traditional master’s degree.

The courses required for a post-graduate certification can vary from school to school, but typically provide a more comprehensive focus on topics needed for a career in accounting than a bachelor’s degree can offer. These can include subjects like advanced financial reporting, auditing, cost accounting, and taxation. 1

Available Certifications:

  • Certified Public Accountant
    A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is one of the most prestigious and well-respected accounting certificates in the US. Those accountants with a CPA are often considered some of the best accountants in the market. It provides accountants with a unique position, education, and training. This accounting license allows recipients to work in a variety of areas, such as publicly traded companies, auditing reports, signing tax returns, and representing clients to the IRS. It is important to note that this certification exam has four parts and the overall license is general rather than specific. It costs up to $300 to take the exam and takes 16 hours to complete all parts.
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant
    A Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) focuses on management accounting rather than general accounting. These professional recipients will master a specific set of skills, including finance, management, operations, and strategy. The certificate program will develop the business background of CGMA holders in diverse areas, such as financial accounting, business challenges and concepts, performance management, and external financial influences. To be able to sit for the CGMA exam, you must be an AICPA member with at least three years of work experience in a relevant area. You can learn at your own pace for this designation. The CGMA exam takes 3 hours and the available leadership program costs nearly $2,500 for one year and $4,400 for three years and includes all exam fees.
  • Certified Management Accountant
    A Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification holder will be able to specialize in accounting management for nearly any company. Accounting management is a specialization that is not covered by a CPA designation. Individuals who hold this certificate will typically pursue executive roles, such as COO or CFO, or internal management positions. This is for managerial positions rather than general public accounting positions. If you have aspirations to become a leader and influencer rather than someone who completes the daily accounting tasks of report writing, auditing, and taxes then this certification might be just what you’re looking for. Before you can sit for this exam, you will require a bachelor’s degree in a related subject and a minimum of two years of relevant work experience. The exams cost up to $1,200 and takes several hours to complete each of the two tests.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
    Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a bit more time-consuming than many other accounting-related certifications. This certification requires the passing of three different exams, all of which must be passed in succession. It is estimated that less than half of individuals who sit for the first and second exams will pass and just over 50% will pass the third exam. You will also be required to complete at least 48 months of acceptable and relevant work experience and join the CFA Institute. To become a member of the CFA Institute, you must join a local affiliate chapter and complete a statement of professional conduct. The CFA program takes 3 to 4 years to complete and costs up to $4,500.
  • Certified Financial Services Auditor
    A Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) program may not be around for much longer as the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) has decided to phase out this certification. The IIA is replacing the CFSA designation with a CIA designation. Those individuals who currently hold a CFSA designation will have the opportunity to complete a replacement exam, also referred to as the CIA Specialty Challenge Exam, to receive their CIA designation without having to go through the entire CIA exam and designation requirements. It is important to note that this exam is only available for a limited time, and only if you already have the CFSA designation. The CIA exam takes nearly 16 hours to complete and costs roughly $2,000.
  • Certified Internal Auditor
    A Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a designation designed specifically for individuals who are or wish to become an auditor or a compliance officer. A CIA holder is typically hired by large corporations or enterprises to assist external auditors and to perform internal auditing procedures. These positions with a CIA designation require individuals of the highest ethics and people who are unable to be persuaded by others to present findings that are not 100% accurate. The CIA exam takes nearly 16 hours to complete, costs roughly $2,000, and is highly recommended for all individuals who wish to be a professional auditor.
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
    A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is responsible for ensuring financial transactions and accounting practices remain legal and legitimate. Essentially, a CFE is a protector of the global economy. A CFE will spend their days working in deterrence, detection, and fraud prevention. You will be training to be able to identify evidence of fraud and potential risk of fraud through common red flags and warning signs. CFEs are also responsible for establishing processes and procedures to prevent and fight against fraud. The CFE exam will test you on your understanding of fraud laws, investigative methodologies, prevention, and resolutions. To sit for the exam, you must join the ACFE. The CFE exam costs $400 and takes 8 hours to complete.
  • Certified Government Auditing Professional
    A Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) program may not be around for much longer as the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) has decided to phase out this certification. The IIA is replacing the CGAP designation with a CIA designation. Those individuals who currently hold a CGAP designation will have the opportunity to complete a replacement exam, also referred to as the CIA Specialty Challenge Exam, to receive their CIA designation without having to go through the entire CIA exam and designation requirements. It is important to note that this exam is only available for a limited time if you already have the CGAP designation. The CIA exam takes nearly 16 hours to complete and costs roughly $2,000.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
    A Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation is ideal for individuals who work in various sectors of information systems, such as security, control, and auditing. To be able to sit for the exam, you must have at least five years of relevant experience to receive your official certification. You can minimize the years of work experience required if you complete various degrees in accounting-related fields. It is important to note that only roughly 50% of individuals pass the exam the first time, so be sure you are ready before you take the exam. The exam costs around $465 for members and takes 4 hours to complete.
  • Certified Information Technology Professional
    A Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) is one of the most respectable and demanding designations for qualified CPAs specializing in information and technology. To even apply, you must have at least 1,000 hours of relevant experience in technology assurance and information management. These hours must have been completed within five years of the day you apply for the CITP. You will also have to complete at least 75 hours of technology assurance and information management as part of your professional development and continuing education requirements during this time frame. You also must be a member of the AICPA and have a valid CPA license. The exam takes 4 hours and costs $400.

Doctoral Degree in Accounting


A doctorate in accounting is the highest level of education one can achieve. This degree usually takes four to seven years of full-time coursework to complete. Students will take courses in advanced accounting theory and research subjects, which leads up to a final dissertation project that meaningfully contributes to the global field of accounting.

Accounting students who earn a PhD typically go on to hold an academic or research position in the industry. This can include careers such as postsecondary professor, industry researcher, or government consultant.

PhD candidates must show a strong understanding of research methods and be proficient enough in their field to conduct thorough, valuable research. In their dissertations, students must probe otherwise unanswered questions or needs in the field of accounting. They should have the mastery to know which questions to ask, and how to obtain the information that can unlock progress in the industry.

Doctoral Degree Example Courses:

  • Auditing
  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Empirical Methods in Corporate Finance
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Microeconomic Theory

Potential Jobs/Careers

  • Forensic Accountant
    A forensic accountant investigates financial records to look for irregularities or illegal activities to be presented in a court of law or to track down terrorist activity.
  • Bookkeeping
    Bookkeeping is a job found in every type of business but is the most prominent task in small businesses for individuals in charge of invoicing, billing, tracking deposits, monitoring expenditures, and more.
  • Tax Accountant
    A tax accountant specializes in tax preparation for both businesses and individuals. These individuals must have a deep understanding of tax codes and regulations.
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerk
    An accounts payable and receivable clerk is someone who maintains all financial transactions in all business departments to make sure the bills are paid, and debts are collected.
  • Accounting Information System Specialist
    An accounting information system specialist must monitor, evaluate, and analyze large amounts of data, including statistical information and financial data.
  • Actuarial Accountant/Insurance Accountant
    An actuarial accountant works in statistics and data gathering to determine risks for insurance companies, corporations, and government entities.

Career and Salary Outlook

Increasing challenges throughout accounting careers are increasing education necessities and job responsibilities for finance positions. Accounting automation, software applications, and artificial intelligence are becoming more ubiquitous, which is resulting in many accounting positions becoming obsolete at lower levels. This automation is also influencing a demand, perhaps unfairly, by consumers for a drastic reduction in accounting expenses.

Despite these challenges, the growth projections for accounting careers is an increase of 10% by 2026. This is still higher than the overall average growth for all careers. It is safe to consider that the career projections are directly linked to the health of the economy. If the economy grows, you can expect a greater demand for accountants. Also, certain accounting jobs are in greater demand than others, such as actuarial accountants and accounting information system specialists.

This post was from Discover Accounting. If you have students interested in a career in Accounting they offer career guides, licensing guides, education guides and much more.

Alcohol Treatment Programs for Teens

Alcohol abuse is a rampant problem in America. No one is immune. It impacts everyone, including all ethnicities, genders, ages, and social classes. One key predictor of a longer term, adult alcohol problem is teen drinking. Teens who engage in risky binge drinking frequently develop into full-blown alcoholics, or their early habits form patterns for later coping. An adult who relies on alcohol to cope with life may develop a serious addiction. There is hope for this problem. Help is available.

For many years, there have been alcohol treatment centers that catered to teens and the specific issues they face. Enrollment in intensive inpatient programs is often a response to a particularly negative incident with drinking, or may arise from a watchful, mindful parent who rightly senses negative patterns in their son or daughter. Early intervention and treatment is often the key to stemming problems down the road.

The first step towards solving a teenage alcohol problem is to recognize that there is a problem to begin with. Not every parent is ready to come to terms with the fact that drinking is endangering your child’s life. Once you, the parent, have admitted that your teen is a problem drinker, you can open a dialogue with him or her. Perhaps you can arrive at a mutually agreed upon solution. If not, and the problem continues or exacerbates, you can move forward to seeking professional help.

How to find a teen treatment center

It is easy to open a web browser and search for a teen treatment center. However, it is not so easy to determine which one will best suit your son or daughter. They are not all created equally and you may like to see your teen receive specific sorts of help.

One of the best ways to focus your search and give yourself, and the rest of the family, peace of mind, is to consult a professional. Your first step might be to discuss matters with a drug and alcohol counselor. If you are a member of a church, you might take the matter up with your minister or priest. These professionals can help you begin to sort through your needs and narrow down the choices. There are treatment centers all over the United States and, depending on your location, your area may have multiple rehabs to choose from. Further, your counselor or clergyperson is sure to have contacts and colleagues who can help you in your search. In particular, you may need an interventionist who cannot only act as an intermediary with a rehab, but who can facilitate the initial confrontation.

Inpatient or outpatient?

One of the biggest first questions to ask is whether you want to send your teen to an inpatient or an outpatient center. An inpatient center will take your teen out of his environment and focus his attention solely on himself and his drinking problem. The treatment will begin after breakfast (if not before) and continue through the day. He will likely have time to exercise and eat, but most every second will be focused on sobriety.

If you are concerned that your child will fall behind in school, inpatient treatment centers usually have a way for your teen to continue his education. Though his time in treatment will likely only span a maximum of 90 days, it is vital that he continue to focus on school and creating a bright future.

An outpatient program, on the other hand, allows your teen to spend the night at home, to attend his normal school, and engage with his usual friends. However, he will have counseling sessions to attend throughout the week. Depending on the program, he will likely be drug tested on a regular basis, including over the weekend.

Parents who wish to keep their child nearby often consider an outpatient program. This is frequently a more affordable option, too. During an outpatient program, your child will still have the daily stressors and negative influences he’s always had, but the program will help him sort through these problems and deal with them.


The location of your teen’s rehab facility is likely to be an issue. Some can easily afford to send their child out of state to a highly specialized rehab, though most will want to stay closer to home. The benefits of a closer facility are clear, but you might want to consider finding a facility in the next town over.

When your teen enters a rehab in a different town, he will be less of risk to flee the facility. His friends will be far away, and he won’t be as familiar with the local area. While this may seem like a dire concern, it is important to consider. Even if you don’t think your son or daughter would ever resort to such an extreme measure, consider that they might meet charismatic others who are able to sway them to a negative path.

Religious focus

There are many rehab facilities that can accommodate your views on religion. You may find one that is particularly aligned with your faith, such as a Catholic-based rehab, or one that caters to Judaism. There are also teen treatment facilities that have no stated religious focus.

When you see treatment facilities that center their treatment on the 12-step model, be aware that this includes a spiritual aspect. However, it does not necessarily have to focus on any specific faith or creed. The 12-step model was created to be inclusive of people from all faiths, whether Western and otherwise.

Dual diagnosis

A dual diagnosis indicates a person who suffers from a mental illness on top of a substance abuse problem.

Your teen may be using alcohol as a way to medicate a mental illness. Even teens who are depressed use alcohol, a nervous system depressant, to ease their pain. If your teen is suffering a profound mental illness, that may impact which facilities are likely to provide adequate treatment. Most can likely handle depression or anxiety. A more profound disorder, such as schizophrenia or a bipolar disorder is likely to require a more advanced facility that employs psychiatrists on staff. If you feel this issue applies to your teen, please discuss it with an addiction specialist.

Duration of treatment

Generally speaking, rehabilitation programs last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Keep in mind that the length of stay in treatment dramatically impacts the longer-term efficacy of the stay. That is, your teen has the best chance of success with a 90-day program. His chances further improve if he continues his recovery program beyond that point with life in a teen sober house, an outpatient program, or some comprehensive aftercare program.

Please weigh the cost of treatment against this important factor. Spending more or less time does not equal longer-term sobriety. Only more time and practice living as a sober individual can possibly pay off with longer-term sobriety. If your insurance covers a 90-day program at a facility, then please take advantage.

What happens to your teen during treatment

During treatment, your teen may start with a period of detoxification. If he has become a daily drinker, he may require professional supervision while his system adjusts to life without alcohol. This sort of issue can be sorted out prior to admission. If you have an interventionist, they can help you make this determination and make arrangements for detox.

Depending on your teen’s inpatient program, his or her day might include any of the following:

  • High School courses
  • Relapse prevention class
  • Drugs education – to study the impact of drugs on the body and brain
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Physical activity
  • Family counseling
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Men’s group
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Meditation
  • Calisthenics/Yoga
  • Nature hikes

Though some of the activities at your teen’s rehab may sound like fun, bear in mind that they all have a therapeutic value. After all, many alcoholics and addicts are initially introduced to their drugs of choice as a way to relax and have fun. If your teen learns how to recreate these feelings in a safe and healthy way without the use of toxic substances, then the treatment is successful.


Upon intake, your teen’s physical and mental health is evaluated. At that point, their medications will be considered. Your child should never be denied any prescription he has received from a family doctor. If any changes are recommended, the facility will discuss this with you and involve your family physician if necessary. There will be a medical team on staff to write or refill any prescriptions as needed. Your teen will not miss any of his medications while he recovers from his drinking problem.

While in treatment, your child may require additional medication. Given that he is already considered somewhat of a risk for taking any mood-altering substances, these decisions are made very carefully, with your consultation. Typical medications your teen might require include sleeping aids or antibiotics, in case he comes down with a physical illness.

What is the family involvement?

While your teen in in treatment, you will want to be involved. You may be tempted to call the facility for regular updates. However, it will be most beneficial for you to follow the protocols set forth by the center itself.

Some centers may have regular family therapy sessions that you will be asked to attend. These sessions will help you and your teen sort through any communication, or other, issues you may have. These sessions are often quite intense and can be highly emotional, so please be prepared.

In the meantime, the family can attend Al-Anon and other 12-step meetings. This offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by AA founder Bill W’s wife, Lois. Her aim was to help the wives of alcoholics heal themselves and help the alcoholic in their life. Contemporary Al-Anon hosts friends, family members, husbands, and significant others of alcoholics.

In these meetings, you will find a fellowship of helpful individuals who have been through many of the same traumas as you. You can form a support network that can help you through the trying times of early recovery. For instance, if your teen suffers a relapse you might want to blame yourself. A support network will include people who have experienced the same troubles and can help you understand that it is not your fault, and lead you towards a helpful solution.

What to do after treatment

Once your teen has completed a treatment program, the work will really be starting. If your child has been in an inpatient facility, they will need to reintegrate to society. Old playmates and playgrounds will be a temptation, and old triggers and stressors will still be present. It’s hoped that they will be better able to handle those people, places, and things. However, they will need a plan to do so.

While in treatment, your teen should formulate a plan for discharge. She can work with her counselor to create a strategy for building a support system. This will likely involve 12-step groups, but can also involve things such as meditation classes, physical activities, and enhanced involvement with their church, exploration of new spiritual avenues, and a wide range of healthy endeavors. Teens often try on many sorts of identities as they grow up. Let your teen explore new, healthy activities that will broaden their perspective on life and her place in it.

Inpatient teens might transition into a sober living house or to an outpatient program. Though this may seem punitive after they’ve already completed an inpatient program, keep in mind that the duration of treatment pays off in terms of long-term sobriety. Learning to live a drug-free, happy existence is not a punishment, but a privilege.

Depending on your local school system and your teen’s individual story, it may be beneficial to find a new approach to education. You could have them attend a different high school, or perhaps they could finish their high school as a homeschooler. The new daily environment, fresh faces, and even the different building may allow them to re-establish themselves as a sober, well-adjusted person. Then, they won’t have to compete with the expectations their old life cultivated.

Alcohol Addiction Center is a free, web-based resource helping to bring education and information to the world of alcohol addiction. It is our hope that with increased awareness, more and more people will get help with their alcohol problems.

What Else Could Your Students By with Their Textbook Money?

College textbooks are expensive. Often, their high prices are one of the top complaints of college students. For many students, buying textbooks can create an unexpected financial strain. This is especially true for the 71 percent of who take out student loans in order to pay their tuition. The College Board has found that in just one academic year, students spend about $1,250 on textbooks and supplies. The costs have been skyrocketing in recent years, and researchers have seen an 88 percent increase in textbook costs in just the past decade.

As the textbook purchases continue to add up, many creative students start wondering what they could do with that money if they weren’t buying textbooks. The edutech platform, OneClass, noticed the witty commentary about the cost of textbooks, and decided to run some of the calculations on exactly what a college student could buy if they weren’t spending money on textbooks.

In the infographic below, you can explore 70 things that college students could do with $1,250 instead of buying textbooks. Included are practical choices, such as paying off their credit cards or taking one Uber ride per week. There’s also tasty options such as buying eight pizzas each month or one Big Mac per day. There’s tech-focused choices such as buying 30 pairs of noise cancelling headphones or 18 years of VPN service. There’s fun options such as taking a spring break trip to Cancun or buying 38 baseball game tickets. There are also ways to use that money to advance their education. For example, they could get unlimited online class notes for themselves and nine friends, or they could pay the lab fees for eight science/tech classes. Even though textbooks are absolutely necessary to college classes, it’s nice to think about all of the ways we’d rather spend that money. Check out the full infographic below:

What Else Could You Buy with Your Textbook Money

OneClass is an online academic platform that has helped millions of college students get better grades through access to online class notes, study guides, and 24/7 homework help. 

Textbook Prices vs. Food Costs

If you didn’t have to spend money on textbooks, you could buy these food and drinks instead.

  • A jar of Nutella every day for a year
  • 12 bowls of ramen each day
  • A Chipotle burrito every other day
  • One Big Mac per day
  • 20 smoothies per month
  • Sushi three times per week
  • FroYo fans could eat 5 cups of frozen yogurt per week
  • Nine cups of coffee per week for a full year
  • Eight pizzas per month
  • Seven cans of La Croix each day, helping you build that wall of La Croix like the Whole Foods in Brooklyn

Textbook Costs vs. Phone App Purchases

Here are app services you could buy using the money you’d spend on textbooks:

  • One Uber ride per week for a full year
  • A year’s subscription to Spotify for you and 20 friends at the student rate of $4.99 per month
  • An annual Netflix subscription for yourself and 11 friends
  • Antivirus software for 110 devices
  • Use Solvit to get 250 express answers to help you with your homework
  • Dragon Dictation service for 8 years, so you’ll never have to type a term paper again
  • 18 years of VPN service at about $70 per year
  • Password manager service for 52 years

Textbook Costs vs. Buying the Essentials

Rather than buying textbooks, you could use that money to pay for these basics:

Textbooks vs. Shopping

Would you rather be hitting the shops instead of paying for textbooks? Here’s what you could buy if you didn’t need books:

  • 29 pairs of Levi’s jeans
  • Visit Target every 18 days, based on the average per-visit purchase amount for the retailer
  • 50 hats with your college’s name
  • Eight pairs of Ray-Ban shades

Buying Textbooks vs. Dorm Decor

Would you rather decorate your dorm room than spend money on textbooks? Here’s what you could buy instead of a year’s worth of books.

Textbooks vs. Learning Costs

If the money you spend on textbooks were used for other learning expenses, you could buy the following:

  • 10 percent of your tuition bill based on the average tuition cost of $10,230 for a four-year public school
  • Annual OneClass subscription for you and nine friends, including unlimited online lecture notes and study guides
  • Take the GRE six times
  • Lab fees for eight science and tech courses

Textbooks vs. Going Green

For the same amount that you’d spend on college textbooks, you could do the following:

Textbook Spending vs. Travel

Would you rather use your textbook money to have an adventure? Here’s how far you could travel:

Textbook Costs vs. Tech Gadgets

Here’s what you could buy instead of spending money on textbooks:

Buying Textbooks vs. Paying for Fun Activities

Instead of buying textbooks, you could be spending your money on doing one of these fun activities:

Textbooks vs. Class Supplies

Textbooks aren’t the only course materials you’ll need. Using the money you’d spend on textbooks, you could buy the following:

  • Three bookbags per month
  • 20 notebooks per month
  • 3,875 highlighters per year, helping your class notes to be clearly organized
  • 88 citation guides so you’re never without an MLA Handbook

Textbooks vs. Becoming a Student Entrepreneur

If you’d rather start a business while you’re in school than pay for textbooks, student entrepreneurs could buy the following:

  • Website hosting for 10 years
  • 83 domain names to cover a bunch of similar business names
  • 34,723 business cards to help your networking and marketing

To clarify, we’re not actually recommending that you don’t buy your textbooks. However, it sure is nice to think about what you could buy instead.

Find out how OneClass can help you get better grades and pay you to go to clas

Six Changes to the Common Coalition for the 2019-2020 School Year

Annie Reznik, Executive Director of the Coalition, recently made a presentation to high school counselors during which she announced upcoming changes to the Coalition App. Here are six of them:

Parameters for the “main essay” will be standardized so that and individual schools can no longer have different word limits for that essay. The Coalition App allows colleges to require a “main essay” based on one of five standardized prompts, but admissions offices could choose their own word limits, so students were sometimes faced with modifying the same essay for different schools, but that will no longer be true.

There will no longer be a 550-word limit on the main essay. The Coalition App will continue to recommend a limit of 500-550 words, but students can submit an essay of any length. That means that students will be free to submit the same essay as the 650-word limit essay they’re submitting on the Common App, and that’s a major convenience. 

In concert with the two changes shown above, the Coalition app is moving the essay section into its “Profile” (non-school specific) section, so students will have to upload their main essay only one time.

Individual college-specific essays and questions will still be permitted, but they’ll be visible in advance. Prior to this change, students couldn’t see the essay prompts until they’d answered every single question in a section, and that caused needless problems. The new Coalition App will let students preview a “demo” of each school’s app, so that all member-specific essay prompts and questions can be seen early in the process and essays can be started before the balance of the questions in that section are answered.

The new Coalition App will allow SAT and SAT Subject Scores to be sent directly from the application platform to the colleges. The Coalition calls this feature “Score Send,” and it will allow students to link their Coalition App to their College Board account and have their SAT and SAT Subject Test scores sent directly to their colleges. Because they’ll be coming from the College Board, the scores will be official. The Coalition hopes to expand this to other testing agencies – e.g., the ACT – in the future.

The Coalition is also touting an improved user experience. The Coalition’sstated purpose in creating the Coalition App was to make it easier for under-resourced students to apply to college, but some of its features were not particularly easy to use. Changes that are coming in July include a streamlined dashboard for school counselors, clearer language about who qualifies for application fee waivers, and improved language in the self-reported academic record section.

These changes discussed above are currently “live” only in the “demo” version of the application, but they will become official and available to all students and users on July 1.

Dan Lipford is an Educational Consultant, Master Tutor, teacher, and Director of Special Projects for Score At The Top Learning Centers and Schools. He loves learning, empowering students, writing educational material and blogs, and reading almost everything. On occasion, he writes for pleasure, and his poetry has appeared in multiple small press journals. His Master’s degree is in Speech-Language Pathology, and he lives in Coconut Creek, FL with his wife, Barbara, and their Cairn Terrorist [Opps: Terrier] puppy, Ash. Dan can be reached at

How to Help Students Respond to Any Essay Prompt

Many schools ask a variation on the question, “Why us?” This prompt can be one of the most challenging for students (and for counselors trying to help them). The questions often look like these, from current and past years’ applications:

Northwestern University: What are the unique qualities of Northwestern — and of the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying — that make you want to attend the University? In what ways do you hope to take advantage of the qualities you have identified?

Tufts: Which aspects of Tufts’ curriculum or undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, Why Tufts?

New York University: We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU and, more specifically, why you have applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and/or area of study. If you have applied to more than one, please tell us why you are interested in each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or undecided, or simply open to the options within NYU’s global network; regardless, we want to understand — Why NYU?

Cornell University College of Engineering: Tell us about an engineering idea you have, or about your interest in engineering. Describe how your ideas and interests may be realized by — and linked to — specific resources within the College of Engineering. Finally, explain what a Cornell Engineering education will enable you to accomplish.

Macalester College: What factors have led you to consider Macalester College? Why do you believe it may be a good match, and what do you believe you can add to the Mac community, academically and personally?

In every case, the answer needs to address three important areas:

  1. The School: What attracts me to this college or program?
  2. The Student: What do I want readers to know about me?
  3. The Stories: How does what I know about the program mesh with what I want readers to know about me? How can I illustrate this intersection?

Many students know very little about what a school offers academically, socially or culturally. Sometimes students choose a college because of its location or status. If you want to help your students with this prompt, make it clear that this is not what admission officers want to know in a Why College X essay. Admission teams need to know the student will be comfortable in the big city, but they ask the question to find out why the student is interested in the school, a particular college there or a specific academic program. Does this student have the chops to succeed academically? Are there any clubs or activities to support their outside interests? Why do these factors matter to this applicant?

Each year, we meet many young people who insist that a school is perfect because the student bleeds the university’s colors, feels at home inside the football stadium, and loves listening to stories around the Thanksgiving dinner table from Dad, Aunt Lisa and cousin Diana, all enthusiastic and accomplished alumni. Colleges want students to be comfortable for many reasons, but this type of answer is never sufficient. It does not answer the prompt.

Activity Essays

Generally speaking, colleges like to know more about a student than the sentence or two that students include on the activities section of an application or resume. When asked, “Which activity would you continue in college?” or “Tell us about one significant activity,” students need to expand upon the activity by explaining what they like about it, what they find engaging about the activity, and why this matters.

As with all essay opportunities, make sure students know why they are sharing a particular story. If a student writes about tennis because she won six championships, that information is likely already in the application. If she writes about how hard she worked to get along with her new doubles partner, and as a result has become a better team player, that’s something readers wouldn’t already know. One of our students wrote an activity essay about learning the value of hard work when he cleaned out a Dumpster as part of his job in the kitchen of the overnight camp he had attended for many years. His colorful description of the activity, along with what he learned, showed how hard he worked under the worst of circumstances. His essay revealed insight. That’s why it worked.

Influential Person Essays

The prompts on college applications are not always as straightforward as they appear. Consider the “influential person” essay prompt, which might look like this: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

Colleges do not want to read stories about Aunt Rose, a beloved first-grade teacher or the student’s great-grandfather who invented the crinkle potato chip. Instead, the applicant needs to write about how this special person helped shaped them, what they gained from the relationship, and why it matters to them now.

It is admirable if Aunt Rose saved five children from a burning house or won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. But what does that have to do with the writer? Were they one of the kids she saved? Did they become a volunteer firefighter because of this experience? If not, let Aunt Rose apply for college on her own. She might even earn a scholarship for her heroic acts.

Issue Essays

Even if a college asks students to discuss an issue (racism, poverty, domestic violence, world hunger, gun control) that is relevant to them, admission officers still want students to reflect on that issue. Consider the “issue essay” prompt, which might look like this: Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

Is the writer passionate about the environment? Do they follow politics like a veteran pundit? Is the applicant a vegetarian or an advocate for the elderly? These are admirable issues, but unless the writer can explain what they have done as a result of this great concern, this essay won’t shine. Why did she become a vegetarian? How has it affected daily life? What insight has this student gained while teaching their parents to cook tofu? Answers to questions like these demonstrate reflection.

Creative Essays

Students generally either love or hate creative essays. Here are three sample prompts from the University of Chicago, the leader of the creative, provocative prompt:

  • Where’s Waldo, really?
  • What’s so odd about odd numbers? 
  • If you could balance on a tightrope, over what landscape would you walk?

In addition to a personal statement, UChicago asks students to write several supplemental essays, including one that demonstrates their compatibility with the school. People who attend UChicago like questions like this. If a student can’t bear the question, UChicago is probably not a good fit.

The idea is to have some fun with this essay. “Write it any way you want,” the school tells students. “We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.”

Other schools offer creative prompts as well. These samples come from current and past application seasons.

ApplyTexas: You’ve got a ticket in hand — Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

University of Pennsylvania: You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217.

Bucknell University: Pick a movie or novel where the protagonist makes a difficult choice. Do you agree or disagree with the decision he or she made?

Hampshire College: Create two questions that drive you.

Lehigh University: You’ve just reached your one millionth hit on your YouTube video. What is the video about?

Just like personal statements, supplemental essays offer a chance for students to round out the application package. Help them make the most of this opportunity.

Our Gift to You: Free Counselor Book

This is an excerpt from Chapter 2 (Understanding the Prompts) of our book, How to Write an Effective College Application Essay, the Inside Scoop for Counselors. Get your free copy here.

How do you approach the college essay? We’d love to hear how you talk to your students when they panic, and what your biggest college essay challenges are. Feel free to email me


Kim Lifton, named one of 10 LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Education, 2018 , is President of Wow Writing Workshop, a strategic communication company staffed by experts who understand the writing process inside and out. Since 2009, Wow has been leading the industry with our unique approach to communicating any message effectively. Click the Wow Method to find out how we help students write college application essays, grad school personal statements and resumes that get results. We also help business and nonprofit leaders create better blogs, manage social media, develop websites and create other communication materials.  If it involves words, Wow can help.

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