How Top Private Colleges Select their Students

 

The most selective colleges do not apply the same admissions standards to all applicants. They seek variety and sort their applicants, usually into five categories. This means that applicants don’t compete for admission with all the others who have applied but only with those in their category. Different colleges give varied weight to each category.
Intellectuals. Top academic records are likely to get applicants admitted anywhere. Those who have taken tough courses in high school graduated at or near the top of the class, and score well on the standardized tests are almost certain to be accepted no matter what other qualities they do or do not have.
Especially talented. Varsity-level athletes predominate in this group. If the athletic department is looking for a fullback, a long-distance runner, or a hurdler, the admissions office is likely to cooperate. Occasionally an exceptionally talented artist, musician, sculptor, or poet will be given preference.

All in the family

Private colleges depend on alumni for financial support and for time and effort spent on behalf of the institution. Family traditions within a school are highly valued. A parent, grandparent, or close relative who has been a loyal and generous supporter of the college gives the applicant an edge. It’s still necessary to meet the college’s academic standards. But most colleges are generous in judging the applicants from a kinfolk of alumni.
Affirmative action. In recent years, most top colleges have placed a strong emphasis on the recruitment of academically competent blacks and other minority-group members. They have considered it an obligation. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are often judged more on their potential than on their previous academic accomplishments.
All-American boys and girls. This is by far the largest group. It includes all the bright, mannerly, goodhearted kids who are competent in many things but aren’t outstanding in any single area. Because of the large number of applicants in this category, the competition is tough. Note: This group makes up the largest percentage of all those admitted to the top private colleges.
Applicants who are bright, but who don’t get into a top school, shouldn’t despair. There are many excellent colleges that will accept them and provide top-notch education.
Also: That kind of education will be just as good as, perhaps better than, the one offered by a school thought to be superior.

If the College of Your Choice Turns You Down

If an applicant has not been accepted at a preferred private college, there is little that can be done. Reason: The applicant’s admissions folder was carefully reviewed by three or four admissions committee members, who made a decision. But don’t give up. Options:
Review the application and the instructions for filling it out. Was something that could have significantly affected the committee’s decision left out? The applicant’s special interests? Achievements? Talents or skills?
Also: The application process started in the fall when the senior year of high school was barely underway. What has the applicant done during the last six months? Built a computer? Raised the grade point average? Started playing French horn with the local symphony? All of these are significant additions to the application. Inform the college of them, and ask for a review.
Call the admissions director and ask: Why didn’t I get in? Listen carefully for specifics. Example: Your grades were high, but you didn’t take enough tough courses. More likely the director will offer general comments but will give you a clue about the decision, not wanting to get into an argument about specific issues of judgment.
Go to a college that has offered admission. Strategy: Achieve a top academic record during the freshman year. Then: Reapply to the first-choice college as a sophomore transfer. The admissions folder will still be on file. And the continuing interest in the school will get the applicant a first-consideration rating among transfer applicants.

Family Financial Review (Best Advice)

family financial review

 

The same skills required to run a company are also needed for truly effective household management. It can be daunting and has the capability to spoil enmity between relations if not properly handled.
This Family Financial Review’s best advice has been crafted to support you and your family. Don’t forget, we have written how to run personal finance like a business. Please check it.
 
The technique is:

Apply business skills

Hold periodic reviews of family finances; keep family members informed about changes in financial status. Checklist for review:

Balance sheet

Updating it will show changes in the family’s net worth (the difference between assets and liabilities) since the last review.

Income

Salaries, business profits, stock dividends, capital gains, etc. Categorize these as either regular or nonrecurring income.

Debts

Personal, automobile, life insurance policy, and other loans, as well as installment purchases and charge account balances. Make sure the wife has her own credit line. Current budget. This spending guide helps assure the achievement of short- and long-term goals. While it must be realistic, it shouldn’t be so restrictive as to create family tensions.

Contingency budgets

Revise, if necessary, the budgets that would apply if either wage earner died.

Home

Determine the current market value of the house and the principal balance on the mortgage. The difference is your equity, all or part of which would be available if the house were sold or refinanced. Does the fire insurance reflect current value? Using life insurance to pay off a mortgage is a useful estate-planning element. Generally, husband and wife should own a house jointly.

Life insurance

A review of assets, resources, and the revised contingency budgets will show whether present coverage should be increased or decreased. It may or may not be wise for each spouse to own the policies on the other’s life.

Since inter-spousal gifts and bequests are 100% deductible, consult your estate planner to find out what is best for your family.

Social Security and pensions

Check for changes in retirement and death benefits. If an employment-related pension is vested, find out its current value. If applicable, check for potential death benefits and the Veterans Administration and from unions, professional associations, or fraternal membership. Update data on your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and/or self-employment (Keogh) pension plan.

Health insurance

If existing coverage (obtained through employment or otherwise) is inadequate, consider supplementing it with a major medical policy that will pay $1 million (or more) above other benefits.

Other insurance

Have your auto, homeowners, fine arts, jewelry, and other property and liability policies been increased to keep up with inflation? Rather than raising individual liability policies, consider buying a low-cost umbrella policy to cover claims against you of $1 million (or more) above your present coverage.

Banks

Make a list of checking accounts, regular and time-deposit savings accounts, and the contents of your safe-deposit box. Do both spouses have access to that box? At death, a person’s assets, for tax and probate purposes, are frozen. To make certain that the survivor has funds with which to operate, each spouse should have a bank account in his or her own name.
Do not store wills, life insurance policies, and other documents that would be required shortly after death in a safe deposit box, which normally would be sealed by the bank at the owner’s death. (Note: Boxes in a corporate name are not sealed.)

Securities

List all your stocks, bonds, commodity-futures contracts, Treasury notes, and other securities, showing where they are stored and whether they are individually or jointly owned. For tax purposes, keep careful records of the dates and prices of all purchases and sales. Names of the investment brokers also should be noted.

Other investments

Follow the securities review pattern in dealing with investments in real estate (other than your home), gems, precious metals, art objects, etc.

Charitable contributions

Reappraise the list of recipients and the sizes of gifts. Would a widowed spouse, or an estate, be liable for pledges or commitments made while the spouse was alive?

Family business

If a husband or wife is a sole proprietor or a principal in a partnership or private corporation, there should be a plan that goes into effect when death occurs. That plan, perhaps funded by life insurance, would provide for payment to the surviving spouse for the deceased spouse’s share of the business.
In the case of a sole proprietorship, the insurance proceeds would allow time to liquidate or sell the business (perhaps to employees).

Wills

They must be revised to reflect any changes in family circumstances, both economic and personal. This should be a joint effort, with each spouse fully aware of the contents of the other’s will. They should also be reviewed whenever the tax law changes, as it does so often.

 

Best Approach to Beat Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

 

Beating the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is one thing that gives candidates sleepless nights, some times, it does not solely depend on being verbally intelligent. But the ability to reason logically, and know how to tackle a question.

This guide on Scholastic Aptitude Test will help you to be better prepared and come out with flying colors after taking the SAT examination. Please check this ancient guide to getting into college that always works.

‘Beating’ the Scholastic Aptitude Test

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is designed to measure a student’s aptitude for college work. It is not an intelligence test, although good students are likely to do better. But with preparation, any student can measure up to his full capacity.
Important: The SAT consists of four 30-minute sections, two verbal and two mathematical. It is critical that the student make efficient use of the allotted time to get as much done as possible.

How to prepare

Read the instructions for each section in the preparatory booklet supplied by the College Board. They are identical to those on the test itself. Understanding them in advance will give the student more time to concentrate on the actual test questions, rather than on the instructions.
Take the complete SAT test in the preparatory booklet within the obligatory time limit. The score will indicate how much practice the student needs.
Concentrated practice in taking tests can help some students to sharpen their test-taking skills, which will save them time when it counts. Math refresher courses almost always help. Verbal improvement is more difficult.

Where to go for help

A number of SAT preparation guides provide good advice and sample practice questions. Cram courses can help, too, although not as much as is often claimed. Recommend ed: Ask for the names and addresses of former students who the service claims benefited from the course.
On the test:
Quickly go through the questions. Answer all those to which the answer is apparent. Use the time that’s left to go back and figure out the other questions.
Don’t be afraid to guess if the odds are favorable. All questions are multiple-choice, with four or five possible answers. One point is given for each right answer, and one-third or one-quarter of a point is lost for each wrong answer. Unanswered questions don’t count either way. If the student is not sure of the right answer but can eliminate two or more, the odds are that he’ll stand to gain more by guessing.
Above all
Don’t panic. Unlike students in the 1960s and 1970s, the present generation is going to college in a buyer’s market. Except for some top schools, the admission doors are open wider than ever.

Coaching for Scholastic Aptitude Test

The controversy over the effectiveness of coaching to raise Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores for college applicants heats up.
Background:
The testing service that gives the SAT has always claimed coaching doesn’t improve scores significantly. Why: SATS are supposed to measure fundamental scholastic abilities. That is the potential of the student, rather than past achievement.
Problem:
Surveys indicate that coaching can increase SAT scores. Gains of as much as 100 points are reported. Since many colleges rely on SATS in selecting entrants, boosting the numbers is vitally important to students.
Where the situation stands: The testing service now admits that coaching can heighten scores. But, they feel, not by any dramatic amounts. The service’s conclusions:
Short-term drilling of fewer than 10 hours has almost no positive effect.
Students who put 20 hours into each subject can raise scores by 12 points in the verbal section and 20 in the math.
After 50 hours of coaching, scores might rise by 20 to 30 points. These increases are in addition to the typical 10- to 20-point gains made by students who take the SATS a second time.
A law of diminishing returns sets in after 50 hours. Question: Are the time and effort of coaching worth it?
The testing service continues to be skeptical. But those who have raised their scores significantly insist that the effort pays off.
 
Please check Mastercard Foundation Scholarship, this may be what you need at this time.

Run Personal Finances Like a Business

 

Run Personal Finances Like a Business

Most executives neglect their personal finances because they are too busy with their jobs or businesses. That’s a serious mistake. If you are a student, please check out the financial aid you can apply for.
 
Stay alert for opportunities to save and profit:
Pension plans. Business owners and the self-employed can take advantage of special pension options open to them. If you are making $100,000 a year, you could easily put away $30,000 pre-tax into a defined benefit pension plan. Greater earnings may justify even larger contributions. Compounding tax-free dollars gives an enormous investment edge.
A favorite tax-planning tactic is to have a minor child work for a family-owned business. The first three thousand dollars earned by the child is tax-free, and further income is taxed at low rates. In addition, the company gets a deduction for the child’s salary. Now, a dramatic taxpayer victory shows just how effective this tactic can be.
The taxpayers owned a mobile home park and hired their three children, aged 7, 11, and 12, to work there. The children cleaned the grounds, did landscaping work, maintained the swimming pool, answered phones, and did minor repair work. The taxpayers deducted over $17,000 that they paid to the children during a three-year period. But the IRS objected, and the case went to trial. Court’s decision: Over $15,000 of deductions were approved. Most of the deductions that were disallowed were attributable to the 7-year-old. But even $4,000 of his earnings were approved by the court.

Key Features

The children actually performed the work for which they were paid. And the work was necessary for the business. The tax-payers demonstrated that if their children had not done the work, they would have had to hire someone else to do it.
Types of jobs children could do: Write checks or send out bills for your business, do simple maintenance and painting for investment real estate you own, etc.
Set a spouse up in business. Most male executives don’t realize the tax benefits they could get from encouraging their wives to start businesses. Some of the benefits:
As long as the business shows a profit for three of the first five years, the IRS generally won’t challenge the right to deduct losses in the other two years. These losses can be offset directly against the high-earner’s high-tax bracket income.
• If the wife’s business travel plans coincide with those of her husband, she can travel with him, all fully deductible. (Of course, a business trip can also coincide with vacation travel. But be sure it’s predominantly business travel.)
The wife can invest up to $2,000 of earned income in an IRA. (The full $2,000 is deductible only if neither you nor your spouse is an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or, if you are, your adjusted gross income on a joint form is less than $40,000.)
• Three-generation financial planning. Consider asking your parents to transfer some of their wealth directly to your children. (Easiest way to skip a generation: Each grandparent gives each grandchild $10,000 a year in tax-free gifts.)
Supporting elderly parents. If you are self-employed, consider employing your parent in the business. There is also this good personal finance description by investopedia.
 

Opportunities

Write the monthly checks. Manage a piece of real estate. Investigate any investment you are considering.

Special concern

If your parent is under 70 and receives Social Security benefits, he or she will lose $1 of Social Security for every dollar earned over a certain amount. One way around this is: Set up an S corporation with the parents as stockholders. The dividends paid out of the S corporation do not diminish Social Security payments. Of course, once the parent reaches 70, no earnings affect Social Security payments.

Executive corporation

This can be a major advantage for a corporate executive with an independent job function and the clout to negotiate a major tax-saving arrangement with the employer. The reward: Tax benefits and opportunities are maximized.