Nothin' 2 Prove

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College Common Sense

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Our family has been exploring colleges, careers, and future academics in some way, shape or form from early ages. So when I read about College Common Sense, Going to College and Paying for it, I thought it sounded like a good fit for our family and wanted learn more.

When I learned that our family would have the opportunity to review Going to College and Paying for it Online Video and Workbook, I was even more excited! I have had my eyes wide open for scholarships that might be a possibility for us for quite some time, and any help is always greatly appreciated. But boy was I in for a surprise.This program is way more than just financial aid help!

The online video and workbook that we received access to can be purchased for $25.00 for a 12 month access to the website. It can also be purchased in DVD and workbook form for $50.00 + $5.00 shipping.



This program was developed by Denise Ames through years of experience as a financial aid counselor at a university in Texas.  Her experience with college admissions and financial aid prove invaluable in guiding you and your kids through 6 video lessons complete with pdf workbook which outlines exercises and activities to guide the student in developing a complete plan of action for their future. There are even activities outlined for younger age levels,  and great ideas to get kids started thinking in the right direction at an elementary age, making this program applicable to any age.

The six videos are as follows:

1. The Big Picture

2.  How Financial Aid Works

3.  All About the Free Money

4.  The System That Works

5.  You in the Process

6.  Put it all Together

Each is around 15 minutes or so, although I didn’t time them, I think that’s a fair estimate of the time it took to watch one.

I’d really recommend you invest just two minutes of your time to watch Denise’s two minute introduction on You Tube.  And you certainly don’t have anything to lose, and everything to gain by signing up for the free newsletter and lesson plans by clicking on them in the left column of the website. But I’m just gonna tell you, the videos are as valuable as your kids’ futures!


College Common Sense at Gunn Ranch Academy

Our family is very college oriented as I spent 9 years in college earning a B.S. in Animal Science and D.V.M. from KSU College of Veterinary Medicine.  My hubby earned a B.S. majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry.

I knew from an early age I wanted to be a vet, and my parents worked hard to help me find opportunities to get there, including scholarships, exploring college courses, pre-requisits for getting into vet school, opportunities to earn experience working in the veterinary field for my vet school application, extra curricular activities, etc.  My Mom always worked really hard to get financial aid, and we really worked hard to get the money to pay for a lot of my school, though I still ended up with loans to pay back. I did work at the Animal Resource Facility at the Vet School, as well as working to get scholarships and financial aid, and any other opportunities to help pay for my school including living extremely low budget, and living in some low budget housing as well.

Understanding this process led me to lead my own children in the same direction. Exploring their gifts, talents, passions, and even looking around at colleges that have information,  educational programs and such in the areas they are interested in has been happening since they were young.

I had explored a little bit of the College Common Sense program before receiving the paid program for review through the free monthly lesson plans and newsletter. These have some wonderful ideas and are a great outline of how to get started exploring colleges, interests and financial aid if you aren’t familiar with the process. For us, we had already done most if not all of the recommendations in the free lesson plans, and have gleaned some good info from the newsletters.  We’ve already toured colleges, and specifically the Vet School at Texas A & M, my girls have toured the regular Texas A&M campus and had quite a bit of opportunity to interact with students and guides when they attended Horse Judging Camp the past two years. They’ve had the opportunity to stay in dorms, and experience a bit of “college life”. They loved it! They’ve also been to many other colleges in Texas as we’ve traveled around Horse Judging, and through 4-H opportunities.

When we received the Going to College and Paying for It online subscription, we began looking through the videos and downloaded the pdf files that went with each and started reading through them. We found that we had already done most of the activities in the first couple of videos, aside from filling out the FAFSA since my oldest is only 16 years old. But the videos are informative and it was really good for my daughter to be able to hear this information from a different viewpoint other than my own.

For people who didn’t go to college themselves or who don’t have experience with financial aid, these videos are good as gold. They walk you and your teen through the process step-by-step, and I can attest to the importance of keeping files, making a notebook, keeping up with dates, working on your financial aid as a continual process. These guidelines are just plain smart and if everyone would follow these Common Sense guidelines, then we wouldn’t have so many college grads so deep in debt, and so many kids who think they can’t afford college at all, or don’t even know where to begin or what they are interested in.

We already have a college binder with info we’ve collected, and we have looked around quite a bit for scholarship opportunities that might be out there in our areas of interest,  but didn’t have one dedicated to scholarship opportunities only, so we started putting together another binder.

My girls have been learning Latin for quite awhile and we found an opportunity for college scholarship a few years back if an exam was taken yearly and a certain score and level achieved. These are the opportunities you don’t want to miss, and just one little example of the type of things that are out there that most people miss. But how do you find them? Well, I’ve spent lots of time looking, and they really are out there, and while I thought I was doing pretty good at putting it all together, I realized that with the help of this program I could be doing so much more! Actually, I realized my daughter could be doing so much more!

As we watched  the last couple of videos, I began to understand that while I’ve done a pretty good job at motivating her in the right direction, these videos just really take it to a new level. They really put the whole thing together in an organized way and are not lacking in motivation.They really speak to the future of the student, and have them thinking on a whole new level about not only colleges and majors, but the job market and good choices for careers.

And what teenager doesn’t need motivation? What Mom couldn’t use an extra hand in this area? Why wouldn’t you take this opportunity to learn from an expert right along with your child? Isn’t that what we all strive for?

I know many people don’t think their teens are ready to start looking at colleges until the last couple of years of high school, especially if they didn’t go to college themselves, but I can truly say if kids start thinking and getting excited about their futures as early as possible, it really helps propel them through those teen years with a purpose.

This is the same message I hear from Denise Ames, developer of this program. But the message goes way beyond that, as she is a financial aid counselor for a university in Texas so she truly has the inside scoop on this information and the whole process.  And might I add she is extremely motivating, and encouraging? 🙂

This in an investment in your kids future and is a total bargain for the peace of mind and organizational help you’ll get with this. While it might seem overwhelming for some who have not even started thinking about college, I think it’s more like a little spark that starts a big ole fire. One that will be burning long into your kids’ futures, lighting the way for excellence!  But it’s way more than just about finances. It really helps to outline the whole college experience from starting to think about interests, to colleges themselves, to admissions, to keeping the scholarships going during the college years, to applying for jobs and having the information you need at your fingertips to write your post-college resume, to what types of jobs are out there and how to find the ones in higher demand even!

Check it out. You will be so glad you did!

As Denise would say, “Go Forth and Do Good!” and as always,

Enjoy your Journey!


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.



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