High School Students

Parents’ Aspirations vs. Your Aspirations

August 17, 2010

Boy, parents cannot catch a break around these parts lately, eh? Seems like every other day this past month I’m writing about unsupportive parents or parents who give bad advice or some other way that parents screw up their kids en route to college. Today we’ll continue our gentle constructive criticism of misguided parents, but […]

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How Do Student Loans Affect Your Credit Score?

August 16, 2010

Welcome back, everyone! I guess it’s more appropriate to say welcome back to myself, since I’m the one who took off for a week on a family vacation to Wisconsin Dells, WI. Five days in an outdoor water park left me rested and ready to attack the fresh pile of your questions that accumulated. It […]

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Parent PLUS Loans: Should You Pay Your Parents Back?

August 6, 2010

T’errah is like lots of us: She feels guilty about all the money her parents are taking out in loans to send her to school. T’errah feels especially guilty because her school is very expensive. But she’s loving it to death. I am a rising sophomore in college. I am in a huge dilemma right […]

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Fashion School: Just Go Already, Courtney!

August 5, 2010

Courtney listens to other people too much, and herself not enough. There you go — that’s the one-sentence summary of today’s post for all you ADHD types out there. Read on if you want the details on Courtney’s situation, which is both cautionary and inspirational. She dearly loves fashion design, but reasons NOT to pursue […]

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Perkins Loans vs Stafford Loans

August 4, 2010

It’s a busy day around here, so I’m picking a short question today because it has a short answer. Nina wants to know what I think of paying off student loans with other student loans. Not a common question, but not unprecedented, either. I’m a senior in college and I have completely reached my limit […]

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Scholarship Essays For People Who Can’t Write

August 3, 2010

Rachel’s a 4.0 student, but she doesn’t think she’s a good enough writer to pull out victories in a lot of newer scholarship essay contests with really creative questions. So she doesn’t know whether it’s worth it to bother. I’m currently going into my sophomore year in college at a small, private college, which is […]

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NYU Financial Aid: Another One Bites the Dust

August 2, 2010

If you read these pages often enough, you might begin to pick up on what seems like an anti-private school bias. I end up advising lots of students to go to community colleges or cheaper state schools over private schools. But it’s not that I have anything against private schools per se; I’m just concerned […]

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Mom Returning To School: Got What It Takes?

July 30, 2010

Margie’s a wife and mother who’s about to transfer into a four-year school, but she’s not sure she’s got a good enough resume to impress the big boys. Greetings Judge Josh! I have been an avid reader of your site for a while now and have found your candor to be refreshing and many of […]

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Paying For College: The Broke Family’s 2-Step Guide

July 29, 2010

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a damned fine chance you’re in the same spot as Amia: you’re ready to go to college, except you’re broke and so is your family, so paying for college is a giant question mark. And even if “broke” isn’t exactly the right word, you still don’t have anywhere near […]

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How To Deal With Unsupportive Parents

July 28, 2010

My parents were always good to me when I was growing up, and it’s hard to imagine how differently my life may have turned out if they hadn’t been. They were good to me when I was in college, also. They didn’t have much money to contribute to my tuition, but they called every Sunday […]

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Online Degrees: Are They a Mistake?

July 27, 2010

Lindsay lives in Alaska, and in addition to lacking warmth, daylight and tons of human companionship, she also lacks a wide variety of colleges from which to choose. So she’s doing an online degree program, and her friends’ reaction has got her in a state. Okay, here’s the deal- I am a recent high school […]

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Student Loans With Bad Credit?

July 26, 2010

Every time I get a note from someone like Frances, I’m assured that this site will be in business for a long time. Unfortunately for Frances and the millions like her out there, the process of getting financial aid dollars is difficult to navigate and it seems there’s no good one-stop source for answers to […]

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Can a Brilliant Illegal Alien Go To College in the U.S.?

July 22, 2010

Juan is an illegal alien who’s been in the U.S. since age 7. A really, really smart one, apparently, because he’s been accepted to some really tough colleges and been offered big scholarships. Problem is, he can’t take any government money because he’s not an American citizen. Thus, he’s in quite the pickle. Hello Judge […]

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Studying Multiple Languages: What’s the Point?

July 20, 2010

Laoi is a girl after my own heart. Or, possibly, a boy after my own heart — the name is not a dead giveaway in terms of gender. Anyhow, Laoi loves foreign languages and wants to study tons of them. I was, and still am, the same way. If you speak foreign languages competently, you’ve […]

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Honors Programs: Are They Worth The Hassle?

July 19, 2010

Honors programs — lots of schools have them, but are they worth the extra work you have to put in for the designation? My answer is the usual — “it depends.” Depends on what you want to do with your life and what you expect the honors programs to actually do for you. Mike’s wondering […]

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Two Years Abroad: Overkill?

July 16, 2010

We’ve been talking a lot lately about studying abroad, but I haven’t had anyone ask me about spending two years out of the country until today. Michelle’s eager to spend that second year abroad, but she’s worried that the American college that’s interested in her won’t wait around forever. Dear Mr. Judge Josh, Hello my […]

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No Post Today. Sick Daughter.

July 15, 2010

Hello, my good friends. Just a quick note to tell you that I will not be doing my regular post today because I’m home with a sick daughter who’s spiking a 104+ fever. Be back at you tomorrow. Study hard, eat your vegetables, etc. Your pal, Judge Josh

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Take the Loan, Single Moms

July 14, 2010

Most of the time on this site, I devote a lot of my space to discouraging you guys from taking student loans — at least the ones you don’t really need. On rare occasion, though, I’ll run into a situation where I wholeheartedly advise someone to take out more loans than they’re even considering. For […]

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Call Me Katie or Catherine?

July 13, 2010

It’s a good day for an odd question. Judge Josh, first allow me to indulge in some brief flattery: I love that your humor amplifies the impressions that your insights leave on me in my scholarship pursuits! Oh…go on. Now to the context of my inquiry: I’ll be going away to college (first in my […]

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Should You Risk a Lower GPA For More Outside Activities?

July 12, 2010

Meg Hey there Josh, I’m here to fret about my GPA (shocking, yes?) No! I’m about to begin my third year in college and I’ve maintained a pretty decent GPA. After three semesters, I was carried a 3.9. Agreed, that is exceedingly decent. In my fourth semester however, my school work became slightly less of […]

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Abandon Your Passions For Boredom & Safety?

July 9, 2010

Rachel’s the kind of girl I started this site for — someone who’s getting rotten advice from the people close to her. And so, loyal fans, today I spring into action on her and your behalf. Behalves. Whatever. Hi Josh, This fall, I’m going to be a Junior in college. My declared major at present […]

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Should You Keep Your Religion To Yourself?

July 8, 2010

Of the 200+ scholarship help articles I’ve written in the last year or so, the one that’s gotten me the second-largest amount of hate mail is the one about thrusting your politics and religion upon scholarship judges. (It’s a distant second, mind you — the top spot is still held solidly by the admittedly inflammatory […]

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Working For Money vs. Research & Learning

July 7, 2010

After you get past your freshman year of college and you’ve got a good handle on what kind of time demands your coursework is going to require, you may run into this extremely common dilemma about how you should spend your “free” (non-studying) time: Should I use my spare hours for academic pursuits/personal growth, or […]

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Studying Abroad: A Waste of Time?

July 6, 2010

Ah, study abroad — that time-honored tradition of venturing to a faraway land to immerse oneself in its culture, history and tradition. Or, to hole up and get drunk with other Americans in between sleeping with mysterious, sexy foreigners without anyone back home knowing the better. In my experience, it can go either way. Which […]

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Major Smackdown: English vs. Physical Therapy!

July 2, 2010

It’s a short one today — doing a favor to all you millennial types who have been writing in and saying, in one way or another, “WRITE SHORTER POSTS.” Today, you get your wish! Phoenicia writes today: Hi Judge Josh! Right now, I am a bit at a loss with what I wish to major […]

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Nontraditional Students: Discriminated Against For Scholarships?

July 1, 2010

The most common question I get around here is also the toughest to answer. It’s some variation of this: “I seem to be doing everything right, but I’m not winning any scholarships. Why?” It’s hard to answer because, without access to each person’s scholarship application materials, it’s hard to say what kind of mistakes he/she […]

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Can You Pull Pranks For a Living?

June 30, 2010

It’s a classic story: boy gets good grades in high school, boy gets full-ride scholarship to great engineering school, boy does well in engineering school, boy instead opts for a career of pulling practical jokes on people. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 1,000 times. Here’s Ren: Hey Josh! I’ve really enjoyed reading […]

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$90K in Student Loans and a Passion For Nothing

June 28, 2010

If you’re a college or even a high school student, you have to have been locked away in a cage somewhere if you’ve never been given the advice to “follow your dreams” and/or “do what you love” or “find what you’re passionate about.” But what if you have no dreams, you don’t really love any […]

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Deserting An Expensive Dream & Moving Back Home

June 22, 2010

Hi Judge Josh, I love your website and read the articles almost every day. Not only are they fun to read, but they’re interesting and almost always relate directly to some part of my college questions. Thanks! If you have the time, I desperately need some advice (like everyone else): I’m graduating from USC in […]

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Does a Poor Family = Poor Prospects?

June 18, 2010

Paying for college can be a bitch for anyone, but it’s especially challenging when your family’s broke. Even if you are lucky enough to be the beneficiary of your college financial aid office’s largesse, there’s still an EFC involved if you don’t get a full ride, and even a couple thousand bucks can be far […]

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