The True Cost of College

Many colleges will tell you what tuition and room and board cost. There are many aspects that some do not estimate:

  • College/ University sponsored meal plans
  • Parking
  • Laundry
  • Books/ supplies
  • Furnishings for the dorms
  • Toiletries (shampoo, tooth paste, etc)
  • Cell phones
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Application fees
  • Computers
  • Health insurance
  • Snacks
  • Lab fees
  • Recreation
  • Transportation and/or vehicle upkeep
  • Some internet and cable
  • Other hidden fees

There are many costs that colleges and universities do not account for when reporting how much college will cost. Be sure to review your own unique situation when estimating how much college life will cost. Luckily, many of these can be mitigated with careful budgeting and scholarships.

What is a FAFSA?

questionThe Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key to getting financial aid in college. In order to apply for federal aid or many internal college scholarships, you must fill out this application. It can be completed electronically or mailed in. The electronic version gets the information to colleges and the federal government faster. This means you could earn more in college scholarships.

Filling out the application requires some of the same information as federal taxes and is about as frustrating as filing taxes. You also must provide your parents or guardians’ tax information, your tax information, and special codes from the school (so the FAFSA results can be sent to your chosen schools). Typically you will need to file a FAFSA between January and March.  Luckily, each year you can use the previous year’s taxes to estimate this year’s tax information and numbers. When your parents/guardians have filed taxes, you simply update the current year’s FAFSA.

The FAFSA calculates your financial need. It takes one or two hours to fill in. When you file yours, double check all of your responses. FAFSAs are subject to audits, so answer honestly and to the best of your knowledge.

For more information and to complete the application, talk to your school’s Guidance Department or check out the FAFSA’s website at


images (4)No one has ever said that scholarship hunting is easy. There is a lot of competition for little money. But as they say, “every little bit counts”. Two smaller scholarships can add up to one big one easily. Preference is usually given to those with financial need and high test scores. However, there are some unique scholarships out there for applicants who play sports, have hobbies and even scholarships for people with red hair. For pretty much anything you can think of (within reason) there is a scholarship. The trouble comes in where to find them and jumping through the sponsor’s proverbial hoops.

  • Your school’s guidance councelor/ officer can provide you with some great websites and send you home with an armful of applications for local scholarships. They are the best place to start.
  • There are also some great online scholarships hosting sites you can find with a google search. Avoid any site whose registration asks for too much personal information like credit cards, social security numbers, email/ social media passwords, and other sensitive information. If you feel uncomfortable answering the question, avoid that site because there are some dangerous scams out there.
  • Colleges and university are another great place to get scholarships. Some let you apply for scholarships after you apply for admission. Keep an eye out for more scholarships one you are accepted to a college or university.

Finding the scholarship is half the battle. Next, you have to complete all of the requirements the sponsor requires. Many require lengthy essays, or following a precise set of steps. Be sure to read the instructions several times and carefully. If a scholarship seems like too much work for the amount of money, then the sponsor has done a good job. They want to filter many candidates out before they even start. A five page essay may seem like a bit much, go for it anyway! The tough and tedious scholarship money can add up pretty quick!

One last thought to consider, apply as soon as possible for scholarships. If you can, start looking your freshman year of high school; there are some out there for high school freshmen. Get an idea of the ACT or SAT score you need before it’s too late. Start sending in applications before your senior year to have the best chance at getting the most money!

Which Test Should I Take?

TestThis is a question asked by many high school students. Unfortunately, there is no one answer for everyone. Some colleges require one test over another and others will accept scores from both tests. Also, some scholarships require that you achieve a minimum score on SAT and others have a minimum score requirement for the ACT. As if scholarship application wasn’t tricky enough!

So what should you do to decide which test is right for you? First, look at the admission requirements for your preferred colleges, which test and score do they require? Second, talk to your guidance officer/councelor. They know the in’s and out’s of colleges, financial aid, and scholarships; they are your best resource for information!

Dual Enrollment = Free College


Did you know that there is a way to get college credit and high school credit at the same time?  It’s not AP classes; it’s dual enrolment / Post-Secondary Enrolment Option Plan (PSEOP). By law in Ohio, public high school students may attend a public college or university for little or no cost to them.  Requirements vary from high school to high school. However, some requirements cover similar topics:

  • Minimum GPA at the high school
  • Maintaining a minimum GPA at the college
  • Earning a certain grade or higher in every college class
  • Passing the college/university’s entrance exams
  • Classes cannot be taken over summer semester
  • High school graduation requirements must be met by the expected graduation date


This program allows high school students to attend college classes at the college or university and receive credit at both institutions for free (under PSEOP B). It is a great way to get anintroduction to the college experience while still being able to enjoy high school activities like dances, sporting events, etc. Students can choose to enroll part time or full time.

There have been cases of students enrolling full time and graduating with a high school diploma and an Associate degree at the same time. One individual was able to earn an associate degree before she turned 18 and transfer 117 quarter credit hours to The Ohio State University. She was able to graduate in a little over two years and saved more than $75,000 in tuition and room and board and more than $5,000 in books and supplies! Additionally she graduated before she turned 21. Less school and less debt, what could be better?

To find out more information about this phenomenal program, talk to your guidance councelor/ officer. They can inform you of deadlines and your school’s specific requirements. Ohio colleges and universities may also have information on their websites.

Here are some links to the websites:




Ohio University


Columbus State


Miami Ohio

SAT/ACT dates available

Taking the SAT or the ACT is very important to being accepted at your dream college and affording the high cost of tuition. Knowing deadlines for registration and knowing when to arrive on test day are equally important. Listed below are important dates to remember for both tests.

Test Registration Deadline Test Date
ACT March 7, 2014 April 12, 2014
ACT May 9, 2014 June 14, 2014
ACT TBA September 13, 2014
ACT TBA October 25, 2014
ACT TBA December 13, 2014


Test Registration Deadline Test Date
SAT December 27, 2013 January 25,2014
SAT February 7, 2014 March 8, 2014
SAT April 4, 2014 May 3, 2014
SAT May 9, 2014 June 7, 2014
SAT   Sunday administrations usually occur the day after each Saturday test date for students who cannot test on Saturday due to religious observance


Please follow this link to ensure that your desired subject is being offered on the test date that you were considering

For more information check out each test’s website

Counselor’s Luncheon

Come learn more about the benefits of the Exploring program for high school students and enjoy a free lunch.

fire exploring

Date: January 23rd, 2014

Time: Noon- 1:00 pm


Simon Kenton Council Office

807 Kinnear Road

Columbus, Ohio 43212

Registration Deadline: Friday January 17, 2014

2013 Counselor’s Luncheon Brochure 

Register Here (requires a google+ account)

Harrison College Open House

Mark your calendars for a great opportunity to learn more about Harrison College and their degree programs in healthcare, business, and criminal justice.

Date: Thursday December 19th, 2013

Time: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm


Harrison College

3880 Jackpot Road

Grove City, Ohio 43123


Past Recipient of Explorer of the Month


OhioHealth, Post 2179


Sarah Kulp, 17, is a senior at Hilliard Bradley High School and is a member of the OhioHealth Explorer Post. Recently, Sarah spoke as the student keynote at the Career Exploring Healthcare Luncheon, honoring Dr. Steve Markovich, President of Riverside Methodist Hospital.

“Overall, the Medical Exploring Program truly helped me get a feel for what I might be interested in”, Sarah noted during her speech. The 250+ crowd responded positively to her stories about Explorer post meetings, especially the visit to Dublin Methodist’s program on labor and delivery, when the nurses and midwives presented a very real scenario!

She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree majoring in exercise science and a master’s degree in physical or occupational therapy. Sarah attended the Central Ohio Diabetes Association’s (CODA) camp for the past seven years and plans to become a counselor-in-training for the 2013 CODA Diabetes camp. In addition, she volunteers at Cypress Wesleyan church in Vacation Bible school and monthly K-2 Children’s Ministries.

Favorite quote: “With God by my side, I can reach the world.”

She enjoys softball, bowling and photography, and holds a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo.

An Explorer is a Registered Youth

Please make sure that all of your Explorers have completed a youth application and the application has been turned in to the Exploring office. We are happy to give you more applications if you need them. Youth (and parents) that complete an application need to be confident that their application has been processed. Once the application is received by the Exploring office, the Explorer is then covered by insurance and receives other benefits of being registered.

You can also print applications from the following link, and selecting “youth application”. 

Applications can be faxed to the office at (614) 436-7917, scanned and emailed to