It’s always fun to watch upbeat, enthusiastic people talking about a subject they love! So we enjoyed watching this package by Terry Wilfong, who has many years experience, in a variety of positions and settings, helping parents and students prepare for college. He developed the Complete Guide to College Admissions, Financing and Success Package to help families with the often bewildering process of finding the right college, getting admitted, and paying for school. I reviewed ten CDs and three books covering a variety of topics:
The titles of these great resources are pretty self-explanatory, so rather than review each one separately, we will look at the package as a whole. Each CD contains a variety of materials, including videos, text, exercises, and Internet links for further resources on the topic. Most of the videos consist of a series of short clips of Mr. Wilfong interviewing or discussing the topic with experts in that area. Mr. Wilfong’s enthusiasm is contagious as he presents the information in a clear, positive, and helpful manner. It is easy for parents and students to become overwhelmed with the number of decisions and steps involved in going to college, but these CDs and books do a great job of clarifying the most difficult of topics and walking listeners through the required steps. For example, in the Military Funding for College CD, Mr. Wilfong discusses the many options available to pay for college through military service, such as ROTC, the GI Bill, tuition assistance, loan repayment program, etc. In the Scholarships: The Winning Edge CD, he helps parents and students understand the myriad options for scholarships and how to find them, apply for them, and receive them. Additional resources are sprinkled throughout so that you can research more information about any given topic.
- Introduction to College Financial Aid and Packaging CD
- Scholarships: The Winning Edge CD
- Creative & Military Options for College Financing CD
- College Planning Guide CD
- College Success 101 CD
- Military Funding for College CD
- College Interview & Essay Skills CD
- Choosing the Right College & The Critical Admissions Game CD
- The Studyworks Complete Guide to SAT Preparation CD
- SAT/ACT Test Prep Game: Zero Hour Threat CD
- Understanding Athletic Recruiting (book)
- The Essential Guide to the SAT! (book)
- The Essential Guide to the ACT! (book)
Who could benefit from this package? Homeschooling parents who have high school students considering college could greatly benefit, whether their student is an A+ student with high SAT scores, an athlete wanting to pursue college athletics, or a student with an interest in military service. My husband and I have both been through undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate school, and we both walked away from this program with new information and new ideas as our oldest son is approaching college-age. There are so many facets to the process that it can be difficult to sort through all of the steps needed. Mr. Wilfong’s products come along side the family as a trusted guide each step of the way, providing not only needed information but also reassurance. We thought the range of information covered was very helpful--truly just about everything you need to know--from how to set your student on a college track in high school, how to choose the best college for your particular student, how to gain admission to that school, how to do well on the SAT or ACT, how to write essays for college admission or scholarships, how to find scholarships or other options for paying for college, and even how to be successful in college. The Zero Hour Threat program used a creative theme (you have to help the police solve a plot to destroy the financial systems of the world through answering SAT/ACT questions) to introduce students to the types of questions they will encounter. It would be great to see this program expanded to include more than the 100 or so questions available, to provide the reasoning behind each answer, and to give thorough summary information about what types of questions were answered correctly and how these scores would likely translate to SAT scores. We found the SAT/ACT CDs and books very valuable because they provided great information about doing well on these important tests. There were some excellent study and test-taking strategies and many sample questions, complete with answers and reasoning for the answer. If your teen plans on attending college in the future, it is never too early to start planning, and the Complete Guide to College Admissions, Financing and Success Package would be an excellent source of information to help your family along this exciting path.
Product review by: Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008
The Complete Guide to College Financing & Admissions is a DVD-ROM program that compiles the information from eight CDs on one DVD. It covers the college admissions process and federal financial aid, and it includes a month-by-month planning guide. The presenter, Terry Wilfong, has worked extensively with the financial aid departments at many colleges and universities. The Studyworks Complete Guide to SAT Preparation is a CD-ROM program that includes "How to Reach Your Target Score," "How to Write an SAT Essay," and "How to Improve Your Critical Reading, Writing & Math Scores Using the Knowledge You Already Possess!" all together on one convenient disc. The presenter of this program, Miles F. Pewitt, is an SAT specialist who has crafted time-tested strategies. No additional materials are necessary other than the use of a computer or DVD player, and perhaps a notebook if you wish your student to take notes. These programs were designed for all college-bound high school students, not specifically for homeschooled students.
Consisting primarily of lectures, each program has an excellent Contents list to help you maneuver through the topics. The Complete Guide to College Financing & Admissions offers specific direction for many areas (why go to college, selecting the right college, where to find information about colleges, etc.). The Student Planning Guide includes test-taking strategies, common college holidays, important admissions dates, and more, along with a month-by-month guide to keep you focused and ahead of the game. Numerous website links enable you to access information without doing time-consuming Internet searches. The links we checked for this review were accurate at the time, but the College Options website does include updates for any broken links that may occur. Printable exercises enable you to verify understanding of the material and/or to work out personal information that will specifically pertain to your student.
The Complete Guide to SAT Preparation begins with an Introduction and a section on Preliminary Issues before continuing into the Writing, Essay, Critical Reading, and Mathematics sections. The Preliminary Issues portion explains why answers may be marked wrong, whether you should guess on a question or skip it, and how the test is scored. The 95-page Writing section includes information on commonly misused words, parallelism, and paragraph improvement. The Essay section is only 22 pages, but it includes good tips that will immediately improve your student's writing ability. The Critical Reading and Mathematics sections are 79 and 86 pages, respectively, and have pertinent tips for both subjects.
Each of these programs is full of useful information. Our oldest is currently in her third year of college, and I wish I'd had this information before she began. The Complete Guide to College Financing & Admissions walks the viewer through information that may otherwise be extremely intimidating. The Student Planning Guide is probably my favorite portion because it breaks down information in a useful format. "The Complete Guide to SAT Preparation" offers an excellent overview of the SAT testing process, and we found it to be an excellent tool for brushing up on skills. The explanation of the grading process alone would make this a justifiable purchase.
Despite the wealth of information, our review copies had some drawbacks. At various points, we encountered comments such as "More interactivity will be added to this section. Something along the lines of giving the student a chance to read the question and think about the question before the explanation is presented." We have no way to comment on these improvements, if indeed they were made. Also, particularly with The Complete Guide to College Financing & Admissions there were references to an accompanying CD when in actuality all of the programs had been combined on one DVD. Finally, printing the exercises is an excellent option to have, but it would be expensive if someone actually printed all of the offered material. The only other potential drawback is that some students may find the content of the lectures boring.
Our family found these programs very informative and easy to follow. The Complete Guide to College Financing & Admissions would certainly benefit a college-bound high school student, and the resume instruction might even be helpful for those who choose to enter the workforce immediately after high school. The Complete Guide to SAT Preparation is an eye opener regarding the SAT and the entire testing process. The advice and tips have tremendous educational value. Considering the funds spent on curriculum over the entire schooling process, the expense of $50 for each program is extremely reasonable as they will maximize the knowledge your student has gained over the years. Overall, we found these programs to be very helpful and enormous timesavers for busy homeschool families in the midst of the final years of high school coursework.