Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Columnist: College Planning

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized higher-ed speaker and journalist and the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller. She writes about college for CBS MoneyWatch and her own blog, She offers an online course for financial advisors and other professionals that explains how families can cut their college costs.  
Click here to subscribe to Lynn's mailing list for financial advisors and receive her free guide, Finding the Most Generous Colleges.

College Admissions Fever
The college admissions process can drive teens and their parents crazy this time of year. Here are some statistics to get clients of college-bound kids to simmer down.
Value Investing for College
Several schools recently dubbed the best value by Kiplinger’s also charge the highest net prices in the nation. Shame.
College at a Discount
Next year, a Minnesota-based university will cut its tuition by 33 percent for all its students. Others will likely follow.
College Rankings Are Not Accurate
This fall U.S. News & World Report released its annual college rankings. In truth, these rankings do more for the colleges and universities that fight for inclusion than they do for prospective students trying to decide where to go.
When Dream Schools Become a Nightmare
Many parents will go to great lengths to send to their children to their dream schools, but it’s not always the best financial decision.
The Home Equity Drag on Financial Aid 1
For some colleges, home equity figures heavily in financial aid calculations. For others, not at all. Your clients should know which is which before their kids apply.
How College Rankings Influence Scholarship Awards
Common practice among prestigious private research universities and liberal arts colleges is to dispense tiny merit awards to a small group of wealthy students.
Seven Ways to Borrow for College
Look for borrower protection, consider credit unions and apply for multiple loans.
Deciphering a Financial Aid Award
Financial aid letters are often confusing and misleading. You can help your clients if you know show them how to read between the lines.
The Risks of Independence
Your clients’ kids can get a lot more student aid if they qualify as “independent students.” But it’s nearly impossible to qualify.
Inside the Mind of a College Freshman
At a college workshop that I conducted recently in San Diego, I asked the dozens of parents in attendance to guess what percentage of high school seniors
Ten Facts About College Freshmen
Some surprising statistics about this year’s crop of college freshmen: Most get into the school of their choice, they go to school close to home, and they excel in self-confidence.
The Worst College Admission Mistakes
Too many students apply to schools that are way out of their league academically and financially. It's a wasted effort.
Five Tips For Private Scholarships
When families start looking to pay for college, some put their hopes in private scholarships – there are an estimated 1.5 million private scholarships out there, though how many are awarded annually is difficult to track. But only in a handful of cases will these make much of a dent in a tuition bill. If your client insists on seeking them out, here are five things they should know:
8 Facts You Didn't Know About the ACT and SAT
Millions of teenagers will be taking the SAT and ACT tests this year, which always generates tons of stress for the test takers and their parents.
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