Monthly Archives: December 2014

Last minute gift idea!

Looking for a last minute gift?  Don’t forget you can get our book On the Quad:  How to Arrive, Survive, and Thrive at College on Amazon for any digital device.  There are FREE Kindle Apps for ALL digital devices . . . (; download the free app then purchase the book in the Amazon Kindle store – great for students and parents.

Chapter 2 has all of the Financial Aid information you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA on January 1, 2015.  You’ll be ahead of the game!

A very happy holiday to all of you.

Cindi and Heidi

The FAFSA opens Jan 1, 2015

School is almost out, no doubt — if you are a high school student.  For some, it may already be out until next year.  In between your holiday merriment and your winter holiday reading list, check out the FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  You can access it here.

Financial aid refers to a package of “monies” (multiple forms of money) that are offered to a student to attend a particular institution.  The package typically includes:

  • scholarship and grant money (money which is NOT repaid);
  • loans (money which must be repaid);
  • parent and student expected contributions (money you are assumed to have available to contribute to tuition and fees).

We  encourage you to be interested in any and all scholarship/grant money that is available to you.  Thus, filling out and submitting a FAFSA is imperative.  You may or may not be interested in loans.  Nonetheless, a FAFSA is imperative to fill out and submit.  The only way for an institution to “understand” you financially — and thus offer you free money or loan money — is to fill out and submit a FAFSA.  In fact, the FAFSA is required for many jobs that are available on campus (these jobs are called ‘work study’ jobs and are funded by the federal government; as such, to qualify for the job, a FAFSA is required.).

Our book has a great explanation of financial aid — complete with examples of sample award letters, what to watch out for, and many other things that are important to consider.  We encourage you to check it out.

And, plan to fill out the FAFSA sooner rather than later!

Happy Holidays.

Experiential Learning II

The Superior Court of Sacramento County

The Superior Court of Sacramento County

Students, have you ever considered a career in the justice system (lawyer, judge, court reporter, court clerk, jury commissioner, etc.) or law enforcement (bailiff, detective, peace officer, etc.)? Have you ever been in a courtroom, watching a case unfold? Recently, I (Heidi), participated in civic service as a jury member. It was an eye opening experience.

On a Monday morning, I was one of 66 potential jury members called to a courtroom. The  goal was to select a jury of 12 individuals, plus two (2) alternates. This process took more than one day! Once all 14 jurors were sworn-in, only six potential jury members remained seated in the courtroom, 46 individuals had been released. For me, that’s a wow! statement. From this portion of the process, I could deduct, a lawyer’s education must include more than just one Psychology course.

In this courthouse, each courtroom is referred to as a Department, and each has a number. Once the jurors were sworn-in, almost immediately, the lawyers gave their opening arguments. The judge, provided limited instructions, so it is my impression, as a potential juror, I was expected to know the basic proceedings of a trial and trial vocabulary. These things were more than likely covered in my senior year of high school Civics class, but that was a long time ago! Next time I am summons to jury duty, I am going to make sure I refresh my memory on those things, so I am better prepared.

This was a case of The People vs. ‘man’s name.’  When judges read the count(s) the accused is being charged with, as a potential jury member, it can be difficult to remember the accused is innocent until proven guilty. I estimate about half, of the 46 jury members who were released, said they already assumed the man was guilty, just after reading the counts. The Defense lawyers repeatedly reminded the jury, it was the responsibility of the District Attorney to prove (through evidence) the accused was guilty.

This case included 12 counts of criminal acts. Being asked to come to agreement on 12 counts is not an easy task, especially for 12 people who do not know anything about one another, other than we all sat through the same trial. Our deliberations were intense! I was impressed with the way everyone participated in each discussion and reasonably shared how s/he came to her/his decision with each count. In the end, we all didn’t agree on everything, but we scrutinized the verbiage of each law we were following, to decide on the accused’s innocence or guilt.

I strongly encourage anyone interested in careers related to the justice system to spend a day, or more, in a (large) county courthouse. On two separate occasions, college students observed this trial, courtroom observations were part of these students’ coursework. In this county, the general public is allowed in any courtroom with a trial taking place; check the website of the county you’re planning to observe, for information on general public attendance/observations, before arriving at the courthouse. If you’re ever summons to jury duty, embrace the experience with an open mind, and if selected for a jury, respect the process, and of course, the law!

Courtroom Instructions

Courtroom Instructions


Prepping for Finals

College students (possibly high school students as well), your Fall term is coming to a close and final exams are right around the corner. Are you ready for them?

For the past two months I have been doing quite a bit of academic advising with students, and nearly every advising session includes asking about study habits.  My exact question often is: “how many hours per day do you study – and let’s take yesterday’s hours as your example?” With great frequency, a number between 0–2 hours is given as the response. That number of hours is NOT enough. (The majority of these students are in their first year of college.)

To illustrate the point of 0-2 hours not being enough, I ask the student at what time s/he went to, and left, high school daily. Generally, a week of high school is between 36-40 hours. I then explain, although a college student’s day isn’t compact, like 7:30/8:30am to 2:30/3:30pm, a college expects students to spend the same number of hours per week, on college academics (as a student spent in high school). In some cases, more hours per week are needed! I usually follow-up that statement with this question: “did you expect college to be easier than high school?

So students, how many hours, did you spend studying yesterday? (Those are hours outside of going to class!) Our book, chapters 8 & 9, provides a great list of study suggestions and campus resources to help you make the most of your study hours – buy a copy today, or put it on your holiday gift list – it’s a lot easier to read than your science textbook!