The College Whisperer™ | Navigating The Road To College

Guide To FAFSA | FAFSA Deadlines

November 15, 2016

Two important reads regarding the completion and submission of the FAFSA, the starting point for college financial aid...
Filing The FAFSA: The Edvisors' Guide to Completing The Free Application for Federal Student Aid
3 Types of FAFSA Deadlines You Should Pay Attention To
And for those who are applying to colleges that require the submission of the CSS Profile (in addition to FAFSA, required by all colleges, every year), read on:
FAFSA's Lurking, Nosy Cousin: The CSS Profile
Yes, click, read, then call us (516-345-8766) to schedule your FAFSA session. [In-person and virtual appointments are available.]


FAFSA | Don't Pay For College Without It!

October 1, 2016

Yes, FAFSA! Required by every college, not only for student loans, Work-Study, and federal grants, but, in many instances, for institutional aid, including the colleges' own scholarships and merit awards!


FAFSA COMES EARLY FOR 2017-2018! Launch is October 1 of current year, rather than January 1 of next year.

Who must submit FAFSA?
 YOU must submit FAFSA!

Incoming freshmen/Current high school seniors.
 Complete and submit your first FAFSA for the 2017-18 school year on or after October 1, 2016*. [Suggestion: File FAFSA AFTER you submit your applications for admission.]

Those already in college. Graduate students. 
Complete and submit your FAFSA Renewal for the 2017-18 school year on or after October 1, 2016*. 

*The rules on FAFSA submission have changed. 
READ, FAFSA Is Changing: Count Your College Change

Can I File The FAFSA 
BEFORE October 1*? Which part of on or after October 1 did you not understand? 1/2 LOL 

If there is a tuition bill on the horizon, you MUST submit FAFSA.

FAFSA Deadlines.
 FAFSA should be submitted early -- meaning as soon as possible on or after October 1 for returning students, and once applications for those applying to college for Fall 2017 admission have been submitted), or before the college-specific deadline, whichever is first. Financial aid is often doled out on a first-come/first served basis. When the money is gone, it's gone. Be aware, as well, of both State and college-specific filing deadlines. NOTE: The federal DEADLINE for filing the 2017-18 FAFSA is June 30, 2018. State and college deadlines may be earlier.

Which Tax Return Do I Use For 2017-18?
 Your 2015 Federal Tax Return.

Do I Submit FAFSA Every Year?
 Absolutely! If you do not submit FAFSA, you risk leaving money -- very often, FREE money -- on the table.

NEW FOR 2016 - 
The FSA-ID. READ, Pins And Needles; FAFSA, No PINs All students -- new and returning -- MUST have an FSA-ID. [Two, actually. One for the student. One for a custodial parent.]

Sooooo Complicated. Who Can Help Us? 

Umm, Helloooooooo! 
That's what I'm here for. From choosing a college to paying for college, your "go-to" guy is here to help! Call me at 516-345-8766.

More Info, Please! 
Check out Edvisor's FREE Guide to Completing The FAFSADownload it. Read it. Then, CALL ME! 516-345-8766.

What About The 
CSS ProfileYes, if the colleges you have applied to require the Profile, submit it. [For students already in college, check to see if your school requires a new Profile each year. If so, submit it.] Be very careful with deadlines for the Profile. They crop up very early, particularly for those who apply Early Decision/Early Action. And, you bet, I can help with the Profile, as well. Call me. 516-345-8766.

Outside Scholarships? 
Yup, that's where the real FREE money is hidden, just waiting for you to get your sticky little fingers on it! Have you had your session for The Great Scholarship Search? Need a refresher? What are you waiting for? Call me - 516-345-8766.

Whether you are still in high school or already in college, if you are not searching and applying for scholarships, you are losing the opportunity to get FREE MONEY!

Did Someone Say Something About $500? 
Sure did! Simply Refer A Student to me for college planning/counseling (or any part thereof), and for each referral, earn an entry into a random drawing (on or about December 30) for $500 in cold, hard cash (no FAFSA required for this one).

Confused? Overwhelmed? Still Grappling With The Common App? The Coalition App? Proprietary App? [Watch those Deadlines!] For goodness sake, CALL ME!!! 516-345-8766.
 Or text, email, send a smoke signal. [For this week only, NO smoke signal rates will apply! :-)]
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Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

Before college applications, financial aid forms, and the whole college application and admissions process get to you, 
you need to get to us!

Whether applying to college, paying for college, planning for college, or just thinking about college, contact us at
COLLEGE CONNECTIONhome of The College Whisperer™and Official Sponsor of College Admission Success™. No one knows college admissions like COLLEGE CONNECTION. No one! 516-345-8766

Find out why they say COLLEGE CONNECTION is, 
“The best darn college planner on Long Island!”For up-to-the-minute news, apps, info and insights on college applications, admissions, scholarships and just about everything college, follow The College Whisperer™on Twitter at


Advice To College Freshmen (Batteries Sold Separately)

September 6, 2016

Every once in a while, we could all use sage and sound advice from those who have been there and done that.

Here are a few cues that newly-minted college students may well be wise to take, courtesy of The College Whisperer
™ -

1. Find your comfort zones, on campus and in the community beyond, becoming involved in and out of the classroom. Then, step out of those comfort zones with an open mind, understanding that, in the real world, there are no "safe spaces" and few "trigger warnings."

2. Get to know your roommate(s), your RA, and your professors. They are your lifelines on campus.

3, Read your college newspaper, regularly.

4. Take advantage of student discounts, from local shops to big box stores. And never, ever pay full price for textbooks.

5. Get enough sleep, and not in the classroom.

6. Eat. Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right after lunch and dinner.

7. Exercise. The best way to keep off that "Freshman 15" and boost energy of body and mind.

8. Stay healthy. Get your flu shot. Change your underwear once in a while. And, for goodness sake, wear a sweater!

9. Read your emails. The last thing you need is to miss an assignment because your prof sent it by email and you never bothered to open it.

10. Phone home, at least once a week. A little Face Time goes a long way!

Have fun, Freshmen! The year goes by way too quickly, and the next three are just a blur. Slow down, every now and again, and smell the clean laundry, even if its pink because you forgot to separate darks from lights.
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At COLLEGE CONNECTION, We've Got Your Back. And Your Best Moves Forward. 516-345-8766 


Early Action. Don't Miss It!

August 10, 2016

Just a quick reminder that Early Action deadlines for many colleges and universities are quickly approaching, with some only days away (UNC-Chapel Hill and the Georgia Tech, for instance, have Early Action deadlines of October 15th).

Most Early Action Deadline fall between November 1 and November 15.

Some schools have what is known as Priority Deadlines. While not Early Action, in the traditional sense, apply by the Priority Deadline for your application to receive the most favorable consideration for admission and/or scholarships.

Be sure to confirm all deadline dates, which can be found, for Common App colleges, under the My Colleges tab and, assuming you have answered the Supplemental Questions, selecting Early Action for the admission plan, on the Dashboard; in Naviance, under Colleges I'm Thinking About or Colleges I'm Applying To; and on the college websites themselves, typically under Admissions/Application Deadlines.

When in doubt, check it out!


***If you would like to schedule a session prior to submission deadlines, or would like an online review of your applications, contact us ASAP***

READ, Early Action. The New Regular Decision!

AND REMEMBER: It is always better to submit a complete and accurate application Regular Decision, than one that is half-baked, Early Action.

Questions? Concerns? S'mores? Call, text, email or smoke signal (smoke signal rates may apply :-).

At COLLEGE CONNECTION, We've Got Your Back. And Your Best Moves Forward. 516-345-8766 


The Best Fit For Your College Plans!

July 4, 2016

COLLEGE CONNECTION VOTED "BEST COLLEGE PLANNER & COUNSELOR OF THE NORTH SHORE." [Of course, our students, and their parents, already knew that! SEE, What They're Saying]

How do you like that? For the second year running, College Connection, home of The College Whisperer , is tops in the category of "College Planning & Counseling," in  Blank Slate Media's Best of The North Shore (Long Island) 2016.

Who's the best college planner and counselor on the north shore? C'est Moi! 

Okay. We know. These "best of" deals in the local newspapers are little more than popularity contests. We value the opinions of our clients all the more, when they say we're the best!

And sure, "best of" anything, be it a college, a restaurant, a bagel. or a potato chip dip, is not only entirely subjective; it's a ranking. And you know what we think about rankings


So, here we are. Simply the BEST! And, well, why the heck not?

For those who think this altogether self-serving... It is! Just remember, boys and girls, ladies and germs -- If you don't toot your own horn, no one else will!

Why is College Connection the very best in college planning and counseling? Why? That's Easy. WE MAKE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS GREAT AGAIN! :-)
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Plan. Prepare. Prevail! 

The College Whisperer™ and Official Sponsor of College Admission Success ™ are Trademarks of COLLEGE CONNECTION.  The road to college begins at COLLEGE CONNECTION! Whether you are planning for college, applying to college, paying for college or simply thinking about college, COLLEGE CONNECTION can help! Call TODAY for a FREE telephone consultation. 516-345-8766 

For up-to-the-minute news, apps, info and insights on college applications, admissions, scholarships and just about everything college, follow The College Whisperer™ on Twitter at


Whose College Applications Are They, Anyway?

June 14, 2016

Just when you thought it was safe to start your college applications, you have to decide where to start them, how to submit them, and who will truly give you the easiest access, the most bang for your buck, and the greatest likelihood of success.

Most of those applying to colleges are familiar, for better and for worse, with the Common Application (with 600+ colleges), replete with it's spinning wheels of death, initializing bars of doom, and the very antithesis of commonality, college-specific supplements. [The Common App goes "live" August 1, but with a new "rollover" of this year's data, students may begin completing the common areas of the application now.]

But there are other online mass applicators (aside from the proprietary applications still utilized by many college).

The Universal College Application, home to some 44 college applications, which will go "live" for 2016-17 on July 1.

The newly minted (and still not quite ready for prime time) application of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, with 58 colleges on board for 2016-17 (down from 90 member colleges, the remainder taking a "wait and see" stance). [The Coalition application is available now, but, as applicants will notice, many sections are said to be "Coming Soon."]

And, if all of these college applications were not enough, well... Wait, there's more!

Coming in September, the Cappex (as in, the folks who bring you college and scholarship searches) application. [You can only read about the Cappex Application at this point in time, the actual application, with likely access to somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 colleges, still on the drawing board.]

So, which application is right for you? [Ask your doctor, or, better still, your independent college counselor!] Common App? Universal App? Coalition App? Cappex App? The college's own application? [Compare to Brand "X" and save? Perhaps, "create a college application platform of your own."]

Which will entice you? Which is more likely to appeal to the college admissions office? Does the portfolio "Locker" of the Coalition App allow you to more fully develop who are? Does the "fee free" aspect of the yet unseen Cappex App keep more money in your pocket, and its relatively simple format keep so-called "supplements" on the drug store shelves, where they belong? Who uses the Universal College Application, anyway? And what about Naviance, which, to date, only connects with and through the Common App.

Maybe it's the essays?

Common App essay prompts 

Universal College Application essay prompts

Coalition Application essay prompts

Cappex Application essay prompts

  • Required Essay: Tell us a story about yourself that is key to understanding who you are. This could be a moment when you changed, grew, or made a difference or an everyday moment that reveals something people count on you for (600 words or less) 
  • Optional Essay: The goal of this application is to reflect your unique interests, experiences, capabilities, and pursuits. To this end, is there anything else that you’d like to express

And let's not forget the new and improved University of California essay prompts

Oh, the humanity! 

If your head isn't spinning yet, just wait until those elite colleges require not only a DNA test, but your Apgar scores, as well. [No doubt to be submitted via College Board, for a fee to be determined, of course (Add $35 for Apgar scores to arrive before 2025).]

And if you think, but for a nanosecond, that U.S. News, Forbes, The Princeton Review, and Niche, among countless others, aren't waiting stealthily in the wings to rank the plethora of college application portals, well, I have a year's tuition at Trump University to sell you!

As if the college-bound, and their parents, had nothing else to concern themselves with as they start down that long and winding road to college.

Mind-boggling? Confusing? Overwhelming? Just plain ridiculous? You betcha! The folks who brought us the Collegiate Industrial Complex, where even the heretofore simple act of boiling water has now become "nuanced" and "complex," wouldn't have it any other way!
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For more on the college application frenzy, READ my colleague, Nancy Griesemer's, poignant and concise article, Cappex Enters The College Applications Market
* * *
The College Whisperer™ is the Trademark of COLLEGE CONNECTIONOfficial Sponsor of College Admission Success™. The road to college begins at COLLEGE CONNECTION! Whether you are applying to college, planning for college, paying for college or simply thinking about college, COLLEGE CONNECTION can help! Call TODAY for a FREE telephone consultation.  516-345-8766


In College Applications, Truth Matters

June 6, 2016

Truth: Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. 
                                                                        --Webster's Dictionary

The truth.
 Seems so hard to come by these days, particularly for those of us who closely follow the political circus in which we are now center ring (enter the clowns in that funny little car).
The truth. Often supplanted by half-truths, untruths, innuendo, misstatements and out and out lies.
The truth. Where facts are ignored, disregarded and rarely fact-checked, cast aside upon the rubbish pile like so many copies of yesterday's newspapers.
The truth. Something that Jack Nicholson once said we can't handle.
If we, as a body politic, as a thinking, reasoning people, as a civilized society choose to overlook the truth -- or worse yet, to abandon it entirely as what passes for truth morphs into the Big Lie (say it long enough and loud enough, and, sooner or later, folks will start to believe it), where does that leave that next Greatest Generation -- our children and our children's children?
And what message are we conveying to students now or soon to be applying to college? 
Just what is -- or shall become -- the "truth" on my college applications?
Is it okay to embellish my activities? Does a single afternoon of volunteer work become, on paper alone, a lifelong commitment to community service?
If grades matter, does a tweak here and a nudge there up the ante?
So what if I didn't write that personal statement myself, or simply made up that detailed experience highlighted in my supplemental essays?
Can't I just finagle my parents' assets -- or my own -- to get a larger financial aid award?
And if I check off YES to the question, Are you Hispanic, though I haven't a drop of Latin blood or ancestry dating back to Queen Isabella, who's to know?
The truth.
Where is the line drawn? When is it crossed? When does an enhancement, an edit, a slight exaggeration become little more than a lie?
Truth is, be it on a resume, in a debate , at an interview, in an essay or on the Common App -- especially on the Common App -- the truth matters.
Facts matter. Integrity matters. Honesty matters. Decency matters. Truth, even when reduced to innocuous short answers or blurbs of 1000 characters (and Tweets of 140), matters.
In an age when it has become all too commonplace to say anything and do anything to gain an advantage -- whether in business, politics or, sadly, in seeking admission to college -- there is a premium on the truth, and a hefty price to be paid for deviating from it.
Do not allow yourself to be caught up in what, unfortunately, appears to have become an American past time -- substituting fiction for fact and passing off the unfounded, the inaccurate or the downright fake as the truth.
To thine own self -- and to college admissions offices everywhere -- be true! 
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Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The College Whisperer™
 is the Trademark of COLLEGE CONNECTIONOfficial Sponsor of College Admission Success. The road to college begins at COLLEGE CONNECTION! Whether you are applying to college, planning for college, paying for college or simply thinking about college, COLLEGE CONNECTION can help! Call TODAY for a FREE telephone consultation. 516-345-8766 

For up-to-the-minute news, apps, info and insights on college applications, admissions, scholarships and just about everything college, follow The College Whisperer™ on Twitter at


Jump Start Your College Applications! | May 25 | Garden City, NY

May 18, 2016

• Choosing Colleges That Are “Best” For You
• Navigating The Application Process
• Admission Strategies
• Engaging Essays
• Financial Aid Essentials & Scholarship Sourcing

College ConnectionOfficial Sponsor of College Admission Success™, offers aFREE College Planning & Admissions Workshop. Open to students and parents alike, this forum will explore such topics as choosing a college that’s a “best” fit for you, the intricacies and nuances of the college application and admissions process, creating a compelling college essay, and paying for that college degree.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM 

WHERE: Ethical Humanist Society of LI | 38 Old Country Road, Garden City, New York 11530

WHY: Because the more you know, the better you'll be able to handle what's ahead!

Seth Bykofsky of College Connection, also known as The College Whisperer™, will present an engaging and informative program that is a must attend for anyone applying to college, planning for college, paying for college, or just thinking about college.

Space is limited. REGISTER TODAY on our website or at

At COLLEGE CONNECTION, We've Got Your Back. And Your Best Moves Forward!


Spring Break's "Top Ten" List

March 21, 2016

In case you were wondering what to do over Spring Break, we’ve come up with a definitive list of the “Top Ten” things high school students (particularly juniors) should be doing to prepare for the coming college application and admission season.

So, in between soaking up the sun on the beach, hitting the slopes, or sleeping until 2 PM, pick up the iPad or Android and have a go at one (and more) of these:

10. Search for “Best” Fit Colleges[And if you do nothing else in this endeavor, check out, “Relax! Where You Go To College Doesn’t Seal Your Fate.”]

9. Build Your High School Resume. [It’s spring. No more snowmen. Please!]

8. Give Some Thought To Your College EssayYou don’t even have to commit to paper (though an outline sometimes helps). Just think about it!

7. Search and Apply for ScholarshipsRich. Poor. Stuck in the middle. Doesn’t matter. Everyone could use (and everyone can get) free money for college. Be a believer in OPM - Other People’s Money. Secure financial freedom, not student debt!

6. Visit college campuses, virtually or in real time. Certainly, you can visit a college or three. [Keep in mind, though, that college students may also be on break, so take this into account when judging campus life.] Take an official campus tour. [Yes, it helps to demonstrate interest.] Can’t get out to campus (or of your pajamas)? No problem. Take a virtual tour. Check, and Short of sneaking a nap on a dorm room mattress, a virtual tour is the next best thing to being there.

5. Take The Common App for A Test Drive. Home to more than 600 college applications (and countless ways to drive high school students crazy), Common App won’t technically be ”live” for the high school class of 2017 until August 1, but as accounts will now "rollover" from year to year, the data you enter today will be saved and available when the next edition of Common App rolls out. So, create an account, have a look around, kick the tires, check out the essay prompts, see (and laugh at) the supplements (just do not respond to them, as supplements are subject to change), and ask yourself, “Why Michigan?”

4. Check out College Cafe | Essential Links & Resources.

3. Sign Up To Take The ACT And SAT This Spring. Don’t wait until the fall, when your plate will be full, and you’ll be pressed to meet college application deadlines. Get these tests out of the way before the summer. Which test? Take both the SAT and the ACT. Then retake the test you score higher on, relatively. After that, move on. It’s only a test! [Consider, too, the more than 800 colleges and universities that do not require submission of standardized test]

2. Ignore those silly “Top 10” lists, rankings, and “must do’s.”

And the Number 1 thing to do over Spring Break -- PLAY! You work hard (keep it up). You deserve a break.

Add one more item to this important “To Do” list: Follow COLLEGE CONNECTION and THE COLLEGE WHISPERER™ on Twitter@GetCollege. All college, from application through graduation, all the time!

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At COLLEGE CONNECTION, We've Got Your Back. And Your Best Moves Forward! Contact us TODAY for a FREE telephone consultation. 516-345-8766


Why Wait? Jump Start Your College Applications!

February 11, 2016

High school junior? Sophomore? Even freshman? Why wait until you're a rising senior to start your college applications? With the new "Rollover" of the Common Application (see, you can teach an old dog new tricks), students may start the common aspects of the Common App (just not the supplements), and data will be saved and carried over from the 2015-16 application to the 2016-17 application. [And, at least in theory, to subsequent years.] No more "wipeout" of data prior to the Common App going live on August 1 of any given year. Start your applications at your leisure. Explore. Gather info. Take your time. Get it right!

READ, Juniors, Start Your Common App NOW!

So, too, is this a great time to begin building your Resume on Naviance (in the About Me section, under the link appropriately labeled, Resume). If your school uses Naviance, and you have a Naviance account, use this time to your advantage. [Remember to enter everything you've done, in and out of school, from academics to extracurriculars to community service, from the 9th grade on.] This will be a great help when the time comes to select your "top 10" activities on your college applications.

Also, take the time to create a professional looking high school Resume. [A sample high school Resume is available upon request.] Looks a heck of a lot better than that activity sheet, and is impressive to those admissions officers who will see that you went the extra mile.Last, but by no means least, start your search for those all-important college scholarships. [Fastweb is a great place to begin, and yes, there are scholarships available to high school juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.] Once you've found scholarships that you qualify for, apply, apply, APPLY!

Questions about the journey to -- and through -- college? Call, email, text, tweet, or send a smoke signal (smoke signal rates may apply :-). We are always here to help!
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