If I Knew Then, What I Know Now! by Cynthia Hammond-Davis - Book review

If I Knew Then, What I Know Now!

College and Financial Aid Planning From A Parent's Perspective

By: Cynthia Hammond-Davis

Published: November 28. 2011
Format: Paperback, 84 pages
ISBN-10: 1936513285
ISBN-13: 978-1936513284
Publisher: PENDIUM

"I am writing this book because just like you, I have experienced overwhelming anxiety, stress, and sleepless nights with concerns of college planning, thinking about where my children might attend college, and wondering how we would be able to pay for it", writes radio talk show host, motivational speaker, and founder and Executive Director of The Light of the City, Inc., Cynthia Hammond-Davis in her clear and concise book If I Knew Then, What I Know Now! College and Financial Aid Planning From A Parent's Perspective. The author describes her struggle as a mother to find ways to cover all aspects of her family's quest for a college education, and shares her experiences in obtaining funding, educational planning, and how to navigate the college financial maze.

Cynthia Hammond-Davis understands first hand the challenges that parents of college aged children face in searching for the right college, and obtaining the funding to pay for it. The author shares her resourceful strategies and techniques, learned through trial and error, for finding grants and scholarships to fund her children's college education. Cynthia provides real world proven advice for both parents and students to ease the school planning and selection process; as well as finding success in receiving non-repayable financial aid. The author stresses a teamwork approach to finding solutions, and achieving success at getting into the school best suited to the student, and paying for it as painlessly as possible.

Cynthia Hammond-Davis (photo left) recognizes the critical importance of beginning the college selection and funding process early in the child's life. The author presents advice on the value of maintaining good grades and for achieving high scores on tests including the SAT and ACT. Cynthia Hammond-Davis also points out how a strong list of extra-curricular activities helps the student in both the admissions and financial aid processes.

Cynthia Hammond-Davis covers all of the crucial areas of the educational journey from grade school through high school and on to post-secondary education. The topics covered in the book include the following:

* Teamwork is the key
* Find your gifts/talents and abilities/strengths
* The importance of good grades and SAT?ACT scores
* Extra-curricular activities and community service
* Student athletes - NCAA collegiate sports
* Finding the right college
* Get to know your child's counselor now
* Scholarships
* FAFSA - Free application for financial aid
* How to find the best college for your buck
* Counting up the cost
* Professional judgment and appeal letters

For me, the power of the book is how Cynthia Hammond-Davis provides a comprehensive overview of the entire selection and funding process succinctly and with clarity of vision. The author personalizes her own family's journey to choose the right school, and to obtain grants and scholarships to offset the high cost of education. The story of that quest provides a backdrop to the more technical details of the book, and provides a context for the often bewildering array of acronyms.

Cynthia Hammond-Davis eases the jargon burden by presenting detailed explanations of what the initials and departments mean. The plain language approach extends into the financial areas of the book where the numbers are shown with real world meaning for parents and students. The author also provides a list of additional resources to guide families toward additional funding agencies, college preparation courses, and information about the myriad of possible colleges and their programs.

I highly recommend the handy and information packed book If I Knew Then, What I Know Now! College and Financial Aid Planning From A Parent's Perspective by Cynthia Hammond-Davis, to any parents, students, educators, and counselors who are seeking clear and readily applicable information preparing for college, selecting the right school, being admitted, and finding the funds to pay for that educational opportunity. This book is an indispensable guide for families who are planning a college education for their children.


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