Monthly Archives: May 2014

How 50 music teachers are creating 5,000 musician-citizens across the US, thanks to a TED Prize wish

TED Blog

Jose Abreu wished for these 50 musicians to Jose Antonio Abreu made a TED Prize wish in 2009 to train 50 musicians to start youth orchestras in their community. The final class of Sistema Fellows graduated this month. Photo: Andrew Hurlbut at NEC

On a drizzly spring day in Boston earlier this month, three dozen musicians mingled in the President’s Library of the New England Conservatory (NEC), one of the most prestigious music institutions in the country. The weather did not dampen the infectious enthusiasm in the room. After all, 10 of these musicians were about to mark a milestone: graduation from the competitive Sistema Fellows Program, an initiative born out of El Sistema and made a reality by the TED Prize.

El Sistema is a network of youth orchestras founded by pianist and conductor Jose Antonio Abreu in 1975. Officially called the “National System of Youth and Children Symphony Orchestras of Venezuela,” El Sistema (“the system”) teaches…

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6 Quick Tips for Consolidating Federal Student Loans

In the last year I have begun working with recent college grads who are struggling under the burden of their monthly federal student loans. Consolidating the loans in many instances can lower monthly payments by 2/3 in my experience. There a few things to consider when consolidating.

1. You can only consolidate federal student loans.

2. There are 7 different repayment options and you may not be eligible for all of them, but you should be eligible for 3-4.

3. With consolidation your interest rates on existing loans will be averaged, so some of your interest rates will be reduced, while others will increase.

4. While your monthly payments will be reduced with consolidation, you may owe more overall.

5. You can only consolidate federal student loans once.

6. You can pay off you federal consolidated loan early without penalty, which woul reduce the overall loan debt.

Choose your consolidation option wisely for the greatest benefit. If you need student loan debt counseling, contact me at

Crisis Text Line has counseled teens through nearly 2 million problems. Here’s how this idea got its start.

TED Blog

Specialists at Crisis Text Line chat with teenagers in crisis through an online web platform. Photo: Keri Goff Specialists at Crisis Text Line chat with teenagers in distress through a web platform. This month, the service will respond to its 2 millionth message. Photo: Keri Goff

Teenagers love to text—their thumbs pound out an average of 3,339 texts per month. Crisis Text Line turns this into a way to help teens through their hardest times: family issues, stress or suicidal thoughts. Trained counselors text back and forth with advice and resources—and, in the process, collect (anonymous) data that could lead to better policy to protect teens.

Crisis Text Line gets 11,000 messages from teenagers in distress a day—the service will respond to its 2 millionth message this month. And founder Nancy Lublin says the service simply wouldn’t exist if she hadn’t been asked to give a TED Talk about it.

Lublin met TED curator Chris Anderson in December 2011, and told him something she’d noticed while working with teens at

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Student Loan Debt: Making Life Difficult for Young Adults

The Huffington Post reported today on the wealth gap created by student loan debt. There are some frightening insights based on the Pew Research Center report titled “Young Adults, Student Debt and Economic Well-Being”. A record 37% of households head by an adult under 40 has student loan debt.

Another piece of staggering data is that college graduates without college debt in the same age group have a typical net worth 7 times higher than those with student loans to pay back.

I can attest to the increase burden student loans are having on young adults. In the last year, I have counseled more young adults weighed down by student loan payments. As a result of this debt my young adults clients are choosing to live at home with parents or find multiple roommates to make ends meet, delay purchasing a home, buying used cars or relying on public transportation.

Read the full article here:

4 Quick Tips For A Successful Scholarship Search

Looking for additional funds for college, but have reached your student loan limit or want to minimize your loan debt? Consider applying for private scholarships. Here are some tips:

1. Check with your school’s Alumni Office to see what scholarships are available.

2. Be aware that private scholarships and grants are not just for freshman. In fact most are offered to any full time college student, including graduate students.

3. Make a list of the hobbies, talents, jobs, clubs & organizations you participated in and use these are search topics.

4. Search for scholarships based on your ethnicity, religion, and physical /personal characteristic you have (Tall, left-handed,adopted, etc).

What Students Really Need to Hear

Very well stated. Having worked in education for years and operated my college planning service, I coach from the same point of view.

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Sen. Warren Co-Sponosors Student Loan Debt Relief Bill

Senator Elizabeth Warren has co-sponsored a bill which would allow borrowers to refinance their federal student loans and take advantage of the lower interest rates that are currently available. She  discussed the bill in a CBS News interview yesterday. Watch the interview here.

College Planning Services


Head For College is the website for McLaughlin Education Consulting, a college planning service, offering college admissions, financial aid/scholarship and student loan/consolidation counseling for those interested in an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Here is an overview of counseling services offered:

McLaughlin Education Consulting

Admissions Services:

* College Selection
* Application & Essay Review/Editing
* Interest Inventory & Career Exploration
* Interview Coaching

Financial Aid & Scholarship Services:

* FAFSA & CSS a Profile advising
* Estimate eligibility for financial aid
* Scholarship Search for Undergraduate Students
* Review/evaluate Financial Aid Offers
* Assist with Appeals & Negotiations for additional financial aid

Graduate Student Services:

* Program selection
* Application & Essay Review/Editing
* Scholarship & Fellowship Search

Student Loan Debt Management Counseling:

* Review current loan debt and advise on Consolidation options
* Loan Repayment/Forgiveness Searches