Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How to Prepare for College Correctly -- Please Share!!!

I wanted to take the time to release information that will make a difference in preparing students along with their parents for college. I believe that information should be shared with all and that it must be obtainable in a way that people can have access to it. I am haunted by the quotes of Harriet Tubman that says:

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
"If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more."

The key to receiving the information that I provide you is to learn how to understand it. I am currently using the information with my youngest child, who is 12 years old.

My son has learned how to use and access the computer to research information he needs, be it a book report, gaining knowledge or playing games on the Internet. He not only uses Consoles games such as the WII for entertainment, but also for enhancing his sports or artistic skills. For instance, my son volunteered for the Special Olympics Bowling Event and bowled hitting 3 strikes and 1 spare consecutively. He credited the bowling to him practicing on the WII Sports. He has taught himself how to be an Anime artist. He is currently teaching himself how to read, write and speak Japanese. He loves reading books and when he goes to the Library to check them out he checks out 15 to 20 books and read them all within the 21 days allowed to keep the books. He has so far received awards from “Who’s Who Among Middle School Students”, Outstanding African American Student, Memphis Urban League’s “Do the Right Thing” Award, and Kohl’s Kids Who Care (Store level) for volunteering as a human shield during the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death.

Below are the links that will make a difference: (click links to retrieve the information)

College Preparation

How to create a College Portfolio (Learn how to create Business Cards, Resume and Portfolio)

College Preparation TimeLines

Preparing for the ACT/SAT Exams

Preparing for the ACT/SAT Exams

I am often reminded of the students that I and others have assisted or guided in workshops or through advice. Some of the students that stand out are those students that didn’t have a mentor, had low self-esteem or didn’t think that they could pass the exam or could even attend college.

I am especially pleased with Julian’s story. A student that wanted to attend college, but didn’t believe he could. At the time, Julian had just graduated with the “Class of 2008”, but during August of 2008, he had never applied for college or taken the ACT. But in my meeting with him, I felt he had a fire and desire to want to achieve and had the ability to do so. I advise him how to prepare for the ACT and to utilize the links on my blog, Planning and Preparing for College (Scholarships, Internships, Etc) located at http://www.ctherd.blogspot.com/ . He took the advice and took the ACT exam and scored a 21 on his first try which allowed him to be eligible for the TN Lottery and get assistance to attend college.

The reason the workshops were successful is because it taught students’ methods, techniques and to utilize practice exams to build up their test skills and speed. In the end, knowledge is powerful, if used properly.

Below are two technique documents (Math and Science) to be used as tips along with suggested websites to practice the ACT/SAT with:

Tips for Math and Science:

Math Problems

Scientific Methods

Go to Practice Links section on the right side of the blog.

Below are the next scheduled ACT and SAT dates:


Test Date: October 27, 2012
Registration Deadline: September 21, 2012
Late Registration Deadline: September 22 – October 5, 2012

Test Date: December 8, 2012
Registration Deadline: November 2, 2012
Late Registration Deadline: November 3 – 16, 2012

Test Date: February 9, 2013*
Registration DeadlineJanuary 11, 2013
Late Registration Deadline: January 12 – 18, 2013

Test Date: April 13, 2013
Registration Deadline: March 8, 2013
Late Registration Deadline: March 9 – 22, 2013

Test Date: June 8, 2013
Registration Deadline: May 3, 2013
Late Registration Deadline: May 4 – 17, 2013

*No test centers are scheduled in New York for the February test date.

visit http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html for additional registration dates.


Test Date: October 6, 2012
Registration Deadline: September 7, 2012
Late Registration Deadline:  September 21, 2012

Test Date: November 3, 2012
Registration Deadline: October 4, 2010
Late Registration Date: October 19, 2012

Test Date:  December 1, 2010
Registration Deadline: November 1, 2012
Late Registration Date:  November 16, 2012

visit http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/calenfees.html for additional registration dates.

FAFSA Process Starts on January 1

January 1, is the start date for applying for the FAFSA for the 2010-2011 college school year.

PIN Registration for FAFSA

In order to register for FAFSA online, you must get a PIN number. The Pin Registration URL is:


or click the URL below that will take you to the PIN Application page and then follow the instructions:


For frequent asked questions related to the PIN, click the URL below:


The FAFSA application is available online on January 1nd. The URL is listed below:


Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator:


Monday, December 07, 2009

The Common Application Overview

The Common Application process is becoming popular for students applying for college.  Many students who are applying to various colleges and don't want to keep creating duplication of information, difference essays, short answers, etc are using the process.  The Common App provides an extensive searching tool for you to search for and research information on each of the 400+ member institutions. This searching tool is available from the main Common App website http://www.commonapp.org/. It can also be accessed by clicking on the 'Search for Colleges' link in the left-hand menu or from the ‘My Colleges’ page of the site.

Click here for a video tutorial on how the online system works.

Click here to retrieve the list of the Colleges/Universities

The purpose of the Common Application is to serve students by facilitating and simplifying the college application process for those seeking admission tomember institutions. In so doing, the Common Application introduces candidates to a broader range of institutions than they might otherwise consider, provides immediate access to application forms, and may be used as an educational tool in preparingstudents for the college selection and application process.

If you have already applied at a particular college or universities do not duplicate the process on the common application website. You only need one application submitted per student to a college.


High School Transcripts, Letters of Recommendations, Counselor Report, Secondary Report, need to be submitted to the colleges/universities prior or by theregistration or scholarship deadline. If you have not done so already, students should request them from the necessary persons or institutions ASAP. The clock isticking and coming to a fast end. Please remember that you are competing with students from across the country or state and your letters should reflect you in a verystrong way or not be average in meaning or tone.


Many Common App member institutions require supplemental forms. These supplements may be available online on this site or on the institution's website. If an institution that you have selected requires a supplement, this will be available in the 'Supplements' section. If a supplement is required, you must complete and submit this before your application package will be complete.

Some member institutions require that you submit the supplement prior to submitting the Common App. If that is the case, you will see information about that requirement on the Future Plans and My Colleges pages for those institutions.

College Application Fee Waivers:

Below are the eligibility guidelines for college application fee waivers. Many colleges do allow fee waivers under the listed condition. The following URL listed some of the colleges that will allow fee waivers. You may also contact the individual college/university to see if they allow waivers and the procedure for obtaining a waiver. Sample list of college participating in the SAT College applicationfee waivers. The URL is:

Fee Waivers

NACAC Fee Waiver Request
College Board Fee Waiver Request
Other Fee Waiver Request

Eligibility Guidelines for High School Seniors

Must meet at least one of the following indicators of economic need:

Family receives public assistance. Student is a ward of the state. Student resides in foster home. Student participates in free or reduced-price lunch program at school. Financial Hardship (must be approved by the guidance counselor or principal)


Each member institution has a specific deadline for when they will accept your Common Application and supplement. Once a deadline has passed, you will no longer be able to submit your forms to this institution. Deadlines can be viewed on both the ‘Future Plans’ and ‘My Colleges’ sections.

Please note that some institutions have a supplement deadline before their Common Application deadline. Do not wait until the last minute to submit your forms.

The Common Black Application Overview

EDU, Inc. has been developed to augment the recruitment efforts of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and to increase the number of educational opportunities for students nationwide. Complete the EDU, Inc. Online Common Black College Application and have it delivered to all 34 Member Institutions below for only $35. All Member Institutions have agreed to waive their application fee.


Please contact EDU, Inc office at (770) 716-0616 if you have questions.

Accreditation of Colleges and Universities

Most people don't take into account the accreditation of a school when applying, but it can play a big role in terms of employment beyond college, in terms of financial aid, transferability of credits, etc. The link provides information about institutions that are accredited by accrediting agencies that are recognized by the US Dept. of Educ:


Other useful sites include:
Ed Picks
Accreditation List
Financial Aid
Submitted by: Devon L. Hill

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Survival of the Parent

by Callie Herd

Who would have ever thought that preparing your child for college would be one of the hardest tasks one can imagine. Just think only a few years ago, I was giving birth to someone who was completely depending on me. I told her what to do and I molded her into what I felt would make her a better individual. As I looked back on my childhood, I made a vow that my children would be able to decide at the end of their high school year what path he/she may want to take. Be it college, technical school or going out into the workforce, I would be proud of them and know that whatever they decided to do with their lives that they would do their best and become successful.

I wanted to make sure that they valued mankind. So, I allowed them to assist me on many of my volunteer ventures. I knew that this would help to develop their characters and allow them “to do unto others as they would want them to do unto them.” It wasn’t hard for me to know that they must develop a compassion for others and always know that everyone needs to be loved and feel wanted. They were taught that they couldn’t always choose the way their lives may turn out to be, but they must have faith that there will be a better day.

Now I look at my daughter as she prepares to graduate this May. I am in total amazement on what the future will hold for her. Although she has selected a college major and has high hopes of attending the college of her first choice, I still wonder if I have done enough to ensure that her entry into her freshman year will be the way she wants. You see being a parent is tested when your child is preparing to attend college. Like many parents, I don’t have a lot of money saved where I can just write a blank check to the school of my daughter’s choice. I had to decide early what role I would play in preparing her for college. There was only one conclusion and that was to play an active role.

Because I had already gone through one child going to college, I was aware of the importance of making my child well rounded, if you wanted them to seek scholarships and/or financial assistance. I made sure that whatever community service organization or project my daughter did, I wanted her to enjoy it and know that the purpose of volunteering was not just to get points for college, but rather to make a difference in one's life. I told her that volunteering is quality, not quantity.

I knew also that her academic achievements would have to be on a competitive level to compete with other students on a local or national level. She took honor classes to help balance her regular classes. The honor classes also allowed her to comprehend her subject matters in an intense way and to help in preparing her for college courses.

But as I got close to the end of her senior year and could feel the intense stress that was taking over her, I wondered if I had done enough. I asked myself, “What could I do to ensure that she would make it to the finish line?” I began to work closer with her to make sure that she made a list of the colleges/universities she wanted to attend along with the requirements and deadlines for registering and getting her financial aid information in on time.

I found myself attending meetings, workshops, and seminars that would assist in learning how to find, research or get scholarships or college information. I started also surfing the Internet for scholarships that I felt that my daughter could apply for. I found myself networking with other parents that were seeking the same purpose of obtaining scholarships for their child.

Overall trying to be a survivor in this fast paced cycle of getting one's child admitted and finding ways to get his/her tuition paid has truly been rewarding. I can now see why it is important for anyone to start early in the process. You cannot wait until the deadline, but you must be aware of what is required of each college or university you want your child to attend. You as a parent must sometimes have to fill out the college applications and allow your child the opportunity to write his/her essay without the pressure of worrying about the other needed paperwork. We as parents must realize that this is a “we” process and how much we put into this process will determine how much our child will receive from it. A child must never take the path of preparing for college alone, but have a parent or someone to talk to or discuss their future with. Preparing for college is an important step in a child's and his/her parents’ lives. We must teach our children how to survive and strive to be the best he or she can be.

Copyright © 2005 by Callie Herd

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Keep Hope Alive

Educators with purpose driven lives: Dr. Franklin with Ms. Callie Herd the founder and visionary of http://www.ctherd.blogspot.com

Legend and Legend in the making: Tha Artivist meets Dr. John Hope Franklin...Dr. Franklin an avid music lover is holding an art work named "Money Jungle" which is Tha Artivist's tribute to Duke Ellington,Charles Mingus, Max Roach and their phenomenal album "Money Jungle"..The small pic Tha Artivist is holding is entitled "Black Gabriel" which is Tha Artivist's tribute to jazz trumpet players.

Keep Hope Alive!!! Tha Artivist Reports...

I had the pleasure of meeting the one and only historian extraordinaire Dr. John Hope Franklin at the Southern Books Festival on Saturday Oct. 14,2006 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center…In my nearly three decades on earth I have met my share of celebrities and famous people…However on that beautifully bright and warm autumn day meeting this particular celebrity was a necessity...You see one of my favorite subjects is African American History…Dr. John Hope Franklin is one of the preeminent scholars on this subject…You could probably consider him the Living Dean of African American Scholars…His seminal work "From Slavery to Freedom" has been in print and taught in American classrooms and universities since its first publication in the 1940s…At the young age of 91, Dr. Franklin can be considered the bridge connecting early 20th Century historians and scholars such as Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and Dr. Carter G. Woodson with their later 20th Century counterparts such as Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson…Dr. John Hope Franklin's academic and scholarly prowess is so revered that he was asked by then U.S. President Bill Clinton to serve on his special commission on race relations to find out the root causes of racism and to create solutions to eradicate the social virus once and for all…For his life's work in 1995 Dr. Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

I pride myself on being an "artivist" (one who uses his/her art and talents to promote and bring about change) and "artstorian" (one who uses his/her art to document history)…So in many ways Dr. John Hope Franklin is a hero to me for what he has been able to endure and achieve in his 91 glorious and peaceful (he said he has only endured one headache in his entire lifetime and that happened when he was about 5 or 7 years old!!!) years on this earth…

I remember seeing Dr. Franklin on the Tavis Smiley show back in February of 2006…He was there promoting his newly released autobiography Mirror to America…Watching and listening to Dr. Franklin has always been a source of "edutainment" (educational and entertainment) for me…This time on t.v. he didn't disappoint being very vivid and candid about his nearly century old existence on earth…My supportive mother, Ms. Callie Herd creator of ctherd.blogspot.com also saw the episode and suggested that I send Dr. Franklin a portfolio package about me and my activities detailing my aspirations, achievements and so forth with the hopes that I can get a chance to meet and talk with the man himself…She even went as far as to write an e-mail to the man and got a response from Dr. Franklin's handlers at Duke University in less than 24 hours on what to do and where to mail whatever we were going to send…Although I had a lot of respect for Dr. John Hope Franklin, I truly had no desire to pursue this...I have tried and failed or came up short on many occasions to meet with influential, well known and paid individuals like Dr. Franklin…The results for the most part have been mixed, indifferent if not totally disappointing…At this point I wasn't in the mood to waste more money, hope and time with unreceptive celebrity types…

However, after much "harassing" by my insistent, but well meaning mom I finally put together a nice size packet that seemed to include every newspaper clipping and article that included a mention of my name and activities…I assembled everything in the packet myself except for the cover letter which was provided by my seemingly omnipresent mother (after all it was her idea why not leave it to her to provide the explanation)...I also sent Dr. Franklin an autographed copy of the newspaper article a great friend of mine Mr. Byron Lee did on me for the St. Louis Limelight Newspaper…Well we sent the packet off and waited…And waited and waited…Finally my mom, not I, grew restless and decided to contact Dr. Franklin's handlers at Duke…They said that he was currently on the road promoting his book and will get back with us shortly…In the meantime they told us to send them a fax detailing what we wanted with Dr. Franklin...My mom almost followed through on the request when she realized that we already sent him a nice size package detailing all that stuff and so she e-mailed his handlers telling them what was the purpose of faxing when we already sent you all a package detailing my background and requests??? Finally after six months of waiting I got a reply…My portfolio was mailed back to me with a handwritten letter…The handwrting was really beautiful and neat in slanted cursive...I knew it had to be his hand because they don't teach kids these days to have that much pride in their handwriting abilities especially with the rise of the computer, internet and Microsoft Word…The following is from the handwritten letter:

Dear Ronald Herd,
I have received much information about you from your dear mother, and from what she says I must say that your interests and activities are noteworthy. I f you are as interested in your career as your mother is, please indicate it by taking up your own cause and promoting it in every way possible. Meanwhile, best wishes to you
John Hope Franklin

At first glance, I was a little taken aback by the letter for one being that I actually got a response and a handwritten letter at that from one of those celebrity type (at least in the academic field) personalities…Secondly, the advice although well intended is not truly reflective at all of the situation in regards of me taking up my own cause…If you are reading this article I am taking up my own cause because I am writing about my experiences or cause...If you are looking at the pic of me and Dr.Franklin holding my art then I am taking up my cause because I created the opportunity...Well, I take partial credit, it was actually my beautiful mom's idea to go to the book festival with the exact goal of meeting Dr. Franklin…As I stated earlier I put the packet together, but my mom provided the cover letter and like I said before since it was her idea to contact Dr. Franklin in the first place I saw it as a fitting tribute…As a matter of fact many people especially in the arts have always let relatives helped them in the advancement of their careers…Would Vincent Van Gogh even sold a painting in his lifetime if it wasn't for the efforts of his art dealer brother Theo in promoting his work??? Would Usher be the superstar he is today if it wasn't for the efforts of his mom who is also his manager??? The same could be said for Beyonce and Jessica Simpson whose fathers have played substantial roles in the developments of their talented and beautiful daughters' careers…Supermodel turn t.v. talk show hostess Tyra Banks credits her mom's support in helping to get her career off the ground in a very hands on way… Could John F. Kennedy had a successful political career without the aid and help of his family in particular his father Joe P. Kennedy and brother Robert Kennedy as his campaign manager??? What about Joe Jackson??? Regardless of what you may think of these examples and the many more I could provide, we must all realize that it really takes a group effort or village to make things happen…Just like Dr. Franklin has his many handlers at Duke University we all need people to lean on and aid us in our respective journeys…Like the poet John Dunne wrote "no one man can stand alone as an island"...Besides if you receive any e-mail, newsletters, visit my numerous websites, attended any of my art shows you should know that I play a pivotal role in making those opportunities happen with the unwavering support of my mom of course…

The letter did not really bother me, I actually took it as a sign of respect and encouragement…However, when my mom saw it she was a little perturbed by it…Even though she didn't say it much it really did bothered her that Dr. Franklin allegedly thought she was doing most of the heavy lifting...I told her it shouldn't matter and that the most important thing in these types of situations is to get a response and so regardless what was written or said the Dr. Franklin project was a success…

My mom still couldn't put the issue to rest and so I guess it was a blessing that we got to see Dr. Franklin this past October…The funny way on how we got to meet Dr. Franklin must have been destiny...My mom was actually coming back from the restroom when she just so happened to cross paths with Dr. Franklin while he was getting off the escalator…I was actually waiting in the hallway in front of the conference room where he was to give his speech…I could hear my mom's distinctive voice…I knew she must have met somebody of importance and reverence by her tone…I look around the corner and lo and behold there was my mom talking with Dr. John Hope Franklin!!! The first thing she addressed to him was the letter he wrote in response to the packet I sent him…Although the letter was signed in his name he denied knowing about the existence of such letter, probably to save face in front of two of his admirers, both high school teachers with one of them in particular hero worshipping him with praises of all sorts (which he deserves)…However I knew without a doubt that he wrote the letter, but I did not feel the need to express that to him…As a sign of goodwill he did offer his card with his personal mailing address to us...He also let us take pictures with him as well which was also very nice of him considering that he needed some time to get his thoughts together for his presentation...Overall I found him to be a very nice and peaceful man who reminded me a lot of in look and manners of my late maternal grandfather, Arthur "Grip" Taylor

We truly enjoyed his presentation…The room was packed with people (mostly White folks, it is a shame that many people of color didn't come out for this was a message that Black folks in particular needed too hear)…Basically Dr. Franklin talked about his childhood, the importance of documenting one's history on one's own terms, his fascination and passion for the extraordinary life and achievements of George Washington Williams, love of opera, racism and little bit of everything in between…As usual he kept it edutaining…When it came to the Q and A session my mom and I were eagerly awaiting our turn to ask the living legend a question or two...My mom went before me and asked Dr. Franklin why is that Old School so hesitant to help New School meaning why sometimes respected elders did not always share what they know with younger people who eagerly seek them out for advice...I then followed up the question with how much of an influence was Dr. W.E.B. DuBois (who also went to Fisk and Harvard like Dr. Franklin) on him becoming a historian…I also asked his thoughts about one of my favorite historians, Mr. J.A. Rogers (he did not supply an answer to this part of my question...I guess he tired himself out for he was long winded in a very good and honorable way on answering a question about who was Mr. George Washington Williams, a person who caught his imagination and who he became the definitive biographer for)…To summarize his answers to both questions he said that Dr. Dubois wasn't an influence…He said that he first met Dr.DuBois as a grad student and was disappointed by how the famed academic was unreceptive to his introduction…Years later he was invited by Dr. DuBois to lecture at some of his classes at City College in New York City...Dr. Franklin stated that Dr. DuBois started to respect him as a colleague once he started seeing Dr.Franklin's name in the press and even went so far as to apologize to Dr. Franklin for disrespecting him earlier saying that he was shy and didn't mean any harm…He also stated that Dr. DuBois would actually sit in on the classes taking notes while he lectured!!! Dr. Franklin ended this story about his relationship with Dr.DuBois by saying that you should never let anyone or any circumstance stop you from achieving your goals or pursuing the things that you are passionate about …Once my mom heard this it seems that her mood went from anxious to serene…She got what she wanted and I got what I needed...KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!!