Education Podcasts

GradCentric is a podcast hosted by Gradmetrics to help families plan and prepare for college and manage student loan debt. Every week we share tips on college topics including student loans, financial aid, FAFSA, CSS Profile, merit aid, scholarships, exploring majors, finding a career, and school selection.

GradCentric is a podcast hosted by Gradmetrics to help families plan and prepare for college and manage student loan debt. Every week we share tips on college topics including student loans, financial aid, FAFSA, CSS Profile, merit aid, scholarships, exploring majors, finding a career, and school selection.


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GradCentric is a podcast hosted by Gradmetrics to help families plan and prepare for college and manage student loan debt. Every week we share tips on college topics including student loans, financial aid, FAFSA, CSS Profile, merit aid, scholarships, exploring majors, finding a career, and school selection.








Navigating High School: Senior Year

The main college planning focuses of a high school senior are gaining admission to a student’s school(s) of choice, applying for financial aid and scholarships, tackling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (a.k.a the FAFSA) and potentially the CSS Profile, and preparing to pay for college using financial aid letters. For scholarships, a lot rides on the “big three”: GPA, class rank, and testing scores. View the blog post and download the checklist at...


Navigating High School: Junior Year

Juniors in high school need to focus on three tasks to keep on track with college planning. In other words, things get busy! The main college planning focus of a high school junior is building a solid school list. Once the school list is set, juniors create a deadlines calendar across all institutions. A deadlines calendar should include three date types: testing, admissions, and financial aid. Finally, juniors should focus on test preparation for the SAT and ACT. View the blog post and...


Navigating High School: Sophomore Year

Sophomores in high school need to focus on learning about their personality and defining a career pathway. The first step in this process is to take a personality assessment. There are quite a few out there. I generally ask families to take a free personality assessment. After short-listing a handful of careers, students should look up these careers in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (now online). View the blog post and download the checklist at...


Navigating High School: Freshman Year (free checklist)

One of the most common requests I get from families is to give them a clear and definitive college roadmap to the middle school and high school years. After all, many families feel overwhelmed by the college admissions and financial aid landscape and worry they will be left behind or lose out on opportunities in these areas. No doubt there are to-do items, best practices, and activities to complete sequentially while your child makes his or her way through the educational system. This will...


Your Student’s Memory and College Planning

Academic success is still largely contingent on the ability to memorize. This is quite clear both during and after high school. A little research will make clear that the study of memory is the real deal. There are ways to improve your memory that have the potential to drastically change student's life for the better. In fact, as a college and student loan planner it's something I'm eager to share with younger students in the hope they will learn and apply the strategies early, saving...


Three personality assessments to uncover your perfect job

Personality plays a pivotal role in job satisfaction and overall well-being, particularly since many experts believe personality is set from birth and does not change over time. Personality is central to how you view, approach, and experience life. Fighting against this core part of you is a losing battle leading to unhappiness, frustration, and stunted potential. Fight this battle too long and you might find yourself in a crisis of purpose, unable to discern a clear pathway in life.


Do Nontraditional Approaches to College Pay Off?

I must admit, I’m a nontraditionalist when it comes to higher education. The four-year, bachelor’s degree route simply isn’t a good fit for everyone, particularly considering the high cost. I love the idea of a quicker path to get a similar outcome, because less time spent in the academy almost always means lower cost. With that said, other non-traditional or flexible routes are less promising, or even harmful.


Lower Your Student Loan Payment the Smart Way

If your federal student loan payment is derived from a percentage of your discretionary income, you have an opportunity to save for future AND lower your student loan payments. In other words, you have a rare financial planning opportunity to achieve a double benefit to your personal bottom line.


Is it too late for financial aid?

With all the important college dates, applications, and notices whizzing by, it's easy to feel behind. If you're really late to the game, it can feel down right hopeless. But is this feeling warranted? It is ever too late for financial aid?


How to Read a Financial Aid Letter

Around this time of year, families receive a financial aid letter (also known as a financial aid package or financial aid offer) from their chosen schools. This can be a rather frustrating experience as there is no set format and terminology across schools. Not only that, the stakes are high as family try to decipher how much they owe for the upcoming school year.


What happens after the FAFSA?

I recently received a question from a family asking what happens after the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA. This is not surprising, as many families wonder this after finishing up their financial aid checklists and admissions paperwork. After all the activity involved with writing essays, submitting applications, and finishing senior projects, this portion of the year can be a "dead time" that seems a little out of place. So, what's the next step?


The Financial Viability of Your School List

Historically speaking, higher education is a great place to work. In general, a role in academia provides intellectual stimulation, freedom of ideas, an emphasis on diversity and equality, work-life balance, and unparalleled job stability. Unfortunately, higher education is quickly losing this stable reputation for many. This instability in the sector has real implications for your child as they head off to college. Now more than ever, it’s important to check the financial integrity of the...


College Essay Tips with Writing Help KC

In this episode we discuss tackling college essays and the admissions process with Val Cervarich of Writing Help KC. Admissions essays are crucial part of the college planning process, especially to gain more scholarships and admissions to the best colleges. Listen to discover best practices for writing your admissions essay. Make sure your essay: *Has both personality and professionalism *Tells your story rather than a list of accomplishments *Is a polished, proofread work product Also,...


Why is College so Expensive?

It’s a reasonable question. College costs have increased 1,120% in the last 30 years. Taken from another perspective, college costs inflate twice as fast as the economy overall! This is ludicrous.


Don’t paying sticker price for college (especially a private school)

Spoiler alert: college cost is not transparent. In fact, I like to talk about college cost as akin to a used car lot. If you are on a college website at this very moment – looking at the sticker price – chances are good you will not pay this amount. Shocking, but true. This simple fact causes a lot of headache and heartache for families around the United States…not to mention missed opportunities for a better education. This is especially true for private colleges. Private colleges have...


A College Degree - for FREE

It might sound crazy in today's high-priced environment, but there are free or low cost ways to earn a college degree. However, these pathways are non-traditional (i.e. not living on campus for four years of college) and not a good fit for every family. But for those taking the road-less-traveled, here are a few ideas.


Work Colleges

Work Colleges like College of the Ozarks continue to be an option for a free (or extremely affordable) education, giving them powerful influence in the higher education sector as student loan debt continues to rise.What makes Work Colleges different from their peers? As you might infer from the name, Work Colleges incorporate work and service into the curriculum as a way to subsidize the overall cost of education. At least historically, a handful of these colleges (College of the Ozarks,...


Playing Sports in College

Many high school students desire to play sports in college. Playing sports in college is a great way to continue a passion for athleticism, it's also a way to win funding to make college more affordable. At the end of your college experience, it can also be a way to show leadership acumen to an employer. On the flip side, playing sports in college requires extensive planning in high school and an even greater commitment of time in college. Join us in this video as we discuss the NCAA, NAIA,...


Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans

If you're paying off federal student loans, it's crucial you know the various repayment plans. Being in the wrong repayment plan can cost you thousands of dollars. Although payment plans have changed over time, the current options represent a great opportunity for borrowers to save money or modify payments to fit their goals, budget, and lifestyle. Watch this video to learn about the various federal student loan repayment plans including Standard, Extended, Graduated, IBR, ICR,...


The Importance of Campus Tours

You download a free campus tour checklist and list of questions to ask colleges on the Gradmetrics website. All you have to do is check out our recent post on campus tours: Campus tours have practical utility for students looking to choose one college over another. Visiting a campus helps gauge "fit" outside of the answers to predetermined questions like "Should I attend a public or private school?", "Does XYZ University have my major?", or...