OCA Newsletter

Oakland Counseling Association

2015-16 Vol. 2

Helping Students Pay for College

Parents and students alike often become anxious at the mere thought of paying for college. The rising cost of college tuition has made many families wonder how they could possibly fund their child’s education. When analyzing long term trends, tuition has been rising at six percent above the rate of inflation. With this in mind it is important that families be aware of every avenue to pay for college.

Completion of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a necessity for many families. Federal Student Aid is money from the federal government (U.S. Department of Education) that helps students pay for college or career school, or graduate school expenses. More than $150 billion in federal student aid is available through grants, work-study, and loans every year. Students must meet eligibility requirements in order to receive aid. Any student can check their eligibility by visiting StudentAid.gov/eligibility. Students are encouraged to finish the FAFSA prior to March 1st. If you are interested ordering materials for your parents and students you can visit fsapubs.gov and order pamphlets and brochures for your counseling office.

Finding scholarships can be difficult especially with the number of applicants increasing every year. However it is still necessary to continue to encourage students to apply due to the rising cost of higher education. Encourage students to view applying for scholarships like a part time job. Tell them that they might need to invest up to two hours per day researching scholarships and browsing websites. Encourage them to use commonly used sites such as Fastweb.com or Goodcall.com. In addition to those sites ask students to talk to their parents about what scholarships their employer might offer. Many corporations offer scholarships annually. If your student is employed encourage them to speak to their manager or supervisor about what scholarships their job might offer. Many fast food chains and retailers make their scholarships widely available on corporate websites. Many religious and ethnic based organizations offer scholarships as well. Many of these scholarships can be substantial in terms of the amount of money they offer students. Also encourage students to research scholarships based on their major. For instance, if they are majoring engineering direct them their college’s engineering page to research any scholarships they may potentially offer. Many community organizations offer scholarships and often times are elated to give money to local students.

The most important resource our students can tap into is their high school counselor. Creating a climate that lets students know that we are there to walk with them through this process is crucial.

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests – stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands – parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.

But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more that you thought you would.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.

2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Try these alternatives:

· Donate to a charity in someone’s name.

· Give homemade gifts.

· Start a family gift exchange.

6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

8. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

Try these suggestions:

· Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.

· Get plenty of sleep.

· Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Some options may include:

· Taking a walk at night and stargazing.

· Listening to soothing music

· Getting a message

· Reading a book.

10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Take control of the holidays

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

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OSTC Flyers - PDF

OCA Networking


Thursday, Jan. 21st 2016 at 11:45am-2pm


1371 North Perry Street


Pontiac, MI

More information
Lunch will be served from 11:45am - 12:15pm

This event is FREE for members, $10 for non-members.

Lunch will be provided by the culinary arts program for those who RSVP by January 8.

RSVP to Randy Maddock at randy.maddock@oakland.k12.mi.us.

On-site registration will be available although lunch will not be provided for on-site registrants.

Oakland Counseling Association

The Oakland Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession.


The mission of the Oakland Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in

Oakland County by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the

counseling profession and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.

Become a member now!

Are you looking for relevant, but inexpensive, professional development options?

Look no further, because becoming a member of the Oakland Counseling Association is the perfect answer. You will be joining a group dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Oakland County by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing in the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity. For a small fee you can become a member, and be eligible to attend a variety of workshops at a discount. Simply go to www.oaklandcounselors.org and click on themembership link on the left hand side (Pay Pal accepted). Current memberships are available at $20 for individuals, $50 for departments, and $10 for students. So don’t delay and sign up for your Oakland Counseling Association membership today!

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OCA Newsletters

2015-2016 Vol. 1