One of the biggest struggles I face as a counselor is knowing a student can’t afford the tuition at a college they dream of attending. Many of the country’s most prestigious colleges only give need-based aid. As a result, most middle-income families don’t receive much if any aid. This is why these colleges are stillContinue reading “You Can’t Chase Merit and Brand Name (usually)”
Tag Archives: Financial aid
Advice for high school parents based on the 2023 admission cycle
It is the time of year when students are turning in their course selections for next year, trying to build a schedule that will get them into college. I personally think students should take what they need to graduate as well as some courses that interest them. But in this day and age of highlyContinue reading “Advice for high school parents based on the 2023 admission cycle”
How to compare financial aid packages-revised
Two years ago I wrote a post with advice on how to negotiate financial aid. It’s still relevant, and that time of year. You will find the original blog below with a few new updates. If you need help understanding your aid or figuring out how to approach a negotiation, schedule an hour counseling sessionContinue reading “How to compare financial aid packages-revised”
No need to apply to more than 10 schools
If I could give juniors one piece of advice it would be to apply to fewer schools. Highly rejective schools are getting even more selective. Students are casting a wider and wider net in the hopes of getting into one “top” or “brand name” school. But all this really does is drive up applications, andContinue reading “No need to apply to more than 10 schools”
Your College Application is Like Baking from Scratch
Any of the students who worked with me this year probably heard my baking analogy so many times they got sick of it. But it’s a valid comparison. When you bake cookies or a cake, the ingredients you use are important. What you add, and when you add it, makes a baked treat that tastesContinue reading “Your College Application is Like Baking from Scratch”
Undecided or Declaring a Major–Does it Matter?
As you research and visit prospective colleges, its important to understand how major choice impacts first year admission. Every college handles the admission and application process differently (life would be so much easier if it was standarized). But for many colleges, what you major in and how competitive that major is can have a bigContinue reading “Undecided or Declaring a Major–Does it Matter?”
Are you a senior who hasn’t started their applications?
Once upon a time, most college students didn’t start applications until sometime in the fall of senior year and submitted them in January or February. Now, the push is to have everything in early, by November 1st, to maximize scholarhips, early action and early decision. But those are technically “early” programs. Most colleges have aContinue reading “Are you a senior who hasn’t started their applications?”
Steps You Might Miss in the Application Process
You have hit submit on your college application and that feeling of “I did it” comes over you. Then a few days later you log into your applicant portal only to see big red X’s saying you missed something causing your heart to race. Sometimes these X’s don’t impact the application deadline and you haveContinue reading “Steps You Might Miss in the Application Process”
You’ve Been Admitted–What’s Next?
Congratulations. You have been admitted to a college. So what’s next? If you know you have been admitted then you have probably already created a portal accont for that college. If you are asking, “what’s a portal?”, then check your email. Most schools now use an online admissions system to manage the process. You needContinue reading “You’ve Been Admitted–What’s Next?”
I don’t understand what “Early Action” means
Saturday night, I hosted an application workshop for some local seniors (including my son). It was incredibly inciteful to hear their questions and concerns. One question that came up a lot that, and in multiple follow up email since, is “what is Early Action” and “Should I apply Early Action?”. Early Action is called anContinue reading “I don’t understand what “Early Action” means”
How to write a “Why this college” essay
August 1st is around the corner, which means you can start submitting the Common Application and other college applications. While many schools only require the personal statement from the Common Application, others have supplemental essays that are required. One of the most common additional essays is the “Why are you applying to this school?” question.Continue reading “How to write a “Why this college” essay”
Jobs That Help Pay For College
Working while in high school (and college) can teach a teen time management, customer service and communication skills as well as how to work as part of a team. It can also help them pay for expenses and save for college. There are many companies that off their teenage employees educational benefits. Between hourly part-timeContinue reading “Jobs That Help Pay For College”
Are College Fairs Still Worth Attending?
Back before the days of the internet and before College Board and ACT would sell your information to colleges so they could send you (lots of) marketing materials, families had to attend college fairs. Many colleges would visit a high school gym, hotel ballroom or convention center–each with their own table. Families would go fromContinue reading “Are College Fairs Still Worth Attending?”
It’s hard to be the parent in the college process
At dinner with my brother recently, he (not so jokingly) said I must be a nightmare on college visits. Its definitely hard to remain neutral. I have strong opinions on what should be included by the college to help the student learn the most about the school. And because my recent visits are for myContinue reading “It’s hard to be the parent in the college process”
Should you visit colleges in the summer?
Finding time to visit colleges during the school year can be challenging. Students are busier than ever, and often don’t want to miss classes to visit a college. They worry they will fall behind. But is summer a good time to visit, since many college students go home for the summer? Yes, if summer isContinue reading “Should you visit colleges in the summer?”
Paying for College-Scholarships
This time of year, I often get messages via social media from parents asking for tips on where their students can find scholarships. The majority of scholarships most students receive come from the colleges themselves. Scholarships are more of a marketing tool or an incentive to get students to enroll than actual financial aid. SomeContinue reading “Paying for College-Scholarships”
Paying for College–so many acronyms and terms
No one can use a TLW (three letter words) like a financial aid office at a college. They also work under many state and federal regulations, causing them to be very process oriented, and not always relational or warm (even though they are great, and often very caring, people). The Financial Aid Office can oftenContinue reading “Paying for College–so many acronyms and terms”
Paying for College-Figuring Out What Colleges You Can Afford
College has gotten expensive. We are going to launch a multi-part blog series helping you understand what you can afford as well as how to navigate the financial process and all the terms and acronyms. The first thing to know is very few people pay the actual sticker price published on the college’s website underContinue reading “Paying for College-Figuring Out What Colleges You Can Afford”
Yes, colleges are emailing you. That doesn’t necessarily mean they want you.
If you have taken a PSAT, SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement course, you are probably getting inundated with brochures, letters, and emails from colleges. They often say that they think you are a good fit for their school and encourage you to visit, learn more or apply. Take these messages with a grain of salt.Continue reading “Yes, colleges are emailing you. That doesn’t necessarily mean they want you.”
Here are some tips to make applying to college easier (because we are exhausted from Nov 1 deadlines)
Start early, start early, start early. If I had to offer advice on the admissions process it would be to start earlier than you think. Sophomore and juniors really should be starting now. Seniors should have applications well under way. Here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly no matter whereContinue reading “Here are some tips to make applying to college easier (because we are exhausted from Nov 1 deadlines)”
Parents-finding a college is similar to buying a house
When you are planning to buy a house you spend time online searching for homes. You partner with an expert—a realtor—to help you navigate the process. You look at many different houses to decide what options you really need and what you can live without. You get your finances in order and fill out mountainsContinue reading “Parents-finding a college is similar to buying a house”
How do you pick a college when you have no idea what you want to do as a career?
First of all, its ok to be undecided about your future career. Exploratory is often the most popular freshmen major. College will expose you to new subjects and specialties that you didn’t even know existed. However, knowing what you want to study can help you stay on track and graduate on time as well asContinue reading “How do you pick a college when you have no idea what you want to do as a career?”
When should you start visiting colleges?
I’m prepared to get some push back on this post. But read it all the way through because I’m not crazy. I want students to submit the strongest applications for admission they can. I also want families to approach the college admission process informed and on the same page. And that starts with visiting collegesContinue reading “When should you start visiting colleges?”