Archive for March, 2012

Figuring Out Your Financial Aid Award and What You Can Do About It

March 22, 2012

Figuring Out Your Financial Aid Award and What You Can Do About It

As more and more families receive their financial aid awards, they need to start comparing what different colleges are offering.  Two or three financial aid awards might look quite similar, but actually be very different.  Considering the cost of each college is a good place to begin.  Next, you should see what the awards consist of:  Scholarships, work-study, loans, etc.  Obviously you want to look at the award that will incur the least amount of debt.  If your child is set on a particular college but the financial aid award is not as good as another school, check this website out for how to appeal to a college to get more money.


Good College Counseling Advice for HIgh School Juniors

March 19, 2012

Going to college can seem overwhelming at first. Maybe you haven’t even thought about it. You may be wondering where to begin and what to do. As a high school junior, it is time to start some college planning to make the college admission process as stress free as possible. Here is some college advice to help you get a head start as a prospective college applicant.

1. Continue to work hard in all of your classes in order to make the best grades you can. Colleges will want to see a sustained effort from now until your high school graduation. Your GPA is very important for college admissions.

2. Look for continued involvement in school and community activities and be willing to take on leadership responsibilities.

3. Register to take both the SAT and ACT sometime the spring of your junior year. Seriously consider taking a test prep course or getting some individual tutoring to prepare for the tests.

4. Attend any college fairs or programs in your community to find out about colleges that may interest you. Talk to college representatives and find out what makes their schools different from each other.

5. Think about working with a college consultant who can help you with a personalized college search and provide assistance with the college application process. Their services are affordable and worthwhile. 

6. Meet with your high school counselor to discuss graduation credits, senior classes, and where you are in your college planning.

7. Take advantage of a vacation to take a look at some different colleges in the area or visit some schools that are in your community.

8. Begin your college search with a preliminary list of schools that may interest you and visit their websites. Request information from the schools so that you will be on their mailing list and receive emails of interest from them.

9. Consider which teachers know you well and could write a good college recommendation for you. Many colleges request two recommendations.

10. Research summer jobs or experiences that offer you an opportunity to do something different. Think about volunteering in an organization that interests you.

Students who begin their college planning early have time to gather the information they need to make the best decisions. College is a big investment for your family and making good choices will help you find the colleges that are the best fit for you.

How Can An Independent College Counselor Benefit Your College-Bound Child?

March 13, 2012

High school counselors spend an average of 23 minutes working with their college-bound students on the college search and planning process. Most high school counselors work with more than 350 students. Few high school counselors are able to visit colleges or attend conferences because their schools do not have the budget for them to do so.

Here are nine reasons why an independent college admissions counselor could benefit your college-bound student:

1. They are experts in the college admission process and visit colleges and universities extensively every year to determine the unique qualities in each school.

2. They help students with the college search and are not just interested in brand name schools, but want to find colleges that fit your student’s academic and personal needs.

3. They do not have an emotional attachment to your child and this allows them to provide unbiased, professional advice.

4. They get to know students on a personal basis which enables them to help students become stronger college applicants.

5. They help provide direction for students on their college applications and help brainstorm topics to help students write the most effective essays. 

6. They assist students and families in finding schools that are affordable. They also provide information on financial aid and scholarships.

7. They are not limited in the number of hours they can work with students. This allows them to be available when students need them, with the answers they need.

8. They want to help students find colleges that are committed to seeing their students graduate in four years, rather than the usual five, six or more. This can save parents a considerable amount of money.

9. They are members of professional organizations like the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and attend state and national conferences to continue their professional development.

Many families believe that hiring a private college counselor is the best investment they have made.  In the end, it actually saved them money.


10 Ways to Help You Pay for College

March 1, 2012

What parents aren’t shocked when they look at the sticker price at most colleges and universities?  College is the biggest investment most families will make with the exception of buying a house.  What can you do to make paying for college a little less painful?

1.  Fill out the FAFSA form whether you think you qualify for financial aid or not.

2.  Wait until you receive your financial aid package from a college to compare it to other schools.  Negotiate with a college to get the best deal.

3.  Encourage your child to apply for scholarships from colleges, local organizations, and your workplace or for a specific college major.

4.  Have your child start looking for a summer job and use those earnings toward college expenses.

5.  Compare the dorms where your child will be attending college and choose the one that is the most reasonable.

6.  Check out the meal plans where your child will be attending college and select the one that meets your child’s eating habits.

7.  As soon as class schedules are available, have your child try to buy textbooks online or at least used from the college bookstore.

8.  Have your child get a part-time job either through work-study or in the community.

9.  Look at both public and private schools and consider those that are committed to seeing your student graduate in four years.

10.If you child needs to fly to college, stick with one airline and make your reservations as far ahead as possible.