The college admissions process is confusing and overwhelming. Start here to get your questions answered.
When it comes to preparing for college applications, first you want to make sure that you get organized. It does not matter if you have impressive grades and test scores. Or if you are super involved with extracurricular activities and your teachers speak about you with high regard. All of this means nothing if you do not have a process or timeline for submitting your college applications.
The costs of higher education are rising. According to a recent College Board survey, today’s college education costs approximately $24,061 for an in-state public college and $47,831 for a private college, up 3% since last year.Inadequate planning through the college financial aid process can bring the burden of unnecessary debt in the form of unsubsidized federal loans, private bank loans, or home equity lines of credit. In our years of working with middle- and upper-income families, we have learned that you can save as much as 50% off of tuition costs with proper planning.
Writing a college essay is not like writing an English class essay. Rather, the college essay is a personal statement that captures who you are as a student and why you should be admitted into college. In about 650 words, the college essay should be well written and compelling, engaging, and deeply personal.
As an increasing number of selective and highly selective colleges go test-optional, it shows that institutions are recognizing that it takes more than a score to show a student’s promise. But before deciding whether or not to submit your scores, consider the pros and cons of applying test-optional.
Creating a stand out college application is important. Colleges receive thousands of applications every year. More than 80% of colleges accept half of the students who apply. The other 20% are selective schools that struggle to differentiate between students who have outstanding grades and test scores. Therefore, selective colleges will depend on you to help them decide. You can get an edge in admissions if you spend time early on showing them how you are an authentic and unique fit.
The cost of a college education in the United States is rising. According to the College Board, it can cost your family $23,890 to send your student to an in-state public school, and $32,410 for a private school. To help American families with college costs, federal and state governments and colleges give more than $200 billion annually in financial aid. Your student can apply for financial aid to receive support to help meet the costs of obtaining a college education.
Seniors – by now you have received your admission letter and are ready to enroll in college. Great! Read this list of steps to take between now and the first day of classes to ensure a smooth college transition. Consult with the enrollment letter provided by your school, and keep in close contact with your college for important updates about your enrollment status.
As you navigate the enrollment process, I hope you find this A to Z guide to college transition helpful, along with other tips that will lead to matriculation success.
You may remember months ago you completed the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form, sponsored by the U.S. State Department of Education provided your family with an index called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This amount told colleges how much you could afford to pay for the cost of attendance, including tuition, room, board, and fees. With this information, colleges formulated a financial aid package comprised of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans. If the college does not provide your family with a competitive package, read this article to learn tips on negotiating a better financial aid package. Also, download a free sample template letter.
This month, I have rounded up college admissions articles worth reading.
Last week, a mom emailed me asking if it was okay that her son does not know what he wants to study in college. She shared her experience visiting a college campus where a campus tour guide asked each student in the group to say their name and what they planned to major in. The mom wrote, “Kids spoke of studying biostatistics, history, forensics, and other subjects I have never heard of. When it was Sammy’s turn, he shrugged and said Dothraki (not sure if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, but this is not a real language…). The whole group laughed. I was so embarrassed. What should I do?”
Getting accepted to college will be the first of many great accomplishments in your life. After crafting the perfect application – taking SAT exams, preparing for interviews, and writing essays that best captures you — the hard work paid off. But what comes next?
Read about four action steps you can take right now to continue demonstrating interest in your colleges after the application has been submitted.
College fairs are often overwhelming and intimidating. Hundreds of eager parents and students pack into a convention center. They rotate around the room to learn about what colleges all over the country have to offer. Attending a college fair is an opportunity to get to know schools, meet the admissions officers who represent them, and begin the journey of building a relationship that demonstrates your interest and fit for the college.