With the projected decline in high school seniors attending college in the fall of 2021, it opens a host of opportunities for these students to attend colleges that may have been a reach for them in the past because of the enrollment decline. The goal is to find that sweet spot - the college that has good academics and liberal free scholarship money to boot. The question becomes how to best research those colleges that meet the student admission criteria (things like big vs. small etc). The second issue is to do the research to know which of those colleges will give you the most free scholarship money, Northeastern is great but BU gives more free scholarship money. Since SATs are more relevant than before it would be wise to have a student take an SAT prep class. The reason is that if two students are exactly the same in the eyes of the college admissions officer, the student with the higher SAT score would likely get selected. Student athletes will get a big boost from the athletic department to admissions. Lastly, the college essays will be a critical component in the admission counselor's decision.
Plan your Coursework Carefully!
What do American’s value in their education? Based on a survey of more than $340,000 individuals who graduated from college since 2000, graduates are clear that relevant courses, not wages, have the strongest link to how they value their education experience. This chart shows the results of this survey graph- making coursework align with jobs.
College Planning Services using over 30 years experience in helping their parents align the finances to meet the student’s career path by saving them $25,000 per year. Please contact us for more information.
“My child will get some type of merit scholarship.”
Spoiler: According to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, 92 percent of financial aid counselors say parents overestimate the availability of scholarship money. The average is about $15K per year.
“My child will borrow the amount needed through low interest government loans.”
Spoiler: The federal government actually caps the amount undergraduates can borrow over four years to $27,000. The current interest rate for an unsubsidized Direct Loan is expected to be 2.75% + loan fee of about 1.06%. A college student should not borrow more than their anticipated first year salary.
“Financial aid is only loan money.”
Spoiler: Between 60 to 70 percent of all financial aid packages may be free money in scholarships that doe not have to be repaid.
“We will get no financial aid.”
Spoiler: About 35 percent of parents incorrectly assume they will not get financial aid; 70% of those parents assumed incorrectly. Don’t rule out before you do your research.
“With two children in college, we will have to pay twice the amount.”
Spoiler: The federal Financial Aid formula calculates the expected family
College students are striking, demanding that college reduce their tuition by 50% for this semester because they are required to do online classes thus “not allowing them what the colleges advertised as an interactive cultural classroom experience” In addition, they are requesting refunds of fees, room deposits, parking permits etc. Lastly, they are requesting colleges freeze the current tuition rate and all college related costs and expenses.
College students have brought lawsuits against a number of colleges including Harvard University, Cornell, Columbia, U. of Miami, OH and Northeastern (and the list keeps growing), for a full refund of all tuition paid, loan forgiveness because the college did not provide them contractually what they paid for; a diverse college experience including interaction with professors and other students. These two developments will make the smooth opening transition that much more difficult.
UPDATE: SESSIONS ARE CONTINUING THROUGH MAY 8
Strive Scan ( a software company that works with admissions officers at college fairs) has put together a week of virtual presentations for high school juniors. There are lots of presentations to attend. They are held via Zoom. It is advisable that parents register for their child using the child's information not the parents.
Once students are registered, they will receive a confirmation email with their unique link to join the Zoom webinar. When a student registers, they are sharing their registration information ONLY with the colleges presenting on the panel they are attending. Strive Scan does not share any personal information with other third parties. I have no relationship with Strive Scan. They have put together some great content that would be worth a look.
This is one week only and they have over 100 presentations. A link to the list is below. An example of a few sessions are:
Colleges of the Fenway:
The Colleges of the Fenway panel is the perfect opportunity to explore our five unique institutions and learn more about all the consortium has to offer. Located in the heart of Boston’s Fenway neighborhood, Emmanuel College, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, MCPHS University, Simmons University, and Wentworth Institute of Technology form the collaboration which allows students to cross-register for courses, participate in shared events and programs, including Intramurals and Performing Arts, and use the resources of five different institutions.
Being Undecided At a Large Research University
You might be feeling some pressure to know exactly what you want to study in college, but it's okay to be undecided, and it's okay to change your mind! The University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and the University of South Carolina want to talk to you about different academic options and resources available to explore opportunities before committing to a major, within the context of a larger public research university. You have plenty of time, and we want you to know that we're supporting you through the exploration and decision process!
Dos and Don'ts of Essay Writing
Are you stuck on what to write about for your college essay(s)? Are you wondering where to get started? Have no fear, we are here to help! Grab your computer/notebook and come and hear from four admissions professionals about the do's and don'ts of essay writing. College of Charleston, University of Delaware, St. Joseph's and RIT presenting.
STRIVE SCAN VIRTUAL COLLEGE FAIR: www.strivescan.com/virtual/
More SAT test dates have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. The College Board has cancelled the June SAT. They announced that they will offer the SAT at least one weekend a month starting in August. If the pandemic forces high schools to close this fall, students will be able to take a digital version at home. The ACT announced that it too, would offer a test at home version starting late fall or early winter.
There are currently 1100 schools that are test optional and more colleges are making an exception to standardized testing for next year's applicants. For a list of test optional schools visit www.fairtest.org/university/optional
Also check with the schools that your child is interested in applying to, to see if they are making an exception.
The dilemma for many parents of college bound students is the question of what is more important: their retirement or their kids' college education. According to a national survey conducted by Sallie Mae, families in the Northeast pay 70% more for their kids' college education than the rest of the U.S., so it seems natural that middle to upper-middle class families may expect to work 5 to 7 years longer than planned in order to pay off college loans.
Remember, you borrow for college because you can't borrow for retirement.
For some families, pre-funding their retirement using a private pension plan may help because it could increase their free scholarship money. So, two things happen when parents fund a private retirement plan: they decrease what they pay to colleges because they are now eligible for increased scholarship monies. This strategy is not for every family because not every college is generous with their free scholarship money. In addition, some colleges are more likely to meet a 100% of a family's eligibility if the student has high SAT scores and a high GPA. The second benefit is they have now pre-funded their retirement plans.
Contact me today for a free college planning consultation.
A 2018-2019 survey of 405 non-profit colleges showed the average institutional grant for first time freshman is $20,000. According to the survey conducted by the National Association of College and University Bursar Offices 90% of freshman received some kind of grant money ranging from $1000-$50,000. Those discounts on average cover 60% of the tuition costs (not including room, board, books or fees.
The big take-away from the survey is that everyone should apply for financial aid. However, for families to maximize their free scholarship money they need to know what assets they do not have to report. The colleges will recognize if someone is misrepresenting facts on the financial aid form. There is a $20,000 fine and a felony conviction for everyone signing the forms (that would include the student) if you do misrepresent the numbers. There is no statute of limitations so honesty is the best policy.
If you would like to maximize your free scholarship money fill out the form below to contact me.
Now that the application cycle has moved up three months it requires families to start their college admissions process three months earlier. Sending a child to college is an adult research project. Because of the cost it is important not to do anything at the last minute.
In order to make your fall college admission process less strenuous, here are five tips to get you started on the process this summer:
For more info about admissions please go to my admissions section of my website:
I meet with the parents of future college students all the time and most of them share similar anxieties. As one of my clients confessed, “I feared I had saved too little, too late, and college was unaffordable.I need a college advisor.”
It’s a common concern. And it’s an understandable one, too. Afterall, being able to
afford a child’s education may mean the difference between sending your child off to college or not. But there are lots of mistakes that parents can avoid that will help increase their ability to pay for college. For example, did you know that 90 percent of the forms submitted to apply for financial aid have errors or inconsistencies? Did you realize that many parents don’t understand which colleges provide the best financial aid packages? And sadly, many parents put themselves at a disadvantage because they don’t recognize the difference between includable and non-includable assets when submitting their FAFSA or CSS Profile.
When you need medical attention, you visit a doctor. When you need legal advice, you hire an attorney. So when you need help navigating the mystifying world of college financing and application process, find a professional with the expertise to help.
That same client later said to me, “As safeguards, every family should have a doctor, dentist, lawyer and someone like you.”