A college survey of parents on the impact of Covid-19 (as reported by the Hechinger Group) suggest that parents have a deep ambivalence towards current remote learning measures as they are now in place. 36% expressed concerns for their child's mental health and engagement in the coursework. Their second largest concern (32 %) was with their child's learning and skills acquisition. Parent's said, without meaningful improvements in the quality of remote learning or a meaningful reduction in price 40% of students would not choose to matriculate this fall. The survey was conducted between April 10th and 14th. Parents are ambivalent about their child's remote learning experience, with the average satisfaction rating of 5.6 out of 10. Many concerns center around how poorly the online format fits their child's needs, the lack of faculty competence with the new modality and the lack of peer and faculty interactions. These concerns are most pronounced for parents of students at private institutions. I will discuss this further in my next blog post.
Colleges are faced with the dilemma of whether to fully open their campuses in the fall. Below is an updated list of what a small number of colleges are publicizing about their plans. Most, if not all, will need to make a definite decision by June 1st.
My recommendation to high school seniors is to accept to more than one college. This will allow time to explore exactly how those decisions will affect them personally. Students that are at risk may want to ask for a gap year to allow the colleges to work out their Covid testing procedures and changes to their infrastructure to accommodate all students safely.
Here is the most up to date list:
Boston University -- leaning toward in-person classes
Brown University — leaning toward in-person classes
Claremont Colleges — “Committed” to in-person fall classes, but no final decision expected till July 1
Clemson University — exploring a range of scenarios, from in-person classes to entirely online
Cornell University — no decision expected until June
Emory University — likely to decide by early May, according to the student newspaper
George Mason University — says more information could come by early June
George Washington University — will provide "a more detailed communication about our plans for operation by May 15"
Harvard University — "Harvard will be open," but the provost says "we will need to prepare for a scenario in which much or all learning will be conducted remotely."
Haverford College — “We expect on-campus learning to resume for the fall semester.”
Macalester College -- "Our strong preference is to complete two full semesters of on-campus instruction," but says academic calendar may be tweaked and — only if necessary — instruction could be online
Merrimack College — planning to be “residential and open in the fall”
North Carolina State University — “We fully expect to have our new and continuing students on campus for the fall semester.”
Ohio State University — leaning toward in-person classes, with a final decision by late June
Purdue University — planning to start fall semester in person if testing and contact tracing allows
Southern New Hampshire University — planning to allow students to move into dorms, and is offering full tuition scholarships to incoming freshmen
Stanford University -- expects to make a decision in May, but might delay fall quarter till winter
University of Arizona — planning to hold in-person classes
University of Colorado at Boulder — leaning toward a hybrid plan; will announce by June
University of Connecticut — no decision till summer
University of Central Florida — leaning toward in-person classes
University of Maine system — planning for in-person classes
University of Mary Washington — intends to start in-person instruction in August but says "we should also be prepared for the unknown"
University of Maryland system – planning to start in-person, but some larger classes may be online
University of Michigan — hoping to hold classes in-person
University of Pittsburgh — says "back to normal probably is not likely" for the fall
University of South Carolina — decision expected by June 15
University of Texas at Austin — decision expected by the end of June
University of Virginia — plans an update on fall plans by mid June
Virginia Tech — plans to announce in early June
Wake Forest University — “We plan to conduct fall semester classes on campus.”
Williams College — plans to announce by July 1
Yale University — decision expected by early July
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.
Your child got in but they can't go visit... What next...
Many colleges have quickly put together virtual tours and have tried to work out the best ways to reach out to their newly accepted students. It will still be quite different then being there in person. In order to help you and your child make the best informed decision on which college your child will attend, contact the admission office at your child’s top three choices and ask to have a Zoom or Skype 15-20 minute appointment. Your questions need to be well thought out, brief and to the point. More than 15-20 minutes and you will wear out your welcome. Make a friend for future conversation. Here are some suggested questions that can serve as a starting point:
Is it possible for a virtual tour of your child’s dorm room?
When will room mates be assigned
Tentative move in date?
Phone number for Housing Office?
Room Deposit Amount (refundable?)
# of Food Courts/Dining Halls? Hours?
Microwave/Fridge in room?
How to register for classes
Academic advisor availability
1st day of classes
Class size – increase
Will they drop majors
How to speak with the Chairman of the Department
How to change FAFSA based on current income and assets
How to appeal financial aid package
Phone # and contact for Career Services
How to interact with 3-5 current students
How will the loss of international students affect the Cost of Attendance
How to apply for a gap year
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.”
It’s great fun going to a suspense flick and gripping your arm rests during the plot’s twists and turns. You want that kind of high anxiety when you watch a movie mystery. But most parents would prefer less drama when they watch the financial aid process unfold. In fact, savvy parents can save themselves much of the apprehension, worry and angst of the financial aid process by learning the truths behind the commonly-held assumptions:
“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. Only 1 percent of college students receive merit scholarships based on their SAT scores.
“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 Stafford Loan is 5.045%.
“Financial aid is only loan money.”
Spoiler: Between 60 to 70 percent of all financial aid packages may be free money in scholarships that don’t 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.
“With two children in college, we will have to pay twice the amount.”
Spoiler: The federal Financial Aid formula calculates the expected family contribution for the year, whether one child is enrolled in college or triplets are. That contribution is per year, not per child.
So, when it comes to financial aid, if you want less dramatic plot twists (and ultimately more money in your pocket), go behind the scenes and get the information you need. That way, there won’t be any plot surprises or spoiler