…from GuidedPath Edge Guru

  • What are the top 5 Myths about Paying for College?

    myth debunked

    Here are the top 5 myths about paying for college our counselors hear.  Don’t fall victim to these myths! 

    1. My family maketoo much money to qualify for financial aid.
    This is one of the biggest myths out there. You may not qualify for aid at one school, and qualify for lots of money at another school (see blog How Do You Get Money for College?)

    2. It costs more to go out-of-state than to stay in-state. 
    Not so. With increased tuition rates in many states, it is not always cheaper to stay in-state.  There are out of state tuition waivers available for many students. Also, colleges offer scholarships to students for athletes, scholars, certain majors, leadership, and other categories. Don’t narrow your list of colleges to just in-state schools.

    3. It cost more to go to a private school than a public school.
    Not necessarily.  Each family situation is unique and you may find it will cost less for your family if you attend a private school.  See blog: Can you Pay Less to Go To A More Expensive College? for Jack’s story of paying less at Dartmouth than CSU Los Angeles.

    4. Outside scholarships help reduce what you pay out of pocket for college.
    Not true. Scholarships don’t necessarily reduce your family’s out of pocket expense unless you pay the full cost of college out of pocket. Scholarships are part of your financial aid package. Colleges may subtract outside scholarships from their own merit awards, or from your student loan/work study allocation.  Ask colleges for their policies. This is why it is in your best interest to explore your choices for college.  Find one that best fits your situation and needs.  

    5. Financial aid only helps with tuition.
    Financial aid is available to pay for ALL college expenses: tuition, room and board, books, transportation, and personal expenses. Colleges realize you need to buy toothpaste and have a pizza now and then. Financial aid can apply to all of these costs. 

    Take Action
    GuidedPath offers lots of resources to help you plan for college costs. 

    • Take the EFC Calculator survey to determine your EFC and generate a strategy for reducing college costs. 
    • Read how the College Information Financial Aid Graphs provide insight into the financial aid packages offered to students. 
    • Utilize the Financial Aid Form Report in GuidedPath – it summarizes all the financial aid requirements for each of the schools on your list.   
    • Take a look at these financial aid documents prepared for GuidedPath Families including “Tackling the Basics of Financial Aid” and “How to Compare Financial Aid Offers.” 

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  • Late College Applications – Colleges are still looking for students

    Did you get started late on applying to colleges? Got your December test scores back and you’re reconsidering what colleges you are applying to?  

    Don’t worry! There are many colleges that you can apply to in January and after (even some through August). Here are a few tips for finding colleges/universities with open applications: 

    1. Schools with Rolling Admissions: Once your application is completed, you receive an admissions decision after the application is reviewed.  The college does not wait for all applications to be submitted before giving you an admissions decision.
    2. Check the Regular Decision deadlines:  Many colleges have “regular” decision deadlines between January and March.  Although, your options for financial aid or scholarships may be less the later you apply.
    3. Nearby Public Universities:  Public universities, especially those near you, may have local attendance areas.  Being in the local area may help increase your chances of being admitted.  Sometimes the deadlines for these schools are later than other public universities.
    4. Religiously Affiliated Colleges: Some religiously affiliated colleges or universities will have extended application dates.

    Take Action
    Each college profile lists the application deadline for the school.  Search for colleges in the above categories, then check their application deadlines.  If the deadline has not passed add it to your college list.

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  • College Transition: Are you ready? (Updated with link)

    For many students, high school is like a second home.  It’s a place you feel comfortable.  You know where to find your friends and your favorite places to hang out.  Now, you’re getting ready to embark on a new adventure – college.  This will be unlike any experience you’ve had in the past.  How do you prepare?  What should you expect?

      

    Harlan Cohen (the NY Times bestselling author of The Naked Roommate) shares some thoughts in this TEDx Talk video about what you need to do to prepare for college: Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable.

      


    Take Action

    Talk to your parents and friends about steps you can take to start getting ready to leave home and go to college next fall.

      

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  • Looking for an exciting summer?

    What are your plans for summer?  Now is the time to find programs for next summer to participate in. Do it this month!  Many programs fill up early.  Many have deadlines as early as February. 

    What types of summer programs are there? 

    Educational
    Want to take an AP government class or a Biology AP class in the summer?  Or be on a college campus?  Or are you an international student needing to brush up on English. Several options exist for you.  

    Research
    Take advantage of opportunities to do research in an area of interest.  Local colleges may have programs for high school students to assist with faculty research, or take the time to investigate your own interests.   

    Sports
    Hone your sport skills by participating in a camp or program on a college campus. Check with your coach for summer opportunities. 

    Test Prep
    Ready to take the SAT or ACT? Want to improve your score and get ahead in your studying? Many test prep choices exist – in person, online, one-week intensives, on-going individual tutoring, and classroom-based courses. 

    Travel
    Do a home stay in Switzerland, visit a Latin American country to learn Spanish, or volunteer abroad.  Many travel options exist to broaden your world view.     

    Other
    Performing arts, music camps, internships, the list of options is endless. 

    Here are just a few websites to get you started in looking for summer programs. 

    Take Action
    Record your summer activity in your Activity list in GuidedPath. 

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  • Midyear Check-in

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    Welcome back from winter break!  Now is the time to review your MID YEAR CHECKLIST. January is a great time to get organized and jump start your college search.  

    1. Meet with your high school counselor 

    • Review your PSAT scores with counselor and parents (if you took it in the fall) 
    • Ask for recommendations for summer programs 
    • Schedule next year’s courses 
    • Schedule your standardized tests for spring 
    • Discuss any school based standardized testing (AP, IB, other) 

    2. Gear up for next year 

    • Explore summer programs 
    • Prepare for spring standardized tests using PSAT test scores as a guide 
    • Ask teachers about their recommendation policies (for summer programs, scholarships, or college applications) 
    • Job shadow or intern to learn more about potential careers 
    • Plan college visits

    Take Action 

    • Take or review the Course Plan Survey to verify your next year course schedule will fulfill your graduation requirements 
    • Add your Spring testing schedule to GuidedPath in order to get registration and test reminders

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  • Seniors: Mid-year checklist

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    Welcome back!  You are half way to the end of senior year.  Hopefully your winter break has you refreshed and ready to dive back into school because this is a busy time of year.     

    Review this MID YEAR SENIOR CHECKLIST to be sure you are on track.  Don’t delay – there are a lot of time sensitive deadlines in the next few weeks.

    1. Meet with your high school counselor 

    • Request a copy of your seventh semester transcript for your records 
    • Request your counselor send transcripts to colleges as needed 
    • Ask about scholarship opportunities 
    • Check on graduation requirements/deadlines 

     2. Check on college applications 

    • Check your email and follow up on any requests for information 
    • Set up college email account if requested by college 
    • Complete any January-February college applications you are still working on 
    • Confirm your test scores have been sent to all your colleges 
    • Confirm all your recommendations have been sent and received by the colleges 
    • Email an update to any colleges about additional honors/awards received since submitting your application. 

     3. Finalize your financial aid  

    • Talk with your parents about their college budget for you 
    • Attend financial aid workshops with your parents 
    • Check financial aid deadlines for colleges 
    • Check scholarship application deadlines 

    Take Action
    GuidedPath is designed to help you keep you organized in the application process so that you don’t miss a task or deadline.  Your dashboard will already show many important deadlines (test registration deadlines, college deadlines, etc.) but you can add your own custom tasks.

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