…from GuidedPath Edge Guru

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

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    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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  • 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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  • Underclassmen: What are your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions?

     

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    Start the New Year with these New Year’s resolutions:  

    1. Use your phone for something more than social media!  Get organized in 2019 by trying a new app or two. Apps likeMy Study LifeTodaitTinyCards, and Forest – will all help you organize your schedule and study smarter.  Here’s another list of the best apps for high school students.     
    2.  Learn about yourself. Take a personality or learning styles survey.  Find free online or ask your counselor for links to surveys.
    3. Use social media responsibly. Does it pass the “parent” test?  If it isn’t something you would want your parent to see- don’t post it. 
    4. Make someone smile. Find ways to bring laughter into someone’s life each day.

     Happy New Year from the GuidedPath team. 

     

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  • ALL: Wishing you a Joyous Holiday

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    In this special season of sharing and celebration, we send a heartfelt greeting from our hearts to yours.

    Enjoy a special time with your family and friends.  

    We want our team to spend quality time with family and friends as well.

    Our office will be closed from December 23 – January 2.  

     
     

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  • Underclassmen: Gap Year Programs

    Have you considered taking a year off after high school? 

    What? Is that insane?! Not at all. This is the perfect moment to take a deep breath and consider taking a break from school before plunging into the next pressurized step. Now is the time to think about a gap year or semester that allows time and opportunity to refocus, polish skills, explore an interest, or simply re-energize. 

     

    Gap years still are more common in places like the United Kingdom where up to 25 percent of students who go to college take a year off. In the United States, that number is closer to 1 percent, according to the nonprofit Higher Education Research Institute. The statistics don’t tell why students take off a year, but the American Gap Association (AGA) reports increasing interest and attendance at the gap year fairs it holds around the country to familiarize students with gap programs. 

     

    Why even consider a gap? For starters, researchers in Australia found that taking time out from school helped with motivation once students got to college. Gap benefits even outweighed other variables for college success, such as gender and socio-economic status. Researchers even argued that their 2007 survey of 338 gap year students showed that taking a break helped students focus on what they were going to do after college. 

     

    And more than 90 percent of 600 gap students responding to a 2015 AGA survey said their time off from school increased confidence, maturity, communication skills, or the ability to get along with people with backgrounds different from their own. 

     

    A gap gives teenagers that important chance to be independent outside of the structure of school and athletics and away from the watchful eyes of the usual mentors – parents, teachers, and coaches. It can help develop the grit that students need to be independent and resilient once they get to college. 

     

    Gaps have become so acceptable that some colleges, such as Princeton, have set up their own fully-funded programs to encourage students to explore the world and themselves before entering college. 

     

     Don’t be swayed by some of the myths about “gap years.” For example: 

     

    Myth: A gap lasts a year. 

     

    Fact: A gap can be whatever length works with your plan. It could be just a semester or quarter of work and travel, interning, or participation in a political campaign or community service program. Many colleges offer January start dates. 

     

     Myth: A gap is exotic. 

     

    Fact: Of the students surveyed by AGA, the largest percentage spent their gaps in the United States. A teenager could work on language skills, for example, tutoring in a local immigrant center. 

     

    Myth: A gap is out of reach financially. 

     

    Fact: A student might work part of a year or semester and use that money to travel or pay for a structured gap program. Some programs or schools offer financial aid or fellowships. And crowdfunding gives students more options to raise money to support time off from school. 

     

    Myth: A gap is just for kids who are unmotivated or unsure about college. 

     

    Fact: All students can benefit from a break to learn problem-solving, dealing with conflict, understanding their own limits, managing time, and being responsible for themselves in ways that are so very, very important freshman year. 

     

    If you’re considering taking a “pause” from your studies, go through the college application process but ask about deferral policies both for academics and financial aid. Thinking about those things now provides time to decide if a gap is a practical option. In the meantime, start exploring gap programs and options. Do you want something structured or freewheeling? Do you want to climb a mountain or work with children? Is this a time to work in a lab or volunteer at an animal hospital? Would you like to become fluent in a language, understand the inner workings of health care, or meet decision makers in Washington, D.C.? You can do all those and more on a gap. 

     

    Take Action 

     

    Explore options for Gap year and college policies regarding gap years through GuidedPath.

    written by Marie Schwartz, CEO and President of TeenLife 

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