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UNDERSTANDING AND ENJOYING THE COLLEGE ADMISSION, SCHOLARSHIP AND FINANCIAL AID PROCESS: PARENT SURVIVAL 101 Presented by: Stephanie Thomas Admission Counselor.

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Presentation on theme: "UNDERSTANDING AND ENJOYING THE COLLEGE ADMISSION, SCHOLARSHIP AND FINANCIAL AID PROCESS: PARENT SURVIVAL 101 Presented by: Stephanie Thomas Admission Counselor."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNDERSTANDING AND ENJOYING THE COLLEGE ADMISSION, SCHOLARSHIP AND FINANCIAL AID PROCESS: PARENT SURVIVAL 101 Presented by: Stephanie Thomas Admission Counselor at UAB Leeds HS 2011

2 Research College Choices… Ask some questions…  Does the college offer the major(s) your student is considering?  What size institution would be the best fit?  What type of environment? Region of the country, city size, weather, convenience of travel?  What about costs? And scholarships? AND… CAN THEY GAIN ADMISSION??

3 Do a LOT of college homework…  Magazine Rankings  College Guidebooks  Internet resources (Google)  Local area college fairs  College websites and publications  Try to narrow the list to 3-6 colleges by the beginning of the student’s senior year. Try to visit MOST if not ALL of those colleges! BUDGET for visiting!!

4 Make Every Minute Count…  Make appointments before visiting  Have questions ready  Eat on campus  See residence halls  Observe current students  Take a tour THANK YOU notes from the student after a visit are a REALLY GOOD IDEA!

5 What Do Colleges Consider???  Test Scores (ACT and/or SAT…take both !)  Grades (in appropriately challenging college-prep courses AND through the entire senior year.)  Strength of curriculum (AP, IB, Honors, dual enrollment, etc.) And sometimes…  Essays (Follow directions and proof, proof, proof!)  Recommendation Letters (Don’t wait until the last minute and expect a great letter. Plan ahead for who/when!)  Extracurricular Interests/Community Service (Laundry list resumes’ are easy to spot and not very credible, and so is “service for resume’ building.” )

6 Competitive Schools and/or Competitive Scholarships = Interviews and Essays…  Many selective schools require an admission essay.  Occasionally, admission will be influenced by the quality of an interview and/or essay. BUT… the quality of an interview or an essay will nearly ALWAYS affect scholarship amounts - positively or negatively, it’s up to the student!!!

7 How Will We Pay For College???  How do I know if a college offers academic scholarships and if I’m competitive for one?  What is the difference between scholarships (merit) and financial aid (need)?  File ALL the required forms and adhere to ALL the deadlines  Research options, apply early & treat college as an investment!  Types of aid Scholarships and Grants Loans and work

8 Concerned about $$$ for college? Steps to take…WHAT and WHEN?  Determine ADMISSION requirements and what it takes to be admitted to various colleges and universities of interest.  Determine SCHOLARSHIP requirements and what it takes to be considered for one. NOTE: Not every college/university even offers academic scholarships, and those that do vary widely as to what they consider “outstanding scholarship” to be for their school. For example, if the AVERAGE ACT score for a college is a 28, then a score of 27 (though 90% nationally) is going to be BELOW average at that school and probably will not be scholarship eligible.

9 Then, your next steps should be…  Apply for admission and gain acceptance. Different dates for different schools. USUALLY must be accepted to a college by December 1 of the senior year in high school to be considered for academic $$$. Know the deadlines! Usually on college websites.  Complete the FAFSA ASAP after January 1 of student’s Senior year in HS Available on-line at Make photocopies/download a hardcopy  Complete any college-specific forms Varies from school to school Read websites and brochures thoroughly! Observe all required “respond by” deadlines!

10 Investigate ALL Possible Resources! 1.Start with the colleges!! Request scholarship/financial aid info or look on their website. 2. Look for Local Area Resources: Civic organizations Service Clubs 3. Employers (students and parents) System-wide scholarships & credit unions 4. Special Interest Funds Obscure & (usually) very specific. Most have very early application deadlines Best info source for these? FREE websites! Please DON’T Pay for scholarship search services!

11 Government-funded Resources  PELL Grants Most families do not qualify for PELL grants. Must have a very low family contribution. Don’t be discouraged if you do not qualify for this program! Current minimum PELL grant is $550; maximum is $5550  SEOG Grants Supplemental grant with priority given to students who have already qualified for a PELL grant Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 st of the student’s senior year in high school (not before). The FAFSA results determine your eligibility for ALL federal financial aid programs.

12 …and also these Government- Funded “Self Help” Options  Work Study Jobs Federal Work Study – Based on “demonstrated need” (salary is paid from 75% government sources & 25% university)  Loan Options Current Interest rate Perkins Student Loan (5%-reserved for neediest families) Stafford Student Loan (3.4%-subsidized-need based) Stafford Student Loan (6.8%-unsubsidized-not need based) AND/OR PLUS (Parents Loan) (7.9% interest & parents must be credit worthy) Banks or Credit Unions

13 WHERE to L K for info…  FastWeb Scholarship Search  ACT (great website for parents!)  Peterson’s / NASFAA  The College Board (good checklists can be found here!)  The Student Guide (a FREE federal guidebook often available at your HS)

14 Staying Organized is KEY!!!  The value of “THE COLLEGE CALENDAR”  Make a file for each college  Make photocopies/hardcopies for files  Log info sent/phone calls made  Make a list of key contact people w/ phone numbers and addresses  Utilize final decision “etiquette” Know Your Rights … AND Know Your Responsibilities! …then scroll to “Students Rights and Responsibilities”

15 What Do I Do When I Leave Here?  Request a scholarship/financial aid guide from any college/university you have interest in.  Complete the appropriate admission application forms and be admitted well before deadlines!  Develop a plan to STAY ORGANIZED! 1. Maintain a “college calendar” with admission and scholarship/financial aid dates & deadlines. 2. Keep paperwork organized and available. (Creating a file folder for each college makes this easier!) 3. Use internet scholarship search engines to research possible “special interest” funds and college terms

16 QUESTIONS???


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