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Juniors – It’s Time To Start Your College Search!
Every year, we get calls in August, September, October – usually from moms. They tell us they thought they could manage their child’s college search process, and they’ve just realized they can’t. Their kids have college lists that are usually 80% “reach” schools – or sometimes the entire list is “reach.” That means these kids have spent the entire year falling in love with colleges where they probably won’t be admitted. Not because they aren’t qualified, but because these are the kinds of schools that reject more students than they admit. Parents are shocked that UCLA and UC Berkeley, which each admit fewer than 10% of the students who apply for freshman admission, now fall into this category as well. With an “unbalanced” list, the students are destined to be heartbroken, and have few actual choices in the end.
Every fall we do the best we can to help these students re-balance their lists and broaden their horizons, but it would have been so much smoother if we had started earlier, helping them see all of the options out there, and possibly “fall in love” with a variety of colleges where their chances of admission are higher – and where we know they will be challenged academically, and fit in socially. Creating this list takes time, research and effort, on our part as counselors, as well as on the student’s part.
One mom who contacted Evelyn for the first time last October e-mailed us this, after a few phone conversations:
Another big issue for many families today is paying for college, and this might come as a surprise: the vast majority of the money that is given out to help students pay for college does not come from private scholarship sources; it comes from the colleges themselves. But you have to know which colleges give money and which do not. Reach schools won’t give money – and some don’t give based on merit at all. The right time to start thinking about cost is not after you apply – it’s before you create your college list. There’s money in the list – but the list has to be right! We help students create the right list with their family’s financial situation in mind.
FAFSA – The First Step in Need-Based Financial Aid – Now Open for Class of 2016
The FAFSA is now available for parents and students in the Class of 2016. FAFSA stands for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the first step in applying for student loans, and grants, which are based on your ability to pay for tuition, room & board and other associated expenses. There’s a one-pager with some details and links on how to get started with the FAFSA on our Resources page. If you need additional help or information, Dana Klitzner on our team is available to help you with filling out the necessary forms.
Plan Your Spring Break College Visits!
The best time to visit colleges is when school is in session – that way you can meet with actual students, eat in the cafeteria and possibly sit in on a class. A drive-by “visit” does not tell you anything about a college (except if it’s attractive!)!!! But many colleges have their spring break at a different time than high school spring break. So visit a few colleges! Locally, you can visit Loyola Marymount, Chapman, Occidental or University of Redlands if you’re looking for smaller colleges, or USC, UCLA, CSUN or Long Beach State if you are looking for a larger university experience. If you travel, make sure to visit a few colleges wherever you go, not just that one “name” school you know something about [if you go to Chicago, you can visit UChicago, Northwestern AND DePaul (or Lake Forest!); if you go to New York, you can visit NYU, Columbia AND Fordham (or Cooper Union!)]. Download a copy of the College Board’s “Campus Visit Checklist” on Magellan’s Resources page to help you keep track of what your student liked (and didn’t like) about each college. Make sure you reserve a spot on a tour on the Admissions or Visit webpage, and check in when you arrive. Many colleges keep track of student visits!
Class of 2016 Update
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