Whenever I speak to groups of parents and their high school students, I am always asked what are the best tips I can give them when researching and applying to college. My answer always is that they don’t necessarily need to know what to do as much as they need to know what NOT to do.
Public vs. Private: Many parents think a private education at a top university is out of their reach. The truth is that private universities have larger endowments which means they have more money to give to students than state schools. In fact there is a list of 64 schools published in Newsweek each year of schools who give 100% scholarships to every incoming freshman. Don’t exclude a college just because of their tuition. Instead go to the college’s website and search scholarships. You may be surprised at what you find!
Less is not More: Many times I’ve heard students or parents complain about the fees associated with applying to colleges and they hold back sending applications because of these fees. The complaint I get from most students is the task of filling out all of those applications. First check with your guidance counselor and find out if you qualify for waivers for college entrance exams and college applications. Then be smart when it comes to filling out those applications. One of the best resources for filling out multiple applications is the Common Application. One application can be submitted to many colleges and universities. https://www.commonapp.org saving you time and money.
Financial Aid: You’ve heard the expression, “First Come, First Serve”. Well this expression applies even with financial aid and will affect your pocket book. For US Citizens, financial aid is awarded on a first come, first serve basis. There is money allocated by the Federal Government for financial aid to be awarded to students either through grants, scholarships or loans. The grants and scholarships are FREE money available to students. The federal application for student aid (FAFSA) comes out every year on January 1st. Knowing that the money is awarded by first come first serve means that if your child is a Senior in High School, you better ring in the new year by filling out that application on New Year’s Day.
Pick up the Phone: Admissions counselors, professors and coaches are waiting for your call. They are happy to answer any questions you have about their school. They take pride in taking the time to speak with you and help you make the decision to attend their university. This is one of the largest purchases you will make in your life. You need to make sure you are making the right decision before investing your time and money. Any question, even little ones can make the difference in your decision. Each person who helps you can also have helpful tidbits when it comes to scholarship money that is available. Don’t be shy to call again and again until you get the answers you want.
These are just a few of many mistakes that students make when applying to college. Invest in a college advisor. A good advisor is worth their weight in gold to help your child maximize their acceptances as well as their scholarships!
Lisa Paolo is first and foremost the mother of five children. Before moving to Florida with her family, she was the Principal of a Public School of the Arts in New York City. Lisa was the youngest administrator appointed in the city of New York at the age of only 31. She is currently implementing programs at Paolo Prep Academy for students to excel at the college level! Lisa helped 14 seniors earn over $2 Million Dollars in scholarships last year with 100% college acceptances for the 2015 graduating class. You can learn more about her programs for students at www.paoloprepacademy.com You can also learn about her Intensive SAT classes at LIVE SAT CLASSES