Determining your Financial Aid Eligibility – A Critical Step in the College Search Process
Could you imagine walking into a high-end car dealership with no idea if the price of the car is going to be $60,000 or $30,000 until after you have done the test drive, talked to the sales manager, and done a credit check? Well, that’s somewhat like what the college financial aid system is like except it can be multiplied by 4-5x of those amounts or more for the 4 years of college.
As the title of this blog suggests, I allow my 6 year old to walk to school. In this era of parents driving kids to school, or even bus stops, I get some serious side-eye when I tell other parents that. Now, let’s be clear. He has an 8 year old brother that he walks with. School is about a quarter of a mile from our house with all sidewalks and no major streets to cross. Still, it’s a decision, much like allowing children to play at a playground alone, that could get me thrown in “mom jail.”
Early Questions for Student Athletes
At Campus Bound, we typically don’t advise students to focus on specific colleges until junior year of high school. We provide more information about that in this recent blog post. However, some eager sophomores may want to get a jump start on certain things, including the college recruitment process for student athletes. In this blog post, we explain why an early start is helpful and the tasks that can get done now to ease the process down the road.
Many juniors are well into the research phase of the college admission process. This is the time when students have to do some deep soul-searching, often with the help of parents and counselors, to determine the qualities of a college that are most important to them. Every student’s wishlist will be different. But oftentimes, students don’t know where to start. Of course, meeting with a Campus Bound counselor will help, but we also present in this blog the four big questions to ask yourself as you begin exploring different colleges.
Following up on last week’s blog, we decided it would be a good idea to make students and families aware of some “lesser known” colleges that are actually really great! Inspired by Loren Pope’s book, “Colleges That Change Lives,” college counselors are often trying to expand the minds of students and families by suggesting colleges they may not have heard of. With over 3,000 colleges in the United States alone, there are many more schools out there than you can name. And since we at Campus Bound know that it’s really all about the “fit” of a school, we urge you to consider schools that may be new to you. The schools that Loren Pope writes about in his book are places where students thrive. They are schools that have high graduation rates and that their graduates rave about. They are the schools with happy students, the schools you may not know about, but should.
One of the biggest mistakes parents and students can make in the college search and application process is listening to the advice of unqualified people. The title of this blog is meant to be humorous, but in reality, it happens quite a bit. Someone who went to a particular college years ago may have strong feelings about and memories of the school that just aren’t relevant now. Or, a family member may have heard something about a college once that left a bad taste in their mouth. But that information is completely unrelated to what your experience would be like there. The point of this blog is, take what others say with a huge grain of salt.
This is the time of year when juniors tend to kick off the college process. During their first meeting with us, we college counselors ask them, “have you thought about where you’d like to attend college?” We ask about the size of the school they would prefer, what they’d like to study, etc. And then we ask, “Do you know where you’d like to be located for college? What part of the country/ what state(s)? And, in my experience, around 75% of students say, “Someplace warm!”
Part of the college process in the winter/ spring of junior year is deciding what kinds of students you want to surround yourself with in college. Which types of students inspire you and enable you to do your best? Different schools attract different students, which influences the culture on campus.
At Campus Bound, our mission is to:“Assist students in finding the college or university that is the best fit academically, socially and financially.” But what does “the best fit” mean? We break it down for you here.
Why You May Want to Have a “Financial Safety” School On Your List
By now you have likely heard of a “safety school” and have some understanding of what that means. (Read more here) In that sense, we are talking about changes of being admitted to a particular school. But there is a newer phrase in the world of college counseling that you may want to understand better, and it is, “financial safety.” In this blog we will go over what it is, and why it makes sense to have one on your list.