Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the late registration deadline for the February 8th ACT.

 

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The Most Common FAFSA Mistakes To Avoid

At the risk of sounding repetitive, we can’t stress enough how important it is to be on top of filing your FAFSA accurately and on time. If you haven’t already done so,

The US Department of Education’s blog, HOMEROOM, has an excellent list of the most common FAFSA mistakes to avoid. Read through this guide to make sure you maximize your chance of receiving financial aid.

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the February 8th ACT.

 

 

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Paying for College: Putting Together the Pieces

Scholarships help a great many college students pay for their education. Start searching now to find out if you qualify for scholarship money. Scholarships (and grants) are the most desirable form of financial aid because they do not need to be repaid. (By the way, the terms “grants” and “scholarships” are often used interchangeably.)

When searching for scholarships, note the following:

  • The majority of scholarship money is awarded by colleges and universities.
  • Many private colleges and some state schools require you to complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE in order to be considered for these scholarship programs as well as for non-federal financial aid.
  • Some schools also require their own supplemental application forms.
  • Deadlines vary from school to school so keep track of due dates to avoid missing out on any opportunities.
  • Need and/or merit may be the criteria used to award scholarships.
  • Any number of criteria including academic, athletic or artistic accomplishments can be used to award merit scholarships.
  • Scholarships and grants may be contingent on meeting certain requirements such as maintaining a minimum GPA.
  • Scholarships are awarded either as a lump sum up front or may require you to reapply annually.
  • Private and public sources also award a great number of scholarships, although they account for a much smaller percentage of the total pool available.
  • You may be eligible for scholarships offered by a variety of organizations depending on your personal profile and/or special interests.
  • Some scholarships may be career specific – available to students studying to become teachers, while others may be student specific – available to students from a military family or specific ethnic group, and even to students with a unique hobby.

A helpful resource to match you with scholarships is fastweb.com. There are also many other resources worth exploring. Talk to your guidance counselor for additional information. Visit your guidance office to pick up scholarship applications and look through the lists of special scholarships available to students in your school district and town.

Now’s the time to search for scholarships. Make a list of scholarships you plan to apply for with their respective due dates and check them off as you complete your applications. Apply as soon as possible to maximize your chance for help funding your college education.

 

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Don’t Miss The Deadline

Regular decision deadlines are fast approaching. Application due dates vary from school to school so make sure you know when each of your applications need to be submitted so you don’t miss out.

Once you submit your applications, confirm that all the required components for your applications have been received, as many schools will not review your application until your file is complete.  The easiest way to do this is to get organized by creating a list of your schools and the requirements for each one. Then, using the online service your high school subscribes to, consulting the online tracking system you may have been assigned by each individual college, or checking by phone, verify that each school has received the following components:

  • The Common Application
  • Individual school application and/or supplement, if applicable.
  • Standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, SAT II, AP, TOEFL)
  • Official high school transcript
  • Mid-year grades
  • Guidance counselor letter of recommendation
  • Letters of recommendation (from teachers, coaches, employers)
  • Application fee or waiver
  • Elective supplementary material
  • FAFSA
  • CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
  • Individual school and state required financial aid forms

If anything is missing, follow-up immediately. For example, if you’ve been advised that a letter of recommendation is missing, reach out to the writer and confirm that it has been submitted. It’s possible that the college has the letter but it has not yet made its way into your file. The same could be true for your transcript. Standardized test score may also take some time to be posted to your file. With all the application materials being submitted, it’s easy to understand how admission offices can get backlogged.

Once you confirm your file is complete, your job is done!

 

 

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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s ACT

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s ACT.

To minimize your stress tomorrow morning, it’s a great idea to get organized ahead of time. The last thing you need on test morning is a desperate scramble. These are some of the things you can do tonight to get your big day off to a great start:

First, check with your parents to make sure they know when and where you’re scheduled to take the test, and arrange how you’ll get to the test center. Next, gather and pack all the things you’ll need to take with you. Some of the things on this check list are “must-have” items, while others are optional.

REQUIRED: Don’t forget any of the following items or it will be a long ride home!

  • An approved calculator
  • Sharpened #2 pencils
  • An acceptable form of photo ID
  • Your admission or standby ticket

SUGGESTED:

  • Water
  • Snack
  • Sweater
  • Back-up calculator
  • Extra batteries for your calculator
  • Watch (to keep track of time)

Set your alarm, get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy, satisfying breakfast.

Good luck!

 

 

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Early Decision Buzz

ACCEPTED: Congratulations!!

Early decision is binding.

  • Confirm your intention to enroll by sending in the non-refundable deposit by the school’s required due date.
  • Withdraw all your other applications.
  • Check your inbox often. You’ll be receiving mailings relating to housing, medical and health forms, registration for special programs for admitted students, and invitations to special events that may require your response.

Early action is not binding.

  • If you’re certain this is the school for you, send your deposit and secure your spot in the class of 2024. Although not required, it’s considerate to other applicants to withdraw your outstanding applications to other schools.
  • If you’re not sure this is the school for you or need to evaluate your financial aid offers and want to leave your options open, hold off until you’ve received all your other admissions decisions.

Rolling admission is not binding.

  • You don’t need to respond until you are absolutely certain this is the school you would like to attend.
  • Unless you’re sure this is the school for you, finish your other applications and send them in by the due dates.

DEFERRED: Take a deep breath.

  • Think about whether your early decision school is truly your first choice. If you believe the answer is yes, communicate that thought to your admission rep by letter, sending it both by snail mail and email. Express the reasons this is your top school and offer to provide any additional information they may want to further support your application.
  • Talk to your guidance counselor about your plans. Also, ask him/her to reach out to your admissions rep to speak on your behalf.
  • Turn your focus to completing all your other applications.

Whether deferred or rejected, please realize this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not qualified, it may simply mean there’s not enough room for all the accomplished candidates. Take a step forward and complete the applications for the other schools on your list.

For those of you who have committed to a school, remember to reach out and thank your teachers and counselors and anyone else who has supported you in your college bound process. A hand written note is a really nice touch. Also, keep in mind acceptances are conditional on maintaining your grades throughout senior year.

 

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