Registration Reminder

Today is the late registration deadline for the February 10th ACT.

 

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Financial Aid Forms And Paying for College

There’s no question that college is expensive. Most college students receive some form of financial aid to help pay for their education.   The requirements for applying for financial aid, scholarships and grant money differ from school to school, so check websites or call financial aid offices directly to confirm details and deadlines.

Schools require a number of different aid forms. By now you should have completed or are working on your FAFSA application. A few resources to help you are:

  • Call the FAFSA hotline at 800.433.3243 to speak with a customer service representative or chat live online with a customer service rep.
  • Use the FAFSA on the Web Worksheets to help you get organized.
  • Get help filling out your FAFSA from NerdScholar.
  • And remember, deadlines for the FAFSA differ from school to school. But, don’t delay— the earlier your application is reviewed, the more money there may be available.

Another form required by hundreds of colleges to determine student eligibility for non-federal student aid, both merit and need-based, is the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, short for the College Scholarship Service Profile. This form is distributed by College Board.

When considering your financial aid options, keep the following in mind:

  • The CSS/PROFILE must be completed online in order to be considered for all need-based university grants and scholarships.
  • Register online a few weeks before your earliest college or scholarship priority filing date so you have plenty of time to complete the form. If you already have a College Board account, you can use your user name and password for the CSS/PROFILE as well.
  • Don’t forget to keep your user name and password in a safe place for future reference.
  • After you’ve registered with College Board, look through the list of participating colleges and universities to determine if any of the schools on your list use the CSS/PROFILE as part of their financial aid process and keep a list of each school’s code.
  • Once you’ve registered, you can finish the PROFILE in one siting or save your information and return to it at a later time.
  • The information you provide in your PROFILE will be sent by College Board to the colleges and universities that you specify.
  • Make sure to pay attention to the priority and closing filing dates for each school.
  • Some aid is granted on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply as early as allowed.
  • When you’re done, print the acknowledgment page and file it in a safe place.
  • You can use the pre-application worksheet to help you get ready to complete the application.

 

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It’s Early Decision Time!

If you applied early decision or early action and have received your decision(s) it’s time to take the next step.  For those of you who applied rolling and have received news it’s also time for you to take action.  Read on for more information on what to do next.

ACCEPTED: If you receive(d) an acceptance, congratulations, you’re on your way!

Early decision is binding.

  • As an admitted student, confirm your intention to enroll by sending in a 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.

Early action is not binding.

  • If you’ve been admitted and you’re certain this is the school for you, submit your deposit and secure your spot in the class of 2020. If attending, 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.

  • As with early action decisions, 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: For those of you who have been 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 and get excited about your other options.

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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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: These are things you may want to bring along.

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

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

Good luck!

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Advice from Someone Who’s Been There

We often write about how to break down and organize the college application process in order to make it more manageable and minimize stress. We’re happy to share advice from Jamie Sleepin, a recent graduate from The Hewitt School in New York City. Jamie perfectly summed up how to successfully make it through the process in a letter published in her school newspaper.

A Letter to Juniors from Jamie S. ’17

Dear Juniors,

Now that you are finally upperclassmen, the stress of the college process is starting to creep up on you. Yes, the college process may seem daunting, but take it from a senior who survived, it is not so bad. In case you don’t believe me, here are some tips on how to successfully conquer it.

1. Take your standardized tests this year. Managing your school work and studying for standardized tests is tough, but doing all of that in addition to writing college applications in your senior year is ten times harder. Do yourself this favor: study hard this year and get it done.

2. Practice with real tests. Standardized test books are very helpful, but once you have learned all the tricks it is best to study by taking tests previously given by the College Board. If you are willing to spend money on taking real tests for practice in a standardized test environment, I recommend going to Bespoke. However, there are ways to bypass spending money on it. Personally, I took the ACT, and when I finished all my test books, I printed out real tests from crackact.com.

3. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Give every school a chance. Just because a college might not be as well known as another does not mean it is any less of a great school. So, while you’re researching colleges and you find a school you do not know that much about, don’t just skip over it. Instead, research it a little. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out it has the major you like, quirky traditions that peak your interest, or blend the big school camaraderie with the small liberal arts feel that you crave.

4. Don’t stress over the AP exam. AP exams are meant to be hard. That’s why to get a 5, you don’t need to get a 100%, most times you just need a 60%. There is so much that a college looks at that your AP exam score does not matter. You don’t even need to submit it! I’m not saying don’t try. Please do try and do your best, but if you don’t get the score you wanted, it’s not the end of the world.

5. Be a bookworm. Although researching on the internet is convenient and easy, there are a bunch of great college research books that you can buy. Just be sure when you are looking online or in books that the article/book is published within the last year or two. You don’t want to get bogged down by antiquated facts.

6. Get a student’s perspective. When touring a school, don’t passively trail along in the back of the group. Instead, walk by the tour guide and ask any and every question that you have. A school may seem much more different on paper than it does in person, so college touring is highly important because you get a feel for what the school is really like.

7. Don’t fall in love with the bricks. A school is much more than its architecture. Go beyond the facade and learn about the majors/minors, the internship opportunities, alumni networks, clubs, sports, study abroad programs, etc.

8. Make your own connections. One of the scariest parts of the college process is when you fall in love with a school. I know you might be worried that you are just another name on an application, and you worry that you don’t have anything that sets you apart from the other highly quali4ed applicants. Well, this is false. Just because you didn’t start your own company at the age of 14 does not mean you’re not going to get in. But, something that I found very helpful in my college process is to make yourself known to the college. After a tour email your tour guide and the NY rep to express your interest in the school and introduce yourself. If you find your top choice school, tour again, meet professors and students. Make sure to keep up communication to put a face to your name; that way you’re not just another applicant.

9. Be true to who you are. When writing your Common Application essay, be authentic. If what you wrote does not resonate true to you, it won’t with the college admissions team either. Pick a topic that’s unique and meaningful to you. This is will go a long way in separating you from other applicants.

10. Do your research. When answering supplemental essay questions, research the college/university’s website until you know it as well as you know the back of your own hand. When the college admissions team reads applications, they want to be sure you will be a good 4t at the school, so what better way to show that than to incorporate things that are valued at the school in your essay.

11. Don’t be overwhelmed by supplemental essays. If you end up applying to 7 schools or 18 schools, in most cases the supplemental essay questions will somehow overlap. So, if you get stressed out about writing many essays, take a deep breath and remember that you can use bits and pieces of other essays and sometimes even the entire essay.

12. Don’t procrastinate. College applications are hard and time-consuming. The Common Application essay and your supplemental essays are highly important, so don’t push them off until right before the due date. Figure out what you want to write and start writing them over the summer.

13. Enjoy this year. You only have two more years until everything changes, so enjoy them. I know that junior year is hard and annoying because you’re close to finding out what your future holds but not quite close enough to actually find out, but don’t wish this year away. Work hard, spend time with your friends and family, and relax because, as cliché as this sounds, everything happens for a reason. You all will go to amazing schools that are the perfect for for you!

Sincerely,
Jamie Sleppin
The Hewitt School ‘17
Wake Forest University ‘21

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Get Ready

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s SAT or SAT IIs:

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!

  • Admission/Standby ticket
  • Acceptable form of photo ID
  • Sharpened #2 pencils
  • Calculator

SUGGESTED: These are things you may want to bring along.

  • 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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Using Networking To Further Your College Search

Networking is an often used term that may not have had much significance for you up until now. But networking can be a very helpful took for your college search. Networking can help you meet new people, and meeting new people can help you to build new relationships, make connections, talk to like-minded people, exchange ideas, gather information, and basically, learn more about the world around you.

Here’s how you can network:

  • Seek out people who have similar interests and career goals.
  • Talk to those who have jobs you may be interested in, including parents, both yours and your friends’, and ask them what types of jobs are available in their fields, what experiences are required for those jobs, and what they studied in college.
  • Find out more about people you look up to: coaches, teachers, family friends.
  • Talk to experts such as guidance counselors, college counselors and admissions officers.

Using the internet, you can network with an entire population of people you don’t even know (and you may not even have to talk to them in person).  LinkedIn has built a range of new tools to help students in their search for college and career.  These new tools allow you you to explore universities based on what you would like to study and where you may want to work.

Networking will allow you to gather more information and learn more about what other people are doing in the world around you.  Have some interesting conversations.  Take every opportunity to network in person and on the internet to help you make better informed decisions and figure out where you see yourself.

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