Consumer Beware!

If you’ve applied for financial aid, expect to receive an aid package along with your acceptance letter(s). Be aware that colleges and universities use different language when presenting their offers.  In order to accurately evaluate your offers make sure to understand each line item.

Ann Carrns in Your Money Adviser column in the New York Times has written an excellent article offering advice on how to understand the nuances of financial aid packages.

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Registration Reminder

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Plan Your Campus Visit

See what what’s happening on a college campus by visiting. This is the best way to learn about different types of schools and to get an up close look at what really goes on at a college. If your schedule and budget allow, plan a road trip. If you’re not able to travel far, take a look at schools close to home. The tips below to will help you plan and get the most out of your visits:

  •  Make a list of schools to visit.
  • Ask your guidance counselor for help.
  • Read the admissions sections of school websites for info session and campus tour schedules.
  • Sign up for info sessions and tours, if required.
  •  Meet with a faculty member or a coach, if appropriate, and reach out in advance to schedule an appointment. It makes sense to coordinate your meeting with the tour and info session schedules.
  • Explore the campus— eat in the cafeteria, visit the student center and sit in on a class (ask Admissions how to arrange).
  • Take the time to explore the surrounding neighborhood and town.
  • Take notes and photos to help you remember details.
  • Collect and save business cards from school reps you meet should you want to follow up with them.
  • Send thank you notes and respond to anyone who has asked you to provide additional information.

A tour will give you the chance to see a school through a current student’s eyes and have a chance to ask questions, including:

  • Does the school provide housing for all four years? If yes, do most students stay on campus? If no, how hard is it to find off campus housing?
  • What portion of the students join sororities and fraternities? Do students feel pressured to join Greek life? What’s the process like?
  • What clubs and extracurriculars are offered?
  • What’s your favorite thing about the school? What, if anything, has disappointed you?
  • How available are professors for extra help?
  • Are tutors available?
  • Are you assigned a freshman advisor? Is there a supportive advisory system?
  • Where do most students study? How much time do you spend on school work each day?
  • Do students stay on campus for the weekends? What do you do for fun?
  • What are the biggest campus traditions?
  • Do students get involved in the surrounding community?
  • What do you like best (and least) about the school?

Info sessions give you the chance to learn about the school from the admissions office staff who will make a formal presentation followed by Q & A. Ask questions, but ask only those that can’t be answered on the school’s website, such as:

  • What is the average class size?
  • What percentage of classes are taught by professors versus teaching assistants?
  • Is study abroad encouraged? What percent of students participate?
  • What is the total cost of attending?
  • What type of financial assistance is available?
  • What percentage of students receive the aid they require?
  • What career service support is offered for summer and full-time opportunities?
  • What jobs are available on campus for students who want to work part-time?



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Counselors That Change Lives

Congratulations to the nine counselors selected by Colleges That Change Lives as their 2020 Counselors That Change Lives.

School counselors provide the necessary support for college bound students to navigate the college admissions process and achieve their goals.

  • Blythe Butler — Catlin Gabel Academy (OR)
  • Eli Clarke  Commonwealth Academy (VA)
  • Jennifer Ewing  Cristo Rey Baltimore (MD)
  • Adrienne Fluitt  BASIS Oro Valley (AZ)
  • Kent Jones  Emma Willard School (NY)
  • Rodney Joyner  Baltimore City College (MD)
  • Derrick Kang  Mid-Pacific Institute (HI)
  • DeVonta Lee  Bellaire High School (TX)
  • Joy Maguire  Westside High School (TX)
  • Toni Marie O’Daniel — Hmong College Prep Academy (MN)
  • Tobi Oves  Ocean City High School (NJ)
  • Andrea Rusk  Mundelein High School (IL)
  • Tela Thigpen  Freedom Preparatory Academy (TN)
  • Lenni Yesner  City Polytechnic High School (NY)


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Manhattan Center For Science and Research

Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting with a group of parents and administrators at the Manhattan Center For Science and Mathematics. We talked about how parents can best help their students find their way through the college search and application process. Following our presentation we had a Q & A that gave us all the chance to cover more of the many details and we are thankful to the well informed, prepared group for adding so much to the evening.



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Beginning Your College Research

Juniors, the big question now may be where to begin your college research.  While this process may feel a bit overwhelming, here are some helpful  resources to use to start you off:

  1. College guide books including Fiske Guide to Colleges, Princeton Review and Barrons, which will help you to get a general outline of a school’s offerings and stats.
  2. College and university websites offer virtual tours and specifics about a school.
  3. College admissions blogs will catch you up on the latest news and topics in the college admissions world.
  4. Newspapers and magazines may have interesting feature articles as well as news.
  5. Your guidance counselor is a great resource; make use of his or her knowledge and understanding of admissions. Make an appointment soon to get started.
  6. Your family knows you best— ask for their input.
  7. Net Price Calculator is the US Department of Education’s online tool to help you understand the real price of attending college, it’s available on every school’s website

While using the above resources, keep in mind these key factors to help you focus your search: school size and setting, distance from home, academic programs, cost to attend, personality of the school and your chances of admission.

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Registration Reminder

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


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