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8/22/13 11:01 A

A distant relative of mine sent this to me on FaceBook last night after I posted about wanting input about financial aid:

Hey I totaly forgot to send this to you! A friend of mine - and then a Few friends of mine were constantly asking me questions about college for their kids so i after spending Tons of time answer questions on FB I started compiling them into a list. I’m not sure if it will help you but here goes:

Getting into College: Everything I can Possibly Think Of
How to Pick a school: The general rule is 1. Their Dream School - The REACH. 2. a Solid school that they should be able to get into - but might not. 3rd. A school that they Will def get into. If you want to spend more money on applications then consider... 2 more Really solid choices. Remember most State/public universities have state open door polices. Main campuses are harder to get into BUT branch campuses Everyone who is a resident of the state WILL get into. Your child can go for 1-2 years, it is cheaper, and then they can transfer to main campus after they have proved themselves.
What schools are "the Best"
Long Term: You want a BIG NAME. A school that when/if she moves from the area sill holds power. The best schools to jump off from are State schools (think University of - ) PSU, University of Pitt, OSU, Michigan, NYU, UCLA, Florida, Miami, etc... you know all the names ring a bell) If they have a Big Football teams it's a Go.- they have pull where ever she is and is applying for jobs. Of course there are some private schools with good names too - but private schools can sometimes cost a LOT more and for less of the bang of the buck (unless she stays local to the school.)
If she wants to go to graduate school (and she isn't going to an ivy) Big State schools are the BEST and her ticket in. She will be working with all top notch scholars and graduate school is All about that! Going Away From Home: I get the wanting her to stay local but in reality there is some growth in them leaving. I know SCARRY! We Always say the girls Can go away IF they are responsible and we can trust them. Also we 100% expect them to come home for Every holiday and their Entire Summer. We are still in control. I see students everyday far away from home. You'd be surprised that a good many of them aren't partying and skipping classes. It might be the students I have. I've been impressed with my students. But really they bloom. They go from Big 13 year olds to mini adults. I am a big fan of having your child stay local or in state but live at the dorm. They grow incredibly. Just keep in Tons of contact with them and See their grades. Most colleges have www's just like high school you just need to sign up for it with the student's permission (b/c of laws). If your "paying," if your supporting in anyway - you have a right to access those grades and set rules, limits for your student. Having these conversations now - setting expectations NOW is essential. You don't want to have this talk as their unpacking in their dorm room.
The truth about Small Private Schools:
Most of them don't have strong names outside the region they are in. They cost a Fortune. They are fine schools but understand that. They are great environments! But if your child is going to gradschool, bz school, med school or will have a science major think twice about a small private school. The profs will generally be 2nd tier b/c they teach more than write, b/c they did not graduate from an IVY - this is huge when it comes to letters of recommendation and value of education when moving on to grad school. Again they are GREAT places to learn and be a student.
The upside they do offer more scholarships (but still cost more! they are more flexible to get into, they tend to have a nicer culture, smaller, more face time - thus help/support for students which is invaluable! They are pretty to be at.

Application Resume:
Everything she does she be listed on her Resume. Academic Awards, Leadership Positions,(years) Extra Circular Actives (years), Volunteering & then Sports, - in that order. Make sure she lists ANY "Leadership Rolls" in a section of that name immediately after her Awards section. I don't care if she is the Treasure of the crew and that means she buys Pop! Volunteer activities super important.
Does your child know any other languages they haven't taken in high school ? List it under Languages with the degree they know it. Languages are a sign of polish, hardwork, intelligence. Impressive.
The Essay:
When she picks schools she will see the easy questions, This is IMPORTANT she should start working on them ASAP - and edit the Crap out of them. She should talk about something negative and how it had a tremendously POSITIVE affect on her. The essay is the ONLY place you become human on. This is REALLY where applications are accepted and rejected! What makes your child unique? an experience, event, obstacle? All of the questions give you this opportunity. Start with a really attention grabbing sentence. I started off something like "The silver Buick turned the bend, skipped the curb, and hit me. I was 4 years old." Again - I needed a way to tell them I'm dyslexic. I spent a good bit of my early life "getting over it" My SATS are Crap. BUT I am a Hard Worker! I am someone you want to give a Chance! I see life differently than other people do b/c of the experiences I have had.
Did your Child once have poor grades and then work really hard to turn things around but their GPA has paid the price? What was that event, how did they get serious - mention the fact that despite the hard work and getting great grades afterword the GPA would forever be lower because of the past. Be human, Be accountable. Be humble. Be Real. Children with Disability:
If your student has a disability - call Admissions!!!!!! Find out if you need to (or Can) apply differently so that from the first time they open the application they know this student should be viewed differently. Students with disabilities get support in college same as they did in highschool but the school will need the file showing that they were labeled with a disability etc. Disabilities are a WIDE range. I have had students with learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, physical etc - schools work with them!!! I have even had a handful of autistic students from a variety of places on the spectrum who ALL Thrived! More and more schools like Westminster have programs designed for autistic students etc.
Scholarships: and - once you have picked schools google them and the words like "OSU undergraduate fellowship" "OSU undergraduate scholarship" "OSU undergraduate Grants" fellowships for undergrads and most of them don't apply so they are easier to get. They are generally for year 2-4. esp for travel - summer aboard, semesters abroad, but like when she takes her language class she should apply for the undergraduate FLAS it's through the government. Most of the students i've helped get that use it to go live abroad but you can use it to pay your tuition and just go to school. Undergrads rarely apply to money available 2-4th year which makes it way easier to get!
Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action for colleges is on paper dead - but on applications and in admissions - offering (and making sure) “minorities” have equal opportunities is important - USE IT. Also being a member of a low income family is also considered a minority with rights like any other. Make note of it. - When applicable add a line in your essay with regards to your family social standing and or heritage.
Help them present themselves as someone, that someone would want to Invest in.
Thinking about Majors OR If your kid wants to be an artist, writer, song and dance man ....
Support it! And Send them to School! You make a deal with them they have to double major. It is MUCH harder to get into school in fine arts - you have to audition, present a writing/art portfolio etc. I NEVER recommend applying to a school as a major (unless it's engineering - but even still it is MUCH easier to become a major and be accepted To a specific school After you've been accepted into the University. But in any event.
Don't crush dreams. Students do become practical as they start navigating life for themselves. Also Who knows they May Make it! Without a college education moving up in the arts is CHANCE/Luck. Moving through college with an art you are tied to people who are living the dream. No...the adage ppl who can't do teach is not true in college. The profs will have been/be successful - Gregory Maguire (Wicked) ... is a professor. Life after college is all about who you know.
Artistes/writers etc need training! lol it isn't all about Coffee houses and Feeling things lol. Graduate school for the Arts is Very important too. The hit book a few years "The Historian" - that was the authors Ma Thesis. I started at CMU as a creative writing major. All of my friends were artists, photogs, etc... I left writing when I became practical. Every one of my friends from that time is doing Something related to their art. I have a friend who wanted to be a singer on broadway. She owns a production company. I have a friend who wanted to be an actor he works for speilburg's company as a writer. I had a friend who wanted to be an artist he had his pick of jobs doing art for gaming systems.
Do your research on schools:
There is a book I can't think of the name but you will easily find it in the college prep section of your library or barens and noble it has EVERY college in the country listed by state and region. (Not the BEST of Book) It has the info you need - cost, statistics, average SAt/GPA of their students that accept, % of students who apply that get in and Deadlines! Go to the library with a notebook that is for nothing but college/funding research. Take notes. Read. Do Visits! I got into Rutgers I had NO idea what "Camden" NY was like until I saw it.... and I would NEVER have gone there lol.
SAT/GPAs Applications:
When a school says they take students with 3.5 and SAT 1500, this is an Average. This is what they Shoot for. This does Not mean your 3.3 student with 1400 won't get in!!!!!!!! But if your applying for Harvard you really want to have 3.5 and above an SAT 1200 - UNLESS your student has a disability, or ethnic affiliation - recently colleges have identified CLASS as being as important as Race in consideration. This is Again where your Essay comes in. Can your student talk about what it is like to be poor and strive, be the first college student in the family etc? ETC The SAT: Don't take them more than 2 unless you Really think there is a reason ur student didn't do as well as they could have. The chances of a score going up is low and the test is long and sucks. BUT before they take the exam Sign them up for a prep Class! Get them a prep class book. have them work on it Everyday! The Vocab is Really important. You must know EXACTLY what the definition is Verbatim (an SAT word lol). One answer will give what the word means, another Will give the definition Word for Word. You need to pick the second! This is the challenge most people don't realize. The SAT books have Most of the Vocab words in them! They also have the math questions in them - the only difference is the numbers change.

She's very successful at what does, I am going to look into these things.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (255,816)
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8/22/13 10:32 A

I was preparing some reports for clients and ran a college calculation for my nephew. He wants to go to Julliard.
I sincerely hope he gets a scholarship. DANG. That is a PRICEY school.
I started a 529 plan for him 10 years ago, and I add a little every month. He's always insisted that he won't need it; he'll be on full scholarship. He'll have to be. What I'm able to set aside will pay for ABAC - but that's about it!
still, it's better than nothing (only slightly)

JAMIRBLAZE Posts: 1,839
8/22/13 9:06 A

I work on a university campus, and have loans myself, and firmly believe that there is no reason that is good enough to ever, ever take out private loans.

I have them myself from grad school (just before the advent of federal grad plus loans - figures), and I sometimes see grad students who have them from undergrad in my office, and they are terrible. Private loans are largely unregulated, and the terms and conditions are often buried elsewhere than the actual loan document (and are generally not that great). Unlike most other debts, private loans (just like federal loans) cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Most high schools and colleges keep lists of scholarships. Check local organizations like Rotary, women's groups, etc., too. They usually have a small scholarships as well. There are also websites out there that compile lists, but I'm not familiar with any specific one.

DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
8/22/13 8:47 A

KJ - my son only attended college for a year before deciding it just wasn't for him, but I would advise getting started on the FAFSA just as soon as you both have your personal tax returns done for 2013. That way, you know what she'll qualify for on the Federal level for the fall.

We told our son that we would not be signing for any loans, so we ended up scraping up the cash to cover what his loans and other funds didn't pay for.

I second the idea of looking under every rock you can find for scholarships. Also, check at your school to see if they have any state or local programs. Here in Missouri, they have a program that will pay up to $7,000 per year for 2 years if the student maintains a certain GPA, participates in school activities, and does community service hours.

At UMKC, they had campus jobs that paid pretty well, but you have to get at them early. My son worked for an on-campus program for preschoolers called Jump Start. He formed a good bond with a couple of the kids and he really enjoyed helping them get a good foundation for kindergarten.

It's an exciting (and nerve wracking) adventure, isn't it?

Edited by: DMJAKES at: 8/22/2013 (08:48)
BERRY4 SparkPoints: (275,747)
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8/22/13 3:12 A

I guess it depends on how much you want to be honest and upfront. It also depends on what life message you want to send to your student. (PP)

As to loans, most colleges are offering "Parent Plus" loans that put the parent on the hook immediately. Also, with some you can set up a 9 or 10 month payment plan.

* Here's what I told my son (who starts college tomorrow): every hour that you spend applying for scholarships can come back to you 100-fold. (ie. spending 5 hrs on a $500 scholarship) You are in fact paying yourself when one comes through. My son applied for numerous scholarships, and only 1 came through. But it will help him tremendously come 2nd semester!

He's been working summers since he was 12 and saving. A grandfather started a savings account when he was small, and that amount contributed to his portion of this term. (We are "matching" what he contributes for the next 2 yrs.) -- After that, he will have to fund the remainder of his college education.

Getting a 2 yr. AA degree is one way to keep college costs lower.

Every family does it differently, but IMO it is key for the student to "own" his/her education.

NANAS4GIRLS SparkPoints: (77,198)
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8/21/13 11:23 P

You should be able to find most Scholarships and the requirements on line.
Tip to remember, If she is fortunate to receive any Scholarships, and they are in Cash, try not to let the College know, as they will deduct that amount from any Financial Aid offered.

8/21/13 12:16 P

Thanks - she knows the college she's attending and is going to find out soon if they'll accept her early. FAFSA is getting worked on now.

Next is scholarship money. I use to know that there was a book online that you could purchase for $50 that tells you all the scholarships available for U.S. students, does anyone remember what the name of that book/website is?

7/22/13 7:18 P

Definitely start looking at the FAFSA forms now so you can have your information ready -- she could be eligible for a Fed loan. It's too bad the interest rates are going up now. Also, look at any and all scholarships she may be eligible for. There are many out there that not too many people apply for. Some of them require a short essay or history of community work, etc. Each is different. You can look them up on line for your area, and they will give you the requirements. Our youngest got a couple of scholarships, one that was paying $3800 per semester if her grades stayed above a 2.0 for a full four years. It took work on her part, but it was worth it. One of my daughter's friends was offered around 9 or 10 scholarships because her and her mother were diligent in finding them and applying for them while she was in her senior year. Her scholarships added up to a whopping $30K by the time she started. Besides the internet, ask around -- your friends, work colleagues, call the larger businesses around town (many of them will offer scholarships if your daughter has an idea of what she wants to major in -- for instance, if she wants to go into engineering, it could be possible that an engineering company near you may offer scholarships in return for a couple years of work for them after graduation).

It's great that you are thinking about her college now. It's never too early to start researching. If she's already chosen a college, call and make an appointment with their administration, and they will be happy to share many options with you.

And may I give you another tip -- don't wait until her high school initiates anything for learning about college -- you will be behind the game. Be proactive and get there first -- it makes it lots less confusing the nearer she gets to starting college, and it shows the college that she is ambitious (a real plus!).

Edited by: PATTIJOHNSON at: 7/22/2013 (19:24)
LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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7/22/13 1:43 P

Make sure you (and your daughter) max out your federal loan limits before going over to private loans. Federal loans are fixed rates, up to $8,500 in loans can be interest free each academic year, repayment plans are easier, and if your daughter chooses a career in public service, the loans will be forgiven once she's been working 10 years as a teacher, in the military, law enforcement, etc.

I'm watching all 3 of my roommates getting burned by private loans because of the screwy games they can play. For example, one roommate's loan (either Sallie Mae or Chase) will NOT let her pay on the principal until she pays all of the interest calculated to accrue over the life of the loan. Basically, she has to pay 10 years of interest on the balance of the loans that she's taken out BEFORE she can start paying down the principal.

Seriously take a look at this website before you/your daughter sign up for private loans:
The FAFSA form will be due some time after tax day, but depends by state. It's not any more complicated than a 1040-EZ.

Edited by: LEC358 at: 7/22/2013 (14:15)
DIETER27 Posts: 8,982
7/22/13 11:46 A

We used sallie Mae.

7/22/13 11:42 A

***NOTE: this is NOT about co-signing student loans, I have been warned a thousand times about how bad it is to do it and I am seeing that through my GF who is paying on her son's student loan because defaulted on it because he can't find a job in his degree: fine arts

My daughter will be a senior in high school this year and I know now is the time to start getting that ball rolling about student loans.

What are some loans YOU have used?

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