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CSS Profile vs. FAFSA: What is the difference?

October 15th, 2019

Understanding need-based financial aid can be overwhelming, and through this blog post we hope to alleviate some of your confusion. The first question that many families ask is, “How do we apply for aid?” While students apply for admission, parents seeking need-based assistance take care of the financial aid application process.

There are two principal forms to understand: all colleges use the FAFSA in computing financial aid award packages, and some private colleges also require the CSS Profile to review a family’s financial resources from a different perspective. Every college offers a financial aid section on its website, where you can find highly detailed information about both process and requirements.

With both FAFSA and CSS Profile live as of October 1st, questions naturally arise. We’re often asked, “What, exactly, is the difference between the two?” The article linked below from NerdWallet lays out the basics of both FAFSA and Profile pretty clearly.

Please note: on today’s blog post we focus primarily on need-based financial aid, but many families are interested in merit scholarships as well. While both need-based and merit scholarships provide college students with financial assistance, a merit scholarship is generally unrelated to demonstrated financial need; instead, it’s based on a high level of achievement in academics, athletics or the arts. We’ll devote a future blog post specifically to merit scholarships.

Article linked below from NerdWallet, published September 30, 2019, written by Anna Helhoski

CSS Profile vs. FAFSA: How Are They Different?

To get financial aid for college, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. But your school may also want you to submit the CSS Profile, an additional application that determines state and institutional financial aid.

» MORE: Your guide to financial aid

The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal aid like the Pell Grant, work-study and federal student loans if you attend most colleges that participate in the Title IV federal financial aid program. The application is also often required by states and schools for their own scholarship and grant programs.

The CSS Profile is only used by certain schools, listed on the CSS Profile site, as part of their financial aid process for aid like grants and scholarships.

To read more go to Nerd Wallet>>

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Make demonstrated interest work in your favor with these 10 steps

October 1st, 2019

Can demonstrating interest in a college of your choice impact your chances of getting in? In many cases, it can! Demonstrated interest is the degree to which an applicant shows genuine interest in enrollment. Of course, it’s important to show your seriousness throughout the application process, and nothing’s weighted more heavily than your academic record and extracurricular accomplishments.

Private colleges are more likely than public universities to use demonstrated interest as a significant factor. Schools with very high yield rates, such as Stanford, MIT and most in the Ivy League, don’t concern themselves with this when determining final decisions, either.

Now the question is, how can you show that you’re interested in your top choice schools without “spamming” admissions counselors just for the sake of being in touch? The article referenced below from Forbes.com lays out 10 easy ways to stay in contact with colleges while remaining genuine.

A note to our boarding school families: Boarding schools, like colleges, strive to understand the family’s level of interest when considering admission decisions. Many of the same recommendations apply, and we think you’ll find this article interesting, too.

Article linked below from Forbes, published on September 17, 2019, written by Kristen Moon

10 Ways Students Can Use Demonstrated Interest To Their Benefit

What Is Demonstrated Interest?

Demonstrated interest (DI) is something universities measure to determine the level of interest a student has in a particular school. For some institutions, DI is something that they consider because it shows how eager students are to attend. With the rise of the Common Application and the Coalition Application, it is easy for students to quickly add on schools to their list without putting much thought or effort into it. Therefore, to see who is genuinely interested in the program is useful for the universities to see who they might want to admit. 

Contact with the institution can be a useful tactic for students, especially ones who may be borderline for admission. Having an in-person interaction can help display your positive interactions and characteristics, bringing your application alive off the page. 

To read more go to Forbes >>

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Important college application information you don’t want to miss

September 17th, 2019

We’re a little over one month into the school year here in Kentucky, and our seniors both near and far have been working diligently on college applications throughout the summer. As their work continues, students are narrowing down college lists and organizing timelines for the application season. Those who are applying Early Action or Early Decision are in an especially productive mode!

Through all of this, many applicants often wonder what college admissions officers are really looking for. With the article linked below, we hope you will find the answers you are looking for.

Article linked below from Forbes, published on July 30, 2019, written by Brennan Barnard

Admission Deans Share Tips For College Applications

The end of summer feels imminent—not just because the airwaves are inundated with back-to-school advertisements, but also due to the growing frequency of calls to my high school counseling office. With the school year approaching, college applications are weighing heavily on rising seniors’ minds. While colleges and universities have a variety of application plans and deadlines, many students can expect to have at least one application due by early November. Yes, this is over three months away, but the fall can be hectic with classes, sports and activities.

Some students will undoubtedly procrastinate until just days or hours before their first application deadline. However, twenty years of guiding students through this experience has proven that this approach rarely ends well. It usually leads to poorly written essays, hastily drafted supplements and sloppily completed applications. Instead of waiting until the pressure is on, students are well advised to be proactive; the following wisdom from admission leaders offers guidance about how best to do this.

Read more at Forbes>>

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The importance of setting limits for technology

September 3rd, 2019

Back to school is often when students want to set the best intentions by promoting organization and time management skills. However, students are often faced with the challenges of adding extracurriculars, social events and sports along with their new classes and homework assignments. One of the biggest distractions for students is technology, making time management even more complex than ever before.

Many schools require the use of computers to complete assignments or for note taking and therefore, students often get distracted by content other than the given task. In today’s blog post, I wanted to share a writeup from a Transylvania University adjunct professor and good friend of mine, Karma Bryan. The article, titled Using Technology with Intention, is a great read for all ages. We rely so heavily on the use of technology and while it provides great benefits we should make sure we are using our time on screens wisely.

Article referenced below written by Karma Bryan

Using Technology with Intention 

Parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the problem of screen overuse, so much so that they are hiring screen-free parenting coaches to help wean their families off screens. There isn’t an official diagnosis for digital addiction, but parents may recognize signs including lack of control over screen use, loss of interest in other activities, video game preoccupation, interference with socialization, use of screen to mood boost, etc. Most alarming are studies that suggest a link between use of social media and problems with depression or anxiety in adolescents. Screen-free coaches help parents set limits on their own screen time to model healthy entertainment behaviors and help families reconnect with old fashioned play like pretend for parents of small children. These are great recommendations for weaning families with small children from unhealthy screen use, but parents of high school and college age kids may need a broader set of strategies that incorporate and respect the developmental needs of young adults. 

Last year, after nearly ten years teaching graduate college students online, using technology and with only a screen to interact with my students, I went back to the traditional classroom teaching undergraduate students. I was eager for real time class discussions with students face to face but I encountered a phenomenon described by college professors generally: students are distracted from engagement by cell phones and computers in the classroom. I could tell without seeing their screens that my students were distracted by content other than my lecture. Faculty tend to agree that besides the lure of surfing to social media during lectures, note taking with computers provides little benefit and may be less conducive to learning than pen and paper note taking.

After that first semester back in the traditional classroom, I decided to ban screens during class. The no screens in the classroom policy came with grade consequences that compelled compliance, but it didn’t improve the level of classroom interaction initially until we had an honest classroom discussion about the stress of technology, particularly social media in their lives. 

This discussion occurred during a class that I teach every semester called Lifetime Fitness and Wellness. The lecture topic was stress management and as a class we compiled a list of perceived stressors in their lives as college students. Social media and technology in general were in the top ten of perceived stressors and some expressed concern that they might not be able to control their level of video gaming. 

It occurred to me after that first no screen semester that bans without helping young people learn how to self-regulate their screen time is a missed opportunity and a little hypocritical. We expect them to demonstrate competence in these technologies that we seek to limit but they need to learn how to use these technologies wisely. I also felt a little insincere using power point and a projector to deliver my lectures while prohibiting them from using their computers to take notes. 

I think prohibiting computers and smart phones in the classroom is a good idea given the problem of distraction. And I got a good sense from my students that they know it is a problem. Awareness is a good start, but young people with still developing brains may need help to come up with strategies for screen self-regulation. The next time I teach the Wellness class in the fall, I plan to add class discussion on Using Technology with Intention including a problem-solving exercise to help students come up with strategies to avoid social media and gaming compulsion. Parents of teens can do the same with their own teens by finding teachable moments for dialogue around screen use. Teens and young adults have 

the cognitive ability to comprehend abstract concepts and are likely to appreciate the opportunity to develop decision making skills, but they may need our help to put it all together. 

Karma Bryan, RN, PhD, NCTTP is an adjunct professor at Transylvania University and a certified tobacco dependence treatment specialist.

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