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On the road to independence

November 12th, 2019

The first round of Early Action and Early Decision deadlines has passed. And now, on to the next round of deadlines (some coming up quite soon) while trying to stay afloat during your busiest semester yet! Each step that you complete makes you more self-reliant and independent. Even taking ownership of small tasks, like contacting an admission office to have a question resolved, helps you build confidence to tackle bigger challenges. Each accomplishment, whether large or small, is strengthening you for the next phase of life. That’s worth celebrating!

Photo by Alamy via New York Times

Empowering teenagers to take initiative in shaping their future is crucial to their growth, and completing applications is just the beginning. The article referenced below from The New York Times details the challenges inherent in this journey and how the overall experience creates the kind of “growth parents dream of.”

Article referenced below from The New York Times, published October 22, 2019 written by Kelly Corrigan

After a College Applicant Hits ‘Send’

In the early days of last fall, my daughter was projecting confidence about the college application process. She’d make a spreadsheet, things would be checked off, it’ll all come together, Mom. But right around this point, with classes and sports in full swing, college mutated from something exciting to that-which-shall-not-be-named. To inquire about, say, a 150-word supplemental essay was to provoke a fit of unholy madness.

It was probably no coincidence that her mood crashed just before the Nov. 1 early application deadline, as I bet it is doing in a couple million households across the country right this minute.

What I couldn’t have known then is this: Something beautiful is being formed in the dumpster fire that is senior fall. Regardless of outcome, the college application process itself can force the kind of growth parents dream of. Here’s why:

Read more at The New York Times>>

The power of a liberal arts degree in the workforce

October 29th, 2019

In today’s workforce there is a lot of emphasis on STEM degrees, which can be intimidating and discouraging for liberal arts college students. While tech skills are increasingly important as more jobs are created by escalating advances in technology, the foundational skills provided by a liberal arts degree are a major asset in the workplace.

Image by Cornelia Li via New York Times

Critical thinking, problem-solving and the ability to collaborate with different viewpoints are key skills that create strong employees and leaders. These “soft skills” learned through a liberal arts education prepare students to work in a wide variety of settings. In the article referenced below from The New York Times, statistics are given to show that liberal arts degrees are often winning the “salary race” in the long run due to the broad intellectual training this degree provides.

Article referenced below from The New York Times, published September 20, 2019 written by David Deming

In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure

For students chasing lasting wealth, the best choice of a college major is less obvious than you might think.

The conventional wisdom is that computer science and engineering majors have better employment prospects and higher earnings than their peers who choose liberal arts.

This is true for the first job, but the long-term story is more complicated.

The advantage for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors fades steadily after their first jobs, and by age 40 the earnings of people who majored in fields like social science or history have caught up.

To read more go to New York Times>>

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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