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Tagged: College

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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Deepen your impact this school year

August 20th, 2019

Now that school is in full swing for much of the midwest, college application season is right around the corner. When applying to college, students always want to know how they can “stand out” and differentiate themselves from other applicants. A great way to do that is by not only performing well academically but also making an impact in your school and/or community.

Colleges want to know how you will make your mark in and out of the classroom. In order to determine this answer, it is important to look deep inside yourself. What are your interests? What are your passions? What are your talents? Colleges want to see that you’ve devoted time and energy to an activity or project that you are fully committed to, and that you’re working to bring about positive change. The article shared below from Forbes.com provides great content on this topic. Invest yourself fully in all that you do, and you’ll be successful in your everyday life and in the college application world.

Article linked below from Forbes.com, published September 12, 2015 by Chris Teare

Colleges Ask: What’s Your Impact?

Last month I posted How Colleges Judge Your High School Courseload, prompted by an encounter with a prospective student at Drew University. The first document in every application is indeed the transcript: What courses has a student selected; how has he or she performed? The second document that can be a deal-maker or –breaker is the resume, one which takes a different form in the context of the Common Application. The first question college admissions officers ask is, “Can and will this student do our academic work and go on to graduate?” The second is, “What impact will this student have outside the classroom?” If you want to be successful in the college process, you need a good answer to both questions.

The best way to build a record that will result in a compelling resume is to pursue your interest—or interests—as fully and passionately as you can. I consciously wrote a singular at first, because you may be zealously devoted to only one thing. If so, be great at it, and your accomplishment may be enough. I worked with a young man who is now a junior at Yale whose only significant extracurricular commitment was—and is—sailing; however, as a Youth Olympics Gold Medalist, that one thing, based upon great talent and untold hours on the water, made him someone every college coach in the nation wanted to recruit. He can, and has, done the academic work, and he can make a sailboat go faster than anyone else. He wins.

Read more at Forbes.com>>

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Summer is the right time to tackle the Common Application and main essay

July 9th, 2019

We have officially entered into the “dog days of summer,” typically the most sweltering stretch of this season. For high school seniors, this is the perfect opportunity to spend a few hours in air conditioning and get a head start on college applications.

Don’t wait until school starts, when you’ll be overwhelmed with new classes and activities. Follow the steps below to get a jump start on college applications now.

  • If you haven’t yet done so, set up your account(s) at www.commonapp.org and/or http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/
    • Be generous with details as you list and describe activities, work experiences and academic honors.
    • If space in Activities and Honors sections seems insufficient to explain fully, the “Additional Information” portion of the writing section is a great place for supporting details.
    • Everything you’ve put time and energy into during your high school years, summers included, is worth describing.
  • Your main essay should provide insight into who you are and complement the balance of your application
    • Think of yourself as a Hollywood screenwriter telling a story packed with vivid details!  The story should help readers understand how you think, and what makes you tick.
    • Brainstorm topics and make notes about how best to develop ideas before beginning to draft prose.
  • Caution:  supplements currently showing up in Common App are for the admission cycle just completed, so should not be tackled; after the Common App refreshes August 1, new supplements for your application cycle will begin to appear
    • In the meantime, some college admission websites will feature their essay and short answer questions for the upcoming cycle’s supplement, so you may have a chance to begin work on these.
    • When responding to supplement questions asking, “Why this college?” respond with concrete details demonstrating your depth of knowledge and understanding about the institution.  Discuss areas of study, down to course names and faculty research interests.  Mention extracurricular organizations by name.  Show colleges where you’ll plug in, where you’ll make a difference.  One more tip: avoid references to reputation, beauty of campus, special shops nearby since these are widely understood as mere space-fillers.

Rising seniors will start the academic year right if their Common Application (and/or others they’re submitting) are largely complete by the start of fall term.  Use the summer to move application and essay work forward, and we promise you’ll be glad you did.

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