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Tagged: High school

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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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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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 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, 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>>

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Start the school year with GREAT habits

August 6th, 2019

For many students in our area, school will begin in just a matter of days. The beginning of school is a great time to hit the reset button and have a fresh start. With enough organization, determination and preparation, this year will be the best one yet!

Do you want to know how successful students are making it happen? In the article we share below, 8 Habits of Highly Successful Students, having healthy habits inside and outside of the classroom is key. This particular article, although written for college students, is applicable to each and every one of us as we strive to keep a balanced life while setting goals for the future.

Article linked below from College Info Geek, published August 14, 2017 by Thomas Frank

We have talked a lot about how to do well academically here at CIG.  That includes:

But of course, successful students don’t just do well academically; they usually do well all around.

So, the question is:

What separates truly successful students who have it together and do well in all areas of their lives, from the ones who just do well on the academic side of things?

This question could be answered many ways, but one clear answer is that successful students cultivate habits that set them up for success.

Read more at College Info Geek>>

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