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Answers to Your College Questions

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Posted by on in College Admissions

Adapted from adMISSION POSSIBLE: The "Dare to Be Yourself" Guide for Getting into the Best Colleges for You

The college admissions process can seem vast. As you begin down the path to college, remember your high school counselor and teachers are an important resource. Another option is to explore the independent counselor track. Sometimes, when looking for additional support or more personalized information and advice, students and parents reach out to independent counselors.

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Posted by on in Paying for College

price vs. quality for college educationMany parents have asked this same question during my live seminars on finding affordable colleges. It is a common misconception that the sticker price of a college is directly related to the quality of the education your child will receive. This is understandable considering how goods and services are given value in our country—we often perceive items or services that are more costly as being somehow of higher quality. Obviously, in some cases, such as cars or homes, this might be true. The real question, though, is does that perspective hold true when examining colleges?

In our country, the most prestigious colleges—the Ivy League schools, for example—are typically the ones that have the highest sticker price. However, the sticker price, or the listed cost, of a college is not what each family pays. The amount each individual family actually pays is based on net price. Net price is calculated by subtracting grants and scholarships that the student has been awarded from the original sticker price. This is what makes college selection so different from many other purchases. The net prices for schools with the highest sticker prices can often be lower than those at many other colleges. That is just one reason why you can’t correlate price with the quality of a college.

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Posted by on in In the News

The New York Times recently published an article that follows the stories of three low-income students who, having participated in a college-readiness program and succeeded in being admitted to excellent colleges, were not able to make it through to graduation. These students dealt with issues ranging from feelings of insecurity and not fitting in the environment to financial hardship. Some of these struggles were intertwined.

It has been my experience that the issues of insecurity and not fitting in are detrimental to low-income, first-generation, and minority students entering college. They do not understand that asking questions is a sign of strength, not weakness. This seems especially true when the students do not yet know the language, rules, players, and customs that are key to navigating college life successfully. These students are afraid of being seen as deficient, so they do not take advantage of tools and resources—such as advisers, tutors, career counselors, and even faculty—that are there to support them, paid for by their tuition dollars. This also means that they don’t have the conversations they need to have regarding financial considerations, often causing them to wait until things are dire. College preparation for these students needs to teach them that these resources are available, that there are students like them who have dealt with these same feelings, issues, and concerns, and that utilizing these resources can help them succeed in college.

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Posted by on in College

top resolutions for studentsIf you’re a student, chances are one of your New Year’s resolutions is getting better grades. That’s a good goal to have, but do you know how you’re going to achieve it? Here are seven easy ways to make this school year the best year ever.

1. Get physical. You may think that getting good grades is all in your head, but ignoring your body is a big mistake. Physical activity boosts blood flow to the brain and helps you stay focused in even the toughest of terms. Plan to work out at least twenty minutes a day.

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Posted by on in New College Parent

Mother-youngdaughter-teendaughterThe first year of college can be overwhelming. First-year students are facing a lot of new things and are forced to separate from familiar territory. They have to make new friends, learn new spaces, live or hang out with different people, eat unfamiliar foods, discover new ways of learning, and follow new rules. That is a lot of new at one time.

Many studies show that freshman year is the time when students are most likely to drop out of college, and many consider transferring (though most don’t). There are various factors at play: many students are dealing with homesickness—missing friends, family, and the familiar—while others struggle academically or socially. But this is just a part of the college experience. Typically, by second semester, they surface just fine.

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Posted by on in College Admissions

thatbookaboutharvardcoverReceiving an acceptance letter is one of the most memorable (and stressful) moments of a student’s life. Read on as Eric Kester recalls his unforgettable experience in this excerpt from That Book about Harvard.

It must have looked pretty weird to people driving by: two parents flanking their teenage son as they all made a solemn walk down the driveway. My ashen face and hesitant steps likely made it look like I was walking the plank, or being led by my parents through some bizarre driveway-based version of that punishment. But anyone who’s ever opened a college admissions letter can attest that this was far more terrifying.

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Posted by on in Paying for College

FinFitHomepageImagev3Soon, after January 1st of 2013, parents of high school seniors will be filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—the FAFSA—in their pursuit of financial aid for college.

The federal government uses the FAFSA to calculate families’ EFC number. EFC is a term that is often misunderstood; it stands for Expected Family Contribution. Many people believe that the EFC number is the exact amount that schools expect families to spend on college. This is not the case. Actually, your EFC is the number that colleges will use (along with information they garner on a student’s application for admission) to develop their award letters. The award letter—which lists eligibility for all scholarships, grants, student loans, and campus employment options—allows families to determine their official net price of the college.

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Posted by on in College

How does my college major affect my careerToday’s job market is a fast-changing, information and service-based environment. To thrive in this setting, companies have become less focused on finding employees with specialized expertise as they once were. Instead, they look for skills that are applicable to all areas of the workforce—particularly in critical thinking and communication. This means they typically hire good team players with excellent people skills who can learn quickly. Luckily, many areas of study will enable you to develop those skills.

For example, if you major in people-centered subjects—such as anthropology, sociology, or psychology, to name a few—you will learn quite a bit about human behavior. Studying human behavior will help you to build people skills that will be useful when collaborating with colleagues in the workplace.

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Tagged in: Careers College Majors
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Posted by on in Test Prep

What do I need to know about the SAT ACTThe leading expert on the SAT, Dr. Gary Gruber, answers your pressing questions about college entrance exams.

1. What should I do the night before an exam?

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Tagged in: ACT Sat
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Posted by on in College

girl-studying-outside

Good grades are very important for your future, whether you decide to work after college or to go to graduate school. However, that does not mean you should be spending all of your time in the library. It is also important to balance your schedule with social and extracurricular activities that you enjoy.

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