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Consider applying to a private college

9 Nov

 

Biola University in LaMirada, CA, has a new library and many other new facilities.

Biola University in LaMirada, CA, has a new library and many other new facilities.

While the window of application opportunity may be closing for some public universities after this month, most private universities are still accepting applications. There are many advantages to attending a private college:

  • Smaller class size
  • Opportunity to get to know your professors better
  • Better chance of getting the classes you need
  • Greater likelihood of being able to design a major of your own
  • Higher chance of graduating in four years — in fact, some four-year private universities guarantee this
  • And even though the tuition costs are significantly higher than those of public universities, often the private colleges have huge endowments from their alumni, so that you can get large scholarships and university grants. Because you can most likely graduate in four years (if you don’t mess around!), the overall cost may be the same as that for a four-year college.The oldest of our four children attended Biola University in southern California. There she got a leadership scholarship, was able to live in the dorm for as many years as she wanted, made wonderful friends, got a great job as an assistant to the English department’s dean, and received an excellent recommendation that got her a job teaching immediately after graduation. Our out-of-pocket was no higher than that for our other three children who attended public universities.

    Give private colleges a chance! Apply and see how the financial aid might play out.

    Any good news out there? Where have you been accepted to college thus far?

Use the Common App for private schools

31 Oct

The perennial #1 liberal arts college, Williams College, uses the Common Application.

A former student of mine recently graduated from the perennial #1 liberal arts college, Williams College (Williamstown, MA). 

Now that you have probably finished your state school college applications, you most likely are now focused on getting applications done for the private colleges on your list. These are often due by the end of December–but check the deadlines and calendar them diligently!

You may have already discovered that most private colleges use The Common Application; in fact, almost 700 colleges utilize this form of application. Go to commonapp.org.

You will find that you are able to complete just this one application for several different colleges, with the possibility, though, that one college’s essay requirement may be different than another’s.

In regard to the personal essay, you will write no more than 650 words on one of the following five topics:

 

  • A background, identity, interest or talent that is meaningful to you.
  • Lesson from a failure.
  • A time you challenged a belief or idea.
  • A problem you’ve solved.
  • An accomplished that signified your transition from childhood to adulthood.

Your high school will be notified to send a counselor’s report and grades — but you will want to stay tuned in to make sure they are submitted on a timely basis. Additionally, letters of recommendation may be required by your colleges. Request those early in the process, as it takes up to an hour to prepare a good one.

If you have questions, Common App technical support personnel are available 24/7.

 

Tips for keeping organized

24 Oct

Are you getting bogged down with college application paperwork?

Are you getting bogged down with college application paperwork?

As you are amassing stacks of brochures, applications, and other paperwork relating to your college search and financial aid process, you will quickly find you’ve got a giant mess!

The following office supplies can help you create a simple system:

  • File box (with hanging files) or large accordian file
  • Box of file folders

 

Then organize your materials like this:

College info:

  • Create a separate file folder for each different college.
  • Write passwords and other important access info on the inside of the file folder.
  • On the COVER of the file folder, write the due date of the application along with a checklist for every item you need to complete the application.
  • When  you have completed the application, print out a copy and keep it in the file.

Scholarship info:

  • Create a separate file folder for each scholarship.
  • On the COVER of the file folder, write the due date of the scholarship along with a checklist for every item you need to complete the application.
  • Keep a hard copy of all scholarship applications and responses.

Financial aid info:

  • Create separate file folders for any financial aid paperwork: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and state grant info, as appropriate.
  • Write login info and passwords on the inside of the file folder.
  • Keep hard copies of all paperwork.

Order the files in the box, according to due date. The nearest due date should be in the front, followed by the next due item and so forth.

Then, check your file system on a daily basis, so that you stay on top of what needs to be done. You can also calendar these deadlines in your planner or on a calendar on your phone.

It’s not rocket science, senior — but this simple system will keep you on track!