Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Acceptance week for college students:What to do right now!

Hello World Family of students about to go to college! NOTE: There was a computer glitch when posting, so none of the paragraphs came out correctly. Sorry about the giant blob:) The information is too important to miss, so I went ahead and posted it anyway. I will correct the problem as soon as I can-thanks, Brothers and Sisters.! This is the week! Many high school students who have applied to college in the standard admission cycle are now about to receive their answer on acceptance to various universities in the U.S. Some important points: Evaluate your acceptance letters (and possibly the accompanying financial aid-merit aid information0 carefully. Sit down and review the literature carefully. Take all costs into account and remember to include meal plan and campus housing costs. If a merit aid scholarship provided by the school includes a scholarship for housing, this is a very good thing. If it doesn't, or you don't know if it does or doesn't, contact your admissions counselor and find out immediately. This is a very important issue. Be ready to pay that matriculation fee in the next 30 days or so. It could be hundreds of dollars, so make sure you set aside some cash to pay it. IT YOU CANNOT AFFORD THE FEE, CONTACT YOUR ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR IMMEDIATELY! There may be money available to cover than expense for a student who intends to attend that given school. Ask, there is no problem with that. Everyone today understands money is tight for everyone. Ask for what you need, and don't be afraid to ask. If you also have a grants-in-aid award (sports award for DI, DII, and NAIA; DIII does NOT award sports grants-in-aid. Please see http://www.ncaa.org/ or http://www.naia.org/.) find out if this is a full, half or amount centered award. Make sure your GPA stays up along with your standardized test scores to ensure that you stay eligible your freshman year for participation. It is also important because many universities have an 'automatic merit money' system that entitles you to scholarships based on getting a certain score on your SAT or ACT along with maintaining your GPA. DO NOT SLACK NOW! Many top schools make your acceptance contingent on continuing to perform well through the end of the year. Don't slip now. ACCEPTED STUDENT VISITS If you can go and visit, Falcon recommends that you do so. Don't visit every school you are accepted to if you visited them for consideration when you applied, but absolutely visit your First Choice school again to ensure that they really are the best match. Every one should be very nice to you on these visits. If they aren't, consider your attendance there. After all, this may well be the best you and your family are ever treated there. If they aren't nice now, what will they become later? You need to know they appreciate your presence. After all, you are going to spend thousands of dollars there. You may spend more money in college that you do on your house. You need to feel that they appreciate your investment and future accolades for that university. If they don't...reconsider your choice. It's about you, not the name of the school or the so-called prestige. If they aren't doing their best for you....next. SEE THE RESIDENCE HOUSING-not just the model. Freshman students often can only stay in certain dormitory housing. See where you are actually going to live. EAT AT THE CAFETERIA-find out how good (or not) the food is now. That may determine what kind of meal plan you choose, if you have a choice. Find out if it carries over from semester to semester or if it expires. Unused meals mean lost money-make sure you know what the circumstances are. BEFORE YOU GO TO VISIT: Make an appointment to see the Career Services department and have a sit-down. Even if you don't know what you major will be, you need to know that this department is as sharp as the academic departments at your chosen school. Education is essential, but if the career services department of your university is weak, it will make it harder for you to get a job. Not good. Schedule a meet with financial aid, especially if you have gaps in your financing. See if they have a little more money for a department scholarship, alumni, etc. that can help you close the gap without loans. LOANS SHOULD BE USED AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE! You will carry that debt forever until you pay it off. Bankruptcy will NOT get rid of it. If a school seems less interested in giving you merit money for your excellent performance in high school and more interested in steering your parents towards a PLUS loan, run for the door! Make sure you tell them why you are running for the door. They may suddenly realize they may have additional areas to tap that reduces your loan liability. Many schools for years had agreement with lenders and did very little to help alleviate that initial funding gap. The rules have changed, the market has changed, and so that behavior must change. It is easier for them if you just get a loan. That is not easier for your life. Knock down that funding gap as much as possible as soon as possible. Don't sign ANYTHING involving loan funding you don't understand. Have it explained and if needed, take it home and have a family discussion or high school guidance counselor discussion before signing your life away. FALCON'S NEW BOOK: I will have a book out in April on this subject as well as trying to attend college debt-free. It can be done. THE PARENTS/STUDENT'S GUIDE TO DEBT FREE COLLEGE: GET IN, STAY IN, GRADUATE DEBT-FREE will hit the streets (and the kindle, iPad, and other electronic device) soon! It will be cheap-less than a week's worth of fancy coffee, so get it! The advice will save you $$$. Continue to do your scholarship applications on sites like fastweb.com Always ask the university if there is something else you can apply to to garner more scholarship money. One more thing... If you didn't get in to the school of your dreams, the dream is not over. You should have applied to several universities-First Choice, Good Match, and Safety. If you didn't, apply to a rolling admission school ASAP. The situation will be fluid so stay on top of things. One school doesn't make your destiny. You are the magic behind the effort. You can do well someplace else. DO NOT GET DOWN ON YOURSELF!!!!! Hear me?! This is Falcon Mommy speaking! You are awesome and have a lot to offer. Take your best game to the place you are meant to be. If it's not your First Choice, so what?! This is not an obstacle, this is a opportunity. Grab it. Peace, Falcon and Dove

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