Navigating the College Application Process: From Application to Finding Money on Tuesday Feb 19 at 6pm

Purchase Tickets Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/navigating-the-college-application-process-from-applications-to-finding-tickets-54291782182

Who: 7th through 11th graders  and their parent(s)/guardians

What: Finding money to finance college is about starting early and understanding how it works. This includes where the money comes from (your pocket, scholarships, merit aid, and financial aid) to how to prepare your application for the maximum return (both $ and college choice). Many people wait until the spring of 11th grade to start thinking about the college application process, but it needs to start earlier to get into your choice of colleges and to find the money to finance it.

This workshop is designed for families of 7th through 11th graders to look at how to prepare your application and strategies to find the money to pay for college. It is highly recommended both students and their parent(s) attend the workshop as this is a family approach to the college application process. As this is a family workshop, the price of the workshop is per family (limit 4).

Tickets: Early Bird Fee: $15 (after fees) until Feb 11

General Fee: $20 (after fees) From Feb 12-Feb 19th

Purchase Tickets Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/navigating-the-college-application-process-from-applications-to-finding-tickets-54291782182

Space is limited and advance purchase required

For questions: jen@collegepathadvising.com

Speaker: Jen Miller-Hogg is a private college admissions advisor located in Holly Springs, NC and owner of College Path Advising. She has been working with students, parents, faculty, and staff for over 15 years. She has worked at Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Florida, California College of the Arts, John F. Kennedy University, and Meredith College. Jen graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Administration in High Education from New York University. She has had the privilege of helping hundreds of students and parents find the right school for them. Jen’s own passion is to connect students to what is next for them and aid them on their journey.

More Tips for College Visits and Meaningful Interactions

 Last week, I posted 3 tips for college visits.  This time we’re going for 5 more! Remember it isn’t just about your visit it is about making any interaction you have with colleges meaningful. Make your college application standout through interacting with colleges and finding the right college fit is perhaps the most missed opportunity. It is the part of the application process students, and families don’t see as part of the process. Therefore, the savvy student knows this is an integral aspect of your college application and can be key to getting the best financial aid package. Here are my 5 tips to make your application standout through interaction with colleges and finding the right fit for your student 

  1. Visit With Your College Representatives in Your Area

Even local colleges have representatives travel around to fairs, events at your school, or may hold office time in the Guidance Office. Go to college’s website to find out when they are coming to your area. Also, if they are not coming to your area, find out if they have alumni you can meet with to talk about the college. Treat this like an interview, even if it is casual. Therefore, expect the alumni will report back to the admissions office. These types of interactions are essential if the college is out of the area or you are unable to visit the college campus. Make sure they know who you are!

2. Virtual College Visits

In addition to traveling Admissions Representatives, lots of colleges hold virtual events. College Week Live is one that is hosted at least once a year. It is free. The college itself may hold chats online with current students. These are easy to attend and cost you nothing except a little bit of time. Moreover, if the college doesn’t hold events online, make an appointment to speak with your admissions counselor.  Be sure whatever method you interact with virtually that you have a few questions to ask ahead of time. And as always – make sure they know your name!

3. Visit the Admissions Office

Make sure the Admissions Office knows you were there. As I have been saying, colleges need to know you are involved and the different ways you are getting to know the college. They actually record every interaction with the student. The interaction strategy only works if the college knows the student has interacted with them. Students who interact more with the college are more likely to be accepted (this does not show up every week or call them all the time). Also be sure to book a tour and make an appointment with your admissions counselor.

4. Visit the Department You Are Interested In Majoring In

Make an appointment to talk with the department you are interested in majoring. Come ready with a few questions about that major. Here are a few examples of questions to ask: In the last five years, what are some jobs graduates have gotten? At what point do I need to declare my major in your department to be certain I graduate in 4 years? What type of internship opportunities is there? Do students need to find their own internships or does the department help with placement?

5. Fill Out Your FAFSA

By filling out your Free Application For Federal Student Aid and submitting it to schools, they know you are interested.  I cannot stress enough how important filling out the FAFSA is. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you qualify for aid. Many schools also use the FAFSA for giving out merit aid too. If you don’t apply, you could be passed over for merit aid.

BONUS REPEAT: SEND THANK YOU CARDS!!

As you can see, there are lots of ways to interact with colleges and strategies to make your college application standout. Please note, do not just use one way to communicate with a college and do that a lot. Calling them all the time will backfire. Utilize the methods the school wants you to interact those are opportunities.

Lastly, this is a lot of information. If you want help working through it and how it applies to your student, contact us. We want to help with your student’s application to standout! Let’s Talk!

Upcoming College Open Houses

Open Houses are they a college has a chance to show what it’s got. They usually pull out all the bells and whisles and ultimately want to leave having had a great time and thinking about how you fit at their school.

You get a chance to see what the school is about and have easier access to learning about the school and campus life.

Should you go? Yes. Should it be the only time you go? No.

If you don’t like the school at an open house, odds are you won’t like it when they are not rolling out the red carpet for you. Try not to be too cool to think it is all just silly. Try to see it through their eyes – they’re proud! Now, if you like the school, don’t let this be the only impression it leaves on you. Come back and visit during the week when school is in session. Pick the middle of the day as that should be the busiest. Eat at the cafeteria (because that is what the food will taste like year-round).

Here are a few open house dates coming up:

College of Charleston2/18/2019
Wofford College2/18/2019
Lander University 2/23/2019
Western Carolina University2/23/2019
Winthrop University2/23/2019
University of North Carolina at Charlotte3/16/2019

Want help with the college process? Let’s find a time to chat!

3 Tips for College Visits

So my title says “College Visits” but there is much more to it. It isn’t just about your visit, it is about making any interaction you have with colleges meaningful. Make your college application standout through interacting with colleges and finding the right college fit is perhaps the most missed opportunity. It is the part of the application process students, and families don’t see as part of the process. Therefore, the savvy student knows this is an integral aspect of your college application and can be key to getting the best financial aid package. Here are my 3 tips to make your application standout through interaction with colleges and finding the right fit for your student 

  1. Write Thank You Cards

Any interaction you have with people at colleges you are interested in or considering – write a handwritten thank you card. So, not an email, please! People remember and notice. It likely will be put into your application file and noted on your record.

2. Visit College Campuses

Go visit and check out campuses. One way to see if the college is the right fit for you is to check it out.

An absolute must: Whatever top 5 or 6 schools are that you are going to apply to, try to visit them at least twice. Try to go during the week when the campus is up and moving. The best days to go are in the middle of the week. Saturday and Sunday morning – the campus will seem pretty much asleep (because all the students are asleep).

3. Go To Special Days At A Campus

This can be your first or second visit (but try to go twice), and accepted student day doesn’t count as admissions decisions have already been made. Lots of time colleges will offer application fee waivers by attending special admissions events. Colleges really, really want you to come to these events.  They also tend to be fun and are a great opportunity to learn more about the school. Most events take place in the fall but there defiantly some in the spring.  Check back here and I’ll try to post them!

As you can see, there are lots of ways to interact with colleges and strategies to make your college application standout. Please note, do not just use one way to communicate with a college and do that a lot. Calling them all the time will backfire. Utilize the methods the school wants you to interact those are opportunities.

Lastly, this is a lot of information. If you want help working through it and how it applies to your student, contact us. We want to help with your student’s application to standout! Let’s Talk!

The Price of Private College

So not everyone believes me about private colleges, particularly small private colleges – the sticker price is not what you usually pay. Many people decide the price of private college is just out of their reach and a public is the only way to go. What most don’t think about is priviate colleges have to compete with the publics, therefore, their prices have to be competative too.

But the price says it is $44,000!!! First, you have to consider where those costs are and second, you have to realize tuition costs are rarely not discounted at private colleges. Below are NC State and Campbell University (I apologize the data is not perfect with differing years are because Campbell hasn’t yet updated their costs); I have included tuition, fees, room, and board, but I have not included personal expenses or books as those numbers can vary significantly. If you look there is a significant difference in tuition and fees, but if you add up room and board – the cost is less at Campbell with a small savings of $149.

NC State 2019-2020Campbell 2018-2019
Tuition and Fees910032500
Room 67145390
Board46455820
Total2045943710

Now take a look at the discounting done for at Campbell (data from 2017-2018 from CollegeData):


Number of Freshmen Enrolled
1378
Financial Aid Applicants707 (91%)
Number Found To Have Need530 (75%) of Applicants
Number Recieved Aid530 (100%)
Fully Met Aid182 (34%)
Average Percent of Need Met 79%
Average Award$29,970
Merit-Based Gift of those with no financial need$19,067

If we look at just the merit-based gifts of those with no financial need, the cost of tuition at Campbell University is $13,433. Big difference from the sticker shock of $32,500.

Now, merit-based gifts are not just the top achieving students. This is where your student must put their best foot forward on their application. They must pick a school that matches their academic profile so that they are a top student for that school. And finally, they must interact with that school by attending events and showing interest in the school (yes, this matters).

To give you further evidence, I have included an article from Inside Higher Ed Article which talks about the practice of discounting tuition.

Want to talk more about this? Let’s set up a time to chat.

3 Free Ways to Think About Summer for Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers

Hey Everyone!! So today I am thinking about the summer. I know being so cold, it feels very far away (and yes, I was out this morning in 23 degrees doing my CG working out!). But it is close enough to start planning how you’re going to spend your summer.

If you are a middle schooler or a younger high schooler, it is too soon to legally spend your summer working (yeah, yeah, I can hear the whooping and hollering). AND it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about how to spend your summer to help with your college applications and scholarship applications. Yup – it matters even now!

If you are over 14 you should strongly consider working. Yes, 14 years olds can work with a work permit. However, if you are under 14 years olds, you may think your options are limited.

So what can someone who can’t work yet do? Lots!! (oh and those that can work this applies to you too.)

  1. Volunteer – there are opportunities to volunteer and in lots of different forms. There are organized ways such as the YMCA and the SPCA as well as unorganized ways. What is an unorganized way? Simple – create your own. Find a need in your community, fill it, and keep track of what and how long you are doing it for. An example- talk to a senior community and find out if you can come and visit with seniors for two hours a week (or more). One of the main issues for seniors that are not active is being lonely.
  2. Learn something new – spend the summer learning a new skill or working on a research project. Put together a portfolio or document your process. Be creative.
  3. Start a business – young entrepreneurs are definitely on the rise. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to get out there and sell your service or product. Again document your process and outcomes!

None of these summer activities need to take every moment of your summer, but they need to be meaningful. It is not about punching a clock, rather it is about giving back, learning more about yourself, and using your time creatively.

You didn’t get into the public college you wanted to…

Letters from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and NC State have started to go out. Many students didn’t get the results they were hoping for.

What’s next? All is not lost if this is where you want to go!

  1. There are many public colleges in North Carolina and some of their deadlines have not passed yet. Some are on February 1 and March 1.
  2. Understanding why the public schools are so competitive is important. People perceive the cost is lower and that equals more people applying. However, after merit aid and financial aid, it might not be that much more than public schools. For the most part, the only price difference in tuition. Room and Board are usually very similar in cost. Smaller private schools know they have to compete with public schools. They want you to come to their school. They will often make it worth your time to apply and check them out with offering merit aid. Most of their applications fees are less than the public schools and some are even free.
  3. Community College – going to community college and then a public school is an excellent way to save money. As a transfer student, most colleges are not offering much merit aid (both private and public). Most public schools are not offering much merit aid to either incoming freshmen or transfer students. So, if you have your heart set on going to NC State or UNC-Chapel Hill consider taking two years to go to community college and transfer.

Here a recent article about community colleges and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Click Here

Government Shutdown & Financial Aid

First, I want to say this is not a political post. I try very hard to keep my posts neutral (even when I don’t feel neutral).

As you know, as of today (unless something happened overnight and my post beat me) we are in day 26 in the Government Shutdown. Many are impacted by the Shutdown in both direct and indirect ways. This post is to make sure you know what is going on as far as financial aid is concerned.

The first way the Shutdown may be impacting you is how, what, or if you are being paid. Many are not getting a paycheck. As many are not getting a paycheck, other areas are impacted from landlords waiting for rents to farmers waiting for USDA information which will impact them financially. If you are impacted directly or indirectly in how you are being paid and you have a student ready to go to college or in college – talk to the financial aid office. One clear way financial aid can change are if there are changes in circumstances. Colleges want to work with you, so don’t be shy about letting them know how the Shutdown or any other change in your finances will impact your family and any payments.

The second way the Shutdown may be impact you and financail aid is getting information from the IRS. Hopefully, you filed your FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid in October when the application became available if you have a current college student or a senior applying for next year. If for some reason you did not apply yet, good news, you should still be able to complete the form. While the IRS Data Retrival may not be working (and making it easier for you) you are using 2017 tax forms NOT 2018. Since we are all responsible adults – I would expect you have a copy of your 2017 tax returns. Also the FAFSA department is not impacted by the shutdown:

My hope is that this clears up some concerns. I also want to put out to those working without being paid – thank you! And may this article be obsolite because the Shutdown is over.

Communication and Kindness: An approach to the college applciation process

I am really loving Brennan Barnard’s article in Forbes: A New Year In College Admission. He goes through each population involved in the college application process with the lens of Communication and Kindness.

Barnard covers students, parents, high schools, and colleges and how each can communicate and be kind. My favoirte was for parents and how communication about finances and be honest your personal bias impact how you talk about college in general as well as specific colleges.

For kindess he says, ” We must listen to what they are saying and allow them to stand on their own two feet before they have launched off to college. By modeling kindness and dedication to others, we can show our children that it is who they are and what they do that matters, rather than acceptance to any given college.”

What the best fit is for you as a family financially is key. What the best fit is for your student is essential.