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Everything posted by JanetC

  1. She should visit all the schools and cities before deciding. Talk to students in the department about how happy they are with the program and the faculty. Of the three places, I've only lived for a time in Houston. It has a vibrant arts community. But I agree with above: the city is sprawl sprawl sprawl and summers are hot.
  2. Can you do early action or rolling admissions at some of your schools? If you get accepted to a school you love early, you don't need additional. One of mine had one safety school, which admitted her in September. She added one target and two reaches.
  3. OK to message me. No, she applied for study abroad then backed out at the last minute. It's not likely to hurt you for graduating, especially if you're at the Lawrence London campus, but there are electives you might miss.
  4. OK, it's time I pipe up on this one as a parent who has one child at "Big State U" and one who just graduated from Lawrence. Regarding course availability: Lawrence is serious about independent study. The "senior experience" graduation requirement means many upperclassmen are rolling their own courses, but my daughter had a friend who started as a freshman in "design your own major" and did this throughout her four years. But, many of the regular classes are only offered every other year. Which makes some scheduling difficult because you can't just "take it next year" or "take it next term." And Big State U may have lots of classes, if you are lucky to have early access by being in an honors program or log in promptly at 6 am or whatever, but just because the class exists on paper doesn't mean you can get into it. And when State U kid did changed majors, but it was like applying all over again: transcript and essay and why should we admit you to our competitive major. Much more flexibility on that at a small college (except for audition-required conservatory majors at Lawrence, but even then there are lots of music ensembles open to non-majors: there really is a strong creative community there for either performing or just the regular stream of awesome performances to attend). Large lectures, grad students running quiz sections, etc. - it's a different experience. My LU daughter sought out small colleges in particular after being at a more impersonal community college for dual enrollment. Lawrence in particular: * Is somewhat isolated from the surrounding town in terms of Trumpy townies not liking what they perceive to be "too liberal" LU students. Honestly, LU has all groups politically but the folks driving by and harassing students can't tell your politics they'll holler at you anyway. (Even visiting parents!) * Has terrible mental health supports if you feel your child might need that * High quality teaching overall * Definitely a see-familiar-faces-everywhere kind of environment
  5. Yes, look at them, but don’t compare apples and oranges. Compare large state schools with other large state schools, and small colleges to small colleges. They collect this data for 4,5, and 6 years. Look at all three. For example, at one kid’s university, 5 year degrees are very popular, and there’s a big bump in the graduation stats at 4 to 5 years, but it stays flat at 6 years. Poor freshman retention rate should be checked with the same caveat: expect a big state university to lose more freshmen than a selective college. Be sure all colleges you compare use the same years for their data. I suspect the pandemic will affect graduation rates once 2020 is in the data window.
  6. Yep. “I don’t wanna” is not a way to get a child to become independent for financial aid purposes. If the parents are somehow unfit (student wants no contact because they are abusive drug users etc) you can try to get independent student exemption from the financial aid office. Expect to jump through many hoops to prove your case, though. And for freshmen, you’ll have to do this at every college you want a financial aid offer from.
  7. One aspect of free-Starbucks-ASU is that Starbucks picks up the remaining bill *after* you've exhausted any federal financial aid. You only get 6 years max of federal financial aid for undergrad. Working enough hours to be eligible for benefits while also going to college often means taking lighter schedule. If you leave Starbucks and still want to go to college, you may have burnt away your financial aid eligibility.
  8. So, medical expenses are often looked at at the very end of the financial aid process - you get an initial offer, then you document your medical expenses and appeal. And you may have to appeal every single year! Because of this, it's best to find the best price tags up front. 1. Run a generic financial aid calculator like this one: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator# This will give you a feel for how much need based aid you can expect before appealing, at least at a generous school. 2. If your kids are bright, aim for those high test scores and merit scholarships. If your state offers HOPE, Bright Futures, etc. stay in state and take the money. 3. If your state offers low-cost or free dual-enrollment, get early college credits to reduce the time your paying for a degree (and then limit your college search to places that take all/most of that credit). The downside to this is that to make the most of this, your kids need to choose their majors early. So, don't neglect career exploration (particularly talking to people already in a field of interest or who studied a major of interest since jobs are not the same thing as majors) 4. Even if your kids are willing to take loans to go to their dream college, they can only borrow 5500 for a freshman loan. After that, it's a parent loan or a parent-cosigned loan. From your description, you cannot be signing for this debt. Make that very clear to your kids as they begin their college search. 5. And yes, bank what you can. If you're getting pandemic relief money, bank it if you can. As you get closer to enrolling, check out what you can get from the American Opportunity Tax Credit and any other programs in affect at the time that might reduce your expenses a bit.
  9. All it means is that your financial aid application meets the criteria for which the financial aid office requests IDOC info, and many financial aid offices just request it from everybody. IDOC doesn't have much to do with acceptance, but your acceptance may be dependent on how much aid you require at need-aware schools.
  10. Fine arts can be competitive in state universities - Art schools and conservatories are expensive and generally have poor financial aid, so there are often lots of applications for the affordable spots in state schools, particularly those universities with BFA options in the arts. Fine arts in general is the hardest to predict admissions for -- the portfolio or audition aspect makes it tricky.
  11. Some schools consider major, some do not. Be aware that schools that limit acceptances for (as an example) Computer Science, typically also make it harder to change majors into the Computer Science department later on. If an application asks about intended major, clarify with the admissions office how that information is used. Is it just for a "general well-rounded class" aspect, or will they hold the student to it? If the student changes their mind, how hard is it to change major? Also, just picking a "weird" major isn't enough to get an admissions boost. The kid with lots of technology-related extracurriculars and strong grades in math naturally has a stronger application applying as an engineering major than as an International Relations major - the story the transcripts, activities, letters, and application form should tell a story that makes sense.
  12. DO NOT take college classes during a gap year, for the reasons Lori outlines above. It's not worth the risk of losing freshman status. And, performing arts classes in particular (with online due to covid restrictions) would be a much better experience after the pandemic returns them to in person. The joy of being a theatre major is the community that forms in the college theatre department. (And fair warning, once you leave college and have to compete for jobs, that community does become more cutthroat.) Normally, the recommendation would be to get real-world experience (i.e. work or volunteer at a theatre) but I know that's not possible during covid. Personally, as the mom of a theatre major who is lost with no backup plan, I would focus on having her spend the year exploring backup options in case theatre doesn't work out. It does not work out for many. The theatres my DD wanted to apply to after graduation (for lighting and/or set carpentry) are generally announcing massive layoffs, taking 'year off' from which they may not return without fundraising success, etc. Theatres are in so much trouble right now.
  13. I would sit down with the advisor and look at the options. Often, two degrees means that there is a difference in geneds (BA = more liberal arts requirements, BS = more stem requirements), not in what you take to get the major. See what courses she needs for each option and whether she is excited to take any "extra" courses required. It may be that it doesn't matter - if she is transfering in those "extra" courses for example - in which case she do whatever she wants! But, transferring often means losing some credits as not everything is accepted, in which case, figuring out the shortest path to her degree will save you some tuition $$$.
  14. In many cases, signing up for housing is not the same as confirming enrollment. Housing fees you pay now are often refundable up to the housing deadline. Read the housing website carefully, but I believe you may more committed emotionally than financially by doing this.
  15. Yes, if it says 100% they look at home equity as part of your assets and assume that you can tap some percentage of that for college expenses (it's not 100% but I don't know the exact value).
  16. There are two financial aid forms/formulas: FAFSA and Profile. Both consider both income and assets (savings, stocks,etc) except for retirement savings for the FAFSA (if in an IRS-approved account like an IRA or a 401k, not just any money you think of as "for my retirement") The FAFSA doesn't counsider your house as an asset either, but the Profile does (for some schools). But the amount of the asset is adjusted differently by different schools, which is what the second chart does. It's easier to just run the college net price calculators to figure out a guesstimate, but some of those are bad, so being able to cross-check at the college board is helpful.
  17. The college board does offer a Profile (they call it "institutional method") estimator but it is only somewhat accurate. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator# Adjust it based on how individual colleges treat the value of your home using this chart: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1u6imBAFMlL_1_8FGI8lypF7fcHUi8LfH/view So if the chart says home equity is capped at 2x income and your home is worth more than that, just enter 2x income as your home value in the college board estimator. I do not know of a chart for adjusting for the value of your business.
  18. So, your cost of attendance minus the financial aid is your net price, not your EFC. It's really important not to confuse EFC calculators and Net Price Calculators (ask if you need clarification). If the financial aid offer doesn't match the school's NPC, it's absolutely fair to ask the financial aid office why. If a NPC asks about your student's GPA, AP scores, etc. it may estimate merit aid, but that merit aid may not come with the initial financial aid offer, so look at the need/merit/loan breakdown of the NPC output carefully and check how/when merit aid is awarded at that school. Merit aid sometimes comes early (if they just use a GPA/score formula), sometimes comes late (if they rank applicants against one another and pick the top X%). If the NPC doesn't estimate merit aid, check with a site like collegedata.com to see if they even offer much merit aid. A guide to financial aid appeal letters is here https://formswift.com/swift-student
  19. There is no "right" or "wrong" answer here. Some schools include high school credits earned in middle school in the high school GPA and some don't. A few schools near here used to consider 9th grade part of "lower" school and 10th starts "upper" school, and the high school GPA might start in 10th. This is a place for you to declare whatever you want to do. If your GPA calculation includes the 8th grade credits, include the 8th grade year in your answer. If you're only counting GPA from 9th, that's fine too. Just answer it however it fits your convention.
  20. A couple of ways these sorts of scams sometimes work: 1. The scammer expected to poach their merchandise from your porch before you got it 2. The scammer expects you to "return" the merchandise to them (by contacting you later about a "mistaken" order and giving you an address other than the seller's) Best thing to do is call the seller, if you can figure out who sent it.
  21. In addition to AWS certifications, here in the Seattle market, certain Microsoft certifications come up a lot.
  22. If the scholarship is worth a lot of money, you likely won't get that as a transfer student elsewhere, so the cost of walking away could be pretty high. If your family needs the money in order for your child to complete a college education, I'd try to keep your personal reactions to this situation as positive as possible. Being able to extract information from dense reading assignments efficiently is an academic superpower. That being said, I think a professionally-written (not whining, not angry) complaint from the students is reasonable under these circumstances.
  23. Here ya go! https://www.bigjeducationalconsulting.com/s/Financial-Aid-for-Nonresident-Alien-Undergraduates-August-2020-Sheet1.pdf
  24. If your student graduates with a diploma from a high school or cover school with a number in the federal database, put high school. Otherwise, put homeschool. Makes it much easier if your FAFSA is selected for verification.
  25. This article, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21453067/amy-coney-barrett-potential-nominee-supreme-court cites many primary sources, including this one: https://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1619&context=jcl
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