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Evanthe

I think I need help with guidance counseling, i.e. I'm clueless

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I'm not sure what kind of colleges we should be looking at.  Community college?  A state university?  A small, private college that we probably can't afford?  Would my monsters even have a shot at any kind of scholarships if we tried for a small, private college?  There are a couple of small colleges here that teach classically (like they read the Great Books and everything) and I have a feeling they would blend right in there, but we are a one income family and do not have a lot of resources.

My oldest two (girl and boy) just started the new school year - oldest is 11th grade, her brother is 10th grade.  We haven't started looking at colleges and they haven't taken the ACT or SAT, yet.  Oldest is prepping for the ACT now and I plan to have her take it next summer.  She is scoring around 30 on the practice tests.  The oldest will probably graduate a semester early, because we school year-round and she will have plenty of credits.  She plans to take a gap year or a gap semester and do missions work with the church.

They are gifted, but very, very lazy with schoolwork.  When they take an outside class, though, they get A's.  They have an absolute ton of volunteer work/extracurriculars going on.  DD16 has helped organize and run a 5K for charity twice now, she works 1-2 x week with a dog rescue, they both work 1 morning a week with special needs adults at an equestrian therapy center, ds15 runs on a competitive high school track & field team and he just got recruited onto a high school football team (never played football before, but this coach spent weeks trying to recruit ds15 for his team after seeing him run at track).  They've helped with Special Olympics...

Ok, you get the idea.  They're very volunteer/sports-oriented + a little lazy.  They both want to go into medicine.

Any thoughts?  Advice?  I'm planning, by default, just to send them to community college, but then ds15 mentioned wanting to try for a Division III track school (guess what I know very little about).  :(

Guidance counseling advice, Anybody?

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There is a "Homeschool and NCAA Approval" FB page.  I don't believe you need course approval if your son wants Division III, only DII or DI.  But there is a lot of helpful info.  Also check out a recruiting website...Next College Student Athlete is one.  

HSLDA has a lot of college help on their website.  There'a a FB group called It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School  that has a lot of info, too.  

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I would say it is time to start visiting colleges and see what your kids like. Come on into the college board and start reading. I'm assuming if you are starting 11th grade now, that she will graduate in 2 years. It is definitely time to get started :). Have you read Lori D's 4-year high school plan that has when to do testing, college visits etc? I don't know if the search will let you find it right now, but find it soon and you'll see all the things that need to happen in the next 2 years, probably get overwhelmed, but then be ready to tackle it!

Whether a CC is a good fit for kids wanting to go into medicine depends a lot on what their end goal is. Medicine is a broad field. Medical school is competitive and a CC background won't improve their chances for admission. My dd is working on her BSN and the college she attends wouldn't accept science credits from a CC unless it was one they specifically had agreements with - ours wasn't. Consider using that CC for some dual enrollment credits to get them a head start. 

Finally, the initial price tags on colleges may give very little indication of what you will pay. There is need based aid and merit aid. Start learning about what qualifies for need based aid and get those ACT scores to find out if merit aid will be an option. Sometimes the small private schools offer enough aid to be cheaper than state schools and sometimes state schools will offer great aid and honors programs. You've got lots of research to do, but you can do this!

 

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32 minutes ago, Amateur Actress said:

I don't believe you need course approval if your son wants Division III, only DII or DI.  

 

I think I read that before, too.  He's only interested in Division III or that other one (NAIA or something like that).  I'm at the point where I don't even know how you get on one of those teams, so I guess I have a lot of googling to do.  

I was all for them just starting at CC, but now he's mentioning sports in college and I'm starting to feel like one of those little liberal arts colleges might be a better fit for both of them.

Does anyone know at what point do you start seeing scholarship money for ACT scores?  (And I realize these are really dumb questions.  Whew!  Good thing this forum is anonymous!)

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30 minutes ago, Mom22ns said:

Finally, the initial price tags on colleges may give very little indication of what you will pay. There is need based aid and merit aid. Start learning about what qualifies for need based aid and get those ACT scores to find out if merit aid will be an option. Sometimes the small private schools offer enough aid to be cheaper than state schools and sometimes state schools will offer great aid and honors programs. You've got lots of research to do, but you can do this!

 

 

OK, this is exactly what I'm having a hard time grasping.

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I have an Evernote of how to do the college guidance part of homeschooling here

https://www.evernote.com/pub/janet4/collegesearchdatadump

When you click on the link, it may want you to create an Evernote account, but there should also be a "view as guest" option.

Click on the page called "00 Table of Contents" to see how it is all organized.

 

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I would do two years at the CC just for the sake of saving money.  I have two friends with children bound for medical. One plans to be a doctor and the other a pharmacist. Both attended their first two years at the local CC & transferred. 

Our local CC actually has an entire page dedicated to what transfer universities require so you know exactly what classes to take. 

Anyway. Where I live this is the most common route for university bound students.

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8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

They are gifted, but very, very lazy with schoolwork.  When they take an outside class, though, they get A's. 

I wouldn't worry about work-ethic too much at this stage. Sounds like they are good students and esp. that they buckle down for others means they are likely to do well at college. You might consider 1-2 classes of dual enrollment for each student in 11th and 12th grades, if you think they're ready for the challenge. That lets them "dip a toe" in the water of working at college level in advance (and how to study, organize themselves, meet deadlines, handle the online aspect of uploading papers or accessing the online syllabus, etc.), and those courses also can possibly transfer toward a future college degree, reducing the overall amount of credits needed and hence, reduce costs a bit. And, some areas have FREE or reduced tuition for dual-enrolled high school students! :)

8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

I'm not sure what kind of colleges we should be looking at.  Community college?  A state university?  A small, private college that we probably can't afford?

There are pros and cons to all options. You will have to start researching different schools and listing what is a pro and what is a con for each.

Community college (CC) can be great by knocking out the first 2 years of college -- IF the CC is cheaper -- and -- IF the credits all transfer to the 4-year university with the degree your student wants. Downside is that most of the scholarships at 4-year universities are awarded to in-coming freshmen, and there are far fewer scholarships for transfer students (usually small amounts, and they are 1-time awards, compared to the "renewal" (i.e., good for 4 years) freshman scholarships.

Your state university can be a good option as you don't have to pay out-of-state rates, and state universities often are cheaper than private universities (state universities tend to run between $10,000-$20,000 per year in tuition). State universities frequently have an "articulation agreement" with the local CC and accept certain credits as transfer credits and count them towards the degree. They also frequently accept CLEP test scores as credit. And if your state university is also in your town, you can save anywhere from $9,000-$12,000 per year on room & board costs as your student can live at home. The downside is that state universities frequently do not have a lot of scholarship money to hand out. They can also be too big and not have programs that are a good fit for students looking for something smaller or for a specific type of program or experience. And some state "flagship" schools are competitive for admissions.

Small private colleges can surprise you financially -- while they do have much higher tuition costs, they also frequently have a lot of endowment money and can be generous with scholarships, so that the cost of private college with scholarships can drop down and be about equivalent to the state university cost without scholarships. Downside can definitely be cost, and if your student has to transfer to a different school partway through, a new school may not accept ALL the credits towards the degree at the new school, so it can extend the time (and hence, cost) of getting a degree.

It all comes down to research, research, research -- what programs do the schools offer, how much do they cost, what are the odds of landing scholarships, and which are the best fit for the specific student academically, campus life-wise, and opportunity-wise?

8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

Would my monsters even have a shot at any kind of scholarships if we tried for a small, private college?

...Oldest is prepping for the ACT now and ... She is scoring around 30 on the practice tests.  The oldest will probably graduate a semester early, because we school year-round and she will have plenty of credits.  She plans to take a gap year or a gap semester and do missions work with the church.

They are gifted, but very, very lazy with schoolwork.  When they take an outside class, though, they get A's.  They have an absolute ton of volunteer work/extracurriculars going on. 

With good grades and test scores like this, plus loads of extracurriculars, yes, your students are good candidates for scholarships. But, the key is to start searching for colleges that are going to be a good financial fit for each student:

  • Figure out your family finances -- what are you realistically going to be able to afford to contribute each year to each student: $5,000? $10,000? $20,000?
  • Go to the FAFSA Forecaster to get an idea of what the Federal Gov't will expect you to contribute towards college (it will probably be far more than what you budgeted ;) ).
  • Then use the numbers from the FAFSA Forecaster and use the net price calculators on various college websites to get a rough idea of how much it will cost.
  • Then look up specific colleges to get a feel for how much scholarship money each might award. Go to the College Data website, search for the specific colleges of interest, and click then read through the statistics on the college. Look for where that ACT score of 30 would place your student in comparison with the rest of the incoming freshmen -- if in the top 5-10%, then your student stands a very good chance of a bigger scholarship. Also look at the "Money Matters" section for that school on College Data website and see how many students receive aid, what types of aid, and what the average award amount is.

For more about Financial Aid and about Scholarships, check out the big pinned thread at the top of this board ("Transcripts, Credits... Scholarships/Financial Aid... links to past threads here!" -- the 5th post down in to that thread has links to a lot of great past threads on those topics. Start with these threads:

8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

... ds15 mentioned wanting to try for a Division III track school...

The good news is that only Division I and II sports require meeting NCAA requirements. The bad news is that Division III does not award sports scholarships. However, if your student is good at a sport AND either has financial need or good grades, there's a higher chance of getting one of the other types of scholarships (because the student will also be performing in the sports area for the school -- it's their sneaky work-around ;) ).

Some community colleges (CC) do have sports teams, so even if DS wanted to start off at a CC, he might still be able to do track. Also, many CCs have scholarships for attending the CC, so be sure to have your students apply for scholarships -- find the deadline and don't miss it! -- if they end up attending the CC after graduating from high school. (The scholarships are only for college students, not for dual-enrolled high school students.)

8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

 

8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

They both want to go into medicine.

Right now, you can start doing some career exploration. "Medicine" is a huge field, and they may find that when they are exposed to the many different types of jobs in that field, that some are more appealing than others -- nurse, physician, surgeon, specialist (like cardiologist, orthopedics, optomology, etc.), EMT/paramedic, physical or occupational therapist, sports medicine, pharmacist, medical researcher, radiology or sonogram tech, respiratory therapist, anesthesiologist, dietician, psychiatrist, veterinarian...

Read about what different jobs do, what education/training is required, what salaries to expect, and what the projected job outlook is for the different jobs at the U.S. Bureau of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook .  Job shadow jobs of interest. Take a free online Interest Profiler test to come up with your 3-letter "Holland Code" of top interests in the way you like to work and then use those results to come up with lists of possible jobs that fit your top interests at CA Career Zone or NY Career Zone websites. Or just go straight to the Health & Medical career category at CA Career Zone - health & medical jobs and NY Career Zone - medical careers and explore -- both have info and videos of what various jobs are like. 

As your students begin to narrow down to what they might want to do, that will give you an idea of how to narrow down colleges somewhat, to those who offer degrees and internships/opportunities in the field of interest of each student.

BEST of luck, as you get started wearing your administrator/guidance counselor hats! (:P Warmest regards, Lori D.

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7 hours ago, Evanthe said:

Does anyone know at what point do you start seeing scholarship money for ACT scores?  (And I realize these are really dumb questions...

Not dumb questions at all! :)

To land merit aid (scholarships based on good grades or high ACT/SAT scores), the ACT may be as low as 26-28 or need to be as high as 34-36. It all depends on the school's statistics of what the average (50%) and 75% (top 25%) scores of incoming freshmen are. For someplace like Stanford, the *average* ACT score is 34 -- so if you don't have a 35 or 36 (and 36 is a perfect score), then you're unlikely to get a merit-based scholarship. On the other hand, if the school's average ACT score of incoming freshmen is 26, and your student has a 28-30, the student is very likely to land a partial scholarship. And if the student has a score above 30, then the student may land a substantial scholarship.

"Full ride" scholarships cover all costs -- tuition, room & board, and expenses. These are very rare. "Full tuition" scholarships cover the full cost of the tuition, and sometimes (not always) also the cost of required fees, but do NOT cover the cost of room & board and other expenses. There are more of these than "full ride", but these are still more of "the exception rather than the rule" in scholarships. The majority of scholarships are "partial scholarships" and may be able to only be applied towards tuition, or may be able to be applied towards room & board, books, or other expenses.

The other "big" score is when your student takes the PSAT in 11th grade, and is in the 99th% (97th% and up if Latino due to some additional special scholarships), the student may qualify for NMS (National Merit Scholarship). If the student becomes a NMS finalist, the student receives the 1-time NMS awards of $2500, which isn't that big a deal, BUT, many universities offer FULL tuition and some offer FULL RIDE scholarships to NMS finalists.

Here are some lists of "automatic" scholarships for certain ACT/SAT scores:

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7 hours ago, Evanthe said:

 

OK, this is exactly what I'm having a hard time grasping.

Need-based has to do with your family's financial information. Need-based is almost always based on the EFC number (Estimated Family Contribution) that is generated when you fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Most schools require that you fill out the FAFSA before they will award any money. The EFC number is what the government thinks you should be able to contribute each year towards your student's college costs. It does not take into consideration extenuating circumstances such as single-income, high cost-of-living areas, and health expenses. Note: you CAN appeal to a college to request more aid, as long as you can bring in all the financial documents to back up your claim to having more financial need than what the EFC on the FAFSA shows.

Merit-based has to do with either good GPA and high ACT/SAT scores, or good at sports (athletic scholarship), good at music or art or etc. (fine arts scholarship), or you match up with the certain qualifications required by the scholarship (first in family to attend college; of a certain racial/ethnic background; have a disability; etc.). Some merit aid ALSO adds a requirement of need-based.

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7 hours ago, Evanthe said:

 at what point do you start seeing scholarship money for ACT scores?

I don't think there's a blanket answer to this question.

DS had a tippy top SAT score. Not quite perfect, but close. He got $0 in merit aid from one of our state universities and only about half of total cost of attendance/year at the other. He also applied to a private well respected engineering school and got about $25,000/year of merit aid which still left about $40,000/year not covered. His major is computer science which is pretty competitive. People around here who knew his scores (they asked, I didn't volunteer that info lol) were flabbergasted that he didn't get a full ride anywhere in state, although since he was a National Merit Finalist he could have at a few out of state universities that aren't as good for his major.

I know several kids in less competitive majors at the same schools that got more merit aid than he did with significantly lower scores. How competitive the major is really matters. I don't know how medical programs would fit into that, but I would imagine those would be competitive too.

And yes, in case you can't tell, I'm still kind of bitter about it even though I know I shouldn't be :sleep:

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Another spot to look for money, if either has an interest in nursing, is ROTC. http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/nurse.html   https://www.discovernursing.com/scholarship/us-air-force-rotc-three-and-four-year-nursing-scholarships#.Wt-ij4jwbIU  https://www.goarmy.com/rotc/courses-and-colleges/programs/nursing.html

 

A number of my kids found that their cost was far less at a private school than a state school. I just had this same conversation with a Scout dad last night. Yep, his oldest is headed to the very expensive private school--cheaper than in-state. 

 

We have a relative who had the tippy-top SAT thing, but got almost no merit aid. Said child had nothing else to bring to the table, and was denied at a school that my dd was accepted to. However, my dd had lots of other awards and activities. 

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8 hours ago, Evanthe said:

...The oldest will probably graduate a semester early, because we school year-round and she will have plenty of credits.  She plans to take a gap year or a gap semester and do missions work with the church.

If doing a gap year, be sure to put in applications in the fall/winter of DD's 12th grade year, get accepted, get the scholarship offers and financial aid packages, and then contact the schools and ask about their policy for deferring entrance for a year to do a gap year. Otherwise, DD might miss out on possible scholarship offers.

AND -- HUGELY IMPORTANT here, do NOT take ANY college credits/courses during the gap year or gap semester, as that kicks the student out of freshmen eligibility, loses the freshmen scholarships, and knocks the student into transfer student status. Be VERY careful about continuing education and a gap year!!

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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:

If doing a gap year, be sure to put in applications in the fall/winter of DD's 12th grade year, get accepted, get the scholarship offers and financial aid packages, and then contact the schools and ask about their policy for deferring entrance for a year to do a gap year. Otherwise, DD might miss out on possible scholarship offers.

AND -- HUGELY IMPORTANT here, do NOT take ANY college credits/courses during the gap year or gap semester, as that kicks the student out of freshmen eligibility, loses the freshmen scholarships, and knocks the student into transfer student status. Be VERY careful about continuing education and a gap year!!

Such wise words! Especially the first paragraph. I learned the hard way that the most strategic way to plan for a gap year is to apply as though you're not taking one. This maximizes scholarship and financial aid. 

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4 minutes ago, Knock said:

...I learned the hard way that the most strategic way to plan for a gap year is to apply as though you're not taking one...

Ug! So sorry to hear that. :(

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20 hours ago, JanetC said:

I have an Evernote of how to do the college guidance part of homeschooling here

https://www.evernote.com/pub/janet4/collegesearchdatadump

When you click on the link, it may want you to create an Evernote account, but there should also be a "view as guest" option.

Click on the page called "00 Table of Contents" to see how it is all organized.

 

 

Wow, there's so much info on there!  Thank-you! 

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19 hours ago, mytwomonkeys said:

I would do two years at the CC just for the sake of saving money.  I have two friends with children bound for medical. One plans to be a doctor and the other a pharmacist. Both attended their first two years at the local CC & transferred. 

Our local CC actually has an entire page dedicated to what transfer universities require so you know exactly what classes to take. 

Anyway. Where I live this is the most common route for university bound students.

 

Yeah, I actually really like our CC.  This sounds cheesy, but it's supposed to be one of the top 10 CC's in the country.  And everyone here starts there and just transfers.  They do have transfer agreements with all the universities that my kids are interested in.  And we have several doctors in the family who also said it's just fine to start there and get the core curriculum out of the way.  I'm just thrown off by my kids' sudden desire to play college sports and our ACT practice test scores...  I did look to see if the CC had any sports clubs and they do...just not track & field.  If we end up starting at CC, he's just going to have to find a club outside of school.  

Yesterday, I ended up talking to them about how it's time to start seriously looking into college stuff.  DD16 wants to "live at home and go to college" and "doesn't want to drive too far in traffic".  (Where's that rolling eyes emoji?  But, you know, changing lanes is still scary for her, so I can see how she doesn't want to drive too far- Lol). DS15 says playing sports or at least being able to join a sports club is his priority (once again, rolling eyes).

And I can't believe we've reached the point where we're looking at colleges based on "what kind of sports clubs do they have" and "how far down the highway are they".

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15 hours ago, Momto5inIN said:

I don't think there's a blanket answer to this question.

DS had a tippy top SAT score. Not quite perfect, but close. He got $0 in merit aid from one of our state universities and only about half of total cost of attendance/year at the other. He also applied to a private well respected engineering school and got about $25,000/year of merit aid which still left about $40,000/year not covered. His major is computer science which is pretty competitive. People around here who knew his scores (they asked, I didn't volunteer that info lol) were flabbergasted that he didn't get a full ride anywhere in state, although since he was a National Merit Finalist he could have at a few out of state universities that aren't as good for his major.

I know several kids in less competitive majors at the same schools that got more merit aid than he did with significantly lower scores. How competitive the major is really matters. I don't know how medical programs would fit into that, but I would imagine those would be competitive too.

And yes, in case you can't tell, I'm still kind of bitter about it even though I know I shouldn't be :sleep:

 

I would be irritated, too!  No, mine aren't looking at anything that competitive as undergrads.  They are both interested in majoring in psychology or kinesiology as undergrads.  DD mentioned majoring in Classics recently (not sure where that came from- thanks WTM!).  He wants to try for med school and she wants to try for PT school, eventually.

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15 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

We have a relative who had the tippy-top SAT thing, but got almost no merit aid. Said child had nothing else to bring to the table, and was denied at a school that my dd was accepted to. However, my dd had lots of other awards and activities. 

 

This feels like it's a new thing (maybe a backlash from the overscheduled kid-syndrome)....but my kids have several friends who have no activities, no sports, no volunteer work.  Their transcript is just going to be their classes that they took and their SAT/ACT score.  I know we're not supposed to push our kids to the brink of insanity with activities, but I think colleges are expecting to see "something" these days, especially if they are looking at competitive programs/schools.  

I always put them in a bunch of sports/activities, because I figured it would keep them out of trouble.  We've had friends/neighbors who were selling drugs out of the house while the parents were at work, having behavioral problems at home and school, etc.  I figured keeping them busy with sports and stuff would keep mine out of trouble.  So, not really to impress colleges, but to keep them busy.

 

And Lori D., I'm going read through those links over an entire pot of coffee...  Thank-you for taking the time to type out all that info!  (It would've taken me days to type that - I'm a slow typer - Lol.)

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I'm following this thread, and it seems to be easier to find threads again if I post, so please forgive this off-topic intrusion...

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4 hours ago, Evanthe said:

And I can't believe we've reached the point where we're looking at colleges based on "what kind of sports clubs do they have" and "how far down the highway are they".

This would make my holder's search much easier if she had either preference. Sometimes, those are fine reasons to help narrow down the myriad of choices.

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Whenever one of these broad college inquiry posts emerges, my first thought is "Where is Lori D?" :-) She came through once again!

As far as merit aid, I will add that not every school offers merit aid. For some, it is strictly need-based. She mentioned Stanford in one post, and that is an example of a school that has no merit scholarships, though their need-based aid is exceptionally generous. So you do have to look at what is available at every individual school as far as merit, and run their website calculators (which may not be entirely accurate) to get a ball park for what you might qualify.

Head over to the dreaded College Confidential website and go to the Parent forum and the Financial aid forum. Both are useful.

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just posting so that I can try to find this later….

Lots of good advice in here.  Thanks to those who share links and experience.  :)

 

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3 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

Whenever one of these broad college inquiry posts emerges, my first thought is "Where is Lori D?" :-)

LOL! And I'm always thinking, I sure hope JanetC, 8FillTheHeart, Barbara H, and all of those other very savvy college BTDT moms show up and answer this!

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Thank you all for posting. I'm a year closer than Evanthe with a junior this year, and I am floundering.  I appreciate all the info you all through out here so I can soak it up!

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23 hours ago, Lori D. said:

If doing a gap year, be sure to put in applications in the fall/winter of DD's 12th grade year, get accepted, get the scholarship offers and financial aid packages, and then contact the schools and ask about their policy for deferring entrance for a year to do a gap year. Otherwise, DD might miss out on possible scholarship offers.

This can vary from school to school — some prefer it this way, some don't care either way, and some will not allow the student to defer and hold onto a scholarship, so the student has to reapply anyway. DS applied during his gap year and it was not a problem, he was still awarded the maximum scholarships. If a gap year is planned, it's worth it to call schools of interest and see how each school prefers to handle it.

 

23 hours ago, Lori D. said:

AND -- HUGELY IMPORTANT here, do NOT take ANY college credits/courses during the gap year or gap semester, as that kicks the student out of freshmen eligibility, loses the freshmen scholarships, and knocks the student into transfer student status. Be VERY careful about continuing education and a gap year!!

DS's school said that he could not even audit a single CC course on a noncredit basis without losing his freshman scholarships, so I agree about the need to be very very careful with this!

 

 

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On April 24, 2018 at 5:46 AM, Evanthe said:

ds15 runs on a competitive high school track & field team and he just got recruited onto a high school football team (never played football before, but this coach spent weeks trying to recruit ds15 for his team after seeing him run at track).  They've helped with Special Olympics...

If your son is serious about running track in college, I would start reading CC threads about track recruiting. You can look up the track times for athletes at various schools and see where he might be competitive. If his times are good enough, he might also want to look at some D2 schools; both D2 and NAIA offer (partial) scholarships but D3 does not.

If your DD is serious about wanting to live at home and commute, I would start looking at commutable schools, see what scholarships they offer and what the requirements are, run the net price calculators, and encourage her to really prep for the ACT to maximize scholarship opportunities. I would also encourage her to take the PSAT this fall (assuming she will count as a Junior this fall), because there are some good scholarships for National Merit Finalists (e.g. full ride at UA) if she changes her mind about going away.

I'd be a little cautious about the CC-transfer route for a future med student. I'm sure some people manage to do it, but I've read so many warnings about med schools dinging applicants who did coursework (especially the hard sciences) at CC instead of at a 4 yr. I wouldn't just default to that without exploring other options, especially since it sounds like your kids are plenty bright enough, and active enough (their ECs sound great) to be competitive at good 4 yr schools, potentially with scholarship money. 

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2 hours ago, cuckoomamma said:

Thank you all for posting. I'm a year closer than Evanthe with a junior this year, and I am floundering.  I appreciate all the info you all through out here so I can soak it up!

 

Please post and/or start a thread if you have a question, too.  I probably have pretty much the same questions you have!   

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On 4/24/2018 at 5:09 PM, Momto5inIN said:

DS had a tippy top SAT score. Not quite perfect, but close. He got $0 in merit aid from one of our state universities and only about half of total cost of attendance/year at the other. He also applied to a private well respected engineering school and got about $25,000/year of merit aid which still left about $40,000/year not covered. His major is computer science which is pretty competitive. People around here who knew his scores (they asked, I didn't volunteer that info lol) were flabbergasted that he didn't get a full ride anywhere in state, although since he was a National Merit Finalist he could have at a few out of state universities that aren't as good for his major.

I know several kids in less competitive majors at the same schools that got more merit aid than he did with significantly lower scores. How competitive the major is really matters.

The takeaway from this post is that if you want really large merit $$, application strategy is pretty much everything. The application list needs to consist of automatic merit and competitive merit and ranking can't be a filtering criteria. There are plenty of schools out there where major doesn't come into play in terms of who is awarded merit, but more than likely you have to go down in rankings toward schools that are considered not as good as others they would be admitted to if they weren't merit focused.

We take the approach that beggars can't be choosers.  May not sound glamorous like talking about dream schools or elite school admissions, but, hey, the truth is the truth.  My kids apply to where they have the greatest odds of receiving large merit awards.  FWIW, from our perspective, they are still great schools and our kids have had great outcomes.  The whole "where you go is not who you will be" mantra.  It's been true for our family and they have graduated debt-free (and we have had to take on no debt.)

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43 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

The takeaway from this post is that if you want really large merit $$, application strategy is pretty much everything. The application list needs to consist of automatic merit and competitive merit and ranking can't be a filtering criteria. There are plenty of schools out there where major doesn't come into play in terms of who is awarded merit, but more than likely you have to go down in rankings toward schools that are considered not as good as others they would be admitted to if they weren't merit focused.

We take the approach that beggars can't be choosers.  May not sound glamorous like talking about dream schools or elite school admissions, but, hey, the truth is the truth.  My kids apply to where they have the greatest odds of receiving large merit awards.  FWIW, from our perspective, they are still great schools and our kids have had great outcomes.  The whole "where you go is not who you will be" mantra.  It's been true for our family and they have graduated debt-free (and we have had to take on no debt.)

I totally agree, both with debt free being the goal and that school reputation is not the be all end all ... and that our application strategy was not completely well thought out :) DS is our 1st college student and we naively assumed that a top score and strong transcript combined with solid ECs and lots of volunteer experience would get him at least some merit aid at a state university. But our experience proves that you can't really just shoot for a certain score and assume that it will bring in the money as the OP seemed to be asking.

DS chose his school knowing he'd be full pay but it was worth it to him to stay in state, close to home, with an active youth group from our church denomination. The fact that it's better for his major was icing on the cake. He's satisfied with his choice and so am I and it looks like between 529 savings and him working part time and living at home he should be able to do it debt free.

It was just very frustrating to realize that, contrary to what "everybody" we know irl said we could virtually count on with his score, the state university gave him nothing. It was surprising to me and definitely a learning experience for us, and I wanted to share it.

Sorry to all if my comment about being bitter came across ... well ... more bitter than I meant it to sound. :blush:

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10 hours ago, Momto5inIN said:

I totally agree, both with debt free being the goal and that school reputation is not the be all end all ... and that our application strategy was not completely well thought out :) DS is our 1st college student and we naively assumed that a top score and strong transcript combined with solid ECs and lots of volunteer experience would get him at least some merit aid at a state university. But our experience proves that you can't really just shoot for a certain score and assume that it will bring in the money as the OP seemed to be asking.

DS chose his school knowing he'd be full pay but it was worth it to him to stay in state, close to home, with an active youth group from our church denomination. The fact that it's better for his major was icing on the cake. He's satisfied with his choice and so am I and it looks like between 529 savings and him working part time and living at home he should be able to do it debt free.

It was just very frustrating to realize that, contrary to what "everybody" we know irl said we could virtually count on with his score, the state university gave him nothing. It was surprising to me and definitely a learning experience for us, and I wanted to share it.

Sorry to all if my comment about being bitter came across ... well ... more bitter than I meant it to sound. :blush:

Was he a NMF? Did he submit he complete application and scholarship application by Nov. 1 and receive absolutely $0 in merit (truly full pay)?  If so, I would at minimum contact Purdue and ask why he didn't receive the $500 NMF scholarship.

(it occurred to me that maybe the early deadline might have been a factor. It absolutely may not have been.  But, it made me think that the caution to be aware of very early deadlines needed to be part of this discussion and that they need to be on future applicants' radar.  Some schools have an Oct. 15 deadline for merit consideration, some Nov 1, some Nov 15.  Students need to make sure that test scores, transcripts are sent in time to meet the deadline. That LOR have time to be written and submitted, etc. Not meeting early deadlines can mean absolute disqualification from consideration.)

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11 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

The takeaway from this post is that if you want really large merit $$, application strategy is pretty much everything. The application list needs to consist of automatic merit and competitive merit and ranking can't be a filtering criteria. 

 

I know you're busy, but if you have time, can you explain this?

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I have another really dumb question...  After you apply, generally how long does it take to get an acceptance/rejection?  Do they wait until their deadline or the end of the year to let you know?

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43 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

I know you're busy, but if you have time, can you explain this?

How scholarship $$ is offered varies by school.  For example, Bama offers a $25,000 scholarship automatically to students with a 33 and a 3.5 GPA. https://scholarships.ua.edu/types/out-of-state.php UA-H offers full-tution plus room for a 34 plus a 4.0. https://www.uah.edu/admissions/undergraduate/financial-aid/scholarships/merit-tuition-scholarships and a full-ride for NMF.  

Quote

This 4-year award is valued at full tuition (up to 18 credit hours per semester), and also includes a course fee stipend (up to $1000), an on-campus housing allowance, and a meal plan allowance. Renewal is based on satisfactory academic progress and full-time student status.

Those are example of automatic scholarships. Apply, get accepted, receive. 

Then you have competitive scholarships. They are not automatic and are few in number. USCarolina's Top Scholars is an example. https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/undergraduate_admissions/honors_and_scholars_programs/top_scholars/selection_process/index.php (45 OOS students selected for 3 different scholarships)

Then you have opaque schools that offer merit but the merit often is just a drop in the bucket. Case Western is an example. They offer a lot top students $25-30K. To be awarded one of those is almost the equivalent of automatic but it isn't published. If you pay enough attention, however, you can become aware of schools with similar practices. But a $30k discount still leaves a hefty bill of close to $40k.

In very simplistic terms, the higher ranked the school, the higher the likelihood of merit being competitive or "token". Some higher ranked schools have a handful of extremely competitive merit like the Robertson at UNC or Duke.  URochester offers lots of token merit (small discounts to large numbers.)

The best approach if you want merit is to build an appropriate list, a combo of automatic and competitive (making sure your student really is competitive and not just wishful thinking.)

 

39 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

I have another really dumb question...  After you apply, generally how long does it take to get an acceptance/rejection?  Do they wait until their deadline or the end of the year to let you know?

Some schools have rolling admissions and students find out in waves shortly after applying.  Other schools have published announcement dates.  It can also depend on when they apply. Early applications may have give a response before Christmas. Regular application dates may have a spring answer.

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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Was he a NMF? Did he submit he complete application and scholarship application by Nov. 1 and receive absolutely $0 in merit (truly full pay)?  If so, I would at minimum contact Purdue and ask why he didn't receive the $500 NMF scholarship.

(it occurred to me that maybe the early deadline might have been a factor. It absolutely may not have been.  But, it made me think that the caution to be aware of very early deadlines needed to be part of this discussion and that they need to be on future applicants' radar.  Some schools have an Oct. 15 deadline for merit consideration, some Nov 1, some Nov 15.  Students need to make sure that test scores, transcripts are sent in time to meet the deadline. That LOR have time to be written and submitted, etc. Not meeting early deadlines can mean absolute disqualification from consideration.)

Yes he was NMF. As far as I can tell he hit all the correct deadlines. He listed his school preference as undecided until just a couple weeks ago (he was waiting to hear about another scholarship from IU before deciding) so that $500 hasn't hit his Purdue account yet. So I guess he's not completely full pay :)

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9 minutes ago, cuckoomamma said:

In order to meet those early deadlines, should we be asking for LOR now?

Thanks!

 

My kids did ask spring of Jr yr and let the recommendor know that they would be applying for scholarships with early fall deadlines.  My kids worked on these apps as soon as they opened. Some they did over the summer; some didn't open until Aug/Sept. But, as soon as they finished their app, they let the recommendor know they had applied and  reminded them of the early deadline.

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46 minutes ago, Momto5inIN said:

Yes he was NMF. As far as I can tell he hit all the correct deadlines. He listed his school preference as undecided until just a couple weeks ago (he was waiting to hear about another scholarship from IU before deciding) so that $500 hasn't hit his Purdue account yet. So I guess he's not completely full pay :)

I am not sure I understand the "as far as I can tell" qualifier.  He should know when applications were submitted. Schools have online portals where students can log in to verify what parts have been received, what are missing, etc.  Did he verify that all components were received before the deadline either via portal or by contacting his admissions rep? I feel extremely bad asking you those questions. :unsure:

For other parents reading, I would make the following suggestions....Do not leave all of this up to your kids without guidance from you. Follow up after hitting submit.  Make sure they check off every required component as it is received and if anything is missing, have them follow up and make sure it is received on time.  It can be a lot of balls to juggle. Spreadsheets with schools, requirements, deadlines, etc can be necessary to ensure every base is covered.  Calls as the guidance counselor asking for clarity on issues such as " Is filling out FAFSA a requirement for the scholarship?" can be made. If the students have questions, they can call their admissions officer and verify everything has been received. It does not need to be left as a question or possibility. They should know. They can check off each school as the application is 100% complete.

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5 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I am not sure I understand the "as far as I can tell" qualifier.  He should know when applications were submitted. Schools have online portals where students can log in to verify what parts have been received, what are missing, etc.  Did he verify that all components were received before the deadline either via portal or by contacting his admissions rep? I feel extremely bad asking you those questions. 

For other parents reading, I would make the following suggestions....Do not leave all of this up to your kids without guidance from you. Follow up after hitting submit.  Make sure they check off every required component as it is received and if anything is missing, have them follow up and make sure it is received on time.  It can be a lot of balls to juggle. Spreadsheets with schools, requirements, deadlines, etc can be necessary to ensure every base is covered.  Calls as the guidance counselor asking for clarity on issues such as " Is filling out FAFSA a requirement for the scholarship?" can be made. If the students have questions, they can call their admissions officer and verify everything has been received. It does not need to be left as a question or possibility. They should know. They can check off each school as the application is 100% complete.

Don't feel bad! Sorry I wasn't clear. He was/is on top of his applications and deadlines for various colleges and scholarships and yes I checked up on him to make sure, probably more than was necessary in his eyes ;)

I just meant that while I'm reasonably confident he submitted everything by the deadline it's certainly possible we misread something and missed something somewhere, but I don't think so.

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I keep forgetting to add this FREE resource to posts about reducing college costs by knocking out as much as the entire freshman year of college while still in high school: Modern States:

"Students can take one course or many courses from Modern States, and then – by passing the AP or CLEP exams – can begin with up to a full year’s worth of credit after they enroll in traditional college, making Modern States an “on-ramp” to college.  Modern States hopes to provide links for students to tutoring, mentoring and college advising groups as well."

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