We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)


DECEMBER

LEARN

The Basics of Financial Aid

Financial Aid can be confusing.  Let’s take a few moments to discuss the most common myth around financial aid and why it could cost your family a bunch of money. 

MYTH: I don’t need to file the FAFSA because our family doesn’t qualify.

There are three reasons why this myth can be damaging.

Reason #1:

While there are families/individuals with income thresholds that will not qualify for need-based aid assistance, it’s still very important for families to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This form helps your family determine your household’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), otherwise known as “out of pocket” costs. 

Reason #2

Since the cost of college is skyrocketing, aid dollars can be awarded for many families that before might not have qualified.  Families with multiple students in college may not have qualified for need-based aid for their oldest child but will qualify with their second child in college.

Reason #3

Finally, you never know when your family’s financial circumstances will change. Loss of job, death, or divorce can disrupt income and change your family’s situation in an instant.  Without the proper paperwork filed, there is no way the school can jump in to help you pay for college.

If you’re left with questions, there are many institutions that can help you get the answers you need.  Call the Financial Aid Office at the school to which your student is applying.  The financial aid officers there can help you.  Another great option is to go right to the source: FAFSA https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm

We always advise that students have some financial responsibility for their education to help them stay more engaged and committed to their coursework.  At the very least, it’s important to go through this process with your student as it will help them better understand the financial responsibilities associated with a college education.


DO

Interview Practice

Over the course of the next few months, your son or daughter will most likely be participating in one or more interviews.  We know that employers will interview prospective employees for jobs.  Of increasing popularity is the use of interviews for scholarships and even for college admissions.

Preparing for a scholarship or college admissions interview is critical to their success.  They should be very familiar with the details of their activities resume, their respective essay responses, and be able to maturely talk about their college and career ambitions.  Politeness, confidence, and humility will always help them shine!

Take some time to talk with them about the interview.  You can even ask them some straightforward questions and help them rehearse their responses. 


TIP #1

Positive self-care is more than skin-deep. Taking care of emotions is important to a healthy life.  Talk to your student.  Be willing to listen without offering help.  Encourage them to find a trusted adult, like a guidance counselor, to share concerns with if they won't share with you. 

TIP #2

Final exams - not the best part of HS but really important for their grades.  This time of year can be crazy busy and hectic, help them set aside time for studying – sometimes alone and other times with a (productive) study group.  Be sure to ask them if they need any other support as this can be a stressful experience for some students.


Know a school that could use some college readiness support?

We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning.  Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students.  Learn more by clicking here.