Posts Tagged ‘merit scholarships’

Juniors, Here Is A List of What To Expect When You Are Expecting to Go To College

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Most college admission officers will tell you, from the spring semester of a student’s junior year through the fall semester of that student’s senior year, they should be heading full tilt towards college.  What does that mean?  It means this is the time for students to get serious about the college selection process.  Here is a timeline, to help you know what to expect when you are expecting to go to college.

February:

If possible, start visiting colleges.  In order to do that, you need to speak with your guidance counselor or college adviser and craft an initial list of schools.  Possibly take the ACT for the first time, if you haven’t yet.  Register for the March SAT.  Prepare for both tests.

March:

Most high schools begin their course selection for senior year.  Remember to take a challenging curriculum.  Register for the April ACT.  Continue studying for both tests.  College Visits!  If you want to play sports in college, start contacting coaches.

April:

Register for the May SAT or SAT II’s.  You will need to take the SAT II Subject Tests if you are applying to some colleges.  If you are taking an AP test that correlates with an SAT II test, then I recommend you take the SAT II in May, as the May test date is right in the middle of AP Exams, and all the content will be fresh in your head.  If you have registered for it, take the ACT test.  Continue your college visits and start to narrow down your list of schools.

May:

Take the SAT or SAT II’s, if you have registered for the test.  Register for the June SAT or SAT II, or ACT.  Study for the tests!  Get your results back from the April ACT or the May SAT.  Decide if you need to take the test again, and what you need to study.  Start studying for your final exams.  Junior year is the last full year of classes that the colleges will see.  Your grades are always the primary factor in the decision whether to admit you to college or deny you.  Start planning what you are going to do over the summer.  If you think might want to have one of your current teachers write you a letter of recommendation, ask now, so he or she can write the letter over the Summer.

June:

Take your high school exams, if you haven’t yet.  Take the SAT or SAT II, or the ACT.  Most colleges are out of session now, so visits might not be as effective as when classes are in session.  But, it is better to visit in the Summer than to never visit at all.  Review your test results and plan which tests you need to retake in the Fall and how you are going to prepare.  Contact college coaches again to let them know which camps, tournaments, etcetera you will be attending over the Summer.

July:

Have a little fun!  OK, now back to work.  Review your of schools and start narrowing it down to the final schools to which you are going to apply.  Start writing your personal statement or college essay.  Work a summer job, go to a summer program, or perform some community service.  Make certain to stay active.

August:

The Common Application becomes available.  Start an account online, and start filling out your application.  Work on your college essay!  The best writing takes abundant rewriting, so be sure to give yourself enough time to write a good essay.  Get a list together of all school requirements for the schools to which you are applying (how many teacher recommendations, extra essays, interviews, et cetera).  Touch base with any teachers you have asked to write a letter of recommendation for you.  You can now provide them with the Common Application’s Teacher Evaluation form.  Visit colleges.  Interview for college.  Decide if and where you will apply Early Decision and or Early Action.  Study for standardized tests.  Register for September ACT.

September:

Keep up your grades.  Put finishing touches on applications.  Continue college interviews.  Request teacher recommendations.  Finalize your college list.  Review the list to make sure you have at least one admission “safe” school and one financial “safe” school.  If you do not have a financial “safety”, use CollegeTreasure.com to find one.  Take ACT again if necessary. Register for October SAT, if necessary.  Study for standardized tests.

October:

Take SAT and ACT if necessary.  Request transcripts from your guidance office.  Finalize and submit applications for your Early Action and Early Decision schools.  Continue visits and interviews.  Send thank you notes to anyone you had interviewed with previously.  Make certain you have requested your letters of recommendation.  Send thank you letters to teachers who have written you recommendations.  Check on financial aid deadlines to the schools to which you are applying.  Register for November SAT, if necessary.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

College Treasure Database Update Complete

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

We are exited to announce that after several months of diligent work by our staff of researchers, the database update at CollegeTreasure.com is finally complete! The database now contains over 3,300 different scholarship opportunities from over 1,200 different colleges. The average value of a scholarship in our database is $12,353 per year. Most are renewable for all 4 years, which puts the actual value at close to $50,000. As our data set is now much more robust, we are planning on adding other means of searching the data in the near future. We anticipate adding functions to allow you to search for talent based scholarships (art, music, theater), guaranteed scholarships, and minority scholarships. Currently all of those scholarships would be mixed in with your results, but we hope to offer students and parents a means to streamline this process soon.

The charge to access this data base is a nominal $85 annual subscription fee to families. This is approximately the cost of one college application. So, if you apply to one-less school because you know you are not eligible for any scholarships, you have already broken even without even winning one of the scholarships. In We encourage families who are eligible for an SAT fee waiver to contact us directly, if they are interested in searching the database.

Two recent surveys had over 50% of families only allowing their children to apply to in-state state schools. However, a recent article on Yahoo reports that states are cutting their budgets to educational grant programs and this is leaving many students with large gaps of unmet need. Now more than ever it is important to research college-based merit scholarships ahead of time. This is documented by an article this past week in the Wall Street Journal that shows many families are facing a last minute tuition crunch. Many families do not apply to private universities because they fear the sticker price, however, their children may be eligible for a merit scholarship that would bring the cost in line with that of a state university. We spent over a 1,000 hours researching the available scholarship programs, and now in minutes you can locate schools where you are eligible for scholarships.

CollegeTreasure.com is an attempt to bring clarity to the college financing picture. In addition to the data base we provide articles and tips about the need-based aid process. If you are a college, and would like to have us create a free account for you so that you can update your scholarship information and publicize your scholarships to interested students, email colleges@collegetreasure.com. Our goal is to create partnership with the colleges to help publicize their scholarship programs and help potential students avoid the “sticker shock” created by learning about the tuition at their favorite colleges.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Paying for College

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

The last week has brought about a number of different items of news related to how we pay for college.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to summarize some of the key changes:

  • The Obama administration has made it a priority to increase access to a college education.  To date, they have increased the size of the Pell grant, planned to modernize the Perkins Loan program, and offered the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a $2,500 tax credit each year for four years of college.  There most recent efforts have been aimed at simplifying the FAFSA.  The online FAFSA no has improved programming to make it possible to skip more of the unnecessary questions.  They are also working with the IRS to allow students to seemlessly retrieve relevant tax data.  This will be available in January of 2010 for students applying for aid for the Spring semester.  They hope to expand that program.  To read more about the changes, view this post on the Department of Education web page.
  • As of July 1 the interest rate on Subsidized Stafford Loans dropped to 5.6%.  Unfortunately, over the past month more lenders have dropped out of the program, the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation being one of the most recent casualties.  Also as of July 1, students who owe on FFEL program loans are now eligible for Income Based Repayment (IBR).  Visit the department fo education website to learn more about this program. View this document to learn more about Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees, and view this document to learn more about Loan Forgiveness for teachers.
  • Finally, this post on the Choice College Blog talks about how scholarships are becoming more difficult to find.  We are currently updating the database of college-based merit scholarships on collegetreasure.com and we have noticed that while some colleges are becoming more generous in these tough times, many colleges are actually reducing the size and number of their scholarships.  This as tuition continues to rise, and while this past year it rose at the lowest rate in almost 40 years, it is still outpacing inflation, so you would naturally expect scholarships to increase to cover that increased tuition.  There are still opportunities out there, we just recommend that students start looking for them earlier.  Now more than every it is critical that you have a financial safety as well as an admissions safety.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,