Five Tips On How To Transfer Colleges Effectively

We get a few questions every semester from students and parents interested in the details of transferring their financial aid to a new and different college or university.  Below are some of the most common pieces of advice we offer.  If you think your financial aid position might have changed please contact our offices for a complimentary consultation.

  1. Make sure that all of your credits will transfer or you may have to repeat the course(s) you have already taken
  2. After checking out course transfers, inquire about financial aid packages. Not all colleges will offer generous awards
  3. Ask about “in house” scholarships at your new school that you may qualify for
  4. Ask the admission office for an application fee waiver. FYI, many colleges will have earlier application deadlines
  5. Student loans do not transfer so resubmit your FAFSA immediately.

10 Things You Have To Do Before Going Off To College

We know it’s an exciting time. You’re about to move away and start college. While you’ve probably already done everything you need to do, you should double check. Sometimes we can forget something — minor or crucial — because we’re so excited, nervous, scared or in shock.

Here are the top 10 things you should make sure you’ve completed before heading off to college.

  1. Make sure all of your financial aid/grants/loans have gone through. Check the status on your FAFSA online and call your school’s financial aid office to ensure your everything has been processed with out issue.
  2. Sign up for freshman or transfer orientation, which will likely occur before the school semester starts. While orientations vary, many set out to achieve the following: Meet other students Discuss classes and majors with academic advisors Register for classes (if you haven’t already) Learn about campus resources
  3. Call the housing department at your school to verify your dorm situation or double checking with a landlord or roommate that you’re all set to move in to an apartment or house.
  4. Plan out which welcome week events you’ll attend. Many colleges pack the first week of college with events that orient new students to the school. Colleges welcome week events consist of: Free barbecue food and ice cream Residence hall meetings Informational sessions on academic offerings A football game Plan ahead so you won’t miss out on the events you want to attend.
  5. Don’t leave your house and hop in the car or on that plane without crucial little items, like retainers, inhalers and spare keys (for that surprise visit home).
  6. Make sure you’re registered for the classes you need and that none of none of them got cancelled. It’s rare, and you’d likely be notified, but sometimes a class may get cancelled if not enough people signed up. You’ll want to know if that happened as soon as possible, so you can replace the course.
  7. Can you even make it to your new city? Make sure the car you’re taking there is capable (get an oil change or have a mechanic take a look at it) or that your flight is booked and you have a way of getting to your new home from the airport.
  8. Colleges sometimes inform you who your dorm-mate will be. Meet this person if they live in your city, or video chat if you live in different cities. If you don’t click and have a chance of swapping for someone else, you’ll want to do that before the semester starts to avoid awkwardness.
  9. Don’t forget to buy some crucial dorm accessories if you’re living on campus. The checklist for this includes: Desk lamp Laundry bag Shower caddy Umbrella Backpack You can buy these when you arrive, but you may want to not add to your already large to-do list and buy them ahead of time. 
  10. Have a going-away party. Even if you’re the type who thinks throwing yourself a going-away party is narcissistic or arrogant, or are uncomfortable because it makes you the center of attention, it will give friends, family members and acquaintances a chance to say goodbye in person. You may see them when you visit but it’s good for everyone, including yourself, to celebrate the closing of a life chapter (and opening of a new one) together formally.

If you can check everything off of this list, then you will likely be ready to start at your new college and begin your new life. Enjoy the experience!

Tips For Students On How To Pay For College

Through the years we have seen a number of things students can do to lower their out of pocket cost for their education. First students should always walk into the financial aid office the first day they are on campus and ask if there are any “in house” scholarships they can apply for. Many times there are and students are not aware that they exist.

Other tips include: pursue outside scholarships keeping in mind that they should never pay for a scholarship service. Set up a 529 plan. Whenever possible purchase used textbooks and sell them when they are finished with them. Utilize work study on campus whenever possible. Keep credit card debt at a minimum and always pay it down on time. Choose the right meal plan. Set up a student checking account. Most of them are free. Keep organized regarding their spending habits. Get the right cell phone plan. Utilize alternative transportation. Consider being a resident advisor. Many colleges will offer free or reduce room and board.

If possible, retain a trained expert in the financial aid process. These people can save families thousands of dollars in their 4 year education. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

Did Your College Financial Aid Award Fall Short?

Our students are continuing to receive their initial financial aid offers. Unfortunately many of the financial aid awards from the colleges are falling short. Knowing what makes a good and fair award and how to appropriately appeal, will make an immense difference in what the out of pocket cost the family will incur. We continue to appeal and negotiate our client’s financial aid offers that we feel the college can do better. Result, more money for college. If you would like us to review your award(s), please contact our office.

12 Things To Do Before Going Off To College

We know it’s an exciting time. You’re about to move away for college. And while you’ve probably already done everything you need to do, you should double check. Sometimes we can forget something — minor or crucial — because we’re so excited, nervous, scared or in shock.

Here are 12 things you should make sure you’ve completed before heading off to college.

  1. Make sure your financial aid has gone through. Check the status on your FAFSA online and call your school’s financial aid office to ensure your loans, grants or scholarships have been processed.
  2. Sign up for freshman or transfer orientation, which will likely occur right before the semester starts. While orientations vary, many set out to achieve the following:
    – Meet other students
    – Discuss classes and majors with academic advisors
    – Register for classes (if you haven’t already)
    – Learn about campus resources
  3. Buy an ethernet cable. Your dorm may have wifi, or you may have your own wifi network, but connecting directly to the Internet with an ethernet cable may mean faster and more secure Internet. Check out Amazon’s selection of ethernet cables or even your school’s bookstore.
  4. Double check that you’re all set up with your living situation, whether that means calling the housing department at your school to verify your dorm situation or double checking with a landlord or roommate that you’re all set to move in to an apartment or house.
  5. Plan out which welcome week events you’ll attend. Many colleges pack the first week of college with events that orient new students to the school. Colleges welcome week events consist of:
    – Free barbecue food and ice cream
    – Residence hall meetings
    – Informational sessions on academic offerings
    – A football game
    – Plan ahead so you won’t miss out on the events you want to attend.
  6. Don’t leave your house and hop in the car or on that plane without crucial little items, like retainers, inhalers and spare keys (for that surprise visit home).
  7. Make sure you’re registered for the classes you need and that none of none of them got cancelled. It’s rare, and you’d likely be notified, but sometimes a class may get cancelled if not enough people signed up. You’ll want to know if that happened as soon as possible, so you can replace the course.
  8. Can you even make it to your new city? Make sure the car you’re taking there is capable (get an oil change or have a mechanic take a look at it) or that your flight is booked and you have a way of getting to your new home from the airport.
  9. Colleges sometimes inform you who your dorm-mate will be. Meet this person if they live in your city, or video chat if you live in different cities. If you don’t click and have a chance of swapping for someone else, you’ll want to do that before the semester starts to avoid awkwardness.
  10. Don’t forget to buy some crucial dorm accessories if you’re living on campus. The checklist for this includes:
    – Desk lamp
    – Laundry bag
    – Shower caddy (because you might be using a shared bathing space)
    – Umbrella (if your a guy be prepared for the ladies)
    – Backpack

    You can buy these when you arrive, but you may want to not add to your already large to-do list and buy them ahead of time.

  11. Have a going-away party. Even if you’re the type who thinks throwing yourself a going-away party is narcissistic or arrogant, or are uncomfortable because it makes you the center of attention, it will give friends, family members and acquaintances a chance to say goodbye in person. You may see them when you visit but it’s good for everyone, including yourself, to celebrate the closing of a life chapter (and opening of a new one) together formally.
  12. Everything you like about your hometown: indulge in it. Eat at your favorite restaurants. Walk around your favorite parts. Drive down your favorite streets. Shop at your favorite stores. Hike your favorite hills. Bike your favorite trails. Swim your favorite pools. Rock out at your favorite venues. See your favorite local comedians perform. Hang out with your favorite people. It may be Thanksgiving before you can again.

If you can check everything off of this list, then you will likely be ready to start at your new college and begin your new life.

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