Waitlisted For Your Top College Choice What’s Next?

Waitlisted For Your Top College Choice

You had hoped the admissions process would be over by now, but you have been waitlisted for your top college choice. What do you do now?

33% of colleges and universities use waitlists. These lists are effectively the colleges’ back up plans. They have a number in mind of how many freshmen they want to admit. The colleges also know that not all students will accept their invitations to join their student bodies. So the waitlists are there to fill the gap.

Approximately 10% of student s who apply to a college with a waitlist will wind up on the list. Out of those 10%, 20% of them will get off the waitlist and get into the college.

So here’s your first lesson about being waitlisted. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against you. You only have a 1 in 5 chance of getting off that waitlist. So if you’re serious about and you really want to get into that school, then you better do some work to improve your chances.

1. The student makes all contact with the college.

First things first… Mom and Dad need to stay out of this process. Here’s a bit of trivia for you…

Out of all the communication that a typical admissions office receives:

  • 85% comes from parents of prospective students
  • 10% comes from high school guidance counselors
  • 5% comes from the students themselves

Only 5% of all communication comes from the students! Do you realize that one of the most effective ways for your student to stand out amongst the thousands of applicants is to be one of the very few students who contact the admissions department themselves? This is the first key to getting off the waitlist. The student should be making all the contact with the college.

2. Decide whether or not to pursue the waitlisted school or schools.

This is an important step, and can easily get overlooked, so answer this big question now.  Take stock and determine if you really want to remain on the waitlist. Is the school that much more desirable than their second or third choice which has already admitted them? Do you want to hang on to the chance they would get in? Since most of the financial resources will have long before been allocated and history shows you are not likely to get a generous award.  If lowering the out of pocket cost is important, it’s worth taking a serious look if you should take the money being offered by one of the other schools.

3. What’s your backup plan?

Third… You and your student need to formulate their backup plan. Remember, only 20% of students get off the waitlist. Also keep in mind that most colleges require you to make a yes or no decision by May 1st. There is a very high likelihood that you will not hear anything about getting off the waitlist until July or August. So you must have a backup plan.

Pick one of the other schools you have already been accepted to, hopefully one with a generous financial aid offer, and send in your confirmation and deposits. You need to pursue your backup plan school as if you will be there in the fall. Then if your first choice school comes through and you get off the waitlist; you can let your backup know and change course. Of course, you have to be willing to give up your deposits at the backup school.

Do not pass up this step. You must have a backup plan. Don’t start telling yourself, “well that doesn’t seem fair to my backup school.”

4. Contact the Admissions office

Fourth… You need to contact the admissions office directly (you being the student). Ask them why you were waitlisted. Was there something missing? Were your ACT or SAT scores just a little too low? Were they looking for more leadership? Find out as many details about the admissions decision that you can without being a pest. Find out who the admissions representative is who has your file.

Now send them a letter reiterating your interest in going to their school. List what you like about their school. Is the location, the staff, its history, your experience at a campus visit. You need to present yourself as someone who is knowledgeable and a good fit for their university.

5. Follow up with the College

Fifth… You need to be following up with the college as you are able to provide them with important information which will cast you in a good light and help them make their decisions. Here are some good reasons to contact your admissions rep and update them:

  • Your ACT or SAT score went up measurably
  • Your GPA has improved
  • You have just received a school or community award.

This is not the time to Twitter your admissions counselor to death. They don’t care who you went to prom with. They don’t care that you’re going on a really cool senior trip. And they don’t care that your group won the high school battle of the bands.

You want to provide them relevant information.

6. Don’t Obsess over the Waitlist

If you’ve put together a well thought out admissions plan, you should have several other schools who have already accepted you. You are just as likely to have a great college experience at those schools as you are at your first choice school. So don’t worry about it. Get on with the rest of your Senior year and have some fun!

If you would like a complimentary financial aid evaluation, please contact our office.

2018 FAFSA Filing Is Approaching, What You Need To Know

2018 FAFSA Filing

The 2018 FAFSA filing is approaching here is what you need to know. Like for the current academic year, families can file the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as Oct. 1 (instead of Jan. 1 as families have done in the past) for the upcoming 2018 -19 school year.

What you need to know: Each college will have their own deadline and will vary from school to school and some deadlines can be as early as Nov. 1 and as late as of Apr. 1. The second deadline is determined by the family’s home state. Starting Oct. 1, families can check their state’s deadline here. Some states have hard deadlines and other states have suggested deadlines to make sure you get priority consideration for college money. There’s also a group of states that offer first-come, first-served financial aid.

If you would like more information on FAFSA and how to properly file your financial aid forms, please contact our office.

5 Facts Parents Need To Know About Student Loans

Here are 5 facts parents need to know about student loans.  I want to first mention the drawbacks of a private student loans that may include the interest is often variable, less flexible repayment options, the student may have to start making payments while they are still in school, there is a higher limit on lending which will mean the student will be paying more interest, the loan will be dependent on the student’s credit score, and if the lender requires a co-signer, the student may be putting that person at financial risk.

  1. Borrow only what you need.
  2. Be clear in what you are signing.
  3. Know the differences between subsidized and unsubsidized Federal loans.
  4. Never turn down a subsidized loan.
  5. Shop around at local banks and credit unions to learn what they have to offer in private loans before utilizing any unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loan. Why? Friendly terms! Over the last 2-3 years I have been learning from some of our clients that they have secured a private loan with a lower interest rate then a Federal loan. For example, I talked to a client recently that retained a private loan at a 3% rate.

If you need more advice about student loans, financial aid, FAFSA, CSS Profile or scholarships please don’t hesitate to contact our office.  We offer a complimentary consultation to see if our service would be a fit and help your family reduce the out of pocket cost of college.

Federal Student Loan Limits 2107 & What You Need To Know

In this interview with Student Loan Hero our founder Ronald Ramsdell discusses Federal student loan limits 2017 and what you need to know. In the article with Elyssa Kirkham, Ronald covers the three most important points parents and students need to know are, families need to plan ahead regarding paying for college resulting in less college debt and more importantly loan debt. Second, the Federal parent PLUS Loan should be the very last option. And third, parents should defiantly shop around at local community banks, major banks and credit unions.

Over the last couple of years we have learned from some of our clients that they have secured private education loans at better terms compared to Federal student loans. If you would like more information regarding loans, FAFSA, CSS Profile or an expert help to better afford a college education, please contact us for a complementary consultation.

Read the article Federal Student Loan Limits on Student Loan Hero now.

What You Need To Know About 529 Plans 2017

529 Plans 2017

Here is what you need to know about 529 plans 2017 update.  A 529 savings account allows you to build an education fund within an individual investment account. Money you contribute is invested in one or more specific investment portfolios.

I recommend families create the account in the parents name since the three formulas colleges utilize to determine how much financial aid a student may receive will assess students assets much higher than the parent’s assets.

As 529 plans, both college savings plans and prepaid tuition plans offer significant federal tax advantages. Funds in each type of plan grow tax deferred, and withdrawals from either plan used for the beneficiary’s qualified education expenses are completely income tax free at the federal level. As a general rule, I don’t recommend parents utilize multiple plans. However there are occasions that call for multiple 529 plans:

  1. If your children are more than a couple of years apart in age, you will most likely have different investment objectives for their college savings. You may decide that one particular 529 plan has better equity-weighted investments (suitable for a young child) while a different 529 plan is more attractive for its conservative options (suitable for an older child).
  2. If you have a sense of which particular schools, or types of school, your children are likely to attend, the choice of institution may influence your selection of a 529 plan. This is especially true if your state offers a prepaid tuition plan, or if you are considering the private-college Independent 529 Plan. A few of the 529 savings plans also offer extra benefits for students attending certain schools.
  3. If you’re simply not sure about your choice of 529 plan, you can hedge your bets by spreading your contributions among two or more 529 plans. You might also achieve some more diversification in your investments by doing so, at least in regard to the fund managers handling your college savings.
  4. If you will need to fund a child’s education with money out of your pocket, it’s almost impossible to find a scenario a 529 plan does not makes sense.

When shopping for a 529 plan, you should always consider your own state’s 529 plan, even if you ultimately decide to go with an out-of-state 529 plan. Special tax or other benefits may be available for using your in-state plan.

In some states, you may be able to take full advantage of a state tax deduction by enrolling just one of your children in the state’s 529 plan, giving you more freedom to search outside your state for a 529 plan for your other child. In other states, however, the full state tax benefit is obtained only when both of your children are enrolled in the in-state 529 plan.

If you would like professional advice and assistance completing the financial aid forms correctly and working the system all while saving you time and stress please contact our office for a complimentary consultation.

7 Tips On Lowering College Costs

7 Tips On Lowering College Costs

We all know that the cost of a college education is off the charts and for many families affording a college education can be a real challenge. Here are 12 tips that families can use to save money in the process:

  1. Compare housing options
  2. Don’t buy new textbooks
  3. Consider dual enrollment
  4. Get a tuition discount
  5. Attend a college with fixed-price tuition
  6. Utilize a work study program
  7. Graduate on time

Two bonus tips…

  1. Consider a community college in the first year or two
  2. Consider being a resident advisor. Many colleges will offer free or reduce room and board

Explore all of your aid options. With that said, parents need to be savvy when it comes to the financial aid process. The more they know about the process, the more likely they will retain more gift-aid. The more gift-aid, the less loans needed. Regarding loans, never turn down a subsidized loan(s) if offered and more importantly if needed.

Parents should consider retaining professional guidance. A trained expert will assure the family will retain the most financial aid possible. Also students should always pursue outside scholarships which will help to lower their out of pocket cost for a four education. Once on campus, the student should walk into the financial aid office to ask if there are any “in house” scholarships that they can apply for. Parents should set up a 529 plan early on.

If you wish more tips or information on how to lower college costs, please contact our office.

Why Student Campus Visits Are An Important Factor In Choosing A College

Student campus visits are a key part in deciding which college or university is a good fit. There is a feeling that a student experiences here. I have been told by many students over the years that they love a campus, or do not love a campus when they first arrive. While a student can find out basically all he or she needs to know about a campus via the Internet, until a student takes a trip to that campus, they will not know the real feel of the campus setting. The feeling once a student arrives is very personal, and it is one all students need to have experienced before deciding which school is right for them.

A campus visit allows the student to experience the trip involved to get to the school, the people who are there, and the actual learning environment on campus. Seeing the dorms and dorm rooms, the library, the career center, the fitness center, the bookstore, tasting the food, walking around the campus. All of these factors are important to understand if a student will actually be happy once he or she is a student there.

If you would like more information on how to take a quality campus tour, please contact our office.

When Students & Parents Don’t Agree On College

In our years of helping thousands of students and parents we see it’s very common they don’t always agree on college should attend. Some reasons include the cost, location, the student has a friend(s) attending a specific college, academic reasons, the student wants to attend a prestigious school that may not be appropriate or benefit them etc.

One of my suggestions is that the parent(s) and the student take a “time out” and agree to discuss the topic again in the near future. But before doing so, I recommend both the parent(s) and the student take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle and at the top on one side write Pros and on the other side Cons and list all that come to mind. In their next discussion it becomes more clear to both sides on how to make the best common sense decision.

If the disagreement is over the cost of a certain college, it is the parent’s responsibility to educate the student on the amount of debt he or she will graduate with. Also, the student should be responsible for some of the cost. I have found that the more the student is involved in paying for their education, the more serious they are to achieve the best in their education.

Should A Family Hire A College Admissions Consultant?

college admissions consultant
I highly recommend that most families retain a college admissions consultant when their child is looking to get into a top private college or ivy league institution. The college admissions consultant can be of benefit in many ways including test preparation and college selection, to essay and interview coaching and providing a strong application package. The cost can range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the level of services offered, needs of the student and the types of colleges they are pursuing. Ideally like good financial aid planning families should start the process in the Sophomore or Junior year in high school.

In addition most students will benefit from college admissions assistance even though they may not be a top student.

It’s important to differentiate that a college admissions consultant and financial aid consultants have different areas of expertise.  If you would like us to recommend a top college admission consultant for your son or daughter, please contact one of our staff.

Amazon Prime Student Loans. What You Need To Know.

Amazon is stepping into the student-loan marketplace with Wells Fargo to offer discounts to customers of the online retailer as Amazon Prime Student Loans.  A student-loan discount will be offered to Amazon Prime Student members. The online retailer has entered into a partnership with San Francisco lender Wells Fargo& Co. in which the bank’s student-lending arm will offer interest-rate discounts to select Amazon shoppers.

Before considering private loans for college, families should always utilize all  Subsidize Federal Loans (Stafford and Perkins) offered. With that said, if a family still needs additional educational loan assistance, they should shop around at various lending institutions large and small  for the best terms.  Over 70% of families borrow less when their financial aid forms are filled out correctly. Unfortunately the majority of families who do not retain professional guidance will make mistakes. Please contact our office to lower your out of pocket cost for your child’s education.

Amazon Tiptoes Into Banking Business Through Student Loans
News Source: Wall Street Journal

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