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.

College Financial Aid Awards Are Starting To Arrive

Financial Aid Awards Are Starting To Arrive

College financial aid awards are starting to arrive earlier this year due to the FAFSA  timeline change. Don’t worry about this because it’s a good thing!  Immediately you should be asking yourself are these award(s) fair for my college student? The answer is unless you are awarded 100% of the total college cost you wouldn’t know.  If you filled out the FAFSA and CSS Profile you might have interpreted the question incorrectly.

The reality is that many families will simply take what is originally offered therefore will spend more for college than they need to, sometimes into the thousands of dollars more.

If you are reading this you must have questions and be looking for the best answers.  Just like a good tax accountant it pays to have a professional who knows how to accurately interpret the questions and provide the best answer based on your situation to receive more financial aid. College Aid Consulting Services brings 26 years of experience, our clients are assured, in the end, that they will receive the best aid package possible. Since we have worked with the majority of 4 year state schools and private colleges in the U.S., we know what to expect from a given college. If you would like one of our staff to review your awards letters and information that was submitted, 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.

How To Avoid Financial Aid Awards That Shrink Every Year

Financial Aid Awards

Many parents approach me after their son or daughter has started their private or public school education and ask how to avoid financial aid awards that shrink every year. Assuming the decrease in aid was not do to financial reasons, here are some suggestions for parents and students to avoid the trap:

  • After receiving your financial aid offer for the first year and before you commit to the college, ask them what you can expect from them in the following years
  • Keep your grades up. If the student retains a high GPA, it will be less likely the school will play money games with your financial aid awards
  • Like the GPA, get involved with school activities and be an asset to the college
  • If the college is still playing the game, the student may want to consider one of the college’s rival schools. Many colleges don’t want to lose students to their competitors due to only issues to financial aid awards
  • The family may want to consider retaining a trained and proven financial aid expert. This person will be able to negotiate with the college to better their award

If you are like most parents you are well-intentioned in attempting to maximize the financial aid for your family without help. College Aid Consulting Services has over 26 years of experience working with federal institutions, colleges, universities and others that decide how much money you will receive. If you are reading this we hope you take advantage of our complimentary consultation and contact us today.

Parents Continue To Be Misled By High School Guidance Counselors

Tired student worried about paying for college

It continues and unfortunately will not stop. Parents are being told the wrong information regarding financial aid topics. I just talked with a new client and she stated that her daughter’s high school counselor informed her that their 2015 taxes need to be completed before they can file the FAFSA and that the deadline for FAFSA for their colleges is June 30th 2016. Not true in both cases.

First of all, parents and or students can file their FAFSA with estimated figures. Second, each college will have their own specific deadline for FAFSA and more importantly the CSS Profile if required. It is true that the Federal deadline for FAFSA is June 30th 2016 for the academic year 2016-17. However, if one goes by that deadline, the student will miss out on good aid and that is what happened to this family. The deadline for three of their colleges was in January.

Two points here. Parents need to realize that the high school guidance counselor is not a trained expert in the financial aid process and it is the parent(s) responsibility to confirm the actual deadline with the college(s) preferably by a phone call. Recently I was informed that a college had an incorrect deadline for FAFSA and the CSS Profile on their website. If you would like appropriate advice in the financial aid process, please contact our office.

Be Wary of Scholarship Services

Be Wary of Scholarship Services

We can’t stress enough… be wary of scholarship services promising money. This is the time, many high school seniors have finished their college applications and are waiting for results. Parents and prospective students are starting to look into options and plan how the family or individual (father/mother) are going to pay for it.

Every year I hear from students and or parents who has paid a service to find scholarships, only to discover they are getting nothing but empty promises.
Some financial aid is based on need, while other scholarships may be based on merit, a special skill or even an essay on a particular topic.

Companies may offer to assist in finding aid, but I advise students to be wary of websites, seminars or other schemes that promise to find scholarships, grants or financial aid packages for a fee. The companies may promise a money-back guarantee, but they set so many conditions that it’s almost impossible to get a refund. Others tell students they have been selected as finalists but that they have to pay a fee to be eligible for the award. Advance fees often are a sign that the award is not legitimate.

Legitimate companies can help students find aid, but they will never guarantee results. However, parents and students usually can find the same awards and others on their own by searching online or going to the library. However, this will mean that one will have to invest a lot of time in the process due to the many worthless sources out there. We at College Aid Consulting Services have tracked legitimate scholarships sources over the last 25 years that are worthy of one’s time. We have testimonials from happy parents to prove it.  If you would like more information regarding outside scholarship sources, please contact our office.

Financial Assets & How They Affect Financial Aid

The article elaborates on assets and how financial assets affect financial aid eligibility. First of all, many who are completing the required financial aid forms do not know that certain assets do not have to be reported. Second, families with certain assets can implement appropriate strategies to increase their financial aid eligibility. If you desire valuable advice from a trained professional with over 25 years of experience, please contact our office.

5 Reasons Why You Won’t Get Free Money for College
Source: gobankingrates.com

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