Girls Division College Counseling Handbook
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Girls Division Counselors.......................................................................................................................................... 1 College Preparation Timeline ............................................................................................................................... 2 Naviance/Family Connection .................................................................................................................................. 7 Searching for Colleges ............................................................................................................................................... 8 Factors to Consider ..................................................................................................................................................... 9 Campus Visits ............................................................................................................................................................... 12 Questions to Ask ........................................................................................................................................................ 14 Standardized Tests .................................................................................................................................................... 18 Applying to Colleges ................................................................................................................................................. 24 Types of Applications ................................................................................................................................................. 25 College Application Requirements.......................................................................................................................... 26 The College Application Essay ................................................................................................................................. 27 The Student Resume .................................................................................................................................................. 30 Sample Interview Questions ..................................................................................................................................... 32 Guidelines of the National Association of College Admission Counseling ................................................... 33 Paying for College ...................................................................................................................................................... 36 College Funding Sources ........................................................................................................................................... 37 Net Price Calculators................................................................................................................................................. 38 Scholarships .................................................................................................................................................................. 39 Financial Aid .................................................................................................................................................................. 43 Using the FAFSA .......................................................................................................................................................... 46 Western Undergraduate Exchange ......................................................................................................................... 49 Glossary of Terms ...................................................................................................................................................... 50 Appendix ......................................................................................................................................................................... 57 Statement on College Coaches ............................................................................................................................... 58 Helpful Websites ......................................................................................................................................................... 59
Girls Division Counselors Linda Kozler, M.A. email@example.com 303.269.8149 Megan Sturgeon, M.Ed. firstname.lastname@example.org 303.269.8103 Ginger Brown, M.Div., M.Ed. email@example.com 303.269.8151 Margaret Kruse, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org 303.269.8150 Counseling Office Manager Mrs. Bonnie Stanford email@example.com 303.269.8123
College Preparation Timeline Junior Year August- September Attend College Night at Regis Jesuit with your parents. Attend all counselor meetings during advisement. Start the school year strong! Maintain good study and time management habits to create a foundation for a successful school year. Attend the Jesuit Excellence Tour at RJHS to meet with representatives from Jesuit universities Visit with representatives of schools in which you are interested when they are here. Visit dates are posted in Naviance and on the rolling announcements. Be sure to check at least weekly. Make sure you are meeting NCAA requirements if you want to play a sport in college. Make a habit of checking Naviance weekly for updates and information on potential scholarships. October Take the PSAT. This test is a chance for you to practice taking a college entrance test. The results of this test are used to identify National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists so you want to do your best on this test. Complete college search activities in advisement Attend local College Fairs to meet representatives, ask questions, and learn more about prospective colleges. Schedule your Junior Conference with you, your parent(s), and counselor. This meeting should be scheduled for a time between October and February. It will be an opportunity to discuss your courses, testing, career ideas, and college search process with your counselor. November Junior year grades are extremely important in the college admission process, because they are a measure of how well you do in advanced, upper-level courses. Grades also are used to determine scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. So put in the extra effort and keep those grades up! December During December you should receive the results of your PSAT. Read your score report and consult your school counselor to determine how you might improve on future standardized tests. The PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT Reasoning Test, which you will take in the spring. If you plan to take the ACT, register now for the February ACT. January - February Continue to research and refine your list of prospective colleges. Meet with your counselor to discuss your preliminary list of colleges or to follow up after your Junior Conference. You may wish to discuss whether your initial list of colleges meets your needs and interests (academic program, size, location, cost, etc.) and whether you are considering colleges where you are likely to be admitted. You should be optimistic and realistic when applying to colleges. Register to take a standardized test (either ACT or SAT) sometime in the spring. Prepare for standardized tests by signing up for a prep course, using Naviance, completing SAT/ACT practice tests, and using available resources in the counseling office or at bookstores.
March - April When selecting your senior courses, be sure to continue to challenge yourself academically. Discuss your course selections with your counselor. Begin visiting colleges! School breaks are a great time to plan trips to visit out of state colleges. Consult university websites to schedule tours and official visits. Register for the May/June SAT Reasoning Test and/or the June ACT. Ask your counselor to help you interpret your SAT or ACT scores to help you prepare for future testing. Check if any of the schools you are interested in require SAT Subject Tests. If necessary, check the calendar carefully to determine when the Subject Tests you want are offered. Continue to evaluate your list of colleges and universities. Eliminate colleges from the original list that no longer interest you and add others as appropriate. Look into summer jobs or apply for special summer academic or enrichment programs. Colleges love to see students using their knowledge and developing their skills and interests. Attend local college fairs to get more information about colleges on your list. May
Get a jump start on summer activities-consider enrolling in an academic course at a local college, pursuing a summer school program, applying for an internship, working, or volunteering. If you work, save part of your earnings for college. Take AP exams for the Advanced Placement courses you are enrolled in this year.
June - July After school ends, get on the road to visit colleges. Seeing the college firsthand, taking a tour and talking to students can be the greatest help in deciding whether or not a school is right for you. Although it is ideal to visit colleges during the academic year, going in the summer will be valuable. Admission offices employ their students to give tours and answer questions from prospective students and their parents. Take the SAT Reasoning Test, the SAT Subject Tests and/or the ACT. Continue to refine your list of potential colleges and universities. Write your application essay. Take the Essay Writing Course offered at RJHS to help you craft your essay before the school year begins. Begin preparing for the actual application process: draft application essays; revise your resume, and assemble portfolios or audition tapes if necessary.
Senior Year August - September Attend College Night at RJHS to learn about the college application process, scholarships, financial aid, college athletics, and essay writing tips. Schedule an individual student meeting with your counselor as soon as possible. Tell your counselor about your application plans (including scholarship applications). Constantly keep them informed as your plans develop and change. Remember to check Naviance at least weekly for important updates and information. Finalize your list of applications in your Naviance account. Memorize your social security number and the RJHS Girls Division test code- 060082. Research the required application materials for each school to which you are applying. Check on application and financial aid deadlines for the schools to which you plan to apply. They may vary and it is essential to meet all deadlines! Register for the October/November SAT Reasoning Test and/or SAT Subject Tests, or September/October ACT if necessary. If your colleges require recommendations, ask the appropriate people to write on your behalf. Follow instructions to request letters of recommendation. Meet with college representatives at RJHS and attend the Jesuit Excellence Tour to ask final questions. Athletes should begin the eligibility process through the NCAA Eligibility Center. Go to www.eligibilitycenter.org to file the appropriate forms. Athletes may also want to submit cover letters, letters of recommendation, resumes and tapes to a selected group of colleges. Speak with coaches about the best way to proceed; the process will vary from sport to sport. October Continue to work on applications, being especially mindful of early deadlines. Fine tune your resume and college essays. Have official test scores sent by the testing agency to colleges on your list. Request your transcript at least 5 school days before your application deadline. If applying for early decision or early action you should also prepare applications for back-up schools. Submit financial aid information if requested to early decision/action universities. Check to see if these universities require the submission of the CSS Profile. November Take the SAT Reasoning Test or SAT Subject Tests if appropriate. Don't forget to have test scores sent to colleges on your list. Continue completing applications to colleges. Be sure to proofread before you submit! Keep all records, test score reports and copies of applications for admission and financial aid. Do not throw anything away until at least the end of your first year in college. Having detailed records will save you time and effort should anything be lost or should you decide to apply in the future to other colleges and scholarship programs. Continue to update your counselor about your application plans.
December Consult your school counselor again to review your final list of colleges. Be sure you have all bases covered. If you applied for early decision, you should be receiving results soon. If you are accepted, follow the instructions for admitted students. If the decision is deferred until spring or you are denied, submit applications to other colleges. Request a FAFSA PIN (personal identification number). Both the student and one parent must each have a PIN for the FAFSA. Begin to gather materials to complete the FAFSA (see section on financial aid). January Remember to monitor your applications to be sure that all materials are sent and received on time and that they are complete. Stay on top of things and don't procrastinate; you can ruin your chances for admission or financial aid by missing a deadline. Keep working in your classes! Grades and courses continue to count throughout the senior year. Watch ALL scholarship/financial aid deadlines carefully. Request mid-year transcripts to be sent to the colleges to which you applied. Parents and students, complete your income tax forms as soon as possible. You will need those figures to fill out the FAFSA. Complete and return your FAFSA as quickly as possible after January 1. Check to make sure your colleges does not require any other financial aid forms. If they do, consult your counselor or contact the college's financial aid office. February -March If you completed a FAFSA, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Review the SAR carefully and check for any inaccuracies. If necessary, correct any items on the SAR and return it to the FAFSA processor (if a college transmitted your data directly, notify the college of any change). Complete scholarship applications. You may be eligible for more scholarships than you think, so apply for as many as you can. Follow instructions for requesting transcripts and/or recommendations for scholarship applications. Enjoy your final semester in high school, but don't catch senioritis! Keep working hard in your classes: remember schools that accept you do so on with the expectation that you will finish the school year strongly. If your grades fall too drastically, they can rescind their offer of admission! April
Review your college acceptances and financial aid awards. Be sure to compare financial aid packages in your decision-making process. If you are positive you will not enroll at one or more of the colleges which accepted you, please notify those colleges that you have selected another college. Keeping colleges informed of your plans might enable those colleges to admit someone else.
If you know which college you will attend, send your tuition deposit and follow all other instructions for admitted students. You must decide which offer of admission to accept by May 1. Update your counselor and your Naviance account! Bring copies of scholarship award letters to the counseling office. If you are on a waitlist, talk with your counselor and contact the college to let them know you are still very interested.
By May 1, decide on the one college that you will attend. By May 1, send in your tuition deposit to the college you will attend. Notify the other colleges that accepted you that you have selected another college. BE PROUD-you have completed a difficult task. Take Advanced Placement examinations, if appropriate and request that your AP scores be sent to the college you will attend. Update Naviance to inform the counseling office of the college where you plan to enroll.
Request your final transcript to be sent to the college you will attend. Notify the college of any private scholarships or grants you will be receiving. A college may allow you to register, but you will not be able to enroll or register for your second semester without the final transcript from your high school. Know when the payment for tuition, room and board, meal plans, etc., is due. If necessary, ask the financial aid office about a possible payment plan that will allow for you to pay in installments. Congratulations, you've made it through high school! Enjoy your graduation and look forward to college.
Look for information in the mail from the college about housing, roommate(s), orientation, course selection, etc. Respond promptly to all requests from the college.
August-September Ease the transition into college. Accept the fact that you'll be in charge of your academic and personal life. What you do, when you do it and how things get done will be up to you. You'll have new responsibilities and challenges. Think about budgeting your time and establishing priorities. Take charge of the changes that lie ahead and eliminate or minimize pressures. Go forth with confidence and enthusiasm, willingness to adapt and determination to succeed academically and personally. Pack for college. Don't forget to include things that remind you of friends and family. Be prepared for the new opportunities and challenges. Have a great freshman year!
Naviance/Family Connection http://connection.naviance.com/rjgirls One of the most useful resources the Counseling Office provides is a web-based service called “Naviance/Family Connection” that allows students and parents the opportunity to research and make choices about colleges, majors and careers. In addition, Naviance/Family Connection is a service that allows counselors to track and analyze data about colleges, test scores, student applications, and admissions. This web-service is specific to our school and has information that will be helpful to students as they begin the college admissions process. Naviance/Family Connection allows you to: Participate in the planning and advising process – build a resume, complete on-line surveys, and manage timelines and deadlines for admission and scholarships. Prepare for standardized tests with comprehensive test preparation materials. Research colleges – compare your GPA, standardized test scores, and other statistics to actual historical data from our school for former students who have applied and been admitted in the past. Maintain and update a list of colleges you are considering. Link directly to the college or university websites for additional information. Find out which colleges are visiting Regis Jesuit and plan to meet with representatives. Research scholarships through a National Scholarship Search and learn about local scholarship opportunities. Use the email link to send messages to your counselor Request transcripts for colleges and scholarships. Request letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors. Complete a Senior Parent Brag sheet to assist counselors in preparing letters of recommendation. Students should make a habit of viewing their Family Connection homepage regularly. Weekly updates and announcements alert students to scholarship opportunities and colleges visiting RJHS. This serves as a primary method of communication between students and the Counseling Office. Troubleshooting If you do not know your registration code, please contact the Counseling Office at 303.269. 8123 for assistance. Once you have set up your own account, you will sign in using the user name and password you selected during the registration process. A new password may be requested on the Family Connection homepage if needed. If there are technical difficulties, parents and students are encouraged to contact the student’s counselor.
Searching for Colleges
Factors to Consider Geographic Location Some students decide that they want to go to college in a different region of the country from where they grew up. Others want to stay near their hometown or within driving distance from mom and dad. A strict adherence to a specific location can severely limit your college choices. It can be a good idea to consider some colleges outside the location that you currently prefer. Once you start learning about the colleges, your preferences may change, so it is best to keep an open mind. Geographic location will impact traveling distance. It is also important to consider the climate of varying locations. You may also find other factors that will take on greater importance than geography, so you do not want to eliminate a college before you consider whether it has some of the other attributes you are seeking. Enrollment The undergraduate enrollment at a college can range from as little as 700 students to as many as 40,000 students. When determining what size school you wish to attend, consider a range of school sizes around what you believe is the ideal size. For example, if you think that you want to attend an intimate college of fewer than 1,000 students where you know nearly everyone in your class, then your initial pool should probably consist of colleges with up to 5,000 students. Yet, you should also consider a few colleges in the 5,000 to 15,000 student range. Even if you are considering a large university with more class offerings and resources, you still might want to visit a few smaller colleges to confirm your decision. Upon visiting colleges and learning more about them, you may discover that you actually prefer a larger or smaller college than you previously thought. Campus Setting Campus environment is another factor that is important for many students. On one side of the spectrum is a college like Adams State College in a small-town setting in southern Colorado. On the other side of the spectrum is University of Colorado-Denver in the heart of the city. Visiting colleges is one of the best ways to help you decide upon the campus setting that you prefer. Campus Safety The best way to find out about campus safety and what a college does to ensure the safety and security of its students is to talk to current students or recent alumni. You may also want to inquire about the presence of campus security officers, dorm entrance security, the availability of transportation around campus, the presence of outdoor lighting and emergency phones, and the crime rates on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods. Public vs. Private U.S. colleges are either privately or publicly funded. Since public colleges are supported and operated by individual states and partially funded by state tax dollars, they generally cost less than private colleges. Yet, attending a state college outside your home state will likely cost more than tuition at the school in your home state. In addition, enrollments and class sizes at state schools tend to be higher than those at private institutions.
Private colleges, on the other hand, are funded by tuition, fees, private gifts, corporate contributions, and endowments. Typically, this means that private colleges are more expensive than public colleges, though private colleges tend to offer more scholarships and grants. Enrollment and class sizes at private colleges tend to be smaller than those at public colleges. Religious vs. Non-Denominational Although most private and all public colleges are secular, some colleges are operated by a religious organization and have religious activities and courses. Other colleges may be associated with a particular religion, yet students of varying religions attend the college and practice their own religions. Single-sex vs. Coed The vast majority of U.S. colleges are coeducational. Although most women choose to attend coed colleges, there are eighty-two women's colleges. Research shows that women who attend women's colleges have advantages that lead them to be more fulfilled and successful in life than their female counterparts at coed colleges. On the other hand, advocates of coed colleges argue that women's colleges isolate women from the "real world" and the intellectual and social diversity that men provide. Academic Focus A good way to assess the academic focus of a college is to consider the most popular majors and the percentages of students in those majors. A college where most of the students major in engineering obviously has a different strength and focus than a college where most of the students major in the arts or humanities. With that said, do not eliminate a college simply because your intended major is not one of the top three as long as you understand what the college's most popular subjects are. Structured vs. Free Environment Each college has its own curriculum and course requirements for each major. Some colleges have strict requirements that allow for few electives. Other colleges have few requirements and allow students the freedom to select courses and do not require a formal major. Students who feel they need more structure and guidance may favor a college with stricter requirements; conversely, students with a defined academic and career plan may favor a college that offers flexibility. Choose the environment that you feel most comfortable in. Extracurricular Activities Thinking about what you want to do outside of classes should also play a factor in your decision. For example, if you are a high school athlete who would like to play a varsity sport in college, you need to make a realistic evaluation of your chances of playing at the Division I, II or III level and choose colleges based on the competitiveness of the sports teams. If you are interested in participating in Greek life, make sure the colleges you are looking at have sororities. Do not downplay the importance of participating in extracurricular activities in college; getting involved on campus will lead to a more fulfilling collegiate experience and will be viewed positively when you look for your first job out of school. adapted from www.collegetoolkit.com/Guides/CollegeSelection/resCollSelect.aspx
NCAA for student athletes The NCAA process requires some extra steps in addition to the regular application steps. Please consult the athlete brochure that is in the documents portion of your Naviance account (on your home page), and see Mrs. Stanford for steps on submitting your transcript to NCAA. Prestigious “Name Schools” Studies have clearly shown that many people “default” to a preference for the most prestigious and famous schools, not because those schools are a fit for the student, but only because of the familiarity of the name. These same studies also show that most students who apply at name schools have lost the advantages of FIT when they do jump to apply to schools simply for the name. We invite you to do the extra footwork in order to actually find schools that have what you both want and need and not get hooked by a name. When it comes to being happy in college and experiencing high achievement, fit matters most. Academies The military academies are highly selective and competitive for acceptance. The process of applying to military academies is longer and much more involved than that of a regular college application. You will have to start your process earlier, will have to complete more steps, and will have to submit all of your application materials much earlier than regular college application deadlines. The application process is best started with a summer academy program, preferable completed in the summer between sophomore and junior year (but also possible to take in the summer after junior year). You will need to be in contact with the liaison officer that is assigned to Regis Jesuit for the academy in your junior year, in order to start the physical fitness, medical approval, and congressional nomination processes for your academy application. See your counselor for the liaison name and contact information as soon as possible, in order to get started. Women’s Colleges Many of our students feel they do not want four more years of being at an all-girls institution. However, women’s colleges are very different from being in an all-girls high school! According to the Women’s College Coalition, students attending a women’s college are more likely to: Become involved in their college and in their local community Excel in traditionally male fields, like math, science, or business Have more interaction with their professors 23% of U.S. congresswomen are graduates of women’s colleges. The first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the first female Rhodes Scholar were also graduates of women’s colleges. Be open to the possibilities of higher achievement!
CAMPUS VISITS No publications, or video tour, no matter how thorough, can give you a complete picture of a college or university. The best way for you to find out what a college or university is like is for you to visit the campus while classes are in session. Even during the summer, most colleges conduct classes for the majority of the summer. When you’ve decided what schools you are truly interested in and to which you wish to make application, your best preparation is to visit those schools. Call the admissions office or visit the admissions office website in order to make the arrangements. You may ask to speak to an admissions representative, to tour the campus, to spend the night in the dorm, to visit at least one class in your intended major, to visit with a professor who teaches classes in your intended major, to speak with a coach or activity sponsor – whichever of these or other things you want to do while on campus. Most admissions offices are glad to make these arrangements for you. Often your parent(s) will want to accompany you; let them. You are the one that needs to make the arrangements and ask lots of questions while on campus. You are the one who is going to go to school there, so if you do not feel comfortable there, you probably will not be successful there. When on campus, make the most of your visit by having a list of questions ready. While on campus, talk to the students you meet all over campus – in the dorm, in the student center, in the classroom, in the classroom buildings, on the lawn. They are the people who are experiencing the things you are going to experience and have the most current knowledge. Get a copy of the student newspaper or other publication. When you talk to students, ask… 1. How many hours per week do you study? Is this typical of most students here? 2. Are campus jobs readily available? 3. Are faculty members interested in students and accessible outside of class? 4. Do many students go home on weekends? 5. Is the food good? 6. Is it quiet enough to study in your dorm room? 7. Is the library a place to study? Do research? 8. What do you like most about the school? And least? 9. How easy is it to get into classes you want at registration? 10. If you had it to do over, would you choose this school? If you attend a class, ask yourself… 1. Are the students interested in the material? 2. Do students participate readily in class? 3. Are students prepared for the class? 4. Are you intellectually stimulated by what is going on in the class? 5. Do you feel students learned either new facts or a new way of thinking about a subject? 6. Is there good rapport between the professor and the students? 7. Would you feel comfortable in this setting?
As you tour the campus, ask yourself… 1. Do I like the feel and look of this campus? 3. Is lab equipment state-of-the-art and plentiful? 4. Are dorm rooms pleasant? Are they easy to study in? 5. Are there common areas in the dorms? Are there laundry and/or kitchen facilities? 6. What is the cafeteria like? 7. Are the grounds well kept? 8. Is the setting and architecture appealing? 9. What is the town or city like where the campus is locate? Would I feel comfortable in this size town? When your visit is over . . . 1. Try to record your impressions of the college while they are still fresh. These questions may help you to assess your visit. 2. Were the people you met friendly and did they answer your questions kindly and candidly? 3. Did you feel that the students were the kind of people who you’d like to get to know? 4. Did you sense that the college was interested in having you as a student? 5. Did you like the social atmosphere? 6. Did the campus itself impress you in any way? 7. What did you think about the quality of instruction? 8. What did you think about the academic demands and the atmosphere? 9. Would you like to spend more time here? When you can’t visit the campus . . . Sometimes it is impossible to visit the campus. You can still get the feel of a place by talking with recent graduates of the college or currently enrolled students who are in your area on vacation. Get on the Internet and take the video tour. Stay in contact with the representative and e-mail or call with all your questions.
Questions to Ask Admissions Counselors
Majors: What are the four or five most popular majors? What are any unusual and unique majors or programs of study? What are traditional majors that your institution does not offer? Are you allowed to design your own major or double major? Learning environment: What is the academic environment? What does the college or university emphasize? What does its statement of purpose say? Class size: What is the average class size for freshmen? How many teaching assistants will the average freshman encounter teaching a class? What is the average class size for upperclassmen? Are classes more likely be taught lecture style or in seminars? Campus life: What is typical student life like? What do most students do on the weekends? Is the college a commuter campus? What opportunities exist for spiritual growth? How important are fraternities and sororities? How strong is the intramural program? What are the current student issues on campus? Financial aid: What percentage of students receive financial aid? What meritbased scholarships are available? What percentage of incoming students qualify for these? Does the college meet 100% of demonstrated need? Graduation rates: What percentage of your freshmen return for their sophomore year? What percentage of those who initially enrolled graduate? Housing: Where do most freshmen live on campus? Are there dorm restrictions? What percentage of all students live on campus? Are students required to live on campus? What are the various options for housing? Course load: How many classes does the average student take per semester or quarter? How demanding is the academic workload? What are the most popular majors? The most difficult majors? On average, how many hours per week do students majoring in these areas study? Honors program: Is there an honors program available for freshmen? What are the requirements for admission? How many students are involved in the honors program? What are the special advantages of the program? Can you take honors courses without being in the honors program? What about credit for Advanced Placement courses? Do you offer credit or exemption for subscores on the ACT or SAT? Registering for classes: How do incoming freshmen register for classes? How easy it is to get the classes you want? Are classes in certain areas set aside for majors only? Academic support: Do freshmen have individual advisors? How often do they meet with their advisor? What is the system by which they are assigned and how often are they available? Are tutoring or support services available? Is there a writing center? Are the support services free or on a fee basis? Academic extras: Are there opportunities for study abroad? Internships? Workstudy? 3-2 programs? Are scholarships available for these programs and how do they compare in cost to other university expenses (i.e. standard rates of tuition)?
Orientation: Is orientation required of all freshmen? When does orientation occur? How extensive is orientation? Are there orientation or special university classes required of all entering students? Transportation: What transportation is necessary or advisable? Can freshmen have cars? Are bikes common? Does the school operate a shuttle service? Honor Code: Is there an honor code and how is it enforced? Computers: Are students required to bring or purchase a computer? Is the campus wireless? What is the availability of computers and printers on campus? Do professors use computers in class or provide class materials on the Internet? How common are distance-learning classes? Career options: What firms recruit graduates on campus? Which universities and professional schools accept graduates? What percentage of the school's graduates are admitted to the graduate or professional school of their choice? Cross application: Students who apply at your college also apply at what other colleges/universities?
Questions to Ask College Students
Has the college lived up to your expectations? What surprised you most about your freshman year? Tell me about the workload. In what proportion do courses emphasize exams, papers, class participation, projects, class presentations? What is distinctive about the college? What are its strengths/weaknesses? Are their any particular tensions on campus among students? If you were to do it all over again, would you still choose this college? Which dorms are good places to live? Do you feel safe on campus? What security measures are in place on campus? How easy is it for freshmen to get the classes they want? Sophomores? How large are your classes? Do you have access to the professor if you have a problem? What is your favorite thing about the college? What do you do in your spare time? What do people do on a typical weekday night? On weekends? On Sunday afternoon? How many people stay on campus on the weekends? How do you rate the food? What meal plans are available? Tell me about the advising system. How often do you interact with your adviser? How much time do you spend studying? Where do you study?
Questions to Ask a Professor
How many seniors currently are enrolled in this major? What does your college do to help graduates find jobs? Are there differences in how this major is taught at various colleges? If so, how is your program unique? How many of your faculty have Ph.D.'s? What percentage are full-time? How many of your entry level courses are taught by tenured professors? How many (and which) courses are taught, if any, by teaching assistants? Are you satisfied with your present facilities? What type of growth and changes do you anticipate in your program?
Standardized Tests PSAT/NMSQT & PLAN If you have attended RJHS since your freshman year, you have already taken both the PLAN and PSAT/NMSQT at least once. These tests are practice versions of the tests used for college admission. The PLAN is a practice ACT while the PSAT/NMSQT is a practice SAT. They have no bearing on your college admission except: Your junior year score on the PSAT/NMSQT can qualify you for National Merit recognition* and Your scores on the PSAT/NMSQT and PLAN help us determine which test (the ACT or SAT) will be your stronger test. * A note about National Merit: National Merit has two levels of recognition based on junior-year PSAT scores: 1) Commended Scholars represent students in the 97-98th percentile (meaning their scores are higher than 97 and 98% of all students who took the PSAT). Commended Scholars are chosen based on a national â€œSelection Index scoreâ€? that varies from year to year. While commended scholars are not eligible to continue in the National Merit Scholarship Competition designation as a National Merit Commended Scholar is a great honor (and looks great on a resume!). 2) National Merit Semifinalists represent the top 1% of test-takers in their state. Semifinalists are notified of their selection in early September of their senior year and are required to fill out an application in order to advance to Finalist standing. Approximately 15,000 out of 16,000 Semifinalists receive Finalist designation and approximately 8,200 Finalists receive monetary awards.
The ACT and SAT Regis Jesuit High School Girls Division School Code: 060-082 Standardized tests are only one piece of the whole puzzle that comprises the college application and must be considered in the proper context. Scores have a role in the admission process, but they alone do not dictate whether a student is accepted or denied from a given college or university. The major tests used are the ACT (www.actstudent.org) and the SAT (www.collegeboard.com). You can register for each test at the testing agency websites. Most schools will accept either of the tests for admission purposes. Students must read the guidelines /recommendations for testing for each college of interest carefully.
The ACT The ACT is an achievement based test that measures knowledge in the subjects of Reading, Science, English and Mathematics. The ACT also has an optional writing section. However, some colleges require that you submit the writing portion in order to be considered for admission. ACT Scoring The ACT consists of four 35-50 minute subtests [English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, & Writing (optional)] which are scored on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 36(highest). Each subtest is scored individually followed by a composite score, averaging the subtests. Corresponding percentiles for each section and the composite score provide an understanding of how a student scored in comparison to the other students who took the test. Sending ACT Scores to Colleges ACT sends scores to colleges by individual test date. Students who wish to send ACT scores should login into their account on the ACT website (www.actstudents.org) and enter the appropriate college codes.
The SAT The SAT is an aptitude test measuring abilities in Mathematics, Critical Reading and Writing. SAT Scoring The SAT is scored in three sections: 1. Critical Reading: (CR 200-800) 2. Math: (M 200-800) 3. Writing: (WR 200-800) Two subscores are provided (multiple choice and the essay). Sending SAT Scores to Colleges If specific college codes were included (by the student) during the test registration process, those colleges will also receive a copy. To be considered â€œofficialâ€? from a college admission perspective, test scores must be sent to colleges from the College Board. Students who choose to send SAT scores should go to their College Board online account and enter the appropriate college codes for the colleges on their list. 19
Score Choice The College Board offers students the „Score Choice‟ option for both the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests. This allows students to choose which scores they would like to send to colleges in place of a cumulative score report which lists all scores from all SAT tests taken. The SAT score is selected by test date and sent as a cumulative score. Subject test scores may be selected individually regardless of the number of subject tests taken on a specific date. If students do not select Score Choice, a cumulative report including all scores will be sent automatically to the colleges selected by the student. Many private colleges have made it clear that they continue to expect a cumulative report of test scores because they will act in the student‟s best interest and use the higher section of each test taken. Students must adhere to each university‟s policy on score reporting. IMPORTANT: It is the student’s responsibility to send scores from any tests taken to each college or university to which she is applying and to the NCAA if applicable. SAT Subject Tests (SAT IIs) The College Board also offers tests called SAT IIs. These tests are subject-based achievement tests that measure a student‟s mastery of 15 different disciplines (Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, languages, etc.). You may take up to three tests on a given test date, and you register for these tests on the College Board website. Many highly selective colleges require SAT IIs for admission. Once you have made a preliminary list of colleges, you must check to see if they require SAT II. Inquire as to whether the college uses these tests for placement or for admission. Knowing the answer to this question will help you decide when you need to take the SAT II. It is advisable that students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes take the correlating SAT II test soon after completing the course. If there is a remote chance that a school to which you apply will require SAT IIs, it is far better to take the test while the material is fresh in your mind than to wait until the senior year because at that point you will have to review material in order to do well on the test. Test Optional Schools There is a new movement in college admissions in which many schools are going “test-optional.” Essentially, this movement means that schools are not requiring standardized test scores for admission. However, in many cases, students who opt out of sending their scores are required to send alternative materials. These alternatives might be a graded assignment from a high school course, an evaluative interview, an additional essay, or a combination of AP test scores. Be sure to read the fine print on test-optional policies. Visit www.fairtest.org for more information. Standardized Test Score Re-Takes Just as a reminder, your standardized tests are best completed in spring of your junior year. Most students score their highest at that point, and waiting until fall of your senior year can mean missing early application deadlines. The College Board says students who take the test a second time typically see a 30-point increase on their combined score, but a Georgetown study found that that when there are SAT or ACT retakes after the second time testing, there are usually no score increases, and in fact there are often decreases in score.
Frequently Asked Questions How long will it take to get back my scores? For the ACT, most scores are available for online viewing within 2 ½ weeks after the test date. Your scores are not reported any faster if you view them online. Score reports are usually mailed within 3 to 8 weeks after each test date. If you took the Writing Test, your score report will be mailed only after all your scores are available, including Writing, within 5 to 8 weeks after the test date. Your SAT scores are released on collegeboard.com approximately three weeks after you take the SAT. Your official score report will be provided to you and your high school, if you included the code, about five weeks after the test. Students who register online and wish to receive a paper score report by mail in addition to the online score report must request it when they register If you need your scores “rushed” to a college, this service is available for a fee. What is the highest score possible? The ACT composite score ranges from one to 36, and the SAT scores range from 200 to 800 with 2400 being the highest possible combined score (even though many colleges will list averages using the 1600 scale). Do I need to take a "Prep Course?" Research varies over whether or not SAT/ACT preparation actually improves student scores. We recommend that ALL students prepare as much as possible for these tests. Since admission to college, as well as possible scholarship opportunities, may hinge on these scores, a student can benefit by becoming familiar with the format and emphasis of these tests. Each test utilizes a different strategy and understanding of these test strategies will only help a student. Should I guess on the tests? On the ACT - YES! You are not penalized for guessing so never leave any questions blank. SAT yes, you may guess, but only if you can eliminate two or more of the answers as being incorrect. This is called educated guessing and it is encouraged on the SAT I as only 1/3 to 1/4 of a point is subtracted for a wrong answer. NEVER randomly or haphazardly guess on the SAT I. It is actually better to leave an item unanswered because you are not marked down for omitted questions. Can I change my test center or test date? Yes, but both the ACT and SAT will charge you to change your test center and/or test date. It is recommended that all changes be made two and one-half weeks prior to the test date. Can I cancel my SAT/ACT scores after I have already taken the test? Yes! Either tell the test center supervisor on the day of the test that you want to cancel your scores or notify the testing agency by the first Wednesday (for SAT I) or first Thursday (for ACT) following the test date. Check online at the respective websites for details.
What if there are distractions and/or problems at the test site? Do not delay â€“ when you get home from the test, call the numbers provided in the registration bulletin or on the web to report any irregularities. These will have to be verified by the testing coordinator and if deemed significant, they will either offer you a refund of fees or give you the opportunity to retake the test at a later date. What if I canâ€™t afford to pay for the ACT/SAT? Financial help in the form of a fee waiver is available under certain conditions. If you think you might be eligible, contact your counselor. All requests for fee waivers are kept confidential. Are accommodations available for the ACT/SAT? If you believe you may be eligible for testing accommodations please contact Mrs. Christine Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONCORDANCE TABLES FOR ACT/SAT (Conversions are approximations; different schools may use slightly different figures) ACT ENGLISH 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
SAT CRITICAL READING 800 790 760-780 740-750 720-730 700-710 680-690 650-670 630-640 610-620 590-600 570-580 550-560 530-540 520 500-510 480-490 460-470 450 430-440 410-420 390-400 370-380 340-360 320-330 300-310
ACT MATH 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12
SAT MATH 800 790 770-780 740-760 720-730 690-710 670-680 650-660 630-640 610-620 590-600 570-580 560 540-550 520-530 500-510 480-490 460-470 430-450 400-420 380-390 350-370 310-340 270-300 250-260
ACT COMPOSITE 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
SAT CR & M 1600 1560-1590 1510-1550 1460-1500 1410-1450 1360-1400 1320-1350 1280-1310 1240-1270 1210-1230 1170-1200 1130-1160 1090-1120 1060-1080 1020-1050 980-1010 940-970 900-930 860-890 810-850 760-800 710-750 660-700 590-650 520-570 500-510
2400 SAT 2400 2340 2260 2190 2130 2040 1980 1920 1860 1820 1760 1700 1650 1590 1530 1500 1410 1350 1290 1210 1140 1060 1000 900 780 750
Applying to Colleges
Types of Applications Online Universities almost always prefer or require online applications. The majority of students are very comfortable with this format, and when they hit “submit,” their application is electronically transmitted directly to the college, automatically filling in the data fields on their end. Paper If a student is not comfortable with submitting his or her application online, colleges may still offer a paper version. This can be completed by hand or, as is more typical, completed online and printed out to Common Application The Common Application, available online at www.commonapp.org, is utilized by over 400 member colleges and universities across the country, all of which agree to accept this application in lieu of their own institutional application. Many accept only the Common Application. Although this application does simplify the process, students must check carefully to ensure that they submit all required materials, as many of the participating colleges require additional supplements.
Admission Options Non-Restrictive Application Plans - Students are not restricted from applying to other institutions and have until May 1 to consider their options and confirm enrollment. Rolling Decision: Institutions review applications as they are submitted and render admission decisions throughout the admission cycle. Regular Decision: Students submit an application by a specified date and receive a decision in a clearly stated period of time. Early Action (EA): Students apply early (around November) and receive a decision well in advance of the institution’s regular response date. Restrictive Application Plans – Students are responsible for determining and following restrictions. Early Decision (ED): Students make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll. The application and decision deadline occurs early. Restrictive Early Action (REA): Students apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision early. They may be restricted from applying EA or ED or REA to other institutions. If offered enrollment, they have until May 1 to confirm.
College Application Requirements Application requirement will vary from college to college, but most require some or all of the following parts. It is the responsibility of the student to know the requirements of each school to which she is applying. Application Form Students can often apply online directly to an individual school or use the Common Application if applicable. This part of the application typically asks for biographical, parent, and school information. Application Fee Application fees may range from $25 to$75. (Some colleges charge up to $95, while others don't have an application fee at all.) The fee is nonrefundable. Many colleges offer fee waivers for applicants from low-income families. For more information on fee waivers, see your counselor. High School Transcript The transcript is a record of every class and grade that you have earned in high school. It includes your cumulative grade point average, the RJHS grading scale, and course selections for grade 12. Admission Test Scores It is the studentâ€™s responsibility you to submit SAT, SAT Subject Test, or ACT test scores as required by each university. Scores must be sent directly from the testing agencies to the university. Letters of Recommendation Many colleges ask students to submit one or more letters of recommendation from a counselor and/or teacher. Essay The essay is a chance for students to share information about themselves that may not surface in other areas of the application, as well as showcase their writing skills. Whether writing an autobiographical statement or an essay on a specific theme, students should take the opportunity to express their individuality in a way that sets them apart from other applicants. Interview This is required or recommended by some colleges. Even if it's not required, it's a good idea to set up an interview because it gives students a chance to make a personal connection with the university. If students are too far away for an on-campus interview, you may try to arrange to meet with an alumnus in the community or set up an interview via Skype. Supplements Some universities that utilize the Common Application will require supplements that include additional essay, short answers, and questions pertaining to the individual school. Be sure to complete all supplemental forms for each university. Resume Including your resume in applications gives you an opportunity to highlight your activities and experiences throughout high school. It can give admissions counselors a stronger sense of your passions and level of involvement.
THE COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY The essay is an opportunity to show dimension and character. The essay distinguishes you as an applicant and makes the application "come alive.” If the statement or essay is optional, consider that a well-executed essay can only be beneficial, while a poorly written essay will almost always harm a candidate. When composing the essay, try to show evidence of creativity, strong writing skills, and special talents or abilities. Most essays fall into one of the following categories:
A description of yourself and your personal interests or passions. The description of an event or a person in your life and how it/they have influenced you, shaped your character, etc. Explain why you have applied to the college and what you hope to contribute to the college community. Address an issue of local, state or national significance.
In writing about yourself and your interests, be honest. College committees can easily spot a "phony" essay. Do not try to impress the readers with long lists of books and activities that your high school record does not adequately substantiate. Avoid redundancy and the “laundry list” of activities as this is not helpful. Do not begin with data about your early childhood unless the events discussed have had a definite and specific bearing on the kind of person you are today. Concentrate on your high school experiences. Begin by considering the influences that have shaped you into the person you are today: a subject area that caught your interest, a person who guided your thinking, a field of work that has given you an insight into your potential as a student, a hobby that you have decided to pursue throughout your life, or any experience that has colored or expanded your thinking. If illness, change of school, or any other factors have adversely affected your academic performance, the essay or supplemental statement gives you an opportunity to explain the reasons. However, it is advisable to such things only if the factor that caused the low marks is no longer a problem and you have demonstrated that the downward trend has been reversed. In general, let the college know why you warrant admission. Demonstrate that you are motivated, resourceful, responsible, industrious and creative. ALWAYS USE A PROOFREADER!
Application Essays The majority of colleges and universities consider the essay to be very important in determining which academically qualified students they will choose to accept. We encourage our seniors to submit an essay to every school, whether they require it or not. Colleges are looking to learn three things from a studentâ€™s essay: 1) evidence that a student can write well, 2) that the applicant can support her ideas with logical arguments and/or solid critical thinking skills, and 3) they want to learn something about the personality of the student. We encourage all students to take the summer essay-writing seminar class after their junior year. We also ask all students to seek input from their counselor regarding essay topic and editing feedback. The following ten tips are from Stanford University, regarding the essay: 1. Be concise. The Common Application main essay has a suggested minimum of 250 words, and an upper limit of 500 words. Common app or not, every admissions officer has a big stack to read every day; he or she expects to spend only a couple of minutes on the essay. If you go over 700 words, you are straining their patience, which no one should want to do. 2. Be honest. Don't embellish your achievements, titles, and offices. It's just fine to be the copy editor of the newspaper or the treasurer of the Green Club, instead of the president. Not everyone has to be the star at everything. You will feel better if you don't strain to inflate yourself. Also keep in mind that they will have your resume; thereâ€™s no need to repeat a list of accomplishments in your essay. 3. Be an individual. In writing the essay, ask yourself, "How can I distinguish myself from those thousands of others applying to College X whom I don't knowâ€”and even the ones I do know?" It's not in your activities or interests. If you're going straight from high school to college, you're just a teenager, doing teenage things. Write about a small, simple moment. It is your mind and how it works that are distinctive. How do you think? Sure, that's hard to explain, but that's the key to the whole exercise. 4. Be coherent. Obviously, you don't want to babble, but I mean write about just one subject at a time. Don't try to cover everything in an essay. Doing so can make you sound busy, but at the same time, scattered and superficial. The whole application is a series of snapshots of what you do. It is inevitably incomplete. The colleges expect this. Go along with them. 5. Be accurate. I don't mean just use spell check (that goes without saying). Attend to the other mechanics of good writing, including conventional punctuation in the use of commas, semi-colons, etc. If you are writing about Dickens, don't say he wrote Wuthering Heights. If you write about Nietzsche, spell his name right. 6. Be vivid. A good essay is often compared to a story: In many cases it's an anecdote of an important moment. Provide some details to help the reader see the setting. Use the names (or invent them) for the other people in the story, including your brother, teacher, or coach. This makes it all more human and humane. It also shows the reader that you are thinking about his or her appreciation of your writing, which is something you'll surely want to do.
7. Be likable. Colleges see themselves as communities, where people have to get along with others, in dorms, classes, etc. Are you someone they would like to have dinner with, hang out with, have in a discussion section? Think, "How can I communicate this without just standing up and saying it, which is corny." Subtlety is good. 8. Be cautious in your use of humor. You never know how someone you don't know is going to respond to you, especially if you offer something humorous. Humor is always in the eye of the beholder. Be funny only if you think you have to. Then think again. 9. Be controversial (if you can). So many kids write bland essays that don't take a stand on anything. It is fine to write about politics, religion, something serious, as long as you are balanced and thoughtful. Don't pretend you have the final truth. And don't just get up on your soapbox and spout off on a sensitive subject; instead, give reasons and arguments for your view and consider other perspectives (if appropriate). Colleges are places for the discussion of ideas, and admissions officers look for diversity of mind. 10. Be smart. Colleges are intellectual places, a fact they almost always keep a secret when they talk about their dorms, climbing walls, and how many sports you can play. It is helpful to show your intellectual vitality. What turns your mind on? This is not the same thing as declaring an intended major; what matters is why that subject interests you.
THE STUDENT RESUME Your College Admission Resume is a special resume that highlights your accomplishments during high school. You should see your counselor for help in writing/editing it, and Naviance provides a great tool for assembling it. Your resume is a tremendous asset when your colleges read your application (it will go to all of your colleges), or when you meet with interviewers, ask for recommendations and apply for scholarships. Unlike a professional resume, where the reader is generally looking for skills, education and experience, colleges (and the people who will interview you and evaluate you for scholarships) are more interested in your scholastic and other achievements, awards, activities, athletics, leadership, community service, special talents and how you spent your time during high school. Since applying to college is competitive, a well-developed resume, that can be easily digested, can help put you in a favorable position. To get started, make a complete list of your extracurricular and academic life. If you were born overseas and moved to the U.S when you were in sixth grade, write it down. If you worked during the summer, make sure you have that too. Make sure you list all your extracurricular activities, jobs, honors and awards – important and unimportant. Ask your parents, siblings and guidance counselor for input, in case you missed something! If you have a “hook’ or “wow factor” this is a great opportunity to reinforce it and promote it. Make sure it resonates. While there is no standard format for resumes of this type, they are typically 2-4 pages long and generally include much of the following information:
Heading: Identifying information such as: name, address, phone number, email, date of birth, and high school.
Objective or Overview (optional): Can be used for a specific purpose such as consideration for a scholarship or intended major
Key Stats: GPA, SAT, ACT
School Activities: List activities and grade (e.g. 9, 10,11) including clubs, class activities, sports, performing groups, sports, etc. Note leadership roles and special recognition. Be descriptive: Instead of “High School Newspaper”, consider (if accurate) “Feature Editor (11) Reporter (9, 10) School Newspaper Recognized as Best in County in 2007”.
Honors and Awards: List along with grade (e.g. Debate Finalist - 9, 10)
Community Service experiences
Activities outside of school: List activities, leadership roles and grades during which you participated.
Enrichment Activities: Include relevant programs, special projects, travel experiences, hobbies, musical accomplishments,
Work Experience: Starting with the most recent, list each work experience (paid, unpaid or your own business) including job title; business name and location, dates of your employment. Include anything else that would be impressive (e.g. specific duties, recognition).
Other: (optional) Special circumstances and situations; additional details about “hook” or “wow factor”
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS What are your goals for college and beyond? Why is (insert college name here) a good fit for you? What are you interested in studying? Why? What are you passionate about? What extracurricular activities are most important to you? Why? What do you enjoy reading or studying about outside of school? How do you spend a typical Saturday? How do you see yourself getting involved on campus? What have you enjoyed most about Regis Jesuit? What might your teachers say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? What accomplishment are you most proud of? What has been your favorite class in High School and why? What course has been most challenging for you in High School? What is one significant academic challenge that you have overcome? What does someone need to know about you to really know you? What is your favorite book? How did you spend last summer? What questions do you have for me?
GUIDELINES OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING As members of the National Association of College Admission Counseling, Regis Jesuit High School is committed to the following principles of good practice:
Provide colleges and universities with accurate, legible, and complete transcripts for the school's candidates. Provide colleges and universities with description of the school's marking system and method of determining rank in class. Describe clearly special curricular opportunities (e.g., honors, advanced placement courses, seminars, etc.). Sign only one pending Early Decision or Restricted Early Action agreement for any student. Provide accurate descriptions of the candidates' personal qualities that are relevant to the admission process. Report any significant change in candidates' academic status or qualifications including personal school conduct record between the time of recommendation and graduation. Encourage students to be the sole authors of their applications, essays and other materials submitted for review. Counsel students and their families to notify and withdraw applications from other institutions when they have accepted an offer of admission. Counsel students not to submit more than one admission deposit, which indicates their intent to enroll in more than one institution. Urge candidates to recognize and discharge their responsibilities in the admissions process by: o Complying with requests for additional information in a timely manner. o Responding to institutional deadlines on admissions and refraining from stockpiling acceptances and multiple deposits. o Responding to institutional deadlines on room reservations, financial assistance, health records, and pre-scheduling, where all or any of these are applicable. Not, without permission of candidates, reveal the candidates' college or university preference. Advise students not to sign any contractual agreement without carefully examining the contract. Exercise their responsibility to the entire educational community. Counsel students and their parents to consider making a reasonable number of applications. Avoid making disparaging comparisons of secondary or postsecondary institutions. Refuse unethical or unprofessional requests (e.g., for lists of top students, lists of athletes, etc.) Refuse any reward or remuneration from a college, university, or private counseling service for placement of their school's students. Be responsible for all personnel who may, on their behalf, become involved in counseling students on postsecondary options available and for educating them about the principles outlined in this statement. Be responsible for compliance with state/federal regulations with respect to the students' rights to privacy. Not guarantee specific college placement. Give precise information about the opportunities and requirements for all types of financial aid.
STUDENT GUIDELINES ESTABLISHED BY NACAC Students have certain responsibilities during the process of college admission. Guidelines established by the College Board and the National Association of College Admission Counseling include the following:
WHEN YOU APPLY TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES YOU HAVE RIGHTS Before You Apply You have the right to receive factual and comprehensive information from colleges and universities about their admission, financial costs, aid opportunities, practices and packaging policies, and housing policies. If you consider applying under an early admission plan you have a right to complete information from the college about its process and policy. When You Are Offered Admission You have the right to wait to respond to an offer of admission and/or financial aid until May 1. Colleges that request commitments to offers of admission and/or financial assistance prior to May 1, must clearly offer you the opportunity to request (in writing) an extension until May 1. They must grant you this extension and your request may not jeopardize your statue for admission and/or financial aid. (This right does not apply to candidates admitted under an early decision program.) If You are Placed on a Wait List or Alternate List The letter that notifies you of that placement should provide a history that describes the number of students on the wait list, the number offered admission, and the availability of financial aid and housing. Colleges may require neither a deposit nor a written commitment as a condition of remaining on a wait list. Colleges are expected to notify you of the resolution of your wait list status by August 1 at the latest. WHEN YOU APPLY TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES Before You Apply You have a responsibility to research and understand the policies and procedures of each college or university regarding application fees, financial aid, scholarships and housing. You should also be sure that you understand the policies of each college or university regarding deposits that you may be required to make before you enroll. As You Apply You must complete all material that is required for the application, and submit your application on or before the published deadlines. You should be the sole author of your applications. You should seek the assistance of your high school counselor early and throughout the application period. Follow the process recommended by your high school for filling college applications. It is your responsibility to arrange, if appropriate, for visits to/and or interviews at colleges of your choice.
After You Receive Your Admissions Decisions: You must notify each college or university that accepts you whether you are accepting or rejecting its offer. You should make these notifications as soon as you have made a final decision as to the college that you wish to attend, but no later than May 1. It is understood that May 1 will be the postmark date. You may confirm your intention to enroll and, if required, submit a deposit to only one college or university. The exception to this arises if you are put on a wait list by a college or university and are later admitted to that institution. You may accept the offer and send a deposit. However, you must immediately notify a college or university at which you previously indicated your intention to enroll of your decision. If you are accepted under an early decision plan, you must promptly withdraw the applications submitted to other colleges and universities and make no additional applications. If you are an early decision candidate and are seeking financial aid, you need not withdraw other applications until you have received notification about financial aid. If you think that your rights have been denied, you should contact the college or university immediately to request additional information or the extension of a reply date. In addition, you should ask your counselor to notify the president of the state or regional affiliate of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. If you need further assistance, send a copy of any correspondence you have had with the college or university and a copy of your letter of admission to: Admission Practices Department, NACAC, 1631 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2818; Phone: 1.800.822.6285; 703.836.8015; www.nacacnet.org.
Paying for College
College Funding Sources Institutional Scholarships Aid offered to students based, not on need, but on merit of some sort (academic, athletic, musical, etc.) Consideration for this type of aid may require completion of additional applications, etc. Outside Scholarships Aid offered to students from organizations outside a specific university or college. Scholarships exist for a wide range of abilities and characteristics and are available on a local, state and national level. Federal Financial Aid Government aid offered based on a family’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) Only available by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Institutional Financial Aid Aid offered through a specific institution to supplement federal aid May require families to fill out an additional form (often the CSS Profile) This aid is often offered when colleges guarantee to meet 100% of family’s demonstrated financial need (not all colleges makes this guarantee)
NET PRICE CALCULATORS It is no secret that many families find college costs to be baffling and have a difficult time wading through the acronyms of FAFSA, EFC and COA to decrypt the language of financial aid. Net price calculators are here to help. All colleges and universities are required by the U.S. Department of Education to have a net price calculator posted on their website no later than October 29, 2011. So, what is it? Net price calculators are an online tool intended to inform families of the type of financial aid they may receive from a college. Additionally, these calculators will also estimate a student or family’s ―out-of-pocket‖ cost and expected family contribution (EFC). The net price is the difference between gift aid and the school’s cost of attendance. The calculator is intended to show a family how much a college or uni-versity will cost before loans are applied. What do families need to know? It is important for families to know that institutions of higher education are referring to this tool by dif-ferent names, which can sometimes make it difficult to find on a school’s website. Examples include net price calculator (the name adopted by the Federal government), to financial aid calculator, to cost calcula-tor. The only constant in the naming convention is calculator. There is also wide variability in how these calculators are being presented by schools as well as the detail of information offered. It’s important for families to know that net price calculators aren’t standardized and that they’re only as good as the accuracy of the information entered. For example, families should not project what they hope their student might have for their ACT or GPA and enter a ―dream sce-nario‖, they must be realistic. If not, scholarships for which students may be eligible, may appear to be inflated. Net price calculators also provide students and families an ESTIMATE of their financial package for that specific institution. The estimate is subject to change based on family and institutional resource variability and other factors. It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Education and Congress may be considering changes to the federal formula to further ration national financial aid dollars. Calculators don’t currently reflect these changes, because we don’t yet know all the details of how the formula might change. What help is available? CollegeInColorado.org has compiled a list of available net price calculators for Colorado schools on our website as a service to students and families. For more information, go to CollegeInColorado.org, click on College Planning Tab/Explore Schools/Direct-to-College Connections and select the college of your choice. CollegeInColorado.org also provides an entire section on financial aid planning, which in-cludes other financial aid 38
Institutional Scholarships Many schools offer money to students based on merit of some sort (academic, artistic, etc.). Students may be required to submit a separate application to be considered for these awards. These separate applications are often labor intensive and may have different (earlier) deadlines than applications for admission. At some schools, automatic scholarships are offered to students who meet certain academic criteria and do not require separate applications. Ask your admissions counselors about the scholarship process at their school. Be on the lookout for awards offered through the admissions office as well as departmental awards offered for students interested in certain academic disciplines. What Scholarship Committees Look For Scholarships go to students who have demonstrated initiative and success in multiple areas. There is no set blueprint for becoming scholarship material. However, students who are wellrounded, demonstrate leadership, have strong academic backgrounds and actively participate in community activities tend to be more attractive to scholarship committees than students who are strong in one or two areas. The way in which you present your credentials will likely have an effect on the way a scholarship committee views your application. Committees that award academic scholarships are looking for students who clearly manifest the ability to think for themselves and who have the desire to make intellectual contributions supporting the pursuit of excellence. Often, they are looking for students who are embarking upon a road of self-discovery and who desire to accomplish something remarkable. A committee member for a prestigious scholarship program wrote: "We are seeking creative, insightful and talented individuals who have already distinguished themselves as intellectually gifted people. These are students who are already using their intellectual skills to analyze the important problems and issues of today and to make an impact on their community." Grades/Rigor of Academic Program These twin pillars (!) are the single most important aspect of your preparation to win scholarship awards. Many awards carry minimum requirements. Usually students should be in the range of 3.5 to 4.0 to apply for most scholarships. It is possible to win a scholarship without good grades, but it is much more difficult to do so. It is even more important that your course selection demonstrate a desire to significantly challenge yourself academically. If you have more than a year left in high school, you can challenge yourself by taking Advanced Placement courses, Honors courses, upper level science, advanced foreign language work or strong mathematics courses. Make it your motto not to do the minimum amount of schoolwork in the shortest amount of time - try to challenge yourself. Good grades in difficult courses will often indicate that you have not only intelligence, but also a strong work ethic and self-discipline. Try standing in the committee's shoes: Whose education would you rather fund? Someone who has a great intellect but who does not work to his/her potential or someone who works consistently hard and who often overachieves?
Do not make the common mistake that many seniors make - they assume that the course selection and grades for their senior year simply do not matter. Not true! Scholarship (and admissions) committees look upon the senior year as important in many respects and expect students to continue both with strong course selection and superior academic performance. Most committees expect a minimum of four strong academic courses in the senior year! Participation in Extracurricular Activities A solid academic performance is the best way to start improving the applicant profile, but grades arenâ€™t everything. Most scholarship committees are not just looking for a conscientious student, but are also looking for a well-rounded individual - someone who is not just concerned with academic pursuits, but with the activity that drives the world around her. How can you communicate your depth to an awards committee? Getting involved with extracurricular activities is one excellent way. Certain activities, such as serving as a member of the Student Council or LINK Crew, imply that you are a leader and leadership is among the qualities most highly prized by scholarship committees. Extracurricular activities may also include solitary hobbies or interests such as music, photography, painting or creative writing. Many scholarship sponsors reserve money specifically for students who participate in these types of activities, particularly if they show special talent. While it is impressive to list extracurricular activities on your application, the most intangible benefits of your participation include the fact that you will likely have an easier time writing applications and contending with the interview process. Being an involved person means that you have acquired some measure of confidence. Donâ€™t sign up for an activity just to build up your application; it will only bore you. Also, the fact that you are not deeply interested in the activity may become apparent in an essay or interview question regarding the activity.
Outside Scholarships When families expect that the amount of financial aid and scholarships that they can expect to receive from institutions will not cover the cost of attendance, it is wise to invest time in a search for scholarships available outside of schools. Spend the necessary time researching any and all possible awards. Sign up for several internet based scholarship search programs. Popular ones include: www.fastweb.com, www.scholarships101.com, and the National Scholarship Search on Naviance/Family Connection. Start EARLY!! Students who are the most successful in this process often know which scholarships they plan to apply for in the senior year. The research and organization process has been completed in the junior year!! 1. Create a list of all of scholarships for which you are potentially eligible. 2. Check to see if you actually meet the eligibility criteria for each scholarship. 3. Create a calendar with the following dates: a. When the application becomes available b. Your projected completion deadline c. The application deadline (Note whether this is a postmark or receipt of application deadline) 4. Note carefully the components of the application. a. Official Transcript? b. Letters of recommendation? c. Portfolio or audition materials? d. Resume? e. Essays? f. Outside recommendations? g. Record of community service? 5. Create an estimate of the time it will take you to assemble and complete the application. Investigate local scholarship opportunities: The Counseling Office frequently posts information on scholarships on Naviance/Family Connection. Weekly Naviance announcements often contain many of the local scholarships available for high school seniors.
Organizing Your Scholarship List Now that you have created a list of potential scholarships, you need to arrange them in deadline order. Organize a scholarship calendar noting application procedures, requirements, and deadlines! Creating this master calendar now can save you a lot of confusion later. You may set up folders to manage your scholarship applications if you will be generating paperwork that will need to be mailed or essays that will need to be proofed. When dealing with a small, local foundation or company, you may want to establish a personal contact with someone in the scholarship office. Look for overlapping requirements (where the same type of essay is required for more than one application). But be careful not to try to bend the rules by using an essay that really does not fit the bill. If recommendations are required or must accompany the recommendation, notify your counselor immediately. If an envelope or special form is enclosed for the teachers to use, give that to your counselor. DO NOT ask the Counseling Office to give you the official transcript or copies of your recommendation letters. These will have to be mailed separately. The Process of Applying Follow all directions carefully. Scholarship committees are very picky. If an essay is required, be sure to have it proofed! Revision, revision, revision is the key to excellent writing. If the application specifies that you must only use the space allotted and that you are not allowed to attach additional sheets, you will not be able to attach your resume. If this is not spelled out, then you have the option of filling in the blanks with â€œsee attached resume.â€? Sometimes you may be required to reformat your resume according to special instructions. Always have in your mind a ranking of your most important activities as they pertain to that particular scholarship. For example if you are applying for a community service award, you would want to highlight your church and community activities. When listing extracurricular information on the application or resume, always list the most important activities first unless chronological order is required. Even with chronological order (usually by grade) list the most significant accomplishments first. If you need help with your resume, see your counselor. Additional Information: To Send or Not To Send? It is important to find the balance here. If in fact, you have an exceptional capability that can simply not be sufficiently communicated through the application process itself and there is not a stated prohibitive regarding submission of additional materials - go for it, but be careful! Avoid lengthy portfolios. Excellence must be the hallmark of any submissions. Have someone who will be honest evaluate what you plan to submit.
Federal and Institutional Financial Aid Process Overview: Filling out the FAFSA determines your Estimated Financial Contribution (how much your family can be expected to pay for school). EFC does not vary from school to school. If your EFC is $10,000 that means you can be expected to pay $10,000 towards tuition at any institution. Schools compare this to their Cost of Attendance (COA) to determine your estimated need. Schools, based on their financial aid budget and policies, do their best to fill the gap between your EFC and the COA. This need can be met through federal and institutional aid (in the forms of grants, loans, or work study) or institutional scholarships. Some (but not all) schools guarantee to meet 100% of a family’s demonstrated financial need. The gap between COA and EFC will be met with grants, loans, work study, etc. A small number of highly-selective schools have completely eliminated loans from their financial aid packages while still guaranteeing to meet 100% of need, meaning that students will graduate from college without student loan debt. Other schools (usually schools with “Rolling” admissions policies) have a finite amount of aid to distribute and will do so on a first-come first-served basis. With this in mind, students should not wait to be accepted to schools before they apply for aid but should do so as soon after January 1 as possible. Most schools are “need blind” in their admissions policy, meaning that they do not take into consideration a family’s EFC when they make admissions decisions. A very small group of colleges (usually private schools) do not claim to be need-blind in their admissions decisions and may make decisions based on a family’s ability to pay. Read the fine print.
Top 10 Tips for Financial Aid Financial Aid Advisors from around the country gave their top ten tips for students filling out their FAFSAâ€™s. Here is what they said: Why fill out a FAFSA? The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first step in the financial aid process. You use it to apply for federal student financial aid, such as grants, loans, and workstudy. In addition, most states and schools use information from the FAFSA to award non-federal aid. Important: Read the form! Many questions on the FAFSA are straightforward like your Social Security Number or your date of birth. But many require you to read the instructions to make sure you answer the question correctly. Words like "household," "investments," and even "parent" all have common meanings, but are specifically defined for purposes of student financial aid. So be sure to read the instructions. You may have a unique family situation that causes you to have additional questions. You should then contact a financial aid administrator at a college or university you wish to attend for clarification. Apply early: Deadlines for aid from your state, from your school, and from private sources tend to be much earlier than deadlines for federal aid. To make sure that any financial aid package your school offers you will contain aid from as many sources as possible, apply as soon as you can after January 1, 2012 even though federal deadlines are much later. To actually receive aid, your school must have your correct, complete information before your first day of enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year so it is important to apply early to make sure you leave enough time for your school to receive your information and to make any necessary corrections. Complete your tax return: Filling out your tax return first will make completing the FAFSA easier. However, you do not need to submit your tax return to the IRS before you submit your FAFSA. Once you (and your parents if you are a dependent student) file your tax return, you must correct any income or tax information that changed since you filed your FAFSA. Inaccurate information on your FAFSA may delay your receipt of federal student aid. Also, you will be required to return federal aid you improperly receive based upon incorrect information. Ask: Do I need additional forms? The FAFSA is the one application for federal student aid. Many schools and states rely solely upon this information. However, your school or state may require you to fill out additional forms (usually the CSS PROFILE). These additional forms may have deadlines that are earlier than the federal student aid deadline, so be sure to check with the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. Why all the questions? The government enters your responses to the FAFSA questions into a formula from the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The result is your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. The EFC measures your familyâ€™s ability to pay for educational expenses. It is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Your state, and the school you list, may also use some of your responses. They will determine if you may be eligible for school or state aid, in addition to federal aid. How do I find out what my EFC is? The government will send you a report, called a Student Aid Report, or SAR, through the internet or mail. The SAR lists the information you reported on your FAFSA, and will tell you your EFC. It is important to review your SAR when you receive it. Make sure all of your information is correct. Make any necessary changes or provide additional information. 44
How much aid do I get? Your EFC, along with the rest of your FAFSA information, is made available to all the schools you list on the FAFSA. The schools use your EFC to prepare a financial aid package to help you meet your financial need. Financial need is the difference between your EFC and your schoolâ€™s cost of attendance (which can include living expenses), as determined by the school. If you or your family has special circumstances that should be taken into account, contact your schoolâ€™s financial aid office. Some examples of special circumstances are: unusual medical or dental expenses, or a large change in income from last year to this year. When do I get the aid? Any financial aid you are eligible to receive will be paid to you through your school. Typically, your school will first use the aid to pay tuition, fees, and room and board (if provided by the school). Any remaining aid is paid to you for your other expenses. Where can I get more information on student aid? The best place for information about student financial aid is the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. The financial aid administrator can tell you about student aid available from your state, the school itself, and other sources. For More Information: www.studentaid.ed.gov www.students.gov For additional introductory instructions on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), go to studentaid.ed.gov/completefafsa.
Using the FAFSA The key to the whole process is the need-analysis form which all students applying for need-based aid must complete. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is sponsored directly by the federal government. Remember there is no charge to apply for federal student aid (if you are charged a fee, you are on the WRONG WEBSITE!) When you complete the FAFSA you will be applying to determine eligibility for all Federal Student Financial Aid Programs. This worksheet becomes available online in the fall of the year prior to the calendar year in which the student enrolls in college. To be considered for non-federal aid such as institutional and/or state aid, you may have to fill out an additional application and pay a fee to have it processed (CSS Financial Aid PROFILE). The colleges or universities to which you apply may also have their own specialized forms. Make sure you have everything you need. A quick call to the college's financial aid office or a perusal of their website is essential. Regardless of the form, the essential components are the same. Basically, these consist of a statement of a family’s financial condition, listing such items as income, assets and liabilities, size of family, number of children in college, age of parents, unusual financial obligations, etc. You have to reveal -- honestly and completely -- everything that is pertinent to the family's financial situation; nothing can be held back. When you apply online, you will need to apply for a Personal Identification Number for both the student and the parent PRIOR to completing the forms. You may request the PIN at any time as it will be used during the entirety of the student’s college career. Each child will require a separate PIN; the PIN for the parent can be used with multiple children. It is best to complete the FAFSA Online Worksheet before filling out the FAFSA online; then simply plug the numbers into the appropriate spaces online. When you are prompted to save at the end of each page, please do so. Any mistakes you make can cause the agencies to return the form. Do not leave any spaces blank on the FAFSA -- if there are questions that do not pertain to you, simply write N/A or 0 in the space provided. Records Needed The following documents from both students and parents, as appropriate, will assist you in completing both the FAFSA and the PROFILE: 1. US Income Tax Returns including IRS W-2 forms for both the student and the parents. 2. Records of untaxed income such as Social Security benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), AFDC or ACD, child support, welfare, pensions, military subsistence allowances, and veteran’s benefits. 3. Current bank statements and mortgage information. 4. Medical and dental expenses for the past year which weren’t covered by health insurance. 5. Business and/or farm records. 6. Records of investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, as well as bank Certificates of Deposit (CD's) and recent statements from any money market accounts 7. Social Security Numbers for you and your parents. 8. The student’s driver’s license number if you have one. You must save all records and make copies of all forms you send in. This is very important. 46
The Financial Aid Package What are some of the sources a school can tap when putting a financial aid package together after they have evaluated need via the FAFSA or CSS Profile? Grants Grants are money that is awarded to a student for educational expenses that does not need to be paid back. Loans Unlike grants, loans do have to be paid back, with interest. In most cases, however, neither repayment nor interest payments begin until after graduation. Work Study Work is the third part of most financial aid packages. The federal government is involved here, too: The Federal Work Study (FWSP) Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who need financial aid. FWS gives you the opportunity to earn money to help pay your educational expenses. Jobs can be either on-campus or off-campus and the school sets your work schedule; typically you would work 10 or 12 hours a week for at least minimum wage. Most colleges themselves offer jobs to students with demonstrated need. Students work at various jobs on campus for which they can earn money toward college expenses. How much a student earns, however, depends on the salary scale, the nature of the work you do, and the number of hours you can work without endangering your grades. Another type of work program is known as "co-operative education," or co-op. In the typical co-op program, the student goes to classes full-time for part of the year (usually one or two terms) and works full-time, usually off-campus, for the rest of the year. Under a co-op program, it usually takes five years instead of four to earn an undergraduate degree.
Personal Expenses Keep in mind that colleges do not calculate personal expenses into the Cost of Attendance. These expenses vary considerably from student to student, and may have some bearing on your college decision. It is wise to figure what your childâ€™s current personal expenses are rather than simply relying on a collegeâ€™s estimate of the average student. This will help give you a more realistic budget. Use the following chart to compute your childâ€™s current monthly expenditures. Then multiply by the number of months the student will be in college to get an accurate feeling for just how much you can expect to spend. Clothing Personal Care (toiletries, hair cuts, etc.) Telephone Entertainment (movies, sports, concerts, special occasions) Music Snacks Restaurants Car and parking fees Laundry and Cleaners (to wash and dry one load in a dorm is usually $2.50-4.00) Special Circumstances Although the process for determining a student's eligibility for federal student aid is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility. In some cases, the college may adjust your cost of education or data elements of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to take into account circumstances that might affect the amount you and your family would have to pay toward your education. These circumstances include a family's unusual medical or dental expenses or tuition expenses such as private school tuition. If you have a dislocated worker in your family, this may make a difference. (A dislocated worker is one who has been terminated or laid off, or has been unemployed for a long period of time or was self-employed and is no longer employed.) Notify the college or university of any special circumstance by phone or letter, as well.
Western Undergraduate Exchange www.wiche.edu/sep/wue Student Exchange Programs Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education 3035 Center Green Drive, Suite 200 Boulder, Colorado 80301-2204 (303)541-0270 What Is WUE? WUE is the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a program coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Through WUE, students in Western states may enroll in participating two-year and four-year public college programs at a reduced tuition level: up to 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. In all cases, WUE tuition is considerably less than nonresident tuition. Which States Participate? For the academic year 2010-11resident students from the following states may participate, if they meet eligibility requirements: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming Programs Available Virtually all undergraduate fields are available to WUE students at one or more of the participating colleges and universities. Some institutions have opened their entire curriculum on a space-available or first-come, first-served basis. Others offer only designated programs at the discounted WUE rate. WUE Online To learn of the wide array of programs available, consult WUE Online, a searchable database, located at www.wiche.edu/sep/wue. For additional details, follow the links to the receiving institutions’ websites. Eligibility Many institutions require evidence of academic performance, such as ACT/SAT test scores or high school GPA, or place other conditions on WUE enrollment. Consult your counselor or WUE Online for details. Application and Admission Apply directly to the institution(s) of your choice for admission and WUE tuition status. Mark prominently on the institution’s application form that you seek admission as a WUE student. Further Information Further information about specific programs in WUE may be obtained from the admissions office of participating institutions.
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms American College Testing (ACT) A four-part test, the ACT is divided into sections in English, math, reading, and natural science. Students receive twelve scores: one for each test, subscores for each section within the four tests, and a composite score. The ACT is used as an admissions tool and accepted nationwide. Advanced Placement Exams (AP) The AP test is a final examination for a college-level class taken in high school. College credit and/or advanced placement in courses may be awarded a student who scores well on the test. The grading scale is 1-5 with 5 being the highest. Adjusted Available Income In the Federal Methodology, the remaining income after the allowances (taxes and a basic leaving allowance) have been subtracted. Appeal A formal request to have a financial aid administrator review your aid eligibility and possibly use Professional Judgment to adjust the figures. The financial aid officer may require documentation of any special circumstances you submit. Associate Degree (A.A., A.S.) Colleges and universities grant this degree for the completion of a two-year program of study. Award Letter An official document issued by the Financial Aid Office that lists all of the financial aid awarded to the student. This letter provides details on the analysis of your financial need and the breakdown of your package according to amount, source, and type of aid. The award letter will include the terms and conditions for the financial aid and information regarding the cost of attendance. In most cases, you are required to sign a copy of the letter, indicating whether you accept or decline each source of aid, and return it to the financial aid office. Bachelor's Degree (B.A., B.S., B.F.A.) Colleges or universities grant this degree for completion of a four-year program of study. Campus Based Aid These are financial aid programs administered by the university. The federal government provides the university with a fixed annual allocation, which is awarded by the financial aid office. Programs include the Perkins Loan, SEOG, and Federal Work-Study. Cancellation Some loan programs provide for cancellation for the loan under certain circumstances, such as death or permanent disability of the borrower. Additional cancellation programs are available if a student becomes a teacher or doctor in certain national shortage areas. Repayment assistance is available if you serve in the military or National Guard.
Candidates Reply Date Agreement (CRDA) Many colleges and universities subscribe to this agreement that does not require an applicant for admission to notify the colleges of his decision to attend or to accept an offer of financial aid before May 1 of the year the applicant applies. The agreement gives the applicant time (until May 1) to hear from all the colleges to which they have applied before a decision has to be made. Class Rank A student's relative standing in the class is compared to class members as based on grades received. Regis Jesuit High School does not rank students. College Scholarship Service (CSS) Through this service of the College Board, colleges and universities, the federal government, state scholarship programs and other organizations are assisted in the distribution of financial aid funds for students. By measuring a family's financial strength and analyzing its ability to contribute to college costs, CSS need-analysis services offer a standardized method of determining a student's need. The CSS form is called the PROFILE. Common Application An application system that allows students to fill out one online application to be submitted to multiple colleges. Make sure the colleges or universities you are considering accept this form before using it. Go to www.commonapp.org to learn which schools accept this type of application. Cooperative Education (CO-OP) A program offered by many colleges where students alternate between periods of study and employment in a related field. A student graduates from college with a degree and work experience although it usually takes five years to complete the program. Cost of Education (or Cost of Attendance) The total amount it will cost a student to go to school- usually expressed as a yearly figure. The cost of education covers tuition and fees; on-campus room and board; and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, etc. This figure is used to determine what a family's financial need for a particular college will be. The college or university will take the cost of education at their school and subtract the amount you and your family are expected to pay toward that cost. If there is anything left over, you are considered to have financial need. (Cost of Attendance minus Expected Family Contribution equals Financial Need). Deferred Admission Students are able to postpone their college enrollment for one year after being accepted to college. Examples of reasons to defer college admission would be missions work or opportunities to travel abroad. If a student is awarded a merit scholarship, many of these will not be automatically awarded one year later. All federal financial aid programs must be reapplied for. Disbursement The release of loan funds to the school for delivery to the borrower. The payment will be made copayable to the student and the school. Loan funds are first credited to the studentâ€™s account for payment of tuition, fees, room and board, and other school charges. Any excess funds are then paid to the student in cash or by check. Unless the loan amount is under $500, the disbursement will be made in at least two equal installments.
Early Action (EA) An admission program that some colleges offer whereby a student applies and the college informs the student of the admission decision by an early date. Some schools using a Restrictive Early Action plan do not allow a student to apply to any other school. However, the accepted candidate has until May 1 to accept or decline an admissions offer. Early Decision (ED) An admission program that some colleges offer whereby a student applies and the college informs the student of the admission decision by an early date. Colleges that subscribe to this plan follow a common schedule for early decision (Application must be received by an early November deadline and the student is notified in December). Students accepted under Early Decision plans agree that they will enroll at that school and withdraw any other applications. Only students who have a definite first-choice college should apply under Early Decision. Eligibility Center (NCAA) In accordance with NCAA academic requirements, the Eligibility Center will certify student-athletes to participate in Division I and II sports. The Eligibility Center serves as a central point for receiving, processing and evaluating data pertinent to the certification process. High schools provide the Eligibility Center with a list of all academic courses and their respective grading scales. Interested student-athletes should report all ACT/SAT I, II test scores to the Eligibility Center using the code 9999. Expected Family Contribution (EFC) The information you report when you apply for financial aid is used in a formula, established by Congress, that calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), an amount you and your family are expected to pay toward your education. Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP) Similar to the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), The funds for these loans are provided by the US government directly to students and their parents through the schools. Benefits of the program include a faster turnaround time and less bureaucracy than the old bank loan program. The FDSLP includes the Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) and the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) This program includes the Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), the Federal Perkins Loan and the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). The funds for these loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and savings & loan associations. These loans are guaranteed against default by the federal government. Federal Work-Study (FWS) program provides undergraduate and graduate students with part-time employment during the school year. The federal government pays a portion of the studentâ€™s salary, making it cheaper for departments and businesses to hire the student. Eligibility for FWS is based upon need. Money earned from a FWS job is not counted as income for the subsequent yearâ€™s need analysis process. Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) Financial aid form sponsored directly by the federal government which requires no processing fee. Colleges or universities may require additional forms. You must reapply every year. Application are available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Financial Aid Package A financial aid award based on need. It is usually made up of grants, loans, and/or work/study. Undergraduate students may receive all three types of financial aid. Freshman Profile Many colleges now send to high school counselors a profile of their most recent freshman class. This profile provides such information as average SAT or ACT scores, average rank in class, and positions of leadership held by entering students. This enables a student to compare himself or herself with the average student in the freshman class at schools they may be considering. Grade Point Average (GPA) A student's overall scholastic performance is indicated by assigning a point value to each grade earned in each course, adding the total, and then dividing the total by the number of grades. For example, A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1.0. Grant Financial aid from federal or state government or college that does not have to be repaid. Based on financial need, grants may be made up from several sources such as the institution and the Pell Grant. High School / CEEB Code (060-082) Every high school is assigned an identification number that is used by standardized testing services, financial aid forms, applications, and other documents. Institutional Methodology If a college or university uses its own formula to determine financial need for allocation of the schoolâ€™s financial aid funds, the formula is referred to as the Institutional Methodology or IM. Interest Interest is an amount charged to the borrower for the privilege of using the lenderâ€™s money. Interest is usually calculated as a percentage of the principal balance of the loan. The percentage rate may be fixed for the life of the loan, or it may be variable, depending on the terms of the loan. All federal loans use variable interest rates that are pegged yearly to the cost of the US Treasury Bills. Loans The two types of basic loans are those based on need and those made regardless of need. Needbased loans can come from schools or private lenders and the greater the need, the larger the loan. In many cases these loans are guaranteed by the federal or state government and carry low interest rates. In other cases, all or part of a loan may be forgiven if the student commits to working for a certain period of time at a certain job in a specified locality. Payments on these loans are usually deferred until degree completion and can be extended from two to twenty years. Many banks and lending institutions also make student loans to parents regardless of need to help stretch the family budget over the years of schooling. Open Admission An admission policy some colleges offer without regard to high school subjects, grades, or standardized test scores. Most applicants are accepted if there is a high school diploma. Pell Grant
The federal government awards financial assistance on the basis of need. A student may use the grant to cover the costs of tuition, books, room, board, and other educational costs. The grant does not require repayment. Perkins Loan Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan that are given to students with exceptional financial need. The college or university is the lender. PLAN - Preliminary ACT Assessment A practice version of the ACT test. PLUS Loans (Federal) Federal PLUS loans enable parents with good credit histories to borrow for each child who is enrolled at least half time and is a dependent student. These loans, like the Federal Stafford Loans, are made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association. Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) A practice SAT usually taken in October of the sophomore and junior years at RJHS. The test scores from the junior year are also used as a qualifying test for scholarships awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. PROFILE Financial aid form from CSS that is required by many selective colleges to determine student eligibility for financial aid. Completely online application process. Go to www.collegeboard.com Rolling Admission An admissions procedure by which the college considers each student's application as soon as all the required credentials (high school transcript, test scores, recommendations, etc.) have been received. The college usually notifies applicants of its decision without delay. Scholarships Financial awards based on merit, not need, and may include special talents in athletics, music, scholastics, etc. Most are renewable for each college year if the student continues to participate in certain activities or, in the case of academics, maintains a certain grade point average. The individual institution usually controls the scholarships for each year. Also, scholarships are available from civic, church, and community groups and employers. Scholastic Aptitude Test I (SAT I) Many colleges use this test as a part of the admission process in deciding the admission status of an applicant. The College Board's test includes testing of verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities and is given on specified dates throughout the year. Stafford Loan Federal Stafford Loans are low-interest loans made to students. Lenders can be a bank, credit union, savings and loan or the college. You must repay this loan. Loans are subsidized (based on need) or unsubsidized (regardless of income).
Subject Tests (SAT II) College Board tests in specific subject areas are given at test centers on specified dates throughout the year. These tests are one hour for each subject and include English Composition, Math I and II, chemistry, American history, and foreign languages. Not all colleges and universities require these tests, but those that do may use them for admission and/or placement in classes. Many colleges require three SAT II: Subject Tests in addition to the SAT I. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) This test is designed for students whose native language is not English and whose SAT scores would be affected by the language difference. Three-Two Plan A five-year cooperative program between a liberal arts college and another college offering technologically-oriented programs. After completing the first three years at a liberal arts college, the student transfers to the cooperating institution for more specialized training. At the successful completion of the fifth year, the student receives degrees from both institutions. The plan is most widely used in programs of engineering and forestry. Transcript An official record of a student's academic performance including classes taken and grades earned. All college admissions are contingent upon receipt of the final transcript indicating graduation. University An institution offering graduate degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees. Wait List A student may not be accepted by April 15 to a college but may be granted admission after May 1 or during the summer prior to enrolling in college.
FROM THE PRINCIPALS, REGARDING COLLEGE COACHES: We have recently had some issues involving independent college coaches that have put the college application process of some of our students at risk. In light of this, we would like all Regis Jesuit families to please keep the following in mind: Of great concern to us is the realization that college coaches working with our students have been giving outdated information/misinformation about a variety of topics which can negatively impact the student’s search and application process. Topics where misinformation/misguidance has recently been discovered with Regis Jesuit students using a college coach include: PSAT, ACT, and SAT testing and scores; student essay guidelines and feedback; student resumé guidelines and feedback; application deadlines; teacher letter expectations; majors offered by colleges; use of the Naviance program. These are all critical pieces of the college search and application process, so any misinformation could potentially have very serious consequences. College coaches came to exist and are considered to be best used in a very large school setting where students do not have regular one-on-one contact with their school counselors for their college process (unlike Regis Jesuit). However, IF your family is considering hiring one, it is crucial to make sure that the person you are considering hiring is certified and belongs to a professional network. Providing top-notch college and personal/academic counseling is part of the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis, and is one more expression of Regis Jesuit’s excellence in education. Our counselors are committed to providing your sons and daughters with the individual support and up-to-date information they will need in every step and each piece of their college process. They truly have your child’s best interest in mind. We hope that you will continue to place your trust in them, as we do. Please note that colleges will only speak to the school counselor, not the college coach. Additionally, the counselor letter is a cornerstone piece of the application packet. This means that the student and family need to keep the school counselor informed and continue to meet with them regularly. The college coach should always be working within the guidelines and expectations of Regis Jesuit, and the school’s process, deadlines, and methods must always take precedence over the college coach’s. Thank you, and please feel free to address any questions to our counseling department chairs: Marsha Caldwell (Boys Division) email@example.com and Linda Kozler (Girls Division) firstname.lastname@example.org
ADDITIONAL WEBSITES FOR COLLEGE SEARCHING A roomful of college consultants was asked to list their favorite college search websites during a recent workshop session at the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) fall conference. Their responses offer insight into what the "pros" use to develop college lists and advise students. Priority was given to accuracy, ease of use, breadth of information and currency of data sources. And the winners were: 1. College Navigator: Maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov). College Navigator is a free consumer tool designed to help students, parents, counselors, and others gather data about nearly 7,000 colleges and universities located in every corner of the country. There's no glamour here, but it's hard to beat the quality and depth of data provided by those diligent government statisticians. 2. U-CAN (www.ucan-network.org): Another free data source, the U-CAN (University and College Accountability Network) search function includes 17 different variables covering student costs, tuition trends, admission and graduation rates, average student aid packages and much more. Developed and maintained by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (www.ilaicu.edu). U-CAN employs a consumer-friendly format that is colorful, understandable, and easy to use. 3. Unigo (www.unigo.com): With searchable reviews, videos, and photos from over 1500 college students, Unigo offers an opportunity to learn about the several hundred colleges and universities covered by the site. Linking up with the Wall Street Journal (www.unigo.com/wsj) has added even more depth and richness to the quality of information provided. 4. YOUniversityTV (www.youniversitytv.com): A relative newcomer, YOUniversityTV is rapidly becoming a favorite among counselors and colleges for the quality of the videos produced. YOUniversityTV not only provides free access to videos and educational resources on over 400 colleges, but has also established an interesting social networking component dedicated to college information-sharing, 5. College Portrait (www.collegeportraits.org): Billed as a voluntary reporting system, College Portrait is sponsored by the Association of Public and Landgrant Universities (www.aplu.org) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (www.aascu.org). The website provides basic, comparable information on undergraduate student experiences at 300 public universities as based on an extremely thorough survey completed as part of the Voluntary System of Accountability Program (www.voluntarysystem.org). Workshop participants also cited College Confidential (www.collegeconfidential.com) and StudentsReview (www.studentsreview.com) as sources of more subjective or anecdotal information, but all agreed that care must be taken with these sites as they often contain biased or even "planted" posts.