Category Archives: College

Few aspects of the college admissions process cause as much consternation and confusion as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better know as the FAFSA. This document is critical: you need to fill out the FAFSA to get any college financial aid from the federal government in the form of grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. What are some fast facts worth knowing about the FAFSA? Filling out the FAFSA is free. The FAFSA isn’t just used by the federal government. Many states and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid and how much will be awarded. The FAFSA doesn’t focus solely on the applicant but also requires information a family’s finances, including tax returns. The FAFSA needs to be filled out every year. Of course, fast facts can only tell you so much. This topic deserves as much…

Read more

I am–at least today–a proud alum of a public university. Actually, back when I was submitting college applications, a state school was the farthest thing from my mind, an afterthought at the suggestion of my guidance counselor. Good thing I did, because while I was accepted to the Ivies on my list, I couldn’t afford them! Luckily, SUNY Stony Brook offered me a quality education at a rate I could pay through work and reasonable loans. Not to say that anyone can put himself through college by delivering Chinese takeout anymore, but state schools make a massive positive difference in the trajectory of the lives of hundreds of thousands of students a year. That’s why the NY Times Thursday email newsletter touching on the college money crisis struck home for me: The coronavirus has caused severe budget problems for American higher education. But many colleges’ financial troubles are much larger…

Read more

When you help as many motivated, authentic, and endearing students as we do in the college admissions process, you can’t help but want to find more ways to support them. Obviously, the best way we educators can support high schoolers is by providing the best test prep, tutoring, and coaching possible. But sometimes you want to do even more. From that thought arose the Tests and the Rest Counselor Select Scholarship. My podcast partner Amy Seeley and I both wanted to add something new to the constellation of local, national, and organizational awards students contend for and consulted with scholarship expert Monica Matthews on the best way to proceed. We liked our initial idea so much that we extended it to our national professional network to provide a way for students in multiple states to be nominated for the scholarship by their school counselor and apply for it. As a…

Read more

Earlier this week, I had the privilege to speak to a large group of families from the Pittsford and Fairport school districts. In this College Admissions Testing for the HS Classes of 2021 and 2022 Seminar, I explained what the tests are, why they matter, and what you can and should do about them during this singular moment in recent history. Attendees submitted questions ahead of time, so we made sure to address the following points: Does it make sense for me to take the SAT/ACT if I have a strong GPA and colleges are making it optional? What does test optional really mean? Will the SAT/ACT be required for the class of 2022? When should students in the class of 2021 or 2022 try to take the tests? How has COVID changed the role of testing? What is the best preparation for the PSAT? What habits should students cultivate…

Read more

Choosing a school is already a difficult decision, making the choice with the ROTC scholarship in mind could make the decision easier… or that much harder. Here are some things to keep in mind that have the potential to make the decision-making process less of a headache. One important first step is to help your son or daughter to decide on a major, if they have not done so already. This can narrow down the search for the right school. Military vs. non-military college is another topic to think about. A traditional college is going to offer your son or daughter a traditional college experience for the most part. He or she will still be required to fulfill their ROTC obligations. A military service academy is not going to reflect the traditional college experience, but it will help you son or daughter learn the military culture and help them to…

Read more

The last thing anyone wants to read right now is another article about how COVID-19 has impacted higher education. Whether it is the debate about whether tests are really optional or how meaningful those unexpectedly online AP exams will turn out to be, there are a lot of strong opinions out there. One factor just starting to generate very strong opinions is the fate of students looking to start their college educations this fall. While some campuses appear optimistic about restarting, there are plenty of experts out there who think that it might well be too early in September for students to return to campus and physically attend classes. The prospect of an entirely online semester doesn’t sit well with many college students. After all, many of the things that make college such an experience involve living in close quarters with equally uninhibited peers. Also, let’s face it, social distancing…

Read more

6/97