Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scholarship Search Should Begin in the Junior Year of High School

This is the fourth in a series that I have been posting over the last few weeks regarding College Admissions and things to consider as you prepare for College....Enjoy!

“Show Me the Money!”

Though this is a phrase known mostly for its presence in the movie “Jerry Maguire,” this is a consistent sentiment that arises from students as I meet with them daily. As students and parents move closer to the end of their high school career, finances for the future take the forefront, whole other important considerations, at times, get left behind. It would not be the first time a student tells me that their college choice was made because of the school’s supposed affordability. This is the nature of our society today, as a college education gets more expensive, more students are trying to find the best buy for their dollars, and this is not necessarily negative phenomena.

I say this because the nature of higher education today is conducive to working with students, helping them to finance their options. This is especially true with schools that have higher endowments, which many times surround the private institutions. Yes, these schools are also the ones with price tags of more than $20,000 per year, but one must keep in mind that if a student has proven him/herself in high school, the financial rewards will usually be great. This is why I ask students if they are considering out-of-state options because there are many institutions out-of-state that would equally compare financially with an in-state college or university.

Scholarships are the other way students tend to look as they try to pay for their college education. Searching for scholarships should start as early as possible, if not in a student’s junior year, then definitely in the beginning of their senior year. I say this because there are many scholarships available to students, but many, if not most, take time to fill out and complete. Starting in the junior year allows a student to prepare for deadlines that may be early in the senior year, and lessens the time burden in the senior year.

Searching for scholarships is not difficult and either a student or a parent can find many if they can put in the time. Most scholarships are readily accessible to you through the media of the Internet, and there are many free search sites that will allow you to find scholarships that are right for the particular student. If you have access to the Internet you can find most of these scholarship sites. If you do not have access to the Internet, talk to your guidance counselor today to find out how to access scholarship information. For more information on this topic or if you have questions that you would like addressed, do not hesitate to email me at .

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Choosing a College That Is Right for You

This is the third in a series of posts that I plan to roll out over the next week...Enjoy!

When choosing a college there are many factors to consider. Not only is it important to consider financial aspects, it is equally important to explore the full array of opportunities and options that surround a college before settling on the final choice(s). I recommend a few things to consider:

    Does the college have programs in my areas of interest?

    Does the college have a progressive financial aid program to help students with the cost of their education?

    Is the college in an area where I feel comfortable (urban, suburban, etc.)?

    Is the college the right size for me?

Most important is the feeling one gets as they visit the campus. Take the time to visit the campus; to ask questions, visit the residence halls, and meet a professor. The important thing is that you visit. Too many students choose a college, only to find in their first year that the campus is not right for them. Visiting becomes even more important when considering out-of-state colleges.

Once these factors are considered, choices have to be made; where to apply and when. Fall of the senior year is a good time. Where to apply is a personal choice, whether in- or out-of-state, there are many good colleges and universities to select from – more than 3,500 in the United States alone. The formula that usually works well is to choose more than one. Three works well because you can select one college where you k now you will be accepted, one where you think you will be accepted, and one that you question whether you will be accepted.

Your high school guidance counselors are there to help you through these decisions. Usually, guidance offices have a variety of information and resources from many colleges and universities that you can choose from, some of which can be checked out by students. Also, with Internet access and the continual advancement of technology today, you can visit any college at the stroke of a key.

If you have any questions about this or other topics, feel free to contact me at and I will do my best to answer the questions you have.