The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now based on tax returns from two years ago instead of the prior year. This should be a welcome change for families that file tax return extensions. As soon as your child is done with her applications, your family should focus on applying for financial aid to all of the schools she applies to.
Many private colleges offer surprisingly generous need-based financial aid packages including grants the cover the full cost of tuition for families making up to $150,000 per year. Some colleges have a first come, first serve financial aid policies, so it is important to complete the financial aid applications on time. Check each college’s financial aid website for instructions for applying for financial aid. Each school can have a different policy and application procedure.
Parents and students can rejoice as more selective colleges, like Columbia, Penn, and the University of California system, continue to drop the SAT II as a requirement for their applications.
Regardless of whether the colleges your child applies to require the SAT II, they will still require the SAT I or the ACT as part of their applications. Applicants should still prioritize SAT and ACT prep as one of the main components of a college application that they can use to improve their odds of admission.
Students enrolled in AP or IB classes, or those that speak a foreign language at home should consider taking SAT II subject tests in those areas. Just because SAT II tests are not required, does not mean that a strong score in a SAT II subject test will not help your child earn admission to her dream college. Use SAT II subject tests to your child’s advantage if your child is in a position to score well on them. If the SAT II’s are a source of anxiety or a struggle for your child, then avoid them if they are not required.
As we approach the start of a new school year, it is a great time to assess whether your child is on track to earn admission to the college she would like to attend. Take stock of the following: