The Washington Post included a fantastic feature story that provides an in depth look into how the University of Maryland, College Park admissions committee works. Click here to read the article.
As a college counselor, I think this article offers several important takeaways that parents and students must recognize as they prepare to succeed in the college admissions process. Notice how much emphasis is placed on the human elements of the application. A "C" grade is not disqualifying and neither does a perfect SAT score result in automatic admission. Rather the admissions officers toil over upward grade trends, which suggest improved study and work habits and the quality of the essays.
This article highlights the importance of crafting a story in a college application that makes the admissions officers want to admit your child based on what they would add to the college. Remember application quality matters. Create a plan early in high school to stand out and earn admission.
Seventy-four percent of parents help pay for their adult children’s living expenses, according to a new CreditCards.com and BankRate survey. The cellphone bill is the most common expense parents help pay (39%), and other top expenses they assist with include transportation (e.g. car repairs, gas) (36%), rent (24%) and utilities (21%). In total, 52% of parents said they helped their children pay down their student loan debt.
I want to highlight that a quarter of parents of adult children help them pay their rent. Said differently, a quarter of young adults cannot afford to live on their own without financial support from their families. And these are the ones that do not live at home to begin with.
We want better for our children after they graduate from college.
The best way to empower our kids to be healthy, happy, and financially independent adults is to ensure that they: (1) pick a field that offers recent grads well-paying entry level jobs and (2) attend colleges that do not result in crushing student loan burdens that prevent them from being able to obtain core tenants of the American Dream like living independently, buying a home, or starting a family.
The holidays are a great time to discuss the financial implications of studying certain subjects or at certain schools. Our children must understand the likely outcomes for graduates for fields with limited career demand. Your child may love Picasso and Matisse, but does she know what Art History students do after they graduate? There are only so many job openings at the Louvre each year.
Students must also understand what it means to have $250,000 of non-dischargeable student loans with thousand dollar monthly loan payments. The dream may be an elite private college, but if the price tag is not realistic based on savings, merit aid, and financial aid, discuss if other, more affordable, colleges provide similar opportunities and experiences.
Build the foundation for long term success by discussing your child’s plans for the future and how college fits with those goals. You can empower your child to create the life that she envisions—both professionally and personally. There can be no greater gift this year, and the dividends it will pay in the future extend far beyond rent.
Four years of staying up late to study for tests, write essays, prepare for the SAT or ACT on top of the games and recitals have finally led to this: submitting college applications. After your child hits ‘send’, do not forget about critical tasks to ensure that your child’s application is complete and can be reviewed by admissions officers.
Many admissions offices practice rolling admissions—meaning that they review applications on a first come, first serve basis. What does this mean for your child’s applications? You want her application to be reviewed as soon as possible, when the most amount of spots remain to be awarded to applicants.
After your child submits applications you will receive status checkers to verify what has been received and what is outstanding. Check these every few days until all required items are marked as received. Review the following to make sure the following are covered:
2. Sending ACT Scores?
Go to www.act.org and send scores to each school. Note: public university systems, such as at the University of California, require you to submit test scores to each campus (i.e. UCLA and UCSB). You can search for the schools directly in the site and send all scores in one batch or individually.
3. Sending SAT Scores?
Go to www.collegeboard.org and send scores directly to each school. Note: public university systems, such as at the University of California, require you to submit test scores to each campus (i.e. UCLA and UCSB). You can search for the schools directly in the site and send all scores in one batch or individually. If your child took the ACT and the SAT Subject Tests, you will have to send both sets of test scores to each college.
4. Sending Transcripts
Discuss with your school’s guidance counselor what system they use for transcript requests. Many schools take care of transcripts, while Parchment is widely used with public schools throughout the country. Make sure you follow the proper protocol to ensure that the transcripts are submitted in a timely manner.
Remember to tie up any and all loose ends so your hard work and determination shines in a timely manner. Best of luck through the end of this process!
In a survey conducted by Student Loan Report, 69.3% of millennial student loan borrowers would rather receive a student loan payment instead of a gift this holiday season. The survey questioned 1,000 borrowers currently repaying a student loan.
Do not read this as a sign that the holiday spirit is diminishing for the country as whole. Rather, understand how pervasive the student loan crisis is and how it affects recent graduates to the point they would rather forgo a holiday gift in exchange for help with a crushing student loan obligation.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average student loan payment for a 20- to 30-year-old is $351 a month. If you’re worried that gifting money is unsentimental, think again. Chances are, it’s probably what your student borrower really wants for the holidays. In the survey, 58% of respondents said that they plan to use Christmas money to chip down their student loan debt, compared with 41.5% who want to spend it on other things.
At the end of the day, 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt totaling about $1.45 trillion. From that number, about 11.2% of accounts are delinquent (90-plus days late with a payment or in default).
As the holidays approach and seniors put the finishing touches on last minute applications, your family must consider the implications of choosing a college that carries a $200,000 or $300,000 price tag for the total cost of education. Families, this may mean forgoing holidays for years or decades to come. Understand what non-dischargeable financial obligation accompanies your child’s dream college. If that total amount is something you together as a family are not comfortable with, consider lower cost alternatives that provide similar opportunities and probabilities for desired career outcomes.
Remember, a college education is an investment, and it is up to your family to maximize your return on investment.