NNPS & TNCC
Welcomes You
Why You’re Here
• Virtually everyone can – and will – tell you that
college is important!
• You are much more likely to be successful and
happy if you continue your education past high
school.
Look Into the Future
• College will be increasingly important.
• By 2012, there will be 3 million new jobs that
require a college degree – but not enough
graduates to fill them.
• Future jobs will require some form of education
after high school:
– 90% of fastest growing jobs
– 60% of all jobs
– 40% of all manufacturing jobs
College Is Important
• In a changing world, college will provide you
with more career options.
• There is a direct correlation between attending
college and being employed.
College Is Important
College Is Important
• College has a direct effect on personal income
• Recent data on total personal income in
Virginia, age 25 and above:
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No HS diploma = $17,134
HS diploma = $26,979
Some college = $32,863
Bachelor’s degree = $49,274
Advanced degree = $76,642
College Is Important
• People who have attended some college:
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Are more likely to vote
Are more likely to volunteer
Report that their health is better
Are less likely to be incarcerated
• It’s true – college is important!
What We’ll Do Tonight
• We’re going to cover three topics about going
to college
• First topic – Choosing the Right College for
You
– Provide a timeline for juniors and seniors to follow
– Discuss college application process including
deadlines, transcripts and essays
– Provide a tool to use in evaluating which
college is right for you
What We’ll Do Tonight
• Second topic – The Financial Aid Process
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Discuss the details of college costs
Provide a timeline for juniors and seniors to follow
Provide tips to prepare and apply for financial aid
Show you a sample financial aid award letter,
and provide a tool to help in evaluating
awards from schools you are considering
What We’ll Do Tonight
• Third topic – Scholarship Searches and Scams
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Creating a scholarship search plan
Characteristics of successful scholarship candidates
What to expect if awarded a scholarship
How to recognize and avoid scholarship scams
What We’ll Do Tonight
• At the end of the evening, we’ll collect your
evaluations of tonight’s event.
• Even better, we’ll hold a scholarship drawing in
this room.
• We’ll select winners of the $500 scholarships.
• You must be present to win.
What’s Next
• Be sure to:
– Fill out a scholarship entry form
– Take a copy of Opportunities home with you
– Check www.collegenightinva.org for a copy
of tonight’s presentations
Thanks for joining us
tonight!
Choosing the Right
College for You
Lots of Choices
• There are over 6,000 colleges to choose from
in the United States
• School types
– Public (both 2- and 4-year)
– Private
– Private career schools
• One size does not fit all
What Are Your Goals?
• Choosing a college begins by defining your
goals
• Are you looking to:
– Learn a trade or enter a specific profession?
– Obtain a degree?
• Associate’s
• Bachelor’s
• Advanced – Master’s, Doctoral or Professional
• High school preparation is key
High School Preparation
• The track you are on in high school greatly
influences the colleges you will be able to
attend:
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Advanced Placement (AP) Classes
Dual-enrollment Programs
IB Diploma Programme
Career-Technical Preparation Programs
Choosing a College
• Which colleges can help you meet your goals?
• You can narrow down the list by considering
factors important to you.
• Factors to consider
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Program or major you are considering
College size
Class size
Location or distance from home
Prestige, reputation
Choosing a College
• Additional factors to consider
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Campus atmosphere
Extracurricular activities
Religious or cultural affiliations
Cost of attendance
• A few words about cost…
– Think about cost when making your final decision,
not as much when starting your search
– Consider your net out-of-pocket cost, not just the
sticker price
Opportunities – Page 5
College Application Process
• There are many things you can do to prepare
for a successful college application process.
• The Opportunities booklet contains a checklist
on page 6.
• The checklist shows steps you should take
beginning the summer before your junior year
through high school graduation.
• Some of the highlights appear on the
following slides.
Timeline – Junior Year
• August – September
– Make sure you are on track to graduate
• October
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Take PSAT/NMSQT
Make a list of college entrance requirements
Meet with school counselor
Consider attending college admissions fairs
Timeline – Junior Year
• January – August
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Request information from colleges
Visit colleges and begin to narrow your list
Take SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests (if needed)
Start preparations for “other” admissions
requirements
– Work on your “resume”
Timeline – Senior Year
• September – December
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Review plans with your school counselor
Retake SAT/ACT (if necessary)
Make a final list of colleges
Plan for college admissions deadlines
Note any “early decision” (binding) and “early
action” (non-binding) application deadlines
Timeline – Senior Year
• September – December
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Visit colleges
Request informational multimedia
Start drafts of admissions essays
Request high school transcripts
Timeline – Senior Year
• September – December
– Identify references
– Finalize “other” admissions requirements
– Schedule admissions interviews if appropriate for
the colleges that interest you
Timeline – Senior Year
• December
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Follow up with your references
Complete revisions of applications and essays
Mail/submit applications before holiday break
Commit to keeping your grades up
• May
– Take Advanced Placement and IB exams
College Entrance Exams
• High school preparation also includes taking
college entrance exams:
– PSAT or PLAN
– SAT
– ACT
• These tests are required or recommended
by many colleges.
College Entrance Exams
• PSAT/NMSQT
– Taken in Junior year as a “rehearsal” for the SAT
– Measures reading, math and writing skills
– More information:
www.collegeboard.com/testing
• PLAN Test
– The rehearsal test for the ACT
– English, math, reading and science
– More information: www.actstudent.org/plan
College Entrance Exams
• SAT Reasoning
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Math, critical reading, writing
Measures conceptual thinking rather than facts
Scoring scale is 200-800 for each section
Practice questions available at
www.collegeboard.com
College Entrance Exams
• ACT
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215 questions, multiple choice
Directly related to what you learned in high school
Score ranges from 1-36
Optional writing test available
Visit www.act.org for more information
College Entrance Exams
• SAT subject tests
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Mostly multiple choice questions
Measures knowledge of particular subjects
More than 20 subject tests available
Many colleges may require one or more
Opportunities – Page 8
Your College Applications
• Most colleges accept – and some require –
online applications
• Read the directions carefully
– Ability to follow directions correctly is part of many
colleges’ acceptance criteria
• Deadline for applications and supporting
documentation
– Each college has its own – See its website
– If applying by mail, is it postmark or arrival date?
Your College Applications
• Transcripts
– Official transcript needed for each college where
you applied
– Many acceptances contingent on maintaining GPA
– Most require a final high school transcript
Your College Applications
• References
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Usually from teachers, other adults and peers
Allow plenty of time
Give as much information as possible
Include stamped, pre-addressed envelope
Write thank you notes to your references and let
them know when you get accepted
Your College Applications
• Admissions essays
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Stay on topic
Essays should be error free
Don’t exceed the word limit
Be yourself
Your College Applications
• Other evidence of talent
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Portfolio
Audition tapes
Writing samples
Contact specific program for more information
The Financial Aid Process
What We’ll Cover
• Opportunities booklet contains information on
the financial aid process, beginning on page 11
• Your college costs
• The FAFSA and you
• Types of financial aid
• The final decision
• Understanding your award letter
Your College Costs
• Cost of attendance (COA) – a.k.a. “budget”
• Consists of direct and indirect costs
• Direct costs are paid to the college
– Tuition and fees
– Room and board if living on campus
Your College Costs
• COA can also include indirect costs:
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Room and board if living off campus
Books and supplies
Personal expenses
Transportation
Allowance for dependent care
Loan fees
Cost of a personal computer
Costs related to disability
Reasonable costs for study abroad
Your College Costs
• COA can also be thought of as the “sticker
price” – the total cost of going to college before
any financial aid you may receive
• Remember – it is important to look at the net
price
• Begin to find out your net price to attend
college by filing the FAFSA
About the FAFSA
• FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student
Aid
• Determines eligibility for:
– Most federal financial aid programs
– Many state financial aid programs
– Much of the aid colleges award from their own funds
• Colleges may require additional forms to
collect more detailed data
About the FAFSA
• FAFSA asks you questions about
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Income
Assets
Family size
Number of family members attending college
• Three versions of the FAFSA
– Online – www.fafsa.ed.gov
– PDF FAFSA – Print from your computer
– Paper FAFSA – Call 1-800-4-FED-AID
About the FAFSA
• Online version is best
– Built-in edits make it easier to complete accurately
– Sign it electronically with your PIN obtained from
www.pin.ed.gov
– If dependent, parent also needs to sign with PIN
– Faster results
• Over 98% of FAFSAs are submitted online
Preparing for the FAFSA
• Gather documents (both parents and students)
• Income tax returns – estimate if you have not
completed your return
• W-2 forms and other income
• Benefits records from state and federal
agencies
• Current bank statements
Tips for FAFSA Success
• Meet all financial aid deadlines
– Can vary from college to college
– Meeting “priority deadline” results in best financial
aid package available
• It’s okay to estimate your financial information
– Will get an opportunity to correct
• List all colleges that you are applying to
• Retain a copy of your completed FAFSA
FAFSA Help Is Available
• You can receive in-person help in completing
the FAFSA at “Super Saturday”
• Sponsored by Virginia Association of Student
Financial Aid Administrators and Virginia
College Access Network
• Saturday, February 13, 2010
• Many locations across the state
• Details at www.vasfaa.org
Financial Aid Process
• After completing the FAFSA, the student
receives Student Aid Report (SAR)
– Correct any errors and return
– SAR contains Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
• FAFSA information is also sent to the colleges
you listed to receive the data
Financial Aid Process
EFC Determines Aid Offered
• COA (Cost of attendance) – EFC = financial
need
• Financial aid office will then determine the
student’s eligibility for federal and state
financial aid, and for any aid the college may
be able to offer from its own funds
• Student will receive an award letter with the
details
Types of Financial Aid
• Gift aid
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Federal grant programs
State grant programs
Scholarships
Institutional aid
• Other types of federal “self-help” aid
– Federal work-study
– Federal loan programs
Gift Aid – Federal Grants
• Pell Grant
– Need-based
– Awards depend on program funding, cost of
attendance and expected family contribution
– Maximum award in 2009−2010 = $5,350
Gift Aid – Federal Grants
• Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity
Grant (FSEOG)
– Need-based
– Must have received Pell Grant
– Awards between $100−$4,000
Gift Aid – Federal Grants
• Academic Competitiveness Grant Program
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1st or 2nd year student
Must have completed rigorous high school program
Must be a Pell Grant recipient
Must be enrolled at least half-time
$750 1st year
$1,300 2nd year
Gift Aid – Federal Grants
• SMART Grant
– Enrolled at least half-time in bachelor’s or graduate
degree program that includes at least 3 years of
study at a 4-year college
– Must be a Pell Grant recipient
– Must major in sciences, math, engineering,
technology, or crucial foreign language
– At least 3.0 cumulative GPA
– Award up to $4,000 for a maximum of 3 years
Gift Aid – State Grants
• There are four major grant programs in
Virginia:
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CSAP – College Scholarship Assistance Program
Virginia Commonwealth Award
VGAP – Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program
VTAG – Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant
• More details on these and other Virginia
financial aid programs on:
– Pages 6-8 of Virginia Opportunities booklet
– www.schev.edu
Gift Aid – State Grants
• CSAP is based entirely on need
– For students at Virginia public and some private
colleges
– College determines award amount
– Range from $400−$5,000 depending upon need and
legislative appropriations
• Virginia Commonwealth Award
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Students at Virginia public colleges only
College determines award amount
Awards are proportional to need
Neediest students get the largest awards
Gift Aid – State Grants
• VGAP is based on both need and merit
– Students at Virginia public colleges only
– Must have a 2.5 high school GPA
– Maximum award = Cost of tuition, fees and a book
allowance
– Must be a full-time student and maintain a 2.0
college GPA
– Awards are proportional to need
– Neediest students get the largest awards
Gift Aid – State Grants
• VTAG is not based on need or merit
– Grant to Virginia students attending accredited
private nonprofit colleges in Virginia
– Students must be enrolled full-time
– Maximum undergraduate award in 2009−2010 is
approximately $3,000
Federal Work-Study
• To qualify
– Need-based
– Undergraduate or graduate students
– Enrolled at least half-time
• Getting the money
– Work part-time
– Earn at least minimum wage
Federal Loan Programs
• Perkins Loans
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Student borrower
Need-based
Undergrads borrow up to $5,500 annually
Typically a 10-year repayment period
Deferment options available while enrolled
In-school interest paid by federal government
Federal Loan Programs
• Stafford Loans
• Student is the borrower
• There are two types:
– Subsidized
• Based on need
• Federal government pays interest while the student
is in school
– Unsubsidized
• Not need-based
• Borrower is responsible for all interest that accrues
Federal Loan Programs
• FAFSA determines eligibility for type of loan
• Student may qualify for a combination of loan
types
– Dependent students can borrow up to $5,500 for
first year
– Independent students can borrow up to $9,500 for
first year
– 10- to 25-year repayment period
– Typically a 6-month grace period after leaving
college before repayment begins
Federal Loan Programs
• PLUS Loan
– For parents of dependent undergraduate students
– Parent cannot have an “adverse credit history”
– Fixed interest rate of 7.9% or 8.5% depending upon
the college the student attends
– Repayment begins 60 days after last disbursement,
but payments can be postponed until the student is
no longer enrolled half-time
– Can borrow up to cost of attendance minus
other financial aid
Understanding Award Letters
• Read your award letter carefully
– Look for instructions for next steps
• Keep your college aware of changing financial
issues
• Meet all deadlines
Understanding Award Letters
• Award letter
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Lists types of aid
Accept or decline
Shows budget
Sign and return
• Pages 24-25 in Opportunities
• Worksheet on page 26 helps
you compare awards
Understanding Award Letters
• What if it’s not enough?
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Research private scholarships
Consider any potential employer benefits
Check into college tuition payment plans
Make financial aid office aware of changes in your
financial situation
• Reminder – you must complete the FAFSA
to be considered for most types of aid
Scholarship Searches
and Scams
Agenda
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Dispelling myths about scholarships
Searching for scholarships
Successful scholarship candidates
Scholarship applications
Watch for scams
Tips to remember
Dispelling Myths
• A form of gift aid – money given to students
that doesn’t have to be repaid
• A few commonly held myths about
scholarships:
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You need a very high GPA
You need lots of extracurricular activities
If you’re a great student, they’ll find you
Millions of dollars go unclaimed each year
It’s just like applying to college
The competition is too intense
Finding Scholarships
• You need to develop a plan to search and
apply for scholarships.
• Internet scholarship searches are a good place
to start:
– Look for no-fee sites.
– Search engines require you to complete a profile.
– Watch for scams.
Popular Scholarship Sites
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Fastweb – www.fastweb.com
College Board – www.collegeboard.com
Scholarships.com – www.scholarships.com
Many other scholarship search sites
Not endorsing those listed above, but have
been proven to be legitimate sites
Other Scholarship Resources
• A good scholarship search extends beyond
surfing the web
• High school counselor
– May have a list of local competitions
– Check with other area high schools
• College/university
– Financial aid office
– Check within your major
Other Scholarship Resources
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Family and friends
Employers
Religious, civic and community organizations
Foundations
Public library
– Several volumes of scholarship listings
Successful Scholarship Candidates
• Apply for many different scholarships
• Request applications to allow plenty of time for
completing application requirements
• Turn in error-free applications
– Follow all application directions
– Watch out for the fine print
• Keep copies of completed applications
• Are thankful and gracious
Scholarship Applications
• May need to provide
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Essays/personal statement
Letters of recommendation
Examples of work in specific study area/portfolio
SAT/ACT scores
Transcripts
Interview
Scholarship Applications
• Essays and personal statement
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Show, don’t tell
Recycle writing appropriately
Have others proofread
Focus on potential
Ask for help if you need it
Scholarship Applications
• Letters of recommendation
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Provide scholarship criteria to references
Request personalized recommendation
Provide resume and copy of recommendation form
Provide stamped envelope
Keep in touch with references
Scholarship Applications
• ACT/SAT Scores and transcripts
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Request in time to meet deadlines
Confirm that information has been sent
Official or unofficial transcript?
Take standardized tests in time to meet deadlines
Scholarship Applications
• Interviews
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Can be a major source of stress
Be prepared for most common questions
Think of it as a conversation
Remember the basics
• Be on time
• Dress appropriately
Scholarship Applications
• Portfolio
– May include writing samples, artwork, audition tapes
– Many committees request electronic versions
– Provide postage if you want it returned
Watch for Scams
• If it sounds too good to be true…
– Beware of promises that are unrealistic
• You’re guaranteed to win or your money back
– Scholarships are competitive
Watch for Scams
• Come to a free seminar with a trained financial
aid consultant
– May try to sell you other financial products
• The scholarship will cost some money
– Always investigate the sponsor
Watch for Scams
• You can’t get this information anywhere else
– Legitimate scholarship providers want to award their
scholarships
• Just give us your credit card number and we’ll
get started
– Investigate organizations carefully
Watch for Scams
• You are a finalist (for a scholarship you never
applied for)
– Most scholarship sponsors contact in response to
inquiries
• We’ll do all the work for you
– You must provide all the work or the application is
fraudulent
Tips to Remember
• Scam mailings often sound/look official
• If you win, you will always receive notice via
mail
• Watch out for 900 area code telephone
numbers
• Always walk away from high pressure sales
• Be wary of endorsements
When You Win
• What to expect
– Congratulations letter – keep a copy for your
records!
– High profile scholarships may include follow-ups
– Check may be sent to you or your college
– May need to send transcripts and proof of
enrollment
– Fulfill obligations
• College may adjust your financial aid award
Student Loan Scams
• Recent years have seen an increase in
deceptive student loan practices.
• Be particularly careful of loans that are not
offered through the college financial aid office.
• More information on avoiding loan scams is
available at www.ftc.gov.
Questions?
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