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
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:
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:
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
– 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
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
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
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
• 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
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
Program or major you are considering
College size
Class size
Location or distance from home
Prestige, reputation
Choosing a College
• Additional factors to consider
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
Make a list of college entrance requirements
Meet with school counselor
Consider attending college admissions fairs
Timeline – Junior Year
• January – August
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
– Work on your “resume”
Timeline – Senior Year
• September – December
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
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
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:
• These tests are required or recommended
by many colleges.
College Entrance Exams
– Taken in Junior year as a “rehearsal” for the SAT
– Measures reading, math and writing skills
– More information:
• PLAN Test
– The rehearsal test for the ACT
– English, math, reading and science
– More information: www.actstudent.org/plan
College Entrance Exams
• SAT Reasoning
Math, critical reading, writing
Measures conceptual thinking rather than facts
Scoring scale is 200-800 for each section
Practice questions available at
College Entrance Exams
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
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
– 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
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
Stay on topic
Essays should be error free
Don’t exceed the word limit
Be yourself
Your College Applications
• Other evidence of talent
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:
Room and board if living off campus
Books and supplies
Personal expenses
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
• Begin to find out your net price to attend
college by filing the FAFSA
About the FAFSA
• FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student
• 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
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
– 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
• 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
• 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
Types of Financial Aid
• Gift aid
Federal grant programs
State grant programs
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
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
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
– College determines award amount
– Range from $400−$5,000 depending upon need and
legislative appropriations
• Virginia Commonwealth Award
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
– 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
Student borrower
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
– 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
• Meet all deadlines
Understanding Award Letters
• Award letter
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?
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
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
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
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
Family and friends
Religious, civic and community organizations
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
Essays/personal statement
Letters of recommendation
Examples of work in specific study area/portfolio
SAT/ACT scores
Scholarship Applications
• Essays and personal statement
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
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
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
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
• 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
• We’ll do all the work for you
– You must provide all the work or the application is
Tips to Remember
• Scam mailings often sound/look official
• If you win, you will always receive notice via
• Watch out for 900 area code telephone
• Always walk away from high pressure sales
• Be wary of endorsements
When You Win
• What to expect
– Congratulations letter – keep a copy for your
– High profile scholarships may include follow-ups
– Check may be sent to you or your college
– May need to send transcripts and proof of
– 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.

Slide 1