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Old 04-16-2013, 03:56 PM   #61
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Welcome, Vicki & Erika!

I swear, the more I wade into all this financial aid stuff, the more confused I get... I'm becoming very glad that I'm researching everything now, because it's all so overwhelming!! I can't imagine waiting until the last minute. Yay all of us here, for planning ahead!!

For those of you awesome experienced folks, maybe you can help with this. I read that for every dollar of assets in the student's name, they basically add 20 cents to your EFC -- but as a parent, it's only 2 or 3 cents? Is that right? So if that's true, I'm guessing the way around it to simply transfer anything in his account into one of mine right before I fill out the FAFSA... Seems so dumb to me! Can anyone shed some light on this?

DS is going to take the ACT on June 8th -- anyone else? We were trying to decide between taking the SAT again or him trying the ACT, and after doing some practice questions he thinks he can do pretty well on the ACT. We're just trying to improve his chances for some merit aid at this point. But I tell ya, trying to get him to focus on prepping for the test when he can practically smell the end of the school year is not easy... LOL

How's everyone else doing?
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:40 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elgerber View Post
How have I missed this thread? My dd is a junior, and we are knee deep in college thoughts and visits. So stressful!!!
1. I am cracking up ... I usually see elgerber on the October car rental threads. Had no idea we had kids the same age!


2. count me in. middle DS graduating in 2014. Envious of you with kids who have 3.7-ish GPAs in the higher percentile of the class. DS has a 3.9 and is not in the top 10% of the class. It's concerning, as far as scholarships go.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:34 PM   #63
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Can I join the thread? I have a DD 17 and we are off to a financial aid night for college that her high school is hosting tonight.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:18 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madge

1. I am cracking up ... I usually see elgerber on the October car rental threads. Had no idea we had kids the same age!

2. count me in. middle DS graduating in 2014. Envious of you with kids who have 3.7-ish GPAs in the higher percentile of the class. DS has a 3.9 and is not in the top 10% of the class. It's concerning, as far as scholarships go.
Hey Madge! How are ya? I haven't been in October in a few years, except for a quick adult weekend. August is my rental time now :-). Funny that we have a kid the same age!
That is a high GPA to not even be in 10th percentile, wow. My dd is ranked 4th at her school but I am not sure how she would rank at a school like that!
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:23 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madge View Post
1. I am cracking up ... I usually see elgerber on the October car rental threads. Had no idea we had kids the same age!


2. count me in. middle DS graduating in 2014. Envious of you with kids who have 3.7-ish GPAs in the higher percentile of the class. DS has a 3.9 and is not in the top 10% of the class. It's concerning, as far as scholarships go.
Don't envy mine. The average SAT scores for my daughter's high school are in the lower 400s per category. I'm sure your child with the 3.9 is getting a much better education and more opportunities. So while my DD thinks her 1130/1750 is spectacular, I'm trying to explain to her that she won't be going up against kids from her school but kids from around the entire nation that have done much better than her.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:42 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elgerber View Post
That is a high GPA to not even be in 10th percentile, wow. My dd is ranked 4th at her school but I am not sure how she would rank at a school like that!
it's crazy. it's not a super huge class (175) ... so to be in the top 10% is 17 people. I hear that pre-cal wipes out several 4.0 kids every year, so it will be interesting to see what happens next month. DS got his B in geometry freshman year, will likely get a B in pre-cal this year. The goal is to keep the GPA above 3.75 (unweighted) and the ACT over 30. That puts in range to apply for scholarship money at many state schools.

I can't believe it's time to be doing this again. oldest DH graduated in 2008. His grades weren't as good as middle DS, so we're in new territory here.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:46 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by PrincessKsMom View Post
Don't envy mine. The average SAT scores for my daughter's high school are in the lower 400s per category. I'm sure your child with the 3.9 is getting a much better education and more opportunities. So while my DD thinks her 1130/1750 is spectacular, I'm trying to explain to her that she won't be going up against kids from her school but kids from around the entire nation that have done much better than her.
I don't understand SAT scores. Actually, the only thing I know about the SAT is that DS took the PSAT and didn't score high enough to be considered for national merit money. In fact, only one (and I'm not even sure about that) in his class scored high enough.

We are ACT people in Kentucky, unless you're looking out of state.
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Wilderness Lodge
~ Coronado Springs ~ Polynesian ~ Pop Century~
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:58 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madge View Post
I don't understand SAT scores. Actually, the only thing I know about the SAT is that DS took the PSAT and didn't score high enough to be considered for national merit money. In fact, only one (and I'm not even sure about that) in his class scored high enough.

We are ACT people in Kentucky, unless you're looking out of state.
SAT is now three sections, each worth 800 points for a perfect/maximum score of 2400. However, many schools don't count the newest section which is writing. The only count Critical Reading and Math. For instance, I posted my DD's score as 1130/1750. That means just in Critical Reading and Math she got an 1130 out of a possible 1600 or a 1750 out of a possible 2400. Good scores but not great. However, for the level of schools we're looking at, they are good enough to get her some merit money. However, I'm hoping she can bump them up another 100+ points. If she can get a 1250 instead of a 1130, it will also mean a bigger bump in merit money.

As for GPA, DD's 3.7/3.8 is weighted, not unweighted. Our school only reports weighted. Some schools will look at her grades and discount the weighting. And her class ranking of top 10% (guessing at this point but I think it's definitely within the range) is out of approx. 600 students. It's all about the numbers and believe me, I understand that the numbers can be deceiving.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:05 PM   #69
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My big struggle right now is how important a prestigious college is. My dd is looking at a major/minor or double major in English/film studies. Film studies is not that easy to come by especially in the upper Midwest. We have a very prestigious school that offers film, but its 63k a year, with no merit aid offered. We also have a state school, that I don't know that much about, that offers film, for about 16k per year. I am sure going to a east or west coast school would be even better, but that's a long way away and a ton of $$$.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:10 PM   #70
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I have a D who is finishing up her freshman year at her first choice college. So I have some experience with all this.

Get the book "Paying for College without Going Broke". Buy it today. Or check your library. Any money moves need to be done ASAP (frankly, it might be too late for some). The FASFA will look at your tax return for the calendar year from Jan of Jr year to Dec of Sr year. This is not the year to get a one time bonus....
Merit money is limited, and takes TOP scores. I mean TOP scores. If your student has that type of score, check out the Univ of Alabama.
Start writing essays this summer. They take more time than you think, and Sr year is busy.
Ask a math/science and an english/social studies teacher for a letter of recommendation. Ask them in May. Some teachers limit the number they will write, if that's your first choice teacher, you want to be on the list. Give them a resume/CV/Brag sheet, whatever your school calls the form...or make one of your own.

College Confidential has a ton of information, but not all the posters are "nice". Get the information you need and get out.

Good luck, it's a crazy, stressful process.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:10 PM   #71
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Can't offer any advice about that. DD is interested in marine science/bio and we just don't have money to even consider a prestigious school. Someone recommended Florida Institute of Technology. I checked it today and it would cost us approx. $38k a year, and that's with a $13k scholarship.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:19 PM   #72
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Oops, I forgot something....parent of a college freshman here....

Have a clear, honest, frank discussion of what you can afford. Do not talk about the "if Financial Aid works out dream school" at every conversation. A lot of kids are heart broken when they get in and then their parent has to tell them they can't go. Run a financial aid calculation. Keep in mind they expect you to have saved some money for college (they see three income streams: savings, current income, future income). Some schools require a CSS in addition to the FASFA. They look at things like home equity, business value, etc. Some expect forms and money from non-custoidal parents. Some expect the step-parent income to be included. You need to be honest with your students now. And track down the real information for each school (check College Confidential, call the financial aid department, etc).

I know this is hard, but really it will save heart break in the long run....
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:29 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by TLuvsD View Post
College Confidential has a ton of information, but not all the posters are "nice". Get the information you need and get out.
you are right about that! I am not a fan of those boards at all.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:38 AM   #74
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Give them a resume/CV/Brag sheet, whatever your school calls the form...or make one of your own.
and if you haven't started one of these for your junior ... start yesterday. LOL

We started keeping one for DS Freshman year. He keeps a running log of awards, service hours, etc. We've used his "resume" several times this year already.

I love reading about experiences from across the country. It's amazing to me how different things vary from region to region.

We don't use SAT scores, weighted GPA, have very few AP classes offered, limited dual credit, etc. Extremely small potatoes compared to other schools out there. Fascinating stuff.
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Wilderness Lodge
~ Coronado Springs ~ Polynesian ~ Pop Century~
Boardwalk (shhhh .... just mom!) ~ Ft. Wilderness Cabins

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Cypress Pointe Grandvillas (2008)
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:42 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLuvsD View Post
Get the book "Paying for College without Going Broke". Buy it today. Or check your library. Any money moves need to be done ASAP (frankly, it might be too late for some). The FASFA will look at your tax return for the calendar year from Jan of Jr year to Dec of Sr year. This is not the year to get a one time bonus....

College Confidential has a ton of information, but not all the posters are "nice". Get the information you need and get out.

Good luck, it's a crazy, stressful process.


Thanks for the book recommendation! I just looked it up, and our library has it. It's from 2002, though -- Do you think there will still be enough relevant info in it?

I also second the rec for getting great info from College Confidential and then getting out, lol... People on the Parents board specifically seem very clique-y, and the boards in general seem awfully focused on the "prestigious" schools -- which is relative anyway. In a lot of places, it seems the state universities are the gutter-level safety schools... Here in Texas, the smaller private colleges are where you go if you can't get into the state schools! Hugely competitive.

Really, I'm amazed at the regional differences around the country as far as colleges go! I honestly never knew Berkeley was this uber-prestigious school, especially for STEM studies... I had never heard of it growing up, except in passing as "that hippie school in California." And this was in a background of a very college-prep-focused private school upbringing. And every day I hear about colleges I've never heard of until that moment. I just think it's fascinating how regional our perceptions can be about all this!

Right now I'm having enough of a time just keeping DS focused on this last month and a half of school... He can smell summer at this point and he's ready to just be done with school for a while. Then he gets to take the ACT and write essays, and then band camp starts, and then it's time for school again -- but I'm not going to remind him of any of that right now.
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