Smart Q & A: Do I have to report suspensions on college applications?
Dec12

Smart Q & A: Do I have to report suspensions on college applications?

Do you have suspensions on your high school record? Should you report it on your college admission application?

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Smart Q & A: Visit Campus First or Apply Then Visit?
Oct28

Smart Q & A: Visit Campus First or Apply Then Visit?

— Should you visit colleges before applying or only those who have already accepted you?

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Smart Q & A: Parents Divided About Choosing a College
Jul29

Smart Q & A: Parents Divided About Choosing a College

QUESTION: My husband and I differ about where our daughter should attend college. He feels strongly she should chose the best school among those offered and I want her to be happy with her choice. Both schools are good schools. How can we all get through this? ANSWER: First, I think it is important for you both to define what “best” truly is!  Often times, best is defined by a designer label like and Ivy or Tier I school with a prestigious name.  In my opinion, relying on the label of a school is a false mindset. While there is no denying that well-known schools can offer an outstanding academic experience, so can less well-known colleges and universities.  The most important part of the college selection process is knowing the students and finding a college that suits them academically, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There are so many factors that go into the first step of the college decision making process when crafting a list of potentially suitable schools.  Size, location, outside interests, culture of the campus and of course, the bevy of options the institution offers for you! If your daughter is majoring in a particular field, a larger research facility may play a more significant role.  Smaller colleges may provide more one on one attention that your daughter may thrive on. Lastly, given our economy  one would be smart to consider internship or networking opportunities at the school they are considering as well as the percentage of fellowships for graduates.  Most importantly, help your daughter weigh her options for herself with both parents lovingly offering guidance, support and open communication.  You can then narrow the choices together when considering cost or factoring financial aid.  There are over 4,000 colleges in the US alone, “best” is just an indicator of a publicized ranking, “best” for your daughter is what really counts! Dorine Russo is an independent college admissions counselor and founder of The...

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Smart Q & A: Should I Visit Colleges During Summer?
Jun10

Smart Q & A: Should I Visit Colleges During Summer?

— Is it really worth the time to visit colleges during the summer when most of the students are gone? It can be, especially if you seize the opportunity and make it your own.

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Smart Q & A: How early should I begin searching for scholarships?
Feb15

Smart Q & A: How early should I begin searching for scholarships?

QUESTION: How early can my son start working on getting scholarships. He is currently 11. ANSWER: If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Monica Matthews, our Scholarship Mom, it’s that it’s never too early to begin your scholarship search. According to Monica, there are scholarships available for all levels of students, even elementary school kids! No matter when you begin your search for scholarships, two important things to keep in mind are these: Stay organized and know your deadlines. Create project folder for each scholarship and note the deadline. Even better, use a large sticky note and log the due date as a week before the actual...

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Smart Q & A: How Do I Get My App Fee Waived?
Dec30

Smart Q & A: How Do I Get My App Fee Waived?

QUESTION: How do I get my app fee waived?  ANSWER: Ask! Colleges typically have a fee-waiver policy. Search the college’s web site or contact the admissions office for details regarding qualification.  Since application fees range from $25-$75 per school, the cost to apply can add up especially if you’re applying to more than one college. It does not hurt to ask about a fee-waiver and having the application fee waived will not impact review of your application. The National Association for College Admission Counseling provides a form students who meet the criteria can use to apply to any college. The criteria and form can be found here: NACAC Request for Admission Applicaiton Fee Waiver. Application fees can be waived for many reasons and policies will vary from school to school.  Here are a some examples: Need-based/you have limited financial resources, are applying for financial aid, or the cost of the application fee presents a hardship for your family First-Gen/you are the first in your family to apply to college Child of an alum (also known as a legacy applicant)/your parents graduated from the college to which you are applying Special offer/the college may run a fee-waiver promotion for a limited time In-State or Out-of-State applicant/some colleges waive fees depending on where you live Military/you’re applying for ROTC or Corps of Cadets Note there may be additional forms or deadlines related to applying for a fee-waiver, so be sure to contact the admissions office, seek help from your guidance counselor and search online for information for each college that interests you. If you’re just getting started with the college admissions process, don’t hesitate to ask about fee-waivers when you visit college or when the college rep visits your high school....

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