Wednesday Weekly Reader: CrunchTime for Early Apps

Recent news from the college search / admissions / finance front.

1.  Since the middle of October is fast approaching and we already know college early action/decision deadlines creep earlier each fall, here’s timely advice from US News & World ReportHow to Save Time on your College Applications.

College applications require thought, honesty, and time. But, depending on where you plan to apply, you may be able to trim some of your workload by submitting one application to multiple schools. Keeping in mind that you shouldn’t apply to numerous colleges just because you can, here are some time-savers to consider…

2.  Whitney Bruce, an independent college consultant, posted four Last Minute Comon App Tips on Accepted.com’s blog. Here’s one:

Uploading and submitting takes time. Last year, I worked with a student who was finishing his last application at the last possible minute. Servers slow down when lots of students are trying to submit work. Browsers crash. If you use a Mac, the Common Application seems to work better with Firefox than Safari. Technical glitches happen. Sometimes, colleges will cut you some slack. Sometimes they won’t. Don’t depend on it. Finish early.

3.  More tips from USNews & WR Education blog:  6 Steps to Beating the Shortage of Financial Aid.

Although nearly every college student wants a scholarship to help pay tuition, only about 50 percent of college students are expected to receive free money in 2011 and 2012. And the shortage of scholarships is expected to be especially severe in 2011 and 2012.

But financial aid experts say there are six steps students can take right now to improve their odds of being in the lucky 50 percent.

Including:

  • Study harder: “…many financial aid programs are setting higher grade, test score, and other requirements.”
  • Cut your costs. “Every dollar you save by choosing a less expensive college, or living in a cheaper dorm, is a dollar you don’t have to borrow or raise in scholarships.”

Zac Bissonnette would be so proud.

4.  With Early applications due any day, the deadlines for financial aid forms and scholarship applications soon follow. Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FastWeb and FinAid.org, gave a presentation to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors on Top 10 Myths About Scholarhips. The article is spread over a number of pages, or at the end of the first page, see a link to the presentation file in pdf form for a quick read.

These myths can be harmful if they give students and their families unrealistic expectations about their ability to win scholarships. Some myths cause students to underestimate their eligibility for scholarships, discouraging them from applying for scholarships. Other myths cause students and parents to overestimate their eligibility for scholarships, making them overlook other forms of financial aid and opportunities to save to cover college costs. These myths can lead to bad decisions concerning college affordability.

Students take a break on the steps of the Coll...

Boston University. Image via Wikipedia

5.  Finally, here’s one university making a smart effort to connect with new students. At BU, a checkup call from the top via the Boston Globe.

With new students wrapping up their first month on campus, school staff and administrators, including the provost and dean of students, spent the week calling all 4,300 first-year and transfer students, an ambitious gesture designed to make them feel at home.

“It’s about community,’’ said Kenneth Elmore, the university’s dean of students. “We want students to know we’re here to help.’’

Many administrators and researchers applaud the school for reaching out to students during the pivotal first semester, a time when they are at greater risk of falling behind and dropping out. Nationally, just 57 percent of full-time students at four-year colleges graduate within six years.

What have you been reading? Let me know, in comments below.

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