Posts by ccrdommer

How to Start Thinking about Financial Aid

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in Application Process, Juniors, Parents | Comments Off on How to Start Thinking about Financial Aid

How to Start Thinking about Financial Aid

College Calm’s class of 2017 received aid offers of over 1 MILLION dollars in merit aid per year- over 4 million dollars over 4 years.

We want to give you important information regarding college financial aid. Too often families wait to talk about college costs and finances until the end of the process. We at College Calm think it is important to begin to talk about college finances in conjunction with building a college list that reflects your family values. Clear communication is important so when a student is looking at colleges so everyone has  an idea of what is feasible for your family. Below we talk about the changes in the FASFA, need based aid, merit aid and ways to cut college costs. At the bottom you will find a student checklist for July. We hope you are having a wonderful summer.

First Steps

Now is the time to start thinking about how you and your family will deal with financial aid. Start by reading Lynn O’ Shaughnessy’s article,” Your Crucial 1st Step.”  She recommends that you start by determining your family’s expected contribution. You can go to the financial aid website for any of the schools on your list and use the net price calculator. It is now mandatory for every college to have a calculator for families to estimate financial contributions. The information requested usually mirrors questions asked on the FASFA and CSS Profile. Sometimes the net price calculator can be hard to find on a school website so the easiest way to locate it is to google the school name and “net price calculator.” Here are a few examples: Santa Clara, CAL, Tulane and USC. Lynn’s website, the College Solution is a great resource for college financial information. In addition, most high schools sponsor a school or district financial aid night right after winter break (or earlier). It is a good idea to attend.

Changes in the FASFA

There is a new acronym in financial aid that is dominating the conversations- PRIOR, PRIOR YEAR or PPY. Beginning in the fall of 2016, the FAFSA now opens for families to complete in October, rather than  the following January. This means that the FASFA will be asking for data regarding your 2016 tax return, rather than estimates of your 2017 return. Students and families will be able to fill out the forms earlier which will result in colleges being able to send financial aid packages out earlier. We recommend that students research each school on their list and add to their spreadsheet the deadlines for the forms required. If a student plans to apply early, many schools will need the CSS Profile or FASFA or both by early action/decision date in October and November.

Merit Aid

This year there were some colleges that awarded significant scholarships to College Calm students. Some of the most generous were: Tulane, U of Arizona, Chapman, Gonzaga, U of Puget Sound, Fordham, Connecticut College, TCU, UC Boulder, U of San Diego and U of Denver.

College Calm’s class of 2017 received aid offers of over 1 MILLION dollars in grants, scholarship and merit aid per year- over 4 million over 4 years.

For more schools that offer Merit aid, visit The New York Times useful and  interactive list of colleges that offer merit aid. You can sort the list by clicking on the column headings.

Western University Exchange (WUE)

If you are interested in out-of-state public institutions in the West, make sure to check out the Western University Exchange (WUE). WUE is a regional tuition reciprocity agreement between states that results in students paying a reduced out-of-state tuition. WUE students pay no more than 150% of the in-state tuition. Participating states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. Montana and Nevada automatically offer WUE to CA residents, but for other states  students need to apply to become a WUE student. Some schools participate on a very limited basis (U of Oregon and U of Arizona) and other not at all (Boulder and Arizona State). To learn more visit www.wiche.edu/wue

Questions to ask Financial Aid Offices

If you are visiting colleges and want to discuss financial aid options, the Huffington Post article, “ 8 Financial Aid Questions You Must Ask,” is a great place to start.

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Completing your UC Application

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Completing your UC Application

Completing your UC Application

Steps to Completing your UC Application:

Materials You Need: You will need a copy of your transcript, test scores, social security number (optional), CA statewide Student ID (for public HS students) and a credit card. In addition, we recommend going to the UCOP Doorways website  to see the course listings for your school. This will help you determine which classes should be entered for each A-G requirement and if the class is considered honors. You can also look at at the 2017/18 Freshman Application Tips and Tools for information, links and advice.

Understanding Comprehensive Review: Every UC school participates in Comprehensive Review, which means the admissions offices evaluate students on multiple factors. If you are interested in how each campus reviews applications and the factors they are considering, look on the Comprehensive Review Page for campus wide information and then click on each campus on the right-hand-side to see the specific information for each school.

Transcripts, Test Scores and SAT 2 Subject Exams: You do not need to send a transcript to any UC schools. When sending your test score to the UC schools, you only need to send your scores to one UC campus. The campuses share SAT/ACT information between campuses. While SAT Subject Tests are not required, students vying for slots in competitive majors take the tests to demonstrate subject proficiency. Click here for the majors at each school site that strongly recommends subject exams. Please make sure we talk about the issue of SAT subject exams when you come to your session and DO NOT SEND any SAT2s until we talk about your options.

Designating a Major: Every year students stress over designating a major or choosing “undecided” on the UC application. The good news is students can choose different majors at each campus to which they apply. The bad news is that each school in the UC system deals with major selection slightly differently.  We highly recommend reading the UC Campus Policies and Procedures for Reviewing Freshman Applicants to gather information about designating undeclared, SAT subject exams and notification dates. The best thing students can do is go to the website of each individual campus to determine what role major plays in admissions. The school names below are hyperlinked to individual school websites for information. Below we have copied the wording regarding selecting a major from each individual campus for students and families to review.

BERKELEY UC Berkeley is among the more selective universities in the country, becoming more competitive each year. Due to student demand, selectivity varies among Colleges, and—in the College of Engineering—among majors; for example, it is more difficult to gain admission to the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences major than to the Mechanical Engineering major.

For applications to the College of Letters and Science and Natural Resources no consideration is given to the indicated major in the review process. However, for the professional colleges of Chemistry, Environmental Design, and Engineering demonstrated interest in the major is also taken into consideration. Furthermore, in the colleges of Chemistry and Engineering, Berkeley faculty in these disciplines have asked that readers place added emphasis on sustained achievement in mathematics and science, and have indicated a preference that these applicants take the Math Level 2 SAT Subject Test and a science test (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) that is closely related to the applicant’s intended major. Major options at UCB

DAVIS 
Admission decisions are made based upon the qualifications of the applicant pool and the number of available spaces within each academic area:

  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences admits by college
  • College of Biological Sciences admit by college
  • College of Letters and Science admits by division within the college (Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; Mathematics and Physical Sciences; Social Sciences)
  • College of Engineering admits by academic department

Students applying as “undeclared” or “undeclared/exploratory” are considered within the college/division to which they applied. Major options at UCD

IRVINE 
We also recommend that applicants indicate first and second choice majors when they apply.  If UC Irvine is unable to offer admission to all qualified applicants in their first-choice major, students who have indicated a valid alternate major may be offered admission in that major. Not sure what you want to major in? If you are a freshman applicant, you can apply as an undeclared major within a specific school or as undecided/undeclared if uncertain about choosing a particular field. After enrolling at UC Irvine, students who wish to change their major must submit a Change of Major Petition. Major options at UCI

UCLA

For the College of Letters and Science, the applicant’s major is not considered during the review process. The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science admits students by declared major, with more emphasis on science and math programs. The School of Nursing also places more emphasis on science and math programs and requires the submission of an additional supplemental application. The School of the Arts and Architecture and the School of Theater, Film and Television admit students by declared major (within the school), and put more emphasis on special talents through a review of portfolios and/or auditions, which are the most significant admission factors for these schools. Major options at UCLA

MERCED
 Major is not a factor in admissions for UC Merced. Major options at UCM

RIVERSIDE 
Does not discuss the use of major in the admissions process. The website does mention that students applying to majors in the Bourns College of Engineering and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences are strongly encouraged to take SAT subject exams in Math Level 2 and either Chemistry or Physics. Major options at UCR

SAN DIEGO 
The campus does not select students on the basis of academic major or choice of UCSD undergraduate college. Major Options at UCSD

SANTA BARBARA
 Choice of major is not considered in selection to the College of Letters and Science. The exceptions to this rule are dance and music performance majors. Both majors require applicants to complete an audition in late January or early February.College of Engineering students are selected by major for all engineering and computer science majors. Only applicants with a solid background in advanced high school mathematics will be considered for admission to engineering. This includes high grades in all math courses through grade 11 and enrollment in pre-calculus or higher in grade 12. A student not selected for their first choice major will be reviewed for admission to an alternate major outside of the College of Engineering if one was selected. Applicants to the College of Creative Studies submit a supplementary application in addition to the general UC Application, which is reviewed by Creative Studies faculty. Students are selected within Creative Studies majors only. Applicants not selected for Creative Studies will automatically be considered for admission to the College of Letters and Science. Major options at UCSB

SANTA CRUZ While all freshman applicants are considered for admission to the UC Santa Cruz campus under the campus selection criteria previously described, acceptance into engineering majors is based on high school GPA, courses completed in mathematics and sciences, scores on standardized tests, and/or the personal statement. Major options at UCSC

 

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Building your Team

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Application Process, Parents, Seniors | Comments Off on Building your Team

Building your Team

BUILDING YOUR TEAM

Getting into college is a team effort. You are the captain of your college application team, but you will need to surround yourself with individuals who can help make your college application shine. Your team should include your family, counselor, teacher(s) and College Calm! Below are some ideas regarding the roles that each group can play in helping your application be the best it can be.

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Find Some Time to Play

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Juniors, Parents, Sophomores, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Find Some Time to Play

Find Some Time to Play

It is now officially SUMMER!!! I know here at College Calm we talk about how much we can “get done” over the summer for the college process, but the article below serves as a reminder that summer is also a time to play — for everyone — young, old, adolescent or middle aged.  We encourage everyone to leave some space this summer to PLAY.

This article was originally written for Patch.com by one of our wonderful students (before we even starting working together). It is a great synopsis of how we know many of our high school students are feeling, but cannot always articulate. Read this with your child/parent/friends and talk about your experiences and observations. Then you should read the article, “Who Fares Best in the College Process,” by Alice Kleeman, who references Laurel’s article and advocates for doing things you enjoy.

” I had a really hard time figuring out what to write about this week. I went back and forth between two other article ideas, wrote them out, but they didn’t sound like me. They were too critical and condemning for my taste. I took breaks in between these episodes of writers block to watch some TV, do some math homework, and just have time to be a teenager.

I realized then that I don’t really get that much time to just have moments to myself and to just rock out to music in my room. It seems that I always have another essay to write, another history chapter to read, or another chemistry test that needs to be studied for.

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Building a Balanced College List

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Application Process, Juniors, Parents, Seniors, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Building a Balanced College List

Building a Balanced College List

Foundation, Target, Reach and Lottery Schools

As juniors are beginning to investigate colleges and make an initial college list, we want to define the different categories potentially included in a balanced college list. A balanced college list should have at least 2 foundation, 2 target and 2 reach schools. Many students will also have a few lottery schools. The typical student applies to between 8-12 schools, depending on the number of UC/CSU schools on his/her list. All of our students begin with a list of at least 20 schools to investigate in an effort to determine personal priorities. By mid summer, students should have a balanced list of 8-12 schools. .

FOUNDATION SCHOOL

  • The college possesses most of the significant features you desire and are important to you.
  • You meet all the requirements for the recommended coursework.
  • Your SAT or ACT score is significantly above the average that was accepted last year.
  • Your un-weighted GPA is significantly above the average accepted last year.
  • Your objective academic credentials fall at the top of the college’s admitted class.
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