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The College Process: Financial Aid Tip

by Bea | April 26th, 2008 | Teens

The deadline for me to choose a college is approaching fast. In fact, everything has to be postmarked by May 1st. Last night I finally decided which college I wanted to attend, Northeastern, but then Cornell threw a twist into the situation. Originally, they were not offering any financial aid; however, my parents filed an appeal, and Cornell called us today to say that I could postpone sending out my decision until May 9th because they were going to look into my appeal case. The only problem about this is that Northeastern needs to know May 1st, or I may lose my spot.money

Parents, please don’t let this happen to your child. I can tell you that it is not fun and it is a lot of pressure. After narrowing down my college choices to three, I finally picked one and thought that everything was all set, but then, because my parents were so late in handing in their financial information and, in turn, were late in the appeal process, Cornell was suddenly thrown back into the mix. Now we will wait on their information and hope that it comes before May 1st.

As a senior who is just about to wrap up her college selection process, my biggest advice for parents who are thinking about applying for financial aid is to get everything in on time. I’ll tell you right now, this whole looming “what if” about Cornell is driving me crazy. The financial aid process has been crazy—more so than the admissions application process—and it is so important to get everything done as soon as possible.

You don’t want to be waiting during the last few days of April to see if you are getting any financial aid.

  1. Madeline says:

    College is a very stressful thing for all seniors.I for one waited until the last min. I am spending all of April vaction doing schlorships. As soon as you can start doing your applications and schlorships. As soon as colleges first deadlines are you should send out your application way before that. Financial aid takes even longer so start right away. Take your time but get it done.

  2. Rob says:

    This is so true. I use fastweb.com to search for all kinds of scholarships. I would also suggest looking for local scholarships which often help pay for books and other first semester expenses.

  3. Emmanuel says:

    This is so true, parents stay on top…or your kids might suffer

  4. Hyomi Carty says:

    My best advice in these situations is to be the early bird and get your financial aid forms squared away right after you get your financial aid award letters. I, being a procrastinator, know the immense stress that comes with racing time,so don’t delay matters of this magnitude. Unfortunately, some colleges send their letters too late, and students end up quite overwhelmed when comparing financial packages a week before the deadline. Where to spend the next four years of your life is an important decision, after all. I was lucky enough to get a great financial package from Tufts, but if you aren’t in that boat, it’s imperative that you pounce on the scholarships right away. I paced myself over the course of a few months, and submitted over 30 scholarships, just in case my financial letter wasn’t sufficient. Pointers for next year: many students wait to do scholarships until they hear from a college, but there are many that you can apply to without having to know the college you will be attending. Many of these are available December thru March, or even earlier. Don’t count on copious amounts of money: it’s always better to be safe than regret not doing enough later on. So what if you have more money than you need and have to turn down scholarship money? It’s better than having to pay off loans for the rest of your life, right?

  5. Paige says:

    I think some kids go into the college process expecting money is gonna be dished out to them.. right away you should do any little thing to show that you’re involved in your community. For instance, give the college a write up of all the community services you’ve done and such.

    Now-a-days colleges seem to be lazy with the money givings so it doesnt hurt to fill out a couple scholarships that’ll take five minutes each.

    I just know a lot of people thinking they were going to get money from fasfa and were shocked they didnt.. so do scholarships!

  6. Matt says:

    hey use fastweb.com to find a ton of scholarships!

  7. Michelle says:

    I completely agree. This whole college experience is so stressful!! Even with scholarships.. turning in everything and making sure it gets there is impeccably irritating.FastWeb and Scholarships.com are big sites that you can use to find some scholarships and the filters are awesome. Deadlines are no fun, but it helps to have a parent remind you of upcoming situations and deadlines, but honestly, they need to realize this is your life and let you do some things yourself.

    I know everyone means the best. But the pressures alone are immense and it is so much more stressful if you are also pressured by time.

    I’m sorry to hear about your situation! Hope all goes well! Both Cornell University and Northeastern are amazing schools and I know you will flourish wherever you go. 🙂

  8. Carlos Guzman says:

    Having to apply for colleges at the same time as having to apply for scholarships and financial aid can be the worse, specially when you don’t know that they have to be done at the same time. Personally i did not even know scholarships were done even before regular college admissions started, probably from the lack of parent involvement in my college applications, i wished i would have been encouraged to have applied for scholarships at the same time as i applied for scholarships that would have made paying for college and choosing colleges alot more easier, so anyways i know the feeling.

  9. Katherine King says:

    Honestly, because my parents didn’t want to fill out the fasfa form, I was not elligble for any financial aid. My father felt he was above it, so now I’m stuck with fifty grand in debt. Please be humble. The college financial process is very difficult and costs as much as a house these days.

  10. Chelsea says:

    I know that many people tell parents to back off during the college process, and for the most part that is true, but unfortunately kids NEED their parents to fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Parents, if you want to help, all you need to do is the financial aspect. This time is stressful enough, and in most cases teenagers do not have the information they need to fill this out on their own. While most of the application is in a senior’s control, this is not. Don’t cause your child any undue stress, do this one part of it for them.

    Thankfully my parents got it in on time, and like in this case, we appealed, and got more money than we were originally awarded. The appellate process works many times, do not just assume the first offer is the only one! You have nothing to lose.

    This is overall a very stressful time. I agree with the writer, the best thing you can do is get everything in on time.

  11. Chris says:

    This is definitely true. I thought that the month of April would be more than aenough to to get everything figured out in without creating too much stress. I was quite wrong. This article advise about doing things on time is great and I would say even be early whenever possible.

  12. MattF says:

    I disliked the entire process, and still dislike it, because for me, it’s STILL NOT OVER!! I deposited at one school, but I’m waiting to hear from another, and the whole situation is ridiculous. And I had to reject two schools that I loved, one of which was offering me 12,500 per year in scholarships, even though it doesn’t normally do that. This is good advice for any college-bound student and his/her parents.

  13. adda4u says:

    This is so true, parents stay on top…

    nice one


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