How to find the right college


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Steps students should take to find the best college for their needs

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How to find the right college

  1. 1. How to Find the Best College for You Presented by Todd Johnson [email_address] © 2011
  2. 2. How Hard to Get Into College <ul><li>Easy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are over 2,000 four year colleges in the US </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The average acceptance rate among all colleges is about 67%. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most colleges in this country accept the vast majority of students who apply and many accept anyone who applies. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. How Hard to Get Into College <ul><li>Almost impossible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Harvard last year accepted 7% of the students who applied. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When you exclude recruited athletes, minority students, legacy students that number is probably closer to 2% of the typical students who apply </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And application numbers are up again this year </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. How Hard to Get Into College <ul><li>Only about 100 to 150 colleges in the US are considered competitive </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive ranges from single digits to about 60% acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Problem is that these are the only colleges that the media talks about. </li></ul>
  5. 5. 25 Ways Not to Choose a College <ul><li>1. Go where your friends go. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Go where the boyfriend/girlfriend goes </li></ul><ul><li>3. Consider only colleges where mom or dad went. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Go where mom or dad don’t want you to go </li></ul><ul><li>5. Consider only the quality of the athletic teams </li></ul>
  6. 6. 25 Ways Not to Choose a College <ul><li>6. Go where the best parties are </li></ul><ul><li>7. Look only at colleges within 50 miles </li></ul><ul><li>8. Don’t consider who you are and what you want from college </li></ul><ul><li>9. Consider the cost of a college in deciding where to apply </li></ul><ul><li>10. Don’t visit a college before deciding where to attend </li></ul>
  7. 7. 25 Ways Not to Choose a College <ul><li>11. Don’t investigate college safety </li></ul><ul><li>12. Let the choice just happen instead of taking charge of your future </li></ul><ul><li>13. Apply to colleges to make your parents proud or impress your friends </li></ul><ul><li>14. Choose a college based on attractiveness of student body </li></ul><ul><li>15. Believe that the harder the college is to get in, the better it must be </li></ul>
  8. 8. 25 Ways Not to Choose a College <ul><li>16. Assume that all colleges are the same </li></ul><ul><li>17. Rely on rankings in news magazines </li></ul><ul><li>18. Apply only to prestigious colleges </li></ul><ul><li>19. Rely on someone else’s opinion </li></ul><ul><li>20. Be too shy to ask questions </li></ul>
  9. 9. 25 Ways Not to Choose a College <ul><li>21. Rely on a college’s advertising </li></ul><ul><li>22. Misjudge your ability to get admitted </li></ul><ul><li>23. Ignore available resources to help you find the right college </li></ul><ul><li>24. Don’t adequately investigate your options </li></ul><ul><li>25. Decide there is only one “right” college </li></ul>
  10. 10. Now is the time to start college search <ul><li>Students have time to consider their options </li></ul><ul><li>Students have time to prepare for, and take, standardized tests </li></ul><ul><li>Students have time to work on applications and essays during the summer </li></ul>
  11. 11. Standardized Tests <ul><li>ACT </li></ul><ul><li>SAT </li></ul><ul><li>SAT Subject Tests </li></ul>
  12. 12. Which Test to Take <ul><li>Take a practice test of SAT and ACT </li></ul><ul><li>Free copies available from each company </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on test that you do better on. </li></ul><ul><li>Buy Test Prep book from that company </li></ul>
  13. 13. Mistake No. 1 <ul><li>Fitting the student to the college </li></ul><ul><li>With this approach the student tries to fit their wants and needs to whatever is available at the college they happened to choose. </li></ul><ul><li>This approach often fails because the needs of the student aren’t met by that college. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Problem with that approach <ul><li>In Minnesota 20% of 1 st year students transfer to a different college for 2 nd year </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Credits don’t always transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Classes don’t always transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be difficult to meet friends after everyone gets to know each other the first year </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Problem with that approach <ul><li>54% of students entering a 4 year college have actually graduated 6 years later </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not graduating from college reduces the average earnings for a student. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not graduating in 4 years means the student has additional years of being in college and paying for college. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every year past 4 years is a year that the student isn’t able to be a part of the work force making money. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Best way to find the right college <ul><li>Before talking about any particular college, the student should ask, “What do I want from a college?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The student needs to think about who they are and not who everyone else wants them to be. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There are no right or wrong answers here </li></ul>
  17. 17. Things to consider <ul><li>Size of college </li></ul><ul><li>Location of college </li></ul><ul><li>Academic offerings available </li></ul><ul><li>Academic strength of college </li></ul><ul><li>Non academic offerings available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sports teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extracurricular activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feel of a college </li></ul>
  18. 18. Can’t decide? <ul><li>Often, the student doesn’t know what they want because they don’t know what the options are like. </li></ul><ul><li>Size as an example. If the student doesn’t know what size college they want then- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit different size colleges. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Large University </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mid Sized University </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Small College </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Visit Colleges <ul><li>The more colleges a student visits before making a decision, the better the decision usually is. </li></ul><ul><li>Colleges that appear the same on paper may have a very different feel. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit colleges during spring break or vacations. </li></ul><ul><li>Summer not the best time to visit. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Finding a college <ul><li>Once the student has determined what they want from a college, then it is time to find a college that meets the criteria set by the student. </li></ul><ul><li>Research colleges on the internet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>College Navigator from US Dept of Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>College Matchmaker from College Board </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. When to Apply <ul><li>By starting process early, Juniors can know by summer what colleges they will apply to </li></ul><ul><li>With early knowledge, students can consider early decision and early action </li></ul><ul><li>These provide advantages in the admissions process </li></ul>
  22. 22. Mistake No. 2 <ul><li>Not knowing the questions to ask of the colleges you are investigating </li></ul>
  23. 23. Questions for the colleges <ul><li>Retention Rate </li></ul><ul><li>How many Freshmen return for Sophomore Year? Higher Rate Indicates Satisfaction! </li></ul><ul><li>Graduation Rate </li></ul><ul><li>How many graduate within 4 years? Higher rate generally indicates school cares about its students! Also cheaper if you can graduate in 4 years rather than 5 or 6 years or not at all. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Retention and Graduation rates in Minnesota 4 year colleges <ul><li>Retention rates vary from 98% to 69% </li></ul><ul><li>4 year graduation rates vary from 91% to 3% </li></ul>
  25. 25. Mistake No. 3 <ul><li>Not understanding how financial aid works at colleges </li></ul>
  26. 26. Cost of College <ul><li>Need to understand college financial aid BEFORE choosing a college. </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to understand how financial aid works costs many families thousands of dollars each year. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Financial Aid <ul><li>Many colleges have lots of money available for financial aid </li></ul><ul><li>Private colleges in particular </li></ul><ul><li>Often same price to go to private college compared to public college because financial aid better at private college </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t initially eliminate a school from consideration because of cost. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Financial Aid <ul><li>Two types of aid available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All schools give financial aid based on “need” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some schools give financial aid based on merit i.e. high grades, test scores or particular talent in art or sports. </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Need Based Financial Aid <ul><li>Two forms used to determine need. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FAFSA-Free Application for Federal Student Aid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Required by all schools for federal aid including certain types of loans. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CSS Profile form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used by many selective schools to determine who gets aid from the college directly. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>These forms calculate an EFC, expected family contribution. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Definition of Need <ul><li>Cost of attendance (COA) </li></ul><ul><li>– Expected family contribution (EFC) </li></ul><ul><li>= Financial need </li></ul>
  31. 31. Need Varies Based on Cost
  32. 32. Need Based Financial Aid <ul><li>Need to know if college provides 100% of need </li></ul><ul><ul><li>School costs $40,000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EFC calculated at $8,000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need is $32,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If college covers 100% of need they will give $32,000 in grants, loans and work study. </li></ul><ul><li>Cost to family is $8,000 </li></ul>
  33. 33. Need Based Financial Aid <ul><li>If college provides 80% of need </li></ul><ul><ul><li>College costs $24,000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EFC calculated at $8,000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need is $16,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If college covers 80% of need they will give 80% of $16,000 or $12,800 in grants, loans and work study. </li></ul><ul><li>Cost to family is $8,000 EFC plus $3,200 in unmet need for total cost of $11,200. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Question for Colleges <ul><li>What percent of my need does your college meet? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The higher the percentage the less money you will generally have to pay. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Merit Based Financial Aid <ul><li>Some colleges offer merit aid, also known as scholarships, to encourage students to come that might otherwise choose another school. </li></ul><ul><li>The stronger the student compared to average student at that college, the better the chance of getting merit aid. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Questions for Colleges <ul><li>Do you have merit based aid? </li></ul><ul><li>How much merit aid is available? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the criteria to get, and keep,that aid? </li></ul>
  37. 37. Financial Aid <ul><li>Important to start looking now at how each college handles financial aid. </li></ul><ul><li>How each college answers these questions should be a factor in deciding where your student might want to attend. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Outside Scholarships <ul><li>What is an outside scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Who benefits from an outside scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>How do you find an outside scholarship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your high school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On the web </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Final Thoughts <ul><li>Look for the right, unique fit for your student </li></ul><ul><li>Remember to fit colleges to the student and not the student to the college </li></ul>
  40. 40. Contacting Todd Johnson <ul><li>Email [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Web </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone 952-449-5245 </li></ul><ul><li>Free ½ hour consultation to discuss specific needs or questions </li></ul>