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Before the Offers of Admission and Financial Aid Awards Arrive

 

financial aid awardsCollege acceptances for regular admission will be posted and arriving soon. Just a little later, will come the financial aid award packages. Before you and your student have to make the final college choice and before the financial aid awards arrive, consider these four activities in preparation:

1. Revisit colleges that have offered admission

Early spring is the perfect time to revisit the colleges that have offered admission. If possible, attend an admitted student session, stay on campus overnight, or just revisit to help your student refresh his memory of the setting and the students. While most would advise that you not accept an offer without a visit, some might disagree. Personally, I believe that visiting campus will help cement the decision in your student’s mind.

2. Discuss money

If you haven’t already done so, discuss what you will contribute and what your student will contribute toward the cost of college. This is an important discussion because once the offers of admission arrive and the financial aid package, it’s conceivable that your student’s decision will be based purely on emotions and not take into consideration the financial aspect of the decision.

University Parent has two great articles that address this topic:  The Money Talk Part 1: Setting expectations with your student and The Money Talk Part 2: Put college funding into high gear!

3. Take a look at your 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice colleges

Before the offers (and rejections) arrive, take a look at your student’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice colleges. If necessary, revisit them. Re-examine why these colleges made the list and take a closer look at their offerings. This second look might move one of the colleges to the top of the list.

4. Understand the components of the award letter

Before you start receiving those financial aid offers, you should understand what’s in a typical award letter. Thankfully, there are tools available and information to help you look at these letters for what they are: the college’s pitch for your student to accept their offer of admission. You are in control of this process and you hold the cards. It’s your decision to accept or reject their offer based on the amount of aid they are willing to give your student. Money, in this situation, is everything.

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