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Surprising tips and facts about college financial aid

Parents, if you aren't worried about the cost of college, maybe you should be. Many cost $60,000 per year per student, and if you have more than one child, and if any of them want to go to graduate school in the future, the numbers are staggering. Here are some facts and tips relating to financial aid that I hope will help you: 1. Fact: Harvard can cost less than U. Massachusetts. How? If you have "financial need" as determined by filling out FAFSA and CSS profile forms, Harvard and most other super selective schools will meet 100% of need, while U Mass on average meets 81% of demonstrated need. 2. Tip: Save money for college in the parent's name, not the student's name. In financial aid cal

Eric's book review: College essays

I recently read "Accepted! 50 Successful College Admission Essays" by Gen and Kelly Tanabe. I give this book 2 and 1/2 stars out of 5. "Accepted!" has a few small chapters at the beginning with some explanation of what the college essay is about, how to brainstorm ideas, and some mistakes to avoid. Most of the book is taken up by the 57 sample college essays, which includes the essay and a description of why it was successful. I doubt any reader would really read all 57 essays and explanations, but the ones I read were solid, but didn't tell a lot about the students' personality.

The key to a standout college recommendation letter

Almost all colleges and universities require a letter of recommendation from a teacher (or two) and from the school guidance counselor. How can you or (your son or daughter) ensure that the letters written about you are a cut above the rest? The key lies in the student and parents providing great information to the teacher and school counselor. Let's face it; teachers and school counselors usually work with hundreds of students, and often don't have the time to get to know each of them very well, either outside of class or at all. However, that person CAN write you a great letter of recommendation if you help them to know you better. If your school has a student and/or parent questionnaire f

Demystifying college application deadlines: From Priority to ED 2

Most colleges offer a "Regular Admission" deadline, but most offer other options too. Here is a short explanation of each type and examples of colleges that use them. Remember, deadlines are the LAST day you can submit an application. Don't let your student wait until the last day! 1-3 weeks before a deadline is the way to go. Early Decision I: This is a binding contract between your student and the college where if they are admitted, they promise to attend. Usually offered by private schools like Tufts and Skidmore. Pros: The admission rate is usually higher because the colleges know that 100% of the accepted students will attend (yield). Cons: You don't know what kind of financial aid pack