Hints to get in a good school and pay for it

by James
(Stockton, NJ)

From upfront the price of college looks like a big bulky number. Once you get around that number you see universities break it up into smaller categories: housing, tuition, meal plans, books… You can use common sense and frugality to cut back on most of them, shop around for apartments, food, and books. But since no one can teach you common sense, much less in a 300 word article, or how to save, I will tell you a few tactics I have seen people use to get inside the college’s head and force them to lower the biggest cost of all: tuition.


Firstly, one can avoid unnecessary disappointment and cost simply by looking in the right places. When college shopping for money, look at “easy” schools, not the reach or the perfect fit. Always compare your GPA to a school with a lower one. If you get C’s, D’s, and F’s and are concerned about money, now might be a good time to give up Princeton and Harvard. The “perfect fit” school knows how attractive they are to you and will therefore not make accommodations to lure you in. A way to make this work towards your advantage is to play off the diversity craze occupying most schools these days. Look at their demographics and other statistics and see how you stack up. Most schools will pay big money to say they have one more out-of-country nation represented.

Secondly, pay attention to what they find important. Take a tour and see what they brag about. If 90% of students are from in-state, there may be financial reasons for that. If however you are out-of-state and hear a admissions person say something like, “a growing 10% come from out-of-state,” you are lined up for some special treatment.

Lastly, I will tell a story then leave you with one note to remember. Someone I knew in high school followed the above steps. He picked out about 20 places he was interested in. He then planned a week and a half trip that would touch on each of them. In the end he had 12 schools he valued equally and said he would be happy to go to any one of them. Then for a comparatively small fee he submitted applications to all of them and resolved to go whoever wanted him the most. Eventually he got his answer, a well-regarded school that did not have many students like him was willing to cut his 57k/year expenses to 3k/year.

Remember: college price is inversely proportional to how much they want you. Princeton accepts sub-stellar prospective students, but that is why the standard price is so high. This way they can attract the truly stellar prospects with money and notoriety, while having the wealthy C-student pay for it.

Read more College Financial Aid Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you James for an interesting perspective. I liked your hints to get in a good school and pay for it. You may be a very attractive student to a school who wants to have students in a particular major, or from a certain state. My son even received free travel expenses (airfare and hotel) just to visit and consider a school because they wanted to attract more students like him. Good luck to you in college.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Compare College Tuition.

It's hard to admit your shortcoming when you are facing the door of higher education

by Patricia Miller
(Port Orange, FL, USA)

Overcoming the fears

Overcoming the fears

I'm scared. I have never entered the world of pursuing a higher education before. I am a mother to a soon to be high school graduate. I don't know where to begin to help her achieve her dreams of going off to college.

The conversation seemed so far off topic four years ago when she first began talking about wanting to be a "Gator" at the University of Florida in our home state. But, today has come to a reality with the truth of me facing my fears.

She will be the first to go to college in our family. My husband and I didn't have that opportunity when we were her age. This is a devastating fear of unknown because I don't fully understand how to help her. I've attended college preparedness seminars, communicated with her guidance counselor at her school, and searched the internet every day and night. My anxiety becomes quiet overwhelming.

We are struggling to make ends meet. While I bravely help direct her in the path to make college a reality for her. Encouraging her to apply for scholarships between her part-time job as she maintains her grades while finishing her last year of high school. This by far is the most scary venture I have ever encountered.

My fear is she will not get into her dream school for lack of funding, test scores, or whatever obstacles that are lurking around the corner in this venture to make her dreams of becoming a college student. As a parent I don't want to fail her. I've saved for her to attend to go to college but, by far not enough. Time and circumstances and life just got in the way.

My biggest disappointment was having to cash out of her 529 plan after falling in default for payment. Due to a devastating diagnosis of lupus. I wish I can turn back time and take the money I was putting into childcare and put it in that plan but, life again dictates what one is to do when you are making a living to survive and raise a family.

I knew this day would come and I wanted to be prepared. I'm not. I don't want to fail her as a parent, mother, and biggest cheerleader in life because it was I who constantly supported her conversations at the dinner table when she talked of the day she wants to be a "Gator" now, that time has come.


Read more Compare College Tuition Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Patricia for sharing your fear as a parent of a college applicant. You are not alone, it is a scary experience for both parents and students. There are many great scholarships and other financial aid available, so submit your FAFSA and apply to scholarships at the University of Florida and outside sources. Best of luck to you and your family.


More Tips on Finding the Best College and Financial Aid

College Financial Aid Advice | College Admissions Help | College Essays | Scholarships | FAFSA | Federal Student Loans

Submit your entry in our College Essay Contest:

To share your entry in our scholarship contest, just click here.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Compare College Tuition.

Don't Chose A School, Let A School Chose YOU.

by Kathryn K
(Shawnee, KS)

When I first applied to Law School, I was entirely overwhelmed. I had spent months preparing for the LSAT. I paid for a prep class, attended the classes faithfully, completed all the homework, engaged within the class, asked questions, and studied studied studied. Test day came and I arrived an hour early, brought too many pencils, and ultimately psyched myself out. Then I waited a few painful weeks for my test result to come back with the deciding factor on which law school I would get into and what, if any, financial aid, I would be eligible for. I was convinced I wouldn't be good enough for any school admissions. I finally received my score and was pleased. I wasn't going to Harvard or Yale, but that was never my goal. And something dawned on me.

When you first decide to go to college or graduate school, the rules are the same. You take a test and apply to see if you're "good enough to get in." This is what THEY teach you in school. But what they don't teach you, what they won't tell you, is that what it takes to get into school is the right attitude.

First - figure out where you want to go to school. Make a few selections. It doesn't matter if you know what you want to do yet. It helps, but it isn't a must. Decide, do you want to go to school close to home? Far away? Have you always dreamed of going to a certain school? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in a certain field?

After you narrow down your options, apply with the attitude, "Why wouldn't they want me?" And keep that can do attitude in mind as you write your admissions essays. Defeatist attitudes won't help you get in anywhere. Schools want the best and the brightest - show them why you are the best. Perhaps your scores are top, perhaps you weren't the most involved in high school, perhaps you grew up average? It doesn't matter. Your past doesn't matter. Prove now why you are the best and why they want you.

Next, learn to play the game. You may not get into all of the schools you apply. And that's okay. But the schools you do get into, you must know that its okay to make them aware that they now must compete for you. You are already know you're capable of academic excellence and they know it too. If one school offers you a scholarship, write to the other schools you get into and see if they will either match the scholarship or top it. This can help bring down the cost of a college education.

When I applied to Law School, I was fortunate enough to get into all of the schools I applied. When I had to choose between schools, I let the admissions departments know that I had a choice to make and that was when the financial scholarship offers came through. When one school pulled out, and the other school made it clear that they wanted me more, my decision was easy. And the cost of my tuition was much lower than it was when I started out. And suddenly, that feeling of being overwhelmed started to go away. Yours can, too.


Read more Compare College Tuition Tips from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Kalthryn for sharing your college advice - Don't Chose A School, Let A School Chose YOU. Positive attitude and self confidence goes a long way, and its good to let them know if they really want you, to make a good financial aid offer. Best of luck to you.


More Tips on Finding the Best College and Financial Aid

College Financial Aid Advice | College Admissions Help | College Essays | Scholarships | FAFSA | Federal Student Loans

Submit your entry in our College Essay Contest:

To share your entry in our scholarship contest, just click here.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Compare College Tuition.


Welcome!

Welcome to College Financial Aid Advice, a website full of information on scholarships and grants, student loans, and other ways to save money at college.


Important Things to Do

Class of 2017 Scholarships - High school seniors should start their scholarship and college search now. See our list of Scholarships for High School Seniors

FAFSA - The official 2017 - 2018 FAFSA is available now. See information about FAFSA.


College Financial Aid Tips

Scholarship Lists An overview of the different types of Scholarship Money for College.

Grants Learn more about grants, the other free money for college.

Need Tuition Help? Reduce the cost of tuition with these college Tuition Assistance Programs.

Tax Credit Claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

College Savings Plans Save money for college with these College Savings Plans.

Need a Student Loan? Yes, you qualify for these college Student Loans.


Popular Scholarship Searches

Scholarships for High School Students

Scholarships for College Students

Easy Scholarships

Scholarship Contests

Weird Unknown Scholarships

Merit Based Scholarships

Scholarships for Minorities

College Scholarships for Women