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4 Common Mistakes Students Make on College Applications

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Wed, May 27, 2015 @ 9:48 AM
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In the flurry of completing what seems like mountains of paperwork for your college applications, it is often far too easy to make a careless mistake. While a single error won’t automatically disqualify you for admission, a flawless application is always received better. It’s a good idea to put your best foot forward in the college process, and that means your application should be spotless. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes students make on their applications and how to avoid them.

1.      Forgetting to sign the application.

After completing your application materials, go over them again and again. It’s easy to forget to fill out a section, but you certainly don’t want to ignore an important section such as the signature form, which certifies the veracity of your application. Without your signature, the application can’t be officially considered. So make sure you sign your completed application before mailing it off. Filing out your applications online can be helpful, as an online signature form is typically provided before the application can be submitted.

2.      Using a funny or unprofessional email.

As a high school student, it’s possible you have a clever or funny email you use when keeping in touch with your friends. While this email may be appropriate for use with your peers, you will want to choose something more mature and professional for your college applications. Your selection of iluvjustinbieber4lyfe@aol.com may not be taken as seriously as a more standard email. Save your witty names for your social media and opt for choices like brittanysmith@gmail.com. 

3.      Failing to correct spelling or proofreading errors.

Sadly, some of the most avoidable mistakes are those most often made. It is vital that you comb your college application for minor errors in spelling and grammar. Try reading everything aloud--this can help you to catch some of the more subtle errors. Having a second pair of eyes glance over your work can also be helpful. Ask your guidance counselor to take a look.  Why worry about spelling and grammar? A polished application shows primarily that you are an intelligent student with good communication abilities, but it also highlights the fact that you are putting a great deal of effort into your application for this university. Essentially, attention to detail shows that you care.

4.      Using the wrong college or university name. 

If you’re like most students, you’re probably applying to multiple colleges and universities. This is a great way to increase your chances of acceptance. You will likely use the same resume for each application, and many of the same supporting materials. Colleges often use the same or very similar prompts for their application essays, so you can frequently use the same basic essay for every school. However, you must take extra caution when re-using such items, especially when it comes to the essays. Be sure you are tailoring these items to the school in question and make extra sure you change identifiers for each school. Nothing is more embarrassing than applying to Harvard with an essay that raves about your love for Yale. So avoid that face-palm moment by scouring through your essays and applications before submitting them for good.

Generally, if you follow the directions given for your application, fill it out slowly and with care, and check, double-check, and re-check it, you should have no problems and experience a smooth application process. Additionally, don’t forget to call your college or university to check up on the status of your application. Make sure the application itself has been received as well as any supporting materials. This ensures no surprises and lets you know you’ve done your part in the application process. Now it’s just a waiting game!

Tags: strategies for college, college planning abc, college consulting, college planning, college applications, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college

How Much Does College Really Cost?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 10:15 PM
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It’s not surprising that college these days can be fairly expensive. Educational costs are rising, particularly as universities strive to remain competitive. Fortunately, with scholarships, grants, and loan options, college is perhaps more affordable than ever. But what is the final cost of those four years? Though you may have a general idea of tuition amounts and the living expenses you’ll be responsible for, how much does college really cost?  

The Basics: Tuition, Fees,  Room & Board

In a recent College Board survey, reports showed that an average budget for an in-state public college was just over $23,000 per year. At a private college, a moderate budget amounted to approximately $46,000. These estimates include all of the basic, upfront items like tuition, fees, room & board, books, supplies, and other miscellaneous costs. Tuition and fees alone might be roughly ½ to ⅓ of that overall estimated budget and will vary greatly depending on your university and, at public colleges, your status as an in-state or out-of-state student. Fees are typically included within the tuition rate, and help offset the cost of student services such as library access, athletic facilities, and on-campus transportation. 

Room & board comprises your housing and dining options. This is a cost which can change dramatically based on many factors. Will you live in an on-campus dorm? An off-campus apartment? Will you have a meal plan and eat entirely at your school’s dining hall? Or will you cook the majority of your meals in your residence? These elements will determine whether you need to consider extra costs up front (such as signing up for a meal plan).

Books & Supplies

First-year students and their parents are often shocked by the cost of books and supplies when they begin their college education. If you’re in a science or mathematics major, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars each semester for your books. Other majors, such as fine arts, may have fewer books, but have hefty costs for supplies. It’s important to prepare yourself for these costs when heading to college for the first time. 

Other Costs

When estimating your cost of attendance, colleges typically include expenses that you won’t find on your bill, such as transportation, personal items, and clothing. Because these estimates will vary from student to student, it’s important to know your own budget for certain expenses. A student whose parents live far away from the university will probably incur larger transportation expenses when visiting home during breaks than a student whose parents live in the next town. Such miscellaneous expenses could amount to several thousand dollars per academic year.

Paying for College

Despite what may seem high costs, there are many ways of financing your college education. If you’re fortunate enough to receive scholarships or grants, this is money you do not have to repay. This will drop your costs significantly. Taking out federal or private loans is also an option, which a vast majority of parents and students choose to take advantage of. Remember, however, that all loans will need to be repaid, and these amounts gather interest. If you take out a substantial loan, you may end up paying a great deal more money than the original amount of the loan itself over the length of your repayment period.

No matter what, you should not let costs dissuade you from the incomparable benefit of receiving a university education. For more information on affording college, please contact us directly at College Planning ABC. 

Tags: strategies for college, college planning abc, college consulting, college planning, college applications, money for college, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college, Paying for college