Sunday, February 1, 2015

This Journey is (Almost) Completed

A College Search has resulted in a college found.  Yesterday M read the email that contained the link to the site that held the letter that started with the word "congratulations."  Every acceptance letter that M received started with that word, but this notification was different.  It wasn't just that this was from the school that was her #1 choice.  It was that she had applied "early decision" - and that means you agree to attend if they accept you.  We now know where she's going; Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.  Now M needs to fill out residence hall surveys and I need to redo the FAFSA.

BUT - if she still had a choice, our next job would have been to compare the acceptance and financial aid packages as well as the schools.  I was planning on creating a spreadsheet to compare possible majors, required courses, interesting clubs, and other items that might help M choose between the liberal arts schools that accepted her.  Most (private?) schools will negotiate their aid packages to the point where the decision can be made based on the schools - and not on the money.  For example if your expected cost is $25,000 a year at school A and $20,000 per year at school B - and your student prefers school A, it is time to call the admissions department at school A and tell them that if the money was equal, you'd love to go to school A.  Or maybe you want to negotiate for a package with smaller loans and more work study...

If your student has options, you have until May 1st to sign on the dotted line, but since Falls' residence hall spaces, and aid money are slowly disappearing, I suggest negotiating sooner rather than later.  Also, be kind to others; if your student has ruled out a school - let that school know so whatever scholarship/grant/aid money they had offered your student can be reallocated to other students.

For those that care...

Here is "Grinnell at a Glance" (from their website)...
  • 9:1 student-to-professor ratio
  • 7th nationally in the percentage of Ph.D.s per graduate
  • 38 majors and interdisciplinary concentrations
  • 11 Fulbrights won in 2014
  • 25% domestic students of color
  • 200+ student groups 0 fraternities and sororities
  • 40% of Grinnellians complete a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP)
  • 13% international students
  • 500+ course offerings
  • $1.8 billion endowment supporting academic programs and student life
  • More than 50% of Grinnellians study abroad
  • 500+ events, lectures, performances, and symposia per year
  • 20 NCAA Division III varsity sports
  • 51% of Grinnellians hold an advanced degree 10 years after graduation
M wanted a quality school, with a diverse student population and a solid study abroad program.  She is very excited to become a Pioneer.

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