Category Archives: Post-secondary Planning

Admissions Streams: A Parent’s Guide

What exactly does early admission mean, and how do you know which if it is right for your student? Before you can answer that, you need to understand the different ways that colleges admit students.

Most students apply to college under regular admission. Deadlines can be anywhere from December to February, and students know if they’re accepted by April. They’re under no obligation to attend a school that accepts them, so students can shop around a bit. This option might work for students who are not totally sure where they want to go to college, or if they need a bit of extra time to polish their applications. The main drawback is the waiting – students may find it hard to be unsure about their future.

On the other hand, early admission applications are due in November, and most schools will let students know their decision by mid-December.

“The two main pros of applying to an early program are that you have a slightly better chance of being accepted at many schools, as well as that you find out earlier in your senior year, and therefore, may be finished with the process and know where you are going to attend earlier,” says educational consultant Brittany Maschal.

Early admission programs can be early decision, early action, or restrictive/single-choice early action. There are some key distinctions between them.

Early decision: Students can only apply to one school under early decision. Early decision (ED) is binding — if a student is accepted, they must enroll there. They can still apply to other schools under regular admission, but they’ll have to withdraw any applications to other schools once they’re accepted.

ED can be an option for those students who have done all their research and are 100 percent positive they want to attend that school. It can slightly improve chances for admission at a highly selective college. But there is a downside.

“The main con is that you are unable to review, compare and negotiate financial aid awards between schools if you apply to an early binding program,” says Maschal.

Early action: If a student is accepted under an early action plan, they are not obligated to attend that school. They can still apply to other colleges. Because early action is non-binding, it offers more flexibility. Even if a student is accepted under early action, they still have until May 1st to respond. That allows students to compare offers and negotiate financial aid packages.

If a student is fairly sure where they want to go, and can put together a solid application by November, early action might be a good option.

Restrictive/single-choice early action: This one is also non-binding, but there are rules about what other schools a student can apply to.

For example, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale all have single-choice early action policies. That means a student can’t apply for early admission anywhere but that one school. Students can still apply to other schools under regular admission, though.

Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Boston College all have restrictive early action policies. They allow students to apply to other schools under early action, just not under early decision.

“This is not the same policy as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale,” says Maschal. “It is best to carefully read the policy of each school you are considering.”

Research is key. If you and your student have any questions, be sure to talk to a school counselor – they can help steer you down the right path.

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XAP at NACAC: How We Can Help with College Application Challenges

“May you live interesting times.”

You’ve probably heard that expression before – it’s often credited as being a Chinese curse. However, researchers haven’t been able to find any evidence to support this, and, like many often-quoted expressions, there is some debate on the Internet about its origins.

One thing is certain: “interesting times” can be both a blessing and a curse. It all depends on how we respond! Just consider today’s postsecondary landscape. As we will hear repeatedly at NACAC’s national conference from September 22-24, today’s campuses face a lot of “interesting” challenges when students apply, including rapidly increasing demands for training in new fields, a greater emphasis on accountability, and financial concerns for both students and institutions. Read more…


On Your Mark…Get Set… FAFSA Changes On Deck

Every January, many students start the new year by vowing to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (commonly called the FAFSA). To keep those students on task, educators often launch campaigns reminding students not to procrastinate on filling out the FAFSA forms.

But this year, students can start even earlier – and smart students will. Why? Because the FAFSA opens up on October 1, 2016. And because some financial aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis. That means filers who submit on October 1 could get more money – and that’s never a bad thing.
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New Skills For Youth

The New Skills For Youth Initiative, Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

This year, a multi-disciplinary team of organizations created a new initiative which aims to create opportunities for economic success for those without high school degrees, and those who have graduated but do not have sufficient skills to begin a meaningful career. The New Skills For Youth (NSFY) program was created by the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium and Education Strategy Group, and is funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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Gearing Up for the FAFSA – Start with the FAFSA ID

As 2015 starts drawing to close, it’s time to start thinking about what lies ahead in 2016.

Our predictions?

Well, in a perfect world, January 1, 2016, will be the day every high school senior sits down to file the FAFSA. After all, it’s important to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. Some schools and states award aid money on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Let Us Help You Keep Students Engaged All Summer

What grows in the winter, but dies in the summer?

If you answered “students’ interest in planning their future,” you’ll want to continue reading! You may have noticed that as the weather heats up, students’ motivation to think about college and careers melts like ice in July. (And if you don’t know the real answer to the riddle, that’s a hint!)

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