Students looking to attend a 4-year, private college can expect to face all-in costs of over $45,000 annually in 2018, and those costs are only expected to rise going forward. Financial Aid has never been more important to many students worried about how they’ll pay for college. Fortunately, there are many resources – scholarships, grants, and loans – that students may tap into to help make their dream school a reality. Watch this C2 webinar about scholarships and financial aid as we walk you through what you need to know about scholarships and other forms of financial aid. You’ll also find a full transcript of the webinar below. Enjoy!
Hello, everybody, and, welcome to tonight’s webinar. My name is Sam Anderson, and I’m thrilled that you could be here with us.
Tonight’s webinar is all about paying for college. College is really expensive, and it’s only getting more so. But, it doesn’t have to be unaffordable. There are a variety of options available to help students finance their college educations. From scholarships, to grants, to loans. And, tonight we’ll go through them all. From what a FAFSA is, to how to find outside scholarships to apply for. We’ll tell you what you need to know in order to maximize the amount you can receive.
Throughout the presentation you may submit questions to our presenters by typing your questions into the questions pod on your go-to webinar control panel, and pressing enter on your keyboard. We’ll answer as many as we can during the presentation itself, and take some questions at the end as well. This question pod will be available for you to use at any time during the presentation. Please don’t hesitate to use this tool. We truly love to answer any questions you have.
So, with that, I’d like to introduce you to tonight’s speaker. Jesse Pizarro is a C2 teacher trainer, working with C2 teachers across the country. Jesse attended Yale University earning a degree in Political Science, with distinction. After spending over a year in New York, working in finance, he returned to southern California and began his career with C2.
Since then, Jesse has tutored students in a variety of subjects, helped many seniors navigate the college application process to gain admission to their dream schools, and even runs C2’s college essay review service, reading and commenting on hundreds of essays every year.
We are very excited to have Jesse with us tonight to share his insights and experiences, and present to you, Paying for College.
All right. Thank you so much, Sam. Once again, welcome, everyone. As Sam said, this is a topic, very much top of mind right now, I would imagine, as many, many seniors are in the middle of the college application process. As you go through that process, I would imagine thinking quite a bit about how we are going to finance, how we are going to pay for this. That is what we are going to discuss tonight.
We’ll start with a couple of myths that should perhaps be busted. Before getting into kind of how colleges look at need. Need is one of the major needs that it’s going to be important to understand how colleges are going to perceive your needs as a student so that you can predict what they’re likely to offer you and so that you can start to look for other supplemental sources of potential financing for college.
We’ll talk about the sort of aid that is offered both at the federal level and through the individual schools. We’ll talk about FAFSA, Pell Grants and then we’ll get into scholarships because it’s not just the universities that you attend or the loans that you take out that could help you finance your education. Particularly, if you’re a student that has achieved really highly or is a part of a variety of different groups that tend to offer scholarships. There’s lots and lots of other sources of money out there and it’s important that you put your best foot forward and have a good process in terms of both finding and then applying for those scholarships.
Let’s jump right into it. One of the things that I sometimes hear from my students, they’re worried about is, “You know, Jessie, I’m not an A+++ perfect student across the board. There’s no way I can get a scholarship.” That’s just not the case.
There are all kinds of scholarships out there beyond simply focus on academics. There are many scholarships, for example for people of a given ethnic group or people looking to pursue a particular career path or people whose parents working at a particular company. Scholarships are much more narrow, quite often, and targeted than something like general college admissions.
Just because you’re not the perfect student does not mean that you have no chance at laying some number of scholarships or that even beginning your research and application process is just a waste of time.
Number two, scholarship applicants should seek to compile the longest list of extracurricular activities. Much like with college admissions, if you’ve seen any of our webinars or presentations when it comes to that. We talk at C2 a lot about this idea of being well angled. There being a real quality component to your extracurriculars that colleges are going to evaluate beyond, simply, quantity.
This is even more true when it comes to scholarships. A scholarship that’s offered to a student with a particular interest in physics is not necessarily going to care very much about the students’ extracurricular activities outside of the physics or science kind of area. Because those scholarships tend to be a little bit narrower, they can afford to care a lot more about something like quality and not worry so much about things like quantity.
Finally, the notion that scholarship contests have to be fair or equal or give the same chance to everyone who applies is ridiculous. These are, generally speaking, offered by private organizations. They can select their own criteria and they can make their decisions based on whatever they want.
Part of your job then as a scholarship applicant is to figure out what it is that they’re looking for, what it is that they want and mold and shape your application and your self presentation to fit that to meet those criteria to live up to what the scholarship givers are looking for. That does not mean that everyone going in has some kind of equal chance or that things have to be perfectly fair.
What about financial aid? Probably the biggest one is, “Hey, my parents make plenty of money. Does that mean I can’t get any financial aid whatsoever?” Generally speaking, no. Of course, parental income and the ability of one’s parents to contribute to the cost of your education are factored in, particularly when it comes to need-based aid. Virtually, every student can qualify for at least some basic kinds of loans to help finance their college education.
Number two, only students with good grades get financial aid. Absolutely not. Most of the time, universities, if they are extending you admission, it’s because they want you to come. That means that within their means, within their budgets they’re going to try to make that possible for you. They recognize that you have legitimate financial need and they’ve offered you admission, they’re generally speaking going to go some ways towards offering you some sort of aid, some sort of means of attending that school.
You have to be minority to get financial aid. Of course not. In fact, the vast majority of financial aid is conducted on a race blind basis.
The form is too hard to fill out. I mean, of course, that’s relative but it’s really not. It’s no more difficult than doing your taxes. There’s a lot of boxes in which you put numbers, but they tell you specifically on the forms, which numbers and where to get them. As long as you are careful and follow the directions and leave yourself enough time so that you’re not in a massive rush or kind of panic, you should have a totally reasonable chance to fill out these forms and complete everything in a reasonable amount of time.
Let’s start with financial aid. Of course, scholarships are technically a form of financial aid, but I think most folks distinguish between things like loans and grants from school and things like scholarships from outside organizations. That’s the distinction we will make throughout the presentation tonight as well.
The first thing that you have to understand is how colleges define need or financial need. It’s a very simple calculation. They look at the overall cost of attending the college. That includes things, of course, like tuition, but it also includes things like room and board, books, supplies, even transportation. They expect that it’s totally reasonable that a student would travel home for Christmas, for example, for the winter holidays, let’s say. For summer vacation, that sort of thing. That is factored in.
If they expect or if the vast majority of students at a given college or university tend to study abroad. They could certainly factor in those costs as well as everything you see listed there. Then it’s just a subtraction problem. You look at the cost of attendance and then they subtract from that what they call the Expected Family Contribution. This is the amount that the university expects your family, your parents basically, and you, as a student. Particularly, because quite often they will expect you to at least work some of the time either while you’re in school or especially over the summer.
They’ll calculate a value for what they expect your family to be able to contribute to the cost of your education. The difference between those two, the difference between the cost of attendance and the Expected Family Contribution, that number represents your financial need.
Now, the Expected Family Contribution does not change from school to school to school. It basically includes, like we said, the contribution from parents, along with the contribution from you, the student. Again, that’s from potentially working during school year as part of work study or over the summer.
The way that they calculate this is from the data that you supply them when you fill out a federal application form, such as the FAFSA and a formula that is federal, just come up with by the government.
As we mentioned before, there’s a couple different types of financial aid. You can broadly classify them as non-need based, which is where most things lik merit scholarships figure in and then need-based, which is the sorts of aid that we’re talking about right now.
Financial aid can come in the form of scholarships. It can come in the form of grants, which are the school is just giving you money. There’s no, necessarily conditions on it. It’s not like you’re expected to pay it back. It’s simply here is money that we are offering you.
The richer schools, the schools that tend to have the highest endowments, tend to offer much more to their students in the form of grants and less to their students in the form of loans. Schools that have less means, that don’t have as much money to give out, tend to offer a lot more aid in the form of loans and less of it in the form of grants. That, of course is the opportunity for employment at the school itself.
If you’ve ever seen a movie that’s set in college or you might see that students are doing things like working in the dining hall or working in the library and those are generally students who are working through a work study program to help finance their own educations.
There are also scholarships, like we said before, and these tend to fall into, broadly speaking, academic scholarships, which, again, tend to be merit-based to some extent. Sometimes, they’re also conditional on things like interests or field of study. Then there’s your non-academic scholarships, probably the most famous of these is athletic scholarships. Plenty of students who go to universities on scholarship because of their sporting prowess or because they’ve been recruited. There’s plenty of other non-academic types of scholarships and we’ll go through some of those categories a little bit later in the presentation.
The most important form that you are likely to have to fill out is the FAFSA, this stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You’ll be prompted to fill it out by virtually every piece of education material that you go through when you go through the actual application process.
The biggest federal financial aid program is what’s called Pell Grant. This is a grant of up to $5500 annually based on financial need rights and financial need is less than that, of course, they’re not going to grant you the full 5500, but there’s requirements for the application, but the point is if you’re likely to qualify for financial aid at the federal level, it is very likely that at least some component of that will include a Pell Grant.
Of course, there are different state-level programs. We can’t really review all the programs across the United States here in this webinar tonight, but that is something you’re going to want to research individually. That’s something that you can also when you are going through the application process, especially if you are applying to state schools. The University of California, for example, or the University of Texas, or something, the application materials for those schools will often direct you to state programs.
Often, not always, but quite often these sorts of aid are restricted to students that are from the state, that have residency in the state and are attending college in that state. If you lived in California, but you’re going to school in Arizona, it is unlikely that you will qualify for aid from Arizona, at least until you’re like a junior in college and can establish residency in Arizona, which is kind of its own thing.
Of course, schools offer aid, and this is one of the biggest sources of financial aid that students are likely to be able to receive. Many schools will offer what they call a net cost calculator. This is just a little tool on their website that will help you get a sense for what kind of award you might be in line for.
Couple of tips here, the more famous and kind of rich the school, so if it’s private and you’ve heard of it or if it’s got a bit-time name, your Yales, your Stanfords, those types of schools tend to have lots and lots of money. They also tend to be the most expensive schools to attend
Sometimes students whose parents aren’t all that wealthy or who expect to have a fairly large sort of need, are dissuaded from applying even to colleges like that, assuming that there is simply no chance that they’ll be able to afford it. That’s generally speaking, a mistake.
A lot of these schools have shifted in the direction of what they call need, blind admissions, and they’ve committed to ensuring that essentially all students who are qualified to attend are able to.
A lot of these, several of the schools including virtually I think every Ivy League school have committed to No-Loan Financial Aid packages. In other words, all of the money that they offer you will come in the form of grants with no expectation that you pay it back.
While it is true that those private schools tend to be quite, quite expensive, it doesn’t mean that they are totally out of reach for students that don’t come from wealthy families.
Another thing to watch out for is if you using a restrictive form of early application, particularly, early decisions. Early decision is a way to apply to colleges where you apply early. You send in your application early. You get told whether you were admitted or not early but you also commit to attending that school in the even that you’re committed. That commitment reduces your flexibility.
One of the best reasons to apply to a whole bunch of different schools is that upon acceptance, you not only get to choose which school is the best fit for you, but you also get to compare the various financial aid packages those schools offered you. That can certainly be a factor, if not a major factor, in the decision on which school to attend.
If, however, you have committed to attend one school, assuming they let you in, your flexibility, your ability to compare those packages is reduced dramatically and you essentially have to take what they give you.
Now, there’s a little bit of wiggle room there. Almost every school has an appeal process for the financial aid packages that are offered. If you take advantage of that as an early decision applicant, if you feel like a package they offered you is inadequate or it’s not going to work, you can write them a letter. You can basically send them back, “Please reconsider this. Please give me more money.”
Many times they will. They will send you back a revised offer. If that still doesn’t meet your needs, almost always the school will let you out of the commitment that you have made to attend. That having been said, that does not sound like a pretty fun process to go through. That sounds like something that could be incredibly nerve-wracking and should the school not be magnanimous at the end of it, that could leave you in a spot that you’re not happy to be in.
In general, if financial aid is a major, major consideration in terms of the school that you end up attending, finding an early decision may not be the best way to apply. Again, it’s okay to ask. It’s okay to be a little bit pushy. There is no downside to asking a school to reconsider their decision in terms of the financial aid package they offered you.
In the absolute worst case, all they will say is no. Right? At which point, you have lost nothing except the time it took you to write that letter or to make the request.
There are a whole variety of types of loans that students can take out in order to finance colleges, college. Probably the one that I would worry about most is the Home Equity Loan where you take out a mortgage, basically, or you take a second mortgage on your home to try and finance your student’s education.
Although, perhaps even worse than that are what we call are just sort of private loan. If you just go to a bank and ask for a loan. It can be easy to get taken advantage of. Particularly, if student loans in general are meant to have extremely low interest rates and be paid back once the student has graduated and is presumably making a lot more money than he or she was when actually getting their education.
Private student loan lenders often try to take advantage of people who are a little bit desperate. Make sure, sort of any loan that you’re taking that’s not from an official student loan body, Federal Government or a federally regulated program, make sure that you have read the fine print and that you’re going in with both eyes open because it can lead to some pretty incredible financial burdens that are hard to get out from under.
We had mentioned FAFSA a couple of times. FAFSA is a form that you fill out. FAFSA.ed.gov. Note that that is not a .com address. This is a government-regulated form.
In general, you want to have your taxes done so you can actually fill out a FAFSA. You should not pay anyone to help you fill this out. It is a very straightforward form to fill out. It doesn’t mean that it’s fast. It can take a little bit of time, but it’s basically just asking you to take numbers from your tax return and put them into this other document. It will tell you exactly where to find those numbers in the tax return and exactly sort of where they are.
Now just because there is an overall FAFSA deadline does not mean that that’s the earliest that you have to complete it by. Different schools will sometimes have different deadlines. You need to be aware as you are going through all your application materials of when all those deadlines might be and make sure that you have the FAFSA completed by the first one. By whatever the earliest deadline of any of the schools that you have applied to offers.
Make sure that you fill everything out. Under no circumstances should you leave something blank on a FAFSA or assume that it isn’t that big a deal.
Once you have completed it and turned in your FAFSA, you will get a Student Aid report and you will get a sense for what the expected … you’ll get a number. They’ll tell you, here’s what we think you’re Expected Family Contribution ought to be. Generally speaking, people tend to find this number to be a little bit higher than they had hoped. The requirements are a little bit strict, but nonetheless it gives you a little bit of a sense and at that point you can very easily calculate the financial need that you’re likely to, or that each school that you’ve applied to is likely to calculate themselves. Because once you know the Expected Family Contribution you can determine from the school’s website or from their brochures and materials what the all-in cost of attending that school is and you can do the subtraction quite easily.
You shouldn’t be surprised when you get your financial aid packages is the point.
A second form that is definitely worth filling out is through the College Board website. This is where you go to sign up for your SATs and your score reports and all that kind of stuff. There is what is called a CSS profile, which you should fil out there.
Not only will that give information to the schools to which you have applied, it also it’s linked to or there’s a network of organizations that provide scholarships that like to have access to that information. Assuming you fill out that profile thoroughly and well, it’s very possible that you will be notified, you will learn about scholarships and grants that you are eligible for or that you are at least eligible to apply for that you would not have known about otherwise.
Now note that this does cost money. It is not totally free. I believe these are 25 and 16, which you should check they haven’t tweaked those.
When you get a financial aid package, I had mentioned this a couple times, but it’s really, really important that you don’t just look at the overall number that is being offered but that you look at the breakdown in how that money is being offered. In other words, how much of this is being offered as a grant and how much of this is being offered as a loan?
Of course, you want as much as possible in the form of grants relative to loans because you’ve got to pay the loans back. Schools that offer you a greater percentage of aid in the form of grants are going to be more attractive overall, assuming that the overall amount of aid is similar. Of course, if one school is offering way, way more money but you know it’s a slightly higher percentage in the form of loans, that might be a different consideration, but in general, you should strongly prefer grants to loans because you want to graduate with as little debt as you possibly can. You don’t want to be borrowing all that much money to finance college, if at all possible.
Another thing to sort of be careful of or to pay particular attention to is the fact that this has to be recalculated every single year. Whatever numbers you’re looking at in terms of the loan you might take out or the grant that you’re being offered, you got to multiply it by four, assuming that your student is going to be able to, or that you as the student are going to be able to finish college in precisely four years. That is not always the case.
Certainly, there are students that just they might have a little bit of trouble or they change their major a couple of times end up staying in college for an extra year or two, but there are also just some colleges where it’s very challenging to graduate in four years, particularly, in certain majors where the classes are oversubscribed, especially some of the prerequisite courses.
It is not at all uncommon. For example, at UCLA for some of the engineering students to have to wait an extra year to get one of the classes that they need to to finally finish off their degree. Keep in mind, that’s a full extra year of all that money.
There are cheaper alternatives out there. If finances are going to be a major consideration, it is worth considering something like community college. There are, for example, in California, the community college system is designed to be a theater system to the UCs. It is not at all uncommon for a student to attend community college for two years, transfer directly into a UC, graduate from that UC with a full degree. There’s nothing different on your diploma. It still says UCLA at the top of it. It still says Berkeley at the top of it, or whichever school you ended up graduating from. That is certainly an option worth considering and investigating, particularly, if finances are going to be a major issue.
Not that because they recalculate financial aid every year, that means that FAFSA has to be filled out every year, so don’t think that you’re just going to do this once and forget about it. It also means that if your finances change dramatically, the amount of aid that you receive because they recalculated will change dramatically as well. That can, of course, that’s a nice thing. It’s a nice sort of security blanket or something to potentially count on. Suppose that a parent loses a job or some kind of major financial event impacts your family, you can rest assured that that will be taken into consideration and that the amount of aid that your student is offered the following year will increase commensurately.
On the other hand, if you get some giant promotion or your income rises dramatically over the course of a year or two, it’s very possible that the Expected Family Contribution the following year will rise accordingly as well.
We’ve talked about some of the different forms of loans and the way that schools calculate financial need. What about those scholarships that we’ve been talking about? What about those other organizations that just want to give you money?
There’s a bunch of different kinds. There’s certainly your academic merit scholarships. There’s essay writing contests. There’s even scholarships that are designed for students of particular ethnic groups, or again, that are going into particular fields.
Note that if you do get a scholarship prior to filling out your FAFSA, you have to include that. You have to let the school know and they will subtract that or they will essentially add that to your Expected Family Contribution. It’s not like you can get a scholarship, not tell them about it and thus get more financial aid from a school otherwise.
If the school is going to change the financial aid package that they are offering you based on the fact that you earned some scholarship, or have some extra source of money for school, it’s totally okay and in fact strongly recommended that you request that the reduction be in the loan side of things than in the grant side of things. In other words, if they’re offering you $5,000 worth of loans and $5,000 worth of grants and now instead of the $10,000 they’re going to offer you $8,000 because you got a $2,000 scholarship ask them to make it $5,000 in grants and only $3,000 in loans, as opposed to four of each or five and three the other way around. Again, they may not always say yes, but there is absolutely no harm in asking.
What are some of our resources? Actually seek out and find these scholarships. Probably one of the most famous website out there is just Scholarships.com. This is a massive, massive database where you can run searches, you can build a profile and select a whole bunch of characteristics, organizations to which you belong and so on and so forth. It’s basically just a giant database, a giant search engine that could be really, really helpful in locating, especially from scholarships from national organizations.
Not every scholarship out there is advertised on scholarship.com. In fact, if I had to guess, I would say the majority are not. It’s a wonderful resource. It’s a great place to start, but it shouldn’t be the beginning and end of your search.
We mentioned the College Board and filling out that CSS profile as a way to wanting to give schools some information about you but also as a means of allowing scholarship organizations to find you and kind of let you know about the scholarships on offer and a similar thing is true if you ended up taking the ACT. That’s the ACT website provides some access to scholarship information.
Individual schools. The schools to which you applied, often have scholarships above and beyond the financial aid package that they offer that you can apply to, especially like merit-based scholarships, even things like at the University of California there’s a thing called the Middle Class Scholarship that’s just sort of a form of state aid but only for students attending University of California schools. Many other individual schools and states have similar scholarships that you can either acquire about through the admissions office through the Office of Financial Aid, or just sort of through the individual school website.
If you are part of any kind of big-time organizations, it’s very possible that you’ll find their scholarships through one of the other methods that we’ve already talked about on this very slide. If not, right? You can go to the website of the Key Club or the Boy Scouts and many other organizations that will have scholarships for which you can apply, assuming you are a member and in good standing or a long-time member.
Then, finally, and perhaps under-estimated is just your guidance counselor. We talked about this this will happen in our college application webinars where we say that there’s a lot of schools that you might apply to because you’ve heard of them, because you already know about them, or because you found them on a website. A lot of times your guidance counselor might be able to clue you into a school that’s a little bit smaller, that’s a little bit more off the beaten path, but nonetheless, is a really good fit for some specific characteristic of you as a student or as a person.
The same is true when it comes to scholarships. Oftentimes, if someone is looking to give out a scholarship, they will get in contact with a guidance counselor at a local high school. These are often going to be a lot more local scholarships, sometimes a little bit sort of smaller in terms of the awards, but there’s often a lot less competition for them. If it’s just the local branch of the Key Club that’s looking to give a … or the Kiwanis Club, I suppose, that’s looking to give a scholarship to maybe a student from one of five high schools in a given city, or in a given small region. It’s not like that’s going to show up on scholarships.com. It’s not like you’re going to necessarily hear about it. That’s the kind of thing that might be advertised on flyers at your school or again that your guidance counselor would be able to point you towards.
In one of C2’s major themes when it comes to the entire college application process, meet with your guidance counselors. Talk to your guidance counselors. They are often people who have all kinds of information that they are just dying to share with you, but they can’t do it if you never talk to them. Can’t do it if you don’t go ask. Definitely worth inquiring there and seeing if there’s any materials that you can take and if there’s just anything that they just know about that you wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.
When it comes to scholarships, there’s also some stuff to be careful of. If you just get a random phone call saying, “Hey, you’ve won something.” It doesn’t really matter if the thing you won is a new car, a trip to Florida, or a college scholarship. It’s probably a scam. Unless it’s something that you already applied for and gave them your phone number in advance. Again, if it’s just out of the blue and they start asking you for things like credit card numbers or bank account numbers or anything like that, it’s very unlikely that this is good news.
You don’t want to have to pay to enter an essay-writing competition or something along those lines. A lot of times those are essentially [lotters 00:33:48], they’re essentially financing the scholarship out of the fees to enter the competition and there’s no guarantee. In other words, it might be people that are essentially running a scholarship for profit, which is not the sort of person you want to engage with in this form.
If there is a “scholarship opportunity” where there’s no guarantee that any scholarships will be given out this year or in general, that, again, is a really, really big red flag that you want to watch out for. If there’s someone, for whatever reason you’re feeling incredibly pressured to accept, especially if you were a little bit uncertain or something didn’t quite feel right to you and then someone is really putting a hard sell on you, if there’s something that you don’t understand about it or if there’s some kind of obligation that might come along in the future, it is totally okay to just say no. You can always say no to any kind of financial award for any reason whatsoever. No one can every force you to take their money.
If you’re experiencing that and you’re not sure or you’re concerned, certainly you can consult other people or people that are knowledgeable, but it’s also okay to say no, thank you and get in trouble or anything along those lines.
What about the application process itself? I would recommend considering applying for scholarships to be just a part of applying for college. Don’t think of it as this big separate undertaking. Think of it as something that you have to do kind of alongside and along with in addition to your college applications because the process is so similar. Right?
Step one, you got to figure out which scholarships you’re going to apply for, that means doing your research. That means using some of the websites that we talked about previously. Talking to guidance counselors and other folks that can steer you towards or point you to potential opportunities.
Figure out what you have to do to apply. Do you have to write an essay? Do you have to send in a resume? Do you have to send in proof that you did something or achieved something or are some kind of first? Make some sort of planning document.
You’re not going to have the common application, right? Which organizes all your college applications for you and gives you all those pre-check marks when you fill out all those sections appropriately and completed this or completed that. It’s going to be incumbent on you to make a big, I would recommend a spreadsheet, but whatever you are comfortable with that lists out the due dates and the requirements that you have to complete and make sure that you actually complete everything on time.
Complete everything you need to. Everything they ask for in terms of the application materials. Much like with college admissions, scholarship organizations are often overwhelmed with applications and that means they have to pretty quickly winnow down the number of applicants very dramatically. The easiest way to cut down the number of applicants or let’s say the number of essays they have to read or applications you have to go through is just toss all the ones that aren’t complete, without even looking at them. “They didn’t fill out their name. They didn’t’ fill out that box. They didn’t include the attachment in the form that we asked it for. That we asked for it. Okay. Rejected. Rejected. Rejected.”
That’s not to say they will always do that, but you don’t want to give them any excuse to reject you. You don’t want to give them anything where it’s easy for them just to say, no thanks or this person didn’t take us seriously.
Submit as early as you possibly can. There’s an application deadline for most of these, but you should aim to beat those. Think of it like rolling admissions, when it comes to college. If you’re familiar with that, it’s basically where there is a deadline but you are allowed to submit before that deadline and if they like you they might tell you. They might give you that decision before the deadline or early.
When you’re dealing with a rolling admission situation, the difficulty of getting admitted tends to increase the closer to the application deadline you end up submitting because as the schools start to fill their slots with students, as they start to accept students they can afford to be a little bit pickier or a little bit choosier as they’re filling out the rest of the class. The same thing is often true for scholarships. We had mentioned before that it’s not necessarily a level playing field. They don’t have to necessarily be there to everyone. They, again, do whatever they want. You want to give them as much time to consider your application as possible.
That doesn’t mean that you should submit so early that you submit an incomplete application or an application that you’re not proud of or that you haven’t put as much work as you would have liked to into, but it does mean as soon as you’ve got it in good shape, as soon as you feel like yes, this is what I want to submit, you should go ahead and do so.
Note that, quite frequently, particularly, when it comes to things like writing the essays or submitting letters of recommendations you’ve already done a bunch of the work. You might be able to reuse an essay just as is if a prompt is similar enough or very likely you’ll be able to adapt something that you’ve written for your college application, for one of your college application essays in order to use for some or all of the scholarship applications that you’re going to use.
There’s absolutely no reason to have to get new or different letters of recommendation, particularly for academically-oriented scholarships. You likely have a good one from your math teacher already or your baseball coach or from whomever you got those letters of recommendations from during the college application process.
Again, here is some of the websites that are going to come in really, really handy as you are going through this process. There is a ton of money out there. There is absolutely no reason that anyone should not be able to attend the college that they want to go to that they have been admitted to based on strictly financial reasons. It can be hard. It can take a lot of work. It can take some scraping and stuff like that, but ultimate, the resources are out there. It’s up to you as students and parents to push yourselves to take advantage.
Of course, C2 can help as well. Not only with the sourcing, but also of course, with the application materials. We have a lot a lot of students who come in for help with college applications. We spend a ton of time training our teachers to work with our students on things like college essays and those exact skills translate very, very neatly into things like scholarship essays. There is no reason we can’t help you with that.
I think that when it comes to our C2 teachers, they’re among the most impressive teachers in the industry in part because of the rigor that we require in terms of hiring them and then the rigor that we require in terms of actually training them.
Beyond that, of course, we have a series of center directors. At each center there is a center director who is not just a salesperson. Not just someone who can sit you down with an SAT and take you through your score report. This is someone who’s been trained as a college counselor. This is someone that has helped dozens if not hundreds, sometimes thousands of students make their college dreams a reality. That goes all the way through things like helping students research schools, helping students select schools to helping families plan out how they’re going to pay for it. That includes things like financial aid and helping them through scholarship opportunities. If you are interested in C2, very much encourage you to submit your name, your phone number and your zip code as a question in that Q&A box. I will make sure to go through at some point and ensure that whatever center is closest to you gets in touch.
With that, finish a little bit early tonight. That’s excellent. We have some time for questions. I’m going to be popping over to the Q&A pod. I know some of you have been answering or asking questions as we go tonight. I’m going to look for some of the good ones and try to send some of those or private share some of those answers a little bit more broadly.
Here’s a good question, what about international student scholarships and financial aid? I confess I don’t really know anything about that, to be perfectly honest. I think that it is pretty unlikely that there’s going to be a whole lot of opportunities for financial aid for international students from outside of the school that the student is attending. Of course, you can still go through the same application process, but most of the national programs, things like FAFSA and stuff are not going to apply to international students as neatly.
When will be a good time to apply for scholarships? In 11th grade or 12th grade? There might be some scholarships out there that are designed for that you apply for earlier than 12th grade, but the vast majority of this will take place during the student’s senior year and then continuing through college. You can keep applying for scholarships as a freshman, sophomore, junior in college in order to continue to finance your education as you go through.
This is a good question. How do the tutors compare between the various C2 centers and does one have the ability to switch centers? In general, yeah you can switch centers. I think that certainly different centers have different teachers. Although, occasionally some teachers will teach at more than one center. They’re not all that different.
I think in general, the tutors are quite strong at all our centers. Again, we have incredibly high standards for hiring and then training. They wouldn’t be allowed to work at any C2 if we didn’t have confidence in them, if we didn’t think that they could help your students.
Within a center, of course, we make every effort to match your student to a good teacher both based on subject, but also based on personality and compatibility factors like that. In general, if you find that it’s not a good match or after a couple of classes, they just don’t seem to be clicking. That’s something where you could talk to the center director and they’ll work very very hard to switch it up or to try a different teacher or accommodate your need as best we can.
I see a lot of questions about the availability of the slides for download. We don’t make the actual slides themselves available for download, but we do make the webinar itself available for re-watching. If you just go back to this webinar registration page that you used to log in to the webinar today, at any point, let’s say after about noon tomorrow, the webinar should be available on demand and could re-watch it, pause it, rewind it, all that stuff for each and every slide.
What is the likelihood that a student will receive merit aid and which schools tend to be the most generous with their funds? Merit aid tends to be the hardest to get. It’s not impossible by any means and the schools that are most likely to offer it are the schools that are looking to improve their academic reputations.
Schools that are looking to make a big jump. For example, ten years ago the University of Southern California, USC, made a big, big push to jump into that sort of very top tier of colleges in terms of their academic ratings. They would find students that would normally attend a school like Harvard and offer them a full ride, merit-based scholarship for four years and see if that could incentivize students that would have perhaps talked to a different school to go to a school like USC they do because have done a similar thing in recent years.
Schools like that tend to be the most generous when it comes to merit-based aid. In terms of just sort of most generous overall, I think it’s going to be the richest. It’s going to be the schools that can afford it. The schools that have the very biggest endowments tend to be the most committed to having to offering grants as opposed to loans and to offering as big of aid packages as possible for their students.
These are also, generally speaking, the schools that have the toughest admissions requirements, your ivy league schools, your Stanfords, your MITs, your Cal Techs, but those tend to be the schools that in my experience that offer the most money, but again, they also tend to be the most expensive schools as well.
Here’s a question about which fields of study or career paths offer money in the form of scholarships? What groups dole them out and how substantial is it? Kind of a lot packed into that question and parts of it, of course, you can’t totally answer comprehensively.
It’s often professional organizations. If there’s a Society of Physicists or something like that, they very well might offer scholarships to students that are going to study physics or engineering or go into STEM fields more broadly. You can imagine doctors’ groups or medical organizations sponsoring students that are studying the biological sciences or who plan to go to med school eventually.
It tends to be sort of professional organizations that are in a particular field and they will offer money for students to study in that field in terms of how substantial it is, that’s going to vary dramatically from organization to organization and scholarship to scholarship. There’s no real way to generalize that.
All right. Take maybe one or two more questions and then we’ll wrap things up this evening.
What happens if my family doesn’t pay the family contribution for my college? The Expected Family Contribution is just a number that they calculate. What they’re going to use it for is to calculate how much need a student has. If the Expected Family Contribution is X and your parents say, hey we’re not paying that, sorry, or something along those lines, or we can’t that’s unrealistic, you can appeal and you can ask to have that reevaluated or recalculated but assuming that doesn’t happen then it’s incumbent on you to get a similar amount of money somehow.
Of course, that will be an incredible challenge and that’s where some students may have to take out additional loans or consider other options like other cheaper options like community college or something like that. Yeah, that’s essentially it is expected that parents will help their students pay for college. If that’s not the case, that’s going to make it a lot more challenging because that expectation is built into the way that financial aid is calculated in the system.
Take some numbers about is there a certain number of dollars that families make that if that is the case they will simply receive no aid whatsoever? To my knowledge there is not. I suppose if the Expected Family Contribution simply exceeds the costs then it’s possible that will be true. Even then, there’s usually sort of some of those very basic loans that you can take out if you’d like to at fairly low interest.
How does having a second family member entering college impact your need? Each of the students will have a separate FAFSA and a separate Expected Family Contribution and stuff like that. Once a second student is in college, that’s accounted for, essentially, in both calculations, in both students’ FAFSAs.
I don’t know specifically if your family income is X whether you’ll get financial aid or how to do that. Again, there are some tools both on individual college websites as well as through with those net cost calculators and stuff where you’re likely to at least get a sense for that and then, again, you’ll find out for sure once you fill out the FAFSA.
All right. I want to thank everyone once more for coming this evening. I want to invite everyone back in a couple of weeks when we will run a webinar on the SAT versus the ACT, so if you’ve got number students, sophomores, juniors that are still kind of deciding on which test to prepare for, which test is the right fit for them, or don’t necessarily know every detail of how those tests are similar and how they’re different, we will be covering that in great depth and detail.
Otherwise, again thank you all so much for coming tonight. If you would like me to make sure that the C2 nearest you reaches out and gets in touch, do not hesitate to put your name, phone number and zip code into the Q&A pod. Otherwise, thank you so much, folks. Have a wonderful night and good night.