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How to Navigate the Merit Aid Puzzle

Posted by Neal Schwartz on January 11, 2022

When it comes to financial aid, all situations are different. There is no formula to perfectly predict what you’ll get, because a common misconception is that financial aid is the same from all schools. It isn’t. Factors that play into financial aid distribution are Early Decision, private versus public universities and school ranking.

Early Decision has always been a way for colleges to increase their student yield. When students apply early, they show their commitment to a school and a school can be sure that they will attend if accepted. As noted in our previous blogs, recent test optional policies have also increased the number of applications. However, even though this option seems uniquely beneficial on both sides, colleges with Early Decision programs are not necessarily motivated to communicate that if the aid package doesn’t suit a family, they can disengage from the binding agreement.

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Topics: early decision, Financial Aid, college counseling, high school senior, fafsa, high school junior, college finances, college financial situation, college sophomore, college plans, choosing a major, Fin Aid Calculator

In a changing world, what is the best major to choose?

Posted by Neal Schwartz on December 22, 2021

Happy Holidays!  

This message comes to you with the hope that this holiday break gives you a chance to explore, spend time with family and friends (safely, of course) and get your batteries re-charged.  After the charging, it can also be a great time for students to ponder their future without the distraction of studying for the next test or assignment and where they can think freely. 

 

The last two years has given pretty much everyone a wake-up call. The pandemic has made us question, evaluate and re-prioritize what is really important in life. This time can be especially challenging for those who are on the brink of deciding what they want to do with their lives: future college students.

While universities often advertise the diversity of fields available for first-years to explore, having that wide of a choice can be even more intimidating when certain fields may seem no longer relevant in the present context. Being a Classics major or English major might be a lot less justified in our technological, health-focused new world. So how can we help students find a balance between passion and practicality?

First of all, it’s important to remember that even though the emphasis may be more focused on science, technology and healthcare, that’s not to say that other fields are not worth going into. If everyone decided to focus on these three paths, then what would happen to the arts and humanities? Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right major for today’s context.

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Topics: college preparation, college counseling, international college students, high school senior, high school junior, college sophomore, regular decision, college plans, choosing a major, skills, lifestyle, science, technology, S.T.E.M., S.T.E.A.M.

Why being undecided isn't necessarily a bad thing

Posted by Neal Schwartz on October 26, 2021

In some ways, our culture measures success in one’s ability to be decisive. These people are those that have always known they’ve wanted to be teachers or doctors or politicians since they were kids. It’s easy to think that the people in this category have a clear advantage in life. They know what they want to do and they’re often very prepared to follow their path, and successful. However, this is not the reality for many students. Why? Because our culture has changed. Our times are increasingly uncertain, pressure and competition in college admissions is higher than ever, and the amount of choice can be overwhelming.

So it’s not only okay to be undecided; it’s completely natural. But it’s not an excuse for being lazy. Being undecided doesn’t necessarily mean being unfocused.

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Topics: college preparation, college major, college counseling, college freshman, high school senior, high school junior, college sophomore, choosing a college major, undecided, career choice

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