1. Look for schools that meet 100% of your financial need
Let’s face it. College is super expensive and sometimes not even merit scholarships cover enough of the cost. While private colleges that meet 100% of your need have an expensive sticker price, most students are not paying nearly the full cost. These schools look closely at your family’s financial profile to make sure that you can afford to attend if you are accepted. Here is a list of schools that meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need:
2. Chose your reach schools wisely
Don’t just blindly apply to schools because of their ranking. Take time to research each school you apply to (both your reach and safety schools) in order to make sure each school seems like a place you would love to attend.
3. You don’t have to apply to 10+ schools
Actually, please don’t. I did and it was not only exhausting but also frustrating. While it did give me a lot of options, there were 3 or 4 schools that I could have easily cut off the list even from the start. Plus, with application fees averaging $50+, you can save money if you decide to cut some schools that you don’t really want to attend in the first place.
4. Write down all your college passwords/usernames so they aren’t in multiple places (another reason to follow #3)
With an inbox that is completely full with college emails day after day, it is really hard to manage it all. When you apply to college and receive your username and password duo to check your application status, write them all down in one place so that when you need to access your online portal, it is easier and faster (and then when you are checking your admission decision, you aren’t frantically searching your email for your password!)
5. Perfection does not exist
Somewhere out there is a school that will be a really great fit…but remember nothing is perfect. You may find something you don’t like about your dream school and that is OK. Make sure that the school you decide to attend has all the major things that you want (certain location, special program, certain department) but remember that the small things may not be as important (restaurants nearby, proximity to coffee shops, social life on campus). Keep in sight what is really important to you and don’t be too distracted by the minor details!