Get College Bound with Dr. Chris

COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS BOOKMARK THIS PAGE: provides timely tips and up to the minute advice about the College Admissions and College Application Process. - Get College Bound with Dr. Chris

How Do I Avoid Scholarship Scams?

Are you ask­ing, “How do I know when a schol­ar­ship is really a scam?”  There are sev­eral ways scams become appar­ent. dis­cusses sev­eral including:

  • Money required before get­ting schol­ar­ship but schol­ar­ship never materializes
  • It may look like a schol­ar­ship pro­gram, but the schol­ar­ship com­pany may be a for-profit agency. In other words, it costs to apply for it, and the money the com­pany raises goes towards pay­ing for the award.
  • A low inter­est loan if offered for a fee prior to approval.
  • A let­ter indi­cates you have won a schol­ar­ship prize but you must pay to receive it.
  • Schol­ar­ship match­ing ser­vices guar­an­tee scholarships.
  • A free finan­cial sem­i­nar often includes a sales pitch for insur­ance, annu­ity, or other invest­ment products.

Read more about schol­ar­ship scams.

8 Reasons to Apply for Scholarships Sooner Than Later

You are prob­a­bly in the process of com­plet­ing your appli­ca­tions to col­lege and may be think­ing ahead to your next con­cern; pay­ing for your edu­ca­tion. Search­ing for schol­ar­ship money can be tedious and time con­sum­ing, but it can pay off too. Check out the top rea­sons you should apply for schol­ar­ships sooner than later.  It may help you through the process.
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What Is The CSS Profile?

Some par­tic­i­pat­ing insti­tu­tions use the CSS Pro­file in addi­tion to other forms such as the FAFSA to deter­mine a finan­cial aid pack­age for stu­dents apply­ing to their school.

The Col­lege Board notes the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion about the Profile:

WHAT is the PROFILE? The PROFILE is an online appli­ca­tion that col­lects infor­ma­tion used by cer­tain col­leges and schol­ar­ship pro­grams to award insti­tu­tional aid funds. (All fed­eral funds are awarded based on the FAFSA, avail­able after Jan. 1 at  Some col­leges may require addi­tional infor­ma­tion, such as tax returns or an insti­tu­tional appli­ca­tion. If your par­ents are divorced, some col­leges will also require your non­cus­to­dial par­ent to com­plete the Non­cus­to­dial PROFILE. Con­tinue read­ing

How Many Schools Should You Apply To?

Each indi­vid­ual is unique; there­fore, the num­ber of schools the stu­dent chooses to apply to will vary. Most stu­dents will pare down their foun­da­tion list of col­leges to the final five to seven schools. There should be a long shot — a stretch school — a reach — a col­lege where the student’s chances of gain­ing admis­sion are less than 50/50 based upon his or her aca­d­e­mic pro­file when com­pared to the stu­dents the admis­sion office admit­ted in the pre­vi­ous year.

A rea­son­able reach — 50/50 or bet­ter col­leges are likely to admit within the student’s range of grade point aver­age, stan­dard­ized test scores, and course cur­ricu­lum. Other fac­tors that could enhance admis­sion sta­tus could include activ­i­ties, an inter­view, spe­cial tal­ents, rec­om­men­da­tions, essays, etc.

Likely schools — sure shots —these are col­leges where a stu­dent is con­fi­dent that he or she will be admit­ted. How­ever, be sure it is a school where your aca­d­e­mic and per­sonal needs will be met should you enroll.

The best way to cre­ate this list is to research col­leges by vis­it­ing the cam­pus, tak­ing tours, and speak­ing with admis­sions rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Review what is required to apply to the col­leges includ­ing grade point aver­age, high school course require­ments, stan­dard­ized test scores, Resume of activ­i­ties, essays, and recommendations.

Tips For Writing Your College Essay

Recently, I read an arti­cle by an admis­sions rep­re­sen­ta­tive from St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land regard­ing the col­lege essay. Their advice seemed wor­thy of repeat­ing so here it goes. When asked about the length of the essay, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive explained that “the ones that got read at our col­lege, the ones that really showed the admis­sions com­mit­tee the real per­son, and the ones that jumped out at us and caught our atten­tion were the ones that:  1) were from the ‘heart’, 2) were ‘student-written’ (you would be sur­prised how many have ‘adult hands’ on them…and you can tell the dif­fer­ence when you read them), and 3) told us why they are spe­cial; not nec­es­sar­ily if they were spe­cial.  If stu­dents can do that and it hap­pens to be a lit­tle over 500 words, don’t sweat it.” Read more tips for writ­ing the col­lege essay.

Top 10 College Application Steps for Seniors

What are the top 10 items that need to be on your “to-do” list?

One: Review your list of col­leges. The schools should be those you’re inter­ested in, have pro­grams with majors you are con­sid­er­ing, and fit your needs, val­ues, inter­ests and learning/instructional style. Are you inter­ested in a Four or Two-Year pro­gram? How about a tech­ni­cal, voca­tional or trade school option? Have you con­sid­ered the mil­i­tary? The aver­age num­ber of appli­ca­tions most seniors sub­mit is approx­i­mately 5 to 7 schools. Con­sider two schools that might be a reach or stretch, those you dreamed about attend­ing all your life. Next, con­sider 2–3 that are pos­si­ble, your test­ing, grades, and course­work meet the mid­dle 50% of those admit­ted in the past. Then 2–3 schools where you are likely to be admit­ted (your sta­tis­tics are in the top 25% of the pre­vi­ous admit­ted class). Check the range of test scores and grade point aver­ages of pre­vi­ously admit­ted stu­dents to deter­mine this set on the college’s web­site. See next 9 steps by click­ing here.

Applying Early Decision — Good Idea, A Thought, or Bad Idea?

It may be a “good idea” if the col­lege is clearly your first choice, you have a strong cur­ricu­lum your senior year, your grades from junior year were excel­lent, your stan­dard­ized test scores are com­pet­i­tive, and you can com­plete your test­ing require­ments by Octo­ber of your senior year.

It may be  “an idea” if you are on the “bub­ble” for admis­sions, you are a tra­di­tional can­di­date for that school, you may be a child of alum­nus, you have a brother or sis­ter at that school, you are an ath­lete (non-scholarship school), and your test scores and grades are in the mid­dle 50% of accepted students.It may be a “bad idea” if finan­cial aid is a major con­cern and want to com­pare pack­ages, have weak junior year grades, your stan­dard­ized test­ing is not com­plete or not com­pet­i­tive, you not sure if your really have a first choice col­lege, you have not vis­ited the cam­pus, you may not be in the range aca­d­e­m­i­cally of stu­dents who are typ­i­cally admit­ted, and admis­sion is an excep­tional long shot.

Bot­tom line, check out sta­tis­tics on the college’s web­site and speak to a col­lege admis­sions rep­re­sen­ta­tive directly about why you are con­sid­er­ing early deci­sion as an appli­ca­tion method.