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

Need-based versus Merit-Based Financial Aid

It is impor­tant to under­stand how to get the most money from the col­leges a stu­dent is apply­ing to, as aid can be need-based or merit-based.

Need-Based Aid is based on the family’s finan­cial need. A fam­ily can fig­ure this amount to be the Cost of Atten­dance (COA) form the Expected Fam­ily Con­tri­bu­tion (EFC).

Points to under­stand about Need-Based Aid:

Infor­ma­tion from the Free Appli­ca­tion for Fed­eral School Aid (FAFSA) is needed. Other col­leges may require com­ple­tion of the CSS Finan­cial Pro­file; Grants do not need to be repaid; Loans will need to be paid with inter­est; Other types of Need-Based Aid include Work-Study Pro­grams, Perkins Loan and Sub­si­dize Stafford Loan, and the Fed­eral Sup­ple­men­tal Edu­ca­tional Oppor­tu­nity Grants (FSEOG). Learn more about Merit-Based finan­cial aid.

Essential Guides Make Great Holiday Gifts for the College Bound Student!

Just in time for hol­i­day giv­ing, “Col­legecb-2015-front-cover (2) Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Pre­pare for Get­ting into the Col­lege of Your Dreams” is avail­able in paper­back and eBook formats.

girl santa2Col­lege Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Pre­pare for Get­ting into the Col­lege of Your Dreams includes:  Over 1,200 links to grants, loans, schol­ar­ships, and pre-college pro­grams. How to pick a major, what col­leges look for in appli­cants, where to find finan­cial aid, and more

  • Spe­cial admis­sions infor­ma­tion for the artist, the ath­lete, the military-minded, the dis­abled, and the home schooled along with over 100 minor­ity schol­ar­ship websites
  • In-depth infor­ma­tion on  women’s col­leges, diverse pop­u­la­tions, alter­na­tive lifestyles
  • A plan­ning time line
  • Sam­ple forms and checklists
  • Career explo­ration, sam­ple resumes and inter­view questions
  • Step-by-step instruc­tions through the col­lege appli­ca­tion process
  • Inside infor­ma­tion on stan­dard­ized tests, the ACT, PSAT, and SAT
  • A com­pre­hen­sive list of must-read books and publications
  • How to make a smooth tran­si­tion from home to college
  • A chap­ter just for parents

My Col­lege Bound Plan, the com­pan­ion work­book to Col­lege Bound, gives stu­dents the actual forms, check­lists, and step-by-step guid­ance they need formcbp-2014-proof-cover[1] self-evaluation, col­lege com­par­isons, finan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions, teacher rec­om­men­da­tions, activ­i­ties resumes, and much more.

About The Author: Chris­tine Hand Gon­za­les, Ed.D, has spent the last 20 years as a pro­fes­sional col­lege plan­ning con­sul­tant, instruc­tor, high school col­lege coun­selor, and reg­is­tered ther­a­pist. Her work with high school juniors and seniors focuses on career explo­ration and col­lege coun­sel­ing. She also writes a blog for the col­lege bound stu­dent and their par­ents at Read about more guides — click here.

Important Financial Aid Forms for College Bound Students

How do col­leges cal­cu­late finan­cial aid awards for stu­dents who have applied to their insti­tu­tion?  Each col­lege has its own set of require­ments so the stu­dent should be sure to check with the finan­cial aid offices of the schools.  Along with forms that may be required, there are impor­tant dead­lines to fol­low too.  Remem­ber to apply for addi­tional finan­cial aid from your state gov­ern­ment and out­side schol­ar­ships.
Here are finan­cial aid appli­ca­tions you may have to complete:


FAFSA (Free Appli­ca­tion for Fed­eral Stu­dent Aid) — a fed­eral finan­cial aid appli­ca­tion form required by all col­leges for fed­eral finan­cial aid includ­ing grants, loans, and work/study. In addi­tion, some col­leges use the FAFSA to award money from its own endow­ment funds and oth­ers require addi­tional forms.

Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Work­sheet is to be com­pleted if a student’s FAFSA was selected for review by the col­lege. Click here to read more!

December SAT — Reminder for Students Taking Test

Dear Stu­dents,

The Col­lege Board notes the Decem­ber SAT® is this Sat­ur­day — Decem­ber 6 . This is a reminder to all of you regard­ing the impor­tance of sit­ting for the test.

If you missed the dead­line for SAT reg­is­tra­tion you may still be able to take the test on standby. This means going to a test cen­ter on test day with a com­pleted reg­is­tra­tion form and fee pay­ment. For more infor­ma­tion about standby test­ing, click here.

For answers to other SAT ques­tions, visit the SAT Coun­selor Resource Cen­ter. It’s a one-stop source for all the tools and infor­ma­tion you need to help stu­dents pre­pare for the SAT and col­lege success.

We hope the fol­low­ing tips will be help­ful to each of you on test day! And after the test, remem­ber you still have nine days to take advan­tage of their four free score sends. Read more hints for test tak­ing day!

Pay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dent, Par­ents, and Edu­ca­tor Guide to Over 500 Live Links to Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources

Paying For College CoverPay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dent, Par­ents, and Edu­ca­tor Guide to Over 500 Live Links to Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources  by Chris­tine M. Hand Gon­za­les, Ed.D.

Avail­able in eBook for $4.99 and paper­back for $9.99! Click here for Ama­zon. Also on

Pay­ing for Col­lege With­out Break­ing the Bank takes you through the col­lege plan­ning time­line and the finan­cial aid appli­ca­tion process along with addi­tional tips and resources. It will show ways to approach coun­selors, teach­ers, or mod­er­a­tors to request an effec­tive let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, and give tips on self-marketing through the schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion essays. It will help you:

  • Cal­cu­late the actual costs of college
  • Increase your chances of receiv­ing aid
  • Com­pare aid offers and learn how to appeal if needed
  • Plan strate­gi­cally as an inde­pen­dent stu­dent or divorced or sin­gle parent
  • Avoid costly mis­takes when applying
  • Learn tips for com­plet­ing the required fed­eral form, the FAFSA
  • Under­stand the “nuts and bolts” of finan­cial aid, and where to find scholarships
  • Access an exten­sive and incom­pa­ra­ble list of pub­li­ca­tions and Inter­net resource

Click here for free down­loads Read­ing Apps from Ama­zon for PC, Mac, iPad, and other devices for Kin­dle Ver­sion. Click here for free down­load Read­ing Apps from Barnes and Noble for PC, Mac, iPad and other devices for Nook Version.

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.