Before you ask which colleges to apply to, please consider

Before you ask which colleges to apply to, please consider the following:

  1. Know your cost constraints. Talk to your parents and get an idea of what they are willing to contribute to your college costs. Find the net price calculators on some colleges’ web sites and try them to get an idea of financial aid estimates to see if those colleges are realistic on just need-based financial aid (if not, you would need merit scholarships to attend those colleges). Note that your state of residency matters for public schools, so please indicate that. Financial aid for out-of-state students at public schools is usually minimal to nonexistent. Avoid making assumptions about cost and financial aid for any given college or class of colleges (e.g. public, private) without checking specifically for your situation. Finally, stating that you “need financial aid” does not allow others to help you as much as stating that your “parents’ contribution cannot be more than $____” (specify per year or over the entire bachelor’s degree).

2.If you have any intended college majors or other academic or professional goals (pre-med, pre-law, pre-PhD, type of work desired after graduation, etc.), please state them, because the appropriateness of some colleges (particularly smaller ones) may depend on them. If you are undecided, please state that (and indicate what range of subjects you are undecided between). Be aware that more obscure majors may limit your choices.

  1. If you have any non-academic preferences (region, size, weather, urban/suburban/rural, things to do on campus or in the area, social scene, political scene, fraternities/sororities, religious environment, etc.), please state them. Be aware that being too picky on these preferences can eliminate many otherwise good fit colleges for you (you may want to indicate which preferences are strong preferences and which are weak or tie-breaker preferences).

4.Weighted GPA provided by your high school is typically meaningless to everyone else here, and to colleges that you are applying to. The only exception is if it is weighted using the standards of a college you are applying to. However, it is still meaningless for other colleges. If you want people to make suggestions based on your GPA, please give your unweighted GPA plus some context, such as the types of courses you have been taking.

  1. Your test scores typically matter, so indicating your SAT and/or ACT scores, and whether you may have National Merit status, can help others help you find colleges and scholarships.

<p>^ I second the request for this being a sticky thread. Should be compulsory reading for most posters here. :)</p>

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<p>I’m happy to provide a third, and thank you, ucbalumnus.</p>

<p>Thank you for the helpful and informative thread! These are some very important factors that should definitely be considered before posting.</p>

<p>I would say that the weighted GPA is significant, as it shows whether you have challenged yourself or not, but you could just explain that.</p>

<p>yes, this needs to be a sticky. </p>

<p>So many kids will ask for school suggestions when they have little means to pay for most schools. I think that many think that the college process is like a 4 year old making his Christmas List. Santa will bring it!!</p>

<p>“Finally, stating that you “need financial aid” does not allow others to help you as much as stating that your “parents’ contribution cannot be more than $____” (specify per year or over the entire bachelor’s degree).”</p>

<p>And include whether you have a non-custodial parent.</p>

<p>And if you state how much your family can pay, we still need to know if that’s far less than what schools will expect your family to pay. We need to know if you have an unaffordable EFC. </p>

<p>AND ask your parents how much they’ll pay, don’t guess!!! And if they’re vague, assume that they’re really not too sure what they can afford.</p>

<p>Great idea!</p>

<p>I wish there were a way to force everyone looking for recommendations to fill out a form that required all that data in a standard format! That would be cool :)</p>

<p>I agree with OP, but what safety schools should teens, like me, should be looking at if your EFC is 0? My mother probably can only pay 2k a year max. I probably can get some sort of part time job too. </p>

<p>@BeStillMyHeart: open a new thread. We’ll answer, I promise. :)</p>

<p>@myos1634 I was going to do that after I take the ACT and get my scores back. So I know exactly what schools I should be looking at. But I guess I can ask a general question. I don’t know what to say though. </p>

<p>DItto on making this a sticky thread.</p>

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<p>That can only be useful if the weighting method is known, and the unweighted GPA is also given. Since each high school seems to have its own weighting method, specifying only weighted GPA gives insufficient information to others. A 4.3 weighted GPA might have a 4.0 unweighted GPA behind it, or a 2.8 unweighted GPA behind it, depending on the high school’s weighting method (yes, there are high schools whose weighting methods can produce weighted GPAs of 6.something).</p>

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<p>This is a great thread, also fourth-ing that request for a sticky!</p>

<p>More useful is unweighted, with a count of how many AP’s you took.
And, absolutely, you must do the NPC on every school’s website. Just because you get in, does not mean you can afford to go there. I wish kids and college counselors would stop focusing on the hardest reach school, and look at solid Matches that will give you Merit scholarships. Many college counselors don’t even want to talk about the money part. It can be a difficult and devastating process to families and students who don’t go in with eyes open!</p>

<pre><code> I just did EFC’s at 7 or 8 schools for my son who’s a junior. Almost all schools came back with a net price between $25 and $30,000. The most expensive was a big public school flagship - a big $0 in merits or grants. Our net cost would be $42,000. Good to know, we won’t bother to apply. Too bad, they’re missing lots of good students to the privates, which many people assume are too expensive.
</code></pre>

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<p>Public schools discount their prices for in-state students and tend to offer their best financial aid and scholarships to in-state students. $42,000 net price seems like for an out-of-state public school that does not feel that it needs to discount its price to attract good out-of-state students.</p>

<p>Fifthing the sticky request. </p>

<p>Seems like this is the season for high school seniors to ask for college suggestions, often without considering these points (particularly point 1).</p>

<p>I’m glad to have this back.</p>