seek advice to 2 strategy questions for aid

<p>Thank you thank you for any advice for the two questions I have below (first I provide some information)
I am just starting the college process with my son (16) We live out of the country and he goes to a local public non English speaking school so we have no access to a high school advisor to ask advice. He is an American citizen. Because I went to Oberlin and then U of Chicago for grad school, I do understand some of the process, but not all.</p>

<p>Aid is our biggest concern because we have never saved for college because I never thought his English would be good enough to pass the SATS (but he passed last week with a score of 540V and 500M). We have identified Clark U. Rider (NJ), Richard Stockton (NJ), reaches Wheaton, MA. Franklin and Marshall, Connecticut College. </p>

<p>The forms (institutional vs. federal) tell us our EFC would be between 5 and 10 000 US dollars. This won't meet real costs at all. Especially including air fare etc.
My two questions are:</p>

<p>1.What is normal in terms of approaching the schools soon to see if it is even possible that he is attractive to them before he gets his hopes up? Can we go this February?
We have heard that as an American citizen (therefore no visa issues) who grew up immersed in another culture and language but was able to obtain an average score on the SATs is considered a good candidate, but we don't know whether to believe it or not. He of course takes Physics, 2 foreign languages, Calculus, Philosophy, Economics (all needed for the very competitive French Baccalaureate) and has a 3.4 GPA (equivalent). He is a strong basketball player playing in the second most competitve league for his age in the country and doing well. He was recruited at national level, but left that league because it was 20 hours a week all year long with regular weekend travel. He did basketball camps in the States when younger and took all the prizes.</p>

<ol>
<li>How can he make himself a stronger candidate for aid? Should he work on his SAT scores, work on his basketball game, go for a personal interview (he is very dynamic, personable, easygoing –most Americans never guess he was raised outside of the country.) What should our strategy be?</li>
</ol>

<p>Many thanks</p>

<p>Your chance would be if he plays ball. French kids with average SAT score will not get financial aid as we have be told touring schools. Many international candidates have 800 math and they forgive some on verbal score, but still must be strong.</p>

<p>I would post this in the Parents' Forum; you're likely to get more feedback.</p>

<p>Look on the colleges' web sites and see if they offer to meet 100% of students' documented financial need. Only a relative few of US colleges do. I think the number is around 50.</p>

<p>Realize that even if colleges do say they will do that, their idea of what your child needs to go to college may be far less than what you are willing to pay. What the college gives also is very likely to include loans (sometimes huge loans) and work study.</p>

<p>It's always good to ask the financial aid departments the kind of questions you're asking here.</p>

<p>Typically, the very top colleges --places like HPYS and other top 25 colleges-- are the ones that offer the best financial aid packages. Your son's scores do not put him in contention for those kind of schools. This is true even if he is a junior now.</p>

<p>Have you considered having him go to school in France, where the colleges are very cheap? Another option might be for him to go to school in Canada, where the colleges are much cheaper than they are in the US.</p>

<p>If you can only contribute $5k - $10 k a year, at some colleges, that also might reduce his chances of getting admission because many colleges take financial need into consideration when they admit students. This also would be something to check out on the college's web site. "Need blind" admission means colleges do not take need into consideration when admitting students.</p>

<p>My thoughts are that your son might make himself a stronger candidate for aid by applying to schools where his stats place him in the top quarter of applicants. I am guessing that he is in the middle or even bottom quarter of the schools that he now is considering, and that would not make him a priority for aid. Usually stats about the colleges' freshmen are in the admission section on their web pages.</p>

<p>thank you for your reply. Can you tell me which colleges told you that?but my son is American as well as French. I thought that would make a difference. Brown university said he would be examined in a separate pool from others and not in a pool with other Americans or internationals because of his circumstances. I'm trying to find out the stats for kids like him. We know over 100 kids raised in French schools with an Anglophone parent and not one of them could pass the SATs. Thanks</p>

<p>by the way, we of course realize Brown is not an option for him, but just happened to meet somebody from there who said that.</p>

<p>Thanks, university in France isn't great. 400 to a class. But it is free. He may come back here after a year anyway to do French higher education. I have done what you suggested, but now understand about the financial aid package issues and the best schools.</p>

<p>IN your view can I go ahead and call some of the schools right now or should he write to them? Is this something that parents do or kids should do?</p>

<p>Parents should really never contact ANY college offices unless it is absolutely necessay and absolutely involves them - such as if they are responsible for the bill and must communicate with the bursar. I have read literally hundreds of articles over the years from adcoms and one of the things that I have seen over and over is how they feel about phone calls and emails from parents. They always say, "If the student can't ask the question, maybe he or she isn't ready for college."</p>

<p>Other people are going to disagree, but maybe because they feel defensive. But I cannot repeat this strongly enough - there are VERY FEW reasons why a PARENT would need to contact the school.</p>

<p>Nobody Special wrote, "I never thought his English would be good enough to pass the SATS (but he passed last week with a score of 540V and 500M)". I just wanted to clarify: students don't pass/not pass the SAT test. There is no "passing" score - just a score.
Nobody special wrote, "The forms (institutional vs. federal) tell us our EFC would be between 5 and 10 000 US dollars. This won't meet real costs at all. Especially including air fare etc."
Just in case you are still unclear: The EFC is YOUR estimated contribution. The universities will meet (or gap) the remaining amount with loans, grants, scholarships, work/study etc. </p>

<p>I think it is fine for you to contact the admissions departments on behalf of your son. I would just email them and ask for information, catalogs, etc. Yes, later on, your son should be doing the talking - but right now, for information collection, I don't think it will have any negative connotations. Parents are the only ones who understand the financial arrangements that need to be made!</p>

<p>I think that your son will be in a far stronger situation if he were to contact the schools himself. Colleges really do notice who asks questions about admissions, and at many colleges, if students don't ask the questions, the colleges assume the students aren't interesed in the college or aren't mature enough to take responsibility for going away to college.</p>

<p>Such calls and e-mails are tracked by colleges, and a student who handles them well could get extra consideration for admission and merit aid. Asking thoughtful questions is a way that students can stand out.</p>

<p>The exception would be about financial aid questions. In many instances, the parents need to ask such questions because the parents are the ones with detailed info about family finances.</p>

<p>Nobody Special, I think you are on the wrong track thinking that admission will lower standards for your son.What I have learned in going to US schools this year is that there are many, many very top internationals applicants. They will accept a slight lower verbal score but never a low math score. Your son must be in the normal ranges for the college. Financial aid is also very little for internationals unless you are the top student from a rare country. My children have an American father but have grown up mostly in France. Unfortunately I learnd they are not seen to be rare at good US colleges. You will need I think to look at schools where they are rare in maybe Mid West or South when grades are not top. This is advice from along the way at Harvard, Yale, Boston College, Trinity, Stanford.</p>

<p>Thanks, I REALLY appreciate the advice. In any case,we would never consider those schools, only schools that have 1000 to 1200 SAT range. May I ask what high school your kids go to in France? I am still very curious about how non English speaking children can get 800 on the SAT math. Thanks so much! I hope we can stay in touch!</p>

<p>I think that you also should be considering schools with average SAT scores below 1000. At such schools, your son would be near the top of the applicant pool, which would boost his chances for merit aid.</p>

<p>What does he want in his college experience? </p>

<p>Yes, he should work on his SAT scores. The College Board, which produces the SAT, offers some free services for this. Other places such as Kaplan, offer on-line assistance that you pay for.</p>

<p>Thanks for your words. Please try and understand the vacuum he is living in. His school doesn't understand the word transcript and his teachers have never written a letter of recomendation in their lives. SAT is the preterit of sit. No one from his high school has ever even tried to go to school in the States.
Imagine your 16 year old trying to go to university in Spain. Wouldn't he/she need your help?</p>

<p>He is definately in the dark. But your suggestion is well taken. I hope that it is okay for the parent to try to understand a school's policy first before getting him involved. Most kids have a guidance counselor, but he doesn't. Cheers!</p>

<p>He will definately seek schools with lower SAT scores. He is looking at Clark U, Rider U, Richard Stockton. I asked him your question: his answer is: "I want to get the hell out of France (he says) and to the States where teachers treat you with respect and can't insult you".</p>

<p>Thanks. I appreciate the thought about information collecting. I hope they understand that I need to offer a helping hand to my son because there is no guidance counsellor, etc. but that they don't consider it immaturity on his part.</p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>Hello Nobody. I understand how difficult this must be for you. We have it easier as kids have been educated in American system, Marymount and the upper school at American School of Paris for oldest. Still I know so much more for younger children now after seeing we made some mistakes like no serious ec's. Yet that is hopefully forgiven for some internationals. I'll soon see.</p>

<p>Nobody Special.
Even though there is no GC, you really do not have to e-mail the adcoms for your son. You can help him compose and send the e-mails. There are a lot of international students who hope to go to US colleges, and who post on CC for advice without appearing to involve their parents.</p>

<p>Colleges may be undestandably cautious about accepting students who live abroad because if there are emergencies, homesickness, etc., the students would not have relatives nearby to help them. Thus, I would imagine that colleges are particularly interested in signs of maturity and responsibility when it comes to students like your son.</p>

<p>Thanks. I suspected when you said "there were many kids at your high school" who got good SAT scores that you were taling about were a American or International schools. Do you know anyone in a regular French high school who broke 100 on the SAT? Cheers!</p>

<p>Yes, my dad lives in New Jersey and is very close to my son,so home will be at his house when he is in the United States.</p>