Parents of HS Seniors. By now your child should have received their acceptance letters, the “thanks, but no thanks” rejection letters, or the dreaded “We’re not sure we want you until the students we offered acceptance decide to accept us or not” wait list letter! My advice? If your student received a wait list offer, print off several copies and have a family “tear it up and move on” party!! Choose a school that wants your student from the start and forget the ones that are keeping them in limbo. In 2014 UVA accepted 42 students off a 3000+ wait list. It’s NOT worth the stress or heartache!
Next, keep an eye out for the all-important Financial Aid Award offers. Some of you would have received some offer of a merit scholarship or grant with the acceptance letter. Most of you didn’t and are wondering where the Award offers are. Depending on the school, the Estimated Awards will be coming in over the next month or so. When they eventually do arrive, in your students email inbox, 99% of you will be looking at those Award letters and will start mumbling, cursing, crying, or yelling for hubby to open up a bottle of wine!
As I write this article in the 1st week of April I am already getting weekly calls, and soon it will be daily, from parents trying to make sense of what they are looking at. Yes, the award letters can be confusing and sometimes a bit vague. Once you figure out what is being offered, and what isn’t, that is when the confusion really sinks in and what prompts the calls I get.
You can’t understand why your super bright, very accomplished 4.385 GPA student, 2160 SAT score, Honor Society member, school athlete, debate team member, etc., is only being offered Stafford loans, the PLUS, which stands for Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student, or what I commonly refer to as Predatory Lending by our U.S. government, a paltry amount of Work Study, IF yes was answered for the work study question on the FAFSA, and nothing else! Where are the Scholarships and Grants?? Surely there must be a mistake?! Believe me, when I tell you it’s not a mistake the tone of the phone call quickly turns from teary upset to teary anger! Now the stress really starts as you realize what you thought you had saved for college is nowhere near enough for 1 year, never mind 4! “What do we do? Do we take out loans? Can we even qualify? How can we possibly explain to our child we can’t afford to send them to their dream school??” This is the time of year MY day finishes with some extra time with the kick boxing bag, because I’m angry, too. Why? Because so many of these heart breaking phone calls could have been averted!
If you are the parent of a HS Junior, Sophomore, Freshmen or Middle School student…YOUR clock is ticking, too! Don’t put your alarm clock on snooze for too long! Call us today so in a few years you will be calling me with tears of joy after receiving awards of acceptance and merit scholarships instead of tears of anger!!
By Luanne Lee, CCPRS