college entrance

Financial Aid: Figuring out What you are Actually Paying for College

college entrance

Financial Aid: Figuring out What You are Actually Paying for College

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This month, we have talked about College Financial AID and how the numbers are worked up. We have been dealing with what is called “Need” and what kind of aid is available to fill this gap. Last week, we talked about government aid. This week, we will briefly discuss grants available from the colleges themselves.
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Grants usually come in the form of “Merit” based aid. Merit aid goes to students that the colleges or universities are targeting to add to their student body. This typically goes to students that work on positioning the 5 different college entrance requirements: high school grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and the college entrance essay. For the students that meet these entrance hurdles, colleges can target certain students in the upper qualification echelon with a percentage of aid to meet their “Need.” (Bear in mind that the family still has to pay the Effective Family Contribution (EFC)). So, when you receive offers from the universities or colleges, their grants will be working on this perceived “Need.”
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Here is where you have to be careful regarding the award letters. As mentioned earlier, some letters do not have very accurate Cost of Attendance figures, making the real cost higher then what they send you. Other offers with wrap in various student loans as part of the offer so it becomes important to read the fine print to see exactly what real money is coming out of the schools’ pocket and what will ultimately come out of your pocket and then make a comparison between the schools you are looking at. You may find that one offer that appears to look equal to another has a bottom line that actually has you paying more dollars due to various loans and work programs. Next week we will mention some ways to attempt to get the schools to up the grant.
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 Action Time.

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As you receive offers from schools, make a spread sheet that deals with what you believe is the real cost of attendance, your EFC, the perceived need, the actual grant from the college, the loans that need to be taken out, the contributions based on work-study programs and any other values that you believe you may experience and then calculate how much the real cost for each school. Now you will have a valid cost comparison. I would be glad to review the offers you receive and see how they compare.

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Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto

 

 

 

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

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How to Know What Your Major Should be

college planning

How to Know What Your Major Should Be: Creating a College Plan

A contest was held at a local county fair. The goal of the contest was to guess out the weight of a dressed out ox. A local statistician took the guesses and using simple math found the average of all the guesses provided by the contestants. It was within a few pounds of the actual weight of the ox, some 1800 pounds. No single guess came as close as the average of all the guesses. A similar finding was made when a submarine sank of the east coast. The location of the last radio signal provided the last known location. Time and effort to locate the sub went for naught. Again, a local statistician went to a variety of sources familiar with different aspects of ocean navigation, current strength, submarine fuel conception, etc, and asked them for their best guess. Processing their best guesses, he offered a location for the lost submarine. It was found some 200 yards from the place recommended by our local statistician. Again, this point was better than the closest estimate from any of the best of class professionals helping to find the lost vessel.
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So what’s the deal?
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Obtaining a variety of opinions from various sources and in some fashion blending them together can provide the potential for more reliable results and can lead to viable solutions. I would suggest that it can be a confidence builder when seeking out direction in many of life’s challenges.
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Action Time.
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One of the challenges of going to college is what career path should you go after. Here is what I believe offers a reasonable starting point and is a service we provide. First, you list all the efforts that you would do for free and get a buzz after doing them. Next, we have a sorting process that has the seeker sort out occupations based on most desirable to least desirable. Lastly, we obtain the results from a computer generated career profiling service and list the jobs that the client is most qualified for and is most interested it. There is usually some overlap between the three results. That’s the sweet spot of careers to consider. Next step is to job shadow professionals in those careers. That’s like going on a date! Some you want to see again and again. Others, well not so much.
After going through these steps, you can research what majors support the career and then seek colleges that best fit your career and personal aspirations. Reasonable starting point wouldn’t you say? With college and time being of great value, it makes sense to have a game plan. This is part of the college planning process we make available. I would look forward to hearing from you and helping further your career and college search.
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Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

 

college-guys-sweatshirts

Paying for College: Plan for Success

college-guys-sweatshirts

Paying for College: Which College is Your Best Fit?

Sometimes in the stock market, the closing price on a stock one day is significantly different then the opening price the following day. It can be up or down and is called gapping up or gapping down. Now this isn’t a blog for investment advice so don’t think I am giving it to you. We do talk about life issues and college planning so I thought I’d add that random comment to set you up for a concept in the cost of college called “Gapping.”
So, here it is.
Let’s say you have been a diligent camper and searched out the cost of your dream school. The cost for classes, room, board and other expenses is $47,532. You have gone to a Cost Calculator and estimated your Effective Family Contribution to be $14,532. That’s the amount the government says your family can afford. You have great grades and know that you are potentially eligible for $20,000 of merit based aid. You qualify for government loans of $6,000 and you are willing to participate in a work study program that will generate another $4000. So here’s the math: $47,532 – ($14,532+$20,000+$6000+$4000) =$3000. The $3000 is the gap that you have to come up with on top of the $14,352 of EFC and the $6000 of government loans and the $4000 of work study. This school is gonna cost some $27,000 of out the pocket of somebody close to you. And that is each year!
Well, there are some schools that can be more generous. (They are also harder to get into!) They will, through merit and need based grants, and your families’ EFC eliminate the Gap.
There is a great site, www.collegeboard.com that allows you to search for information about college costs. One of the outputs is the percentage of students that have their full need met. If this number is fairly high, you can be fairly assured that you won’t get “Gapped.” If it is low, you might look elsewhere for a better deal.

 Action Time.

Paying for college is a daunting thing. Like anything else, it’s important to have a process and put in the effort. At least two things can happen. You’ll be satisfied in the deal you find and if you work hard while in college you will get a good education and feel good success. Now, ain’t that brilliant!
We have a process and I would look forward to sharing it with you. Check out our website at www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com for more information. Let me know how I can be of service.
Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

 

college searching

College Searching: Where Do You Start?

college searching

College Searching: Where Do You Start?

 

The fall part of the semester for seniors can be a pressure pot. You have your school load, your personal life, and college stuff. College stuff like: What schools should I be looking at? When are the applications due? Do I need an entrance essay and what should I write about? What are my chances of being accepted at my top choices? How much are they going to cost? Where will my family get the money?
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If you aren’t a senior yet, see what you have to look forward to?!
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So, I would suggest you think about this stuff earlier, a lot earlier, say as a sophomore. If you lay the groundwork for all these decisions, as a senior, the basic thing you will need to do is just the application process; the decisions will have been made.
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So what is the process?
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Well, I would first start with figuring out what you might like to do as a career. That is one of the most fulfilling and cost effective things to do. The stats say that some 60% of the students that have a general ideal as to a career path stay in the major they start and have a good chance of graduating in 4 to 5 years. For those who have no clue, some 90% change majors at least once in during their college career. Not a very good set up. It takes longer to graduate, costs more money, delays starting out your career and the experience you would get, class credits don’t transfer, etc. Did I mention it costs more money? Yea, I did but you need to hear it again. That stuff, money I mean, don’t grow on trees.
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Action Time!

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So what’s a kid to do?
A first item of business is to take some kind of personality-values-skills test. There are a number of options available. Talk to your guidance counselor as to what your school offers. Often, schools have a platform that allows their students to take a career guidance test. Naviance is probably the best-known platform that many schools offer.
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Some other public sites are:
Checkoutacollege.com
Education.com
Educationplanner.org
Yourfreecareertest.com
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These tests take 15 to 30 minutes to take and will generate a broad spectrum of results. Before you take one, check out their privacy policy and how they will communicate with you after you take the survey. Last thing you want is a bunch of unwanted emails from now until….
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Having taken the survey, print out the results, and then put each career on a card. Next, make up 5 more cards. They are: Won’t ever find me there; I might do that but maybe not; getting warmer; very interesting; I would do that even if they didn’t pay me!

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If you are really into this, take two different surveys from two different sites, put the results on separate cards and do separate sorts. Now, see what groups of occupations consistently fit in the “I would do that even if they didn’t pay me” category again and again.
Got the picture?
The ones in this group are probably something you should look into further! Give it a try. By the way, this is the first part of the process I help students work through before they even think about looking at any colleges. If that makes sense, you will probably be pleased with the rest of what we do. I would look forward to hearing from you.
Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

 

divorced parents, college planning

College Planning for Divorced Parents Part 2

divorced parents, college planning

College Planning for Divorced Parents Part 2

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Last week, we talked about students with Divorced parents going to schools that use the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and it got a little messy. Well, hold on to your hats! For those of you going to some of the more elite schools, life gets even more interesting.
Why so you say?
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Well, some of our elite brethren choose to use a different set of rules. Some schools use an additional form called the Profile Form or CSS/Profile form. If you want a list of these schools, try www.collegeboard.com .
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Now, this is where life gets really interesting. Many of these schools have you complete the Profile form and then only provide you an offer without letting you know the formula and charge you a fee to boot! For our purposes here, as we are only talking about families in a divorce situation, we won’t mention the fact that the Profile schools often require you to divulge home equity but we won’t mention that. Rank has its privileges! Back to the case at point. Divorce. The schools using the CSS Profile form may ask for the non-custodial parents’ income. Asking for it, they may not use it. Others ask for it and use it. Others may ask for the all the income from both sets of married couples and come to some value significantly higher for their school. As the schools will not divulge how they arrive at the results, you are at their mercy. So, as I see it, the issue is where you want to go to school and how much are you willing to pay for it. If your desire is to get a reasonably good education, with a lower price tag, you may be advised to seek out only the schools that just use the FAFSA form. If your desire is to go to one of the more elite schools, unless you are the student they highly value and they are willing to negotiate for, you may be forced to pay a significantly higher price tag based on some obscure formula and at the flexibility of the financial aid office.
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Action Time

The price for higher education can be a maze in the simplest of circumstances.  Divorce, separation and family issues only add to the confusion. I would suggest your goal, under any circumstance, is to pursue the education that best meets your needs and desires at an appropriate price. Be forewarned that you may have to put in significant effort to be an informed consumer and be a hard negotiator to obtain the best price tag from the college you attend. Know that colleges are businesses and they are also looking for the biggest bang for their efforts and product as well. I would look forward to working with you to identify the goals you have for your career and education and help you find the schools with a price tag you are comfortable with
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Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

 

stay focused

How to Effectively Stay Focused on Task at Hand

stay focused

How to stay laser focused with a task at hand

We live in a somewhat rural part of San Diego. I enjoy growing fruit trees and anything that bears fruit. I figure if I am going to water them, I ought to get something I can eat out of the effort and expense. Well, with rural living come gophers. While they serve a useful function in loosening the soil, they raise havoc on my produce.
Solution: Cats. Outside cats. Cats stalk and eat gophers. There are a few purposes for cats that I enjoy. This is one. (No cat jokes here!)
If you have ever watched cats stalk a gopher or bird or other small critters (and sometimes other cats in play) their focus is inspiring. Their whole being is intent on the action. So intent are they on the task that they are oblivious to what is going on around them. (Want some fun?) Quietly sneak up on a stalking cat with a rolling video and spook them. (The video might go viral!)
Great athletes play their game in the same fashion. Baseball outfielders are often so focused on the path of the ball, they will collide with the outfield wall in chasing a fly ball. So, too, are football receivers as they run their pass routes. It is the capacity for sharp focus that makes them great.
Focus is a learned skill. People who listen well have a great capacity to focus on the conversation. Various professions will get into a zone where their focus allows them to accomplish effectively the task at hand.

Action Time!

To help develop the focus skill, lie down for a few minutes and try to focus on your breathing. Might sound odd, maybe even dumb, but check it out. Lay down someplace quiet and quietly breathe. Focus your mind on the in and out of just breathing. The goal here is to go for thirty seconds, maybe a minute without allowing your mind to wander. You can’t think on the test you are having today or the argument you have with your sibling or the date you have tonight. Now, if you focus too well, you might just go to sleep! So there is the challenge. See how you do.
To help develop the skill of focusing, as a thought goes through your mind, label it and let it go. Say it is about a date later today, label it, ”Date thought” and go back to focusing on your breathing. No harm done. When the next thought about something other than breathing comes, label it as well. Back to breathing focus. Goal here is to train your brain to quickly recognize and eliminate distractions as they come and focus on the task you want to accomplish.
Another way to focus your attention is to focus on a task and when a distraction comes, make a small mark on a piece of paper. This is another way to identify the distraction and go back to focus. The recording isn’t to generate a guilt trip on how big time you blow focusing (that would be pretty dumb for something as insignificant as focusing on breathing!). The goal is gaining control of your thoughts, identifying distractions and getting back on task. That is focus. Check it out. Try either of these two every day for a few weeks and see it you can’t reduce the number of mental distractions you experience during the exercise. See if it doesn’t impact your listening and concentration skills. If you are journaling, make a note of your progress over a month and treat yourself for gains.

 

 

Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX

 

How to Become More Creative & Innovative

The Secret to Becoming More Creative and Innovative

How to Become More Creative & Innovative

How to Become More Creative and Innovative

The battle is a small skirmish between two neighboring tribes.  One tribe fought with spears, the other with bows and arrows. The tribe with arrows had discovered a potion that if placed on the tip of the arrow, would decommission the victim.  This potion came from vegetation they fed to their goats.  While it made humans sick, the goats enjoyed the roughage. The enemy tribe knew the potion wasn’t fatal if dealt with quickly.  
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The battling issue was relatively insignificant yet people are launching deadly spearsand arrows at one another. One of the great warriors was shot with an arrow laced with potion.  As he stands with the arrow in his leg, his loud curses halt the skirmish.  The numbing pain of the potion streamed through the strong body of this great warrior. Believing the wound to be fatal, he demands to look the enemy who shot this deadly arrow in the eye. A weak puny warrior steps forward as the perpetrator. The great warrior wails his condition and villianizes his opponent, demanding to know how and why he could do such a horrific act and especially to this great warrior.  Don’t they know who he is?  As he lay dying, cursing his fate, in his last breath, he demands an apology from the perpetrator. He is gone. His fellow warriors wail their loss.  The enemy goes back home, mocking the foolishness of their enemy, lifting this meager warrior on their shoulders; they take pride in the success of the battle. (How is that for drama?)
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In the same skirmish, a few bushes down, another of the tribesmen suffers a similar wound.  In all the commotion surrounding the great warrior, this warrior quickly pulled the arrow from his side. Having witnessed the effects of this potion in a skirmish between different tribes, this warrior had discovered a neutralizing remedy.  It was madeof some other vegetation and saliva from a goat. (He read tea leaves a lot and discovered the answer one day while relaxing, sipping tea and reading the leaves.) This observant warrior quickly retreats to his remedy stash in the pouch he cared just incase and treats the wound.  He survived.  His fellow warriors are amazed at his recovery.  They are willing to pay any amount to buy this mysterious solution.  Our survivor starts to mass produce the potion, builds a pharmaceutical company,employees his fellow tribesman to positions of great responsibility and industry, disarms the enemy and hires them at minimum wage to swab the throats of goats.
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Action Time.

Well, not all the pieces of the story fit perfectly.  It was fun making it up. Two types of warriors.  Ones who bemoan their state, minor or major that it may be, fall victim to some action and are decommissioned from the joys of life.  Others deal with the circumstances.  They see and come to know the problem.  They disarm it and use their experience to benefit themselves and others.  What is your problem?  What experiences or relationships do you have that can help develop a solution?  What actions are you going to take to resolve it?  How might those actions benefit you or others around you in the future? When are you going to deal with it?  I would look forward to hearing about your potions and the arrows you pull out.   

 

Come over to our website specifically designed for college preparation.
www.lifeprepcollegeplanning.com
To Jump Starting Your College Life!
Coach Rossitto
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AZ, CA, MD, NY. TX