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“It pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
When many families think about financial aid, they often think about scholarships from local organizations or national contests that pay some of their college bills, but the system is much more complex than that. It takes good college prep to get great financial aid.
“Merit depends on the result of the work.” – Henry Sienkiewicz
Let’s start with merit-based aid. This aid can come from a variety of sources, but the best gift aid comes directly from colleges. It is the result of an impressive resumé and a long list of accomplishments.
· Academics. Colleges give merit-based aid to students with the best grade point averages in the toughest classes (Advanced Placement, Honors, etc.). No surprise there. But at which colleges do you place in the top 25%? That’s the key to accessing some of that aid. You need to know where you’re among the best.
· Test scores. Students with the top SAT or ACT scores may also receive merit-based aid, if, once again, they place in the top 25% at a given college. (You can research both these on the RSC website.)
· Activities. Your extracurricular activities – both in school and out – plus accomplishments, awards, recognitions, etc., can lead to additional scholarship money, particularly if they relate to your likely major or career interest. If you’ve spent your time in high school developing a career plan, you’re more likely to get gift aid to help you reach your goals.
· College Major. Colleges that specialize in certain majors often set aside extra funds to help students interested in those fields. Knowing your major when you apply could help you gain additional financial aid; not changing your major while there can help you keep it.
“Do what you love and the money will follow.” – Marsha Sinetar
It’s less obvious, but the right college prep can also help you with need-based aid; that is, gift aid based on your financial need.
· Top Financial Aid Colleges – a good college prep program helps you find and apply to colleges that meet most or all of your financial need.
· Advice – a good college prep program will also help you understand the complexities of the financial aid system, including difficult terms, plans, options, common mistakes and more.
The financial aid system is a deliberate maze filled with missteps, but knowing how to plan for college can make your journey safe and rewarding. Take advantage of our college research tools and vast experience to avoid the mistakes other families often make.
College prep isn’t just about getting the best grades in the toughest classes, though that’s a big part of it. It’s about getting the best financial aid through a comprehensive plan that benefits you. Start as early as possible and let RSC help you develop a plan designed to reward you with merit-based and need-based aid.
“To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes
And being prepared is also half the battle in getting great financial aid.
Find out how our staff can help you by calling 800-898-4636, then take advantage of our program and super low prices!
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