Don’t fear, Ms. Stacey is here!

Coming into high school, the majority of us know little to nothing about college applications, majors, and scholarships. Most of us have no idea how to apply for a scholarship, let alone know the different types of scholarships that colleges offer. So, where and HOW do I start? Never fear, Ms. Stacey is here!

  • What is FAFSA?

FAFSA is an application you fill out in order to get financial aid. The colleges see it and determine how much money they want to give you. Many students think that filling out the application will guarantee them a large amount of money, but it all depends on what the colleges decide. In other words, the colleges make the overall financial aid decisions, and this differs for each college.

  • What is Cal Grant, and is there a difference between FAFSA and Cal Grant?

Cal Grant is a grant, meaning it’s money you don’t have to pay back and only applies for living and going to a school in California. There are different levels of it, usually A, B, and C, which give you different amounts of money depending on your G.P.A. and where you’re going to school. If you have a 3.0 or higher, it usually guarantees you more money, so it plays a major role. Applying for FAFSA makes it so you’re running for Cal Grant. In other words, you need FAFSA in order to get Cal Grant. Also, those pink papers that students are given are G.P.A. verification forms. The school sends those forms to Cal Grant in order to determine the amount of money they receive based on their G.P.A.

  • What is the Common App?

It’s an application you fill out for private schools like the Ivy Leagues and Chapman. It has nothing to do with financial aid and differs from a Cal State app and a UC app. The Common App is one big application where each school has an individual part called the supplemental application, which is a piece of writing usually 200 words of why you want to go to that school. Each private school you are applying to will require this little extra part.

  1. What is the difference between a liberal arts college vs a research university?

    The main difference between the two is that one conducts research through the institution, and one does not. The research universities, like the UCs, will have professors conducting research on campus, and they will usually need the help of students, so students have the chance of getting hands on research experience. A liberal arts college is not going to have big research opportunities, and they are not going to have majors like business and engineering. They will have majors like biology and psychology, so a student still has a lot of options. A lot of colleges that are solely liberal arts tend to be smaller and private. So, if a student is looking for a school that isn’t quite as big, this is a great option. A lot of students think these these schools are too expensive, but many of them have great financial aid. It just takes a bit of research. The only way to know if you can afford college is to apply.

  1. What is the CSS Profile?

    This is the financial aid application for most private schools. It is really in depth about a family’s finances, so students want to make sure they have all the right information before they begin.They will receive an email telling them if they need to do the CSS profile, and it will connect them to College Board to complete it. Even though they have to do the CSS profile, they also need to do the FAFSA. The schools are just trying to make sure the right students are getting financial aid.

  1. How do I apply for financial aid and scholarships?

    To apply for financial aid, a student needs to go to FAFSA.ed.gov. This is where they fill out the FAFSA.

For scholarships, there are a couple of different resources. One resource many students forget about is the scholarship document on the school website. To get this, all they need to do is go on the school website and click on the Guidance tab. In there is a Scholarships option, and the link takes them to a list of scholarships. We work throughout the year to update it. Another popular one is Fastweb.com, where students can find different types of scholarships. They do have to dig through some to get to the good ones, but they’re on there. There is also a twitter account for scholarships called @admissions411 that has constant scholarship postings.

     7.What are some of the ways students can differentiate between “fake” scholarships and real ones?

     Definitely avoid the scholarships that ask for your social security number. That is not something you need to apply for a scholarship. You should also never have to pay for a scholarship. If something is telling you it only costs $2 to apply, don’t do it. The point of a scholarship is to help you, not take things away from you.

  1.  How do you apply to Community College?

    You apply to a CC by going to their website. You just want to be careful and make sure you are applying for the right term, which is Fall 2018. Most applications will open in November or December, and the earlier you apply, the more likely you will get priority registration.

  1. What is the deadline for applying to Cal States?

   November 30th, and it opens October 1st.

   10 . Is putting undeclared as my major good/bad or neither?

    It depends. For example, if you want to major in engineering, but you think you’ll only get into the school if you’re undeclared, then it’s not the greatest idea. Whenever there is a professional school change (from the main college to the college of engineering, business etc.), you don’t have an easy switch. You usually have to apply to that other major, and then you have to take all the prerequisite classes, and it can be a long process. I would say to apply to the major you legitimately want with a back up choice, and only if you are truly undecided or undeclared should you go with that option.

  1. When is it a good time to start the application process for FAFSA? When do the applications for it come out?

    FAFSA opens October 1st, and it isn’t due until March 2nd.  Even though it is due in March, it is best to have it finished as soon as you can. I would say no later than December.

Although doing applications, scholarships, and FAFSA all at once sounds like a lot, Mrs. Stacey is available in the guidance office (room 301) for any questions or concerns!