College Application Process Winds Down, But It's Never Too Late
Here's a potpourri of useful information and advice from Toni Corry, director of the Guidance and Counseling Office at Barrington High School, including FAFSA assistance day tomorrow.
On the first day of second semester last week, the air vibrated with kinetic energy generated by the footsteps of students streaming into and out of the Guidance Office at Barrington High School.
Toni Corry, director of the Guidance Office, and her staff are accustomed to the pace, though. Patch met with Corry last week to discover where things stand with the college application process and to get advice on what comes next. Here is what we found:
Deadline for applying: The deadline for applying to college is Tuesday, Feb. 1. After this date, applications are reviewed on a rolling admissions basis.
Message to students who have yet to apply: Remember that it’s never too late. Never give up. There are still plenty of four-year school options available.
Mark your calendar:
- Need help with FAFSA? Rhode Island College Goal Sunday is tomorrow Jan. 30, at 1 pm. This is a statewide event where financial aid professionals assist college-bound students and their families with completing the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA). This form is required for any student seeking federal financial aid, including grants and loans, at educational institutions nationwide. Click here to see the locations. You can register online at www.collegegoalri.org.
- College planning session for juniors: Feb. 8, 2011 at 7 pm, David Deblois of the College Planning Center will conduct a session to help students plan for college. Location: Barrington High School Auditorium.
Is cost a concern? If the cost of a college education seems beyond your reach, Corry said that a suitable option is to attend a state-subsidized school such as URI or Bristol Community College. Then, once your son or daughter completes a two-year program at a state school, he or she may transfer to a four-year school. Schools such as BCC and URI have transfer agreements with many schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to accommodate students who choose this option.
Scholarships: In addition to the list of scholarships that appear on the Guidance Office’s website, Cox Communications and Best Buy are offering scholarships as well. Click here for Cox Communications scholarship information. Click here for Best Buy scholarship information.
The Facebook phenomenon: More and more students are learning about their friends’ college plans on their Facebook pages. This can be positive and negative: Positive because it continues to reinforce the importance of attending college; negative because it sometimes adds to the anxiety of students who are already feeling stressed about getting into the college of their choice.
Fact: Last year, 84 perent of Barrington High School seniors attended a four-year college, and 7 percent attended a two-year school.
Common Application: While the Common Application ("Common App") has made it easier for students to apply to college, it has also created a bit more stress for parents and students. Since the Common App has made it possible to submit one application to multiple colleges electronically, more students are applying. Since there is a larger pool of applicants, there is more competition for the slots.
Gap-year options: Some students who have been accepted to college choose to defer for a year. Others choose not to apply and instead take a time-out for six months to a year. If your son or daughter is considering postponing college, there are many opportunities to pursue in the interim, such as obtaining employment, traveling abroad, joining AmeriCorps or City Year, or working as a volunteer. All are excellent ways to gain real-life experiences before attending college.
Fact: There are 298 students in this year’s senior class.
National Merit Scholarship Program: A large number of students qualified for the National Merit Scholarship Program. These students qualified based on their results from taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test in their junior year.
- If your son or daughter does not get into his or her first-choice school, tell them not to worry. If their plans include earning a master’s degree down the line, they can then apply to their favorite school.
- There is a plethora of useful links listed in the Guidance Office’s area of the website, particularly for the parents of juniors who wish to get a head start on preparing for the college application process.
- Corry's advice to students who are anxious about getting into college: "Remember that there is a school for everyone. The choice of school will not make or break you.”
Additional information about scholarships and financial aid may be found at the sources listed below:
- College Planning Center of Rhode Island: http://www.cpcri.org/
- College Planning: http://www.collegeplan.org/
- Rhode Island Family Education Loan: http://www.risla.com/loans/rifel.aspx
- Local Scholarships: http://www.barringtonhigh.org/Guidance/Document%20Library/Local%20Scholarships.aspx
- The Rhode Island Foundation Scholarships: http://www.rifoundation.org/Scholarships/WelcomeScholarshipSeekers/tabid/443/Default.aspx
- Scholarships: http://www.barringtonhigh.org/Guidance/Document%20Library/Scholarships%20all.aspx
- College Scholarships: http://www.college-scholarships.org/
- FAFSA on the web: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
- RI Higher Education Assistance Authority: http://www.riheaa.org/
- Tuition Break for New England Residents: http://www.nebhe.org/programs-overview/rsp-tuition-break/overview/
- Student Loan Funding: http://www.studentloanfunding.com/
- FastWeb: http://www.fastweb.com/
- Fastaid: http://www.fastaid.com/
- FinAid (Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid): http://www.finaid.org/