Acceptances and the Family Finances                          by Patti Brugman

         When we’re at the beginning of the college admissions process, imaginations run wild.  It is great fun thinking of all the places you could go to college.  You might consider Washington D.C., Ohio, the deep South or Oregon.  The world is your apple!

         Gradually, with your objectives in mind, the list shrinks.  Finally, you and your family look closely and hone your final list to perfection.  Then you apply and wait.

         Tick, tock.  The envelopes start arriving.  Yes!  No.  Wait list, wait list. Yes, with money. Yes, with lots of money!  How do you decide?

         In fact, there is quite a bit to consider here.  While we hope you have visited your schools by now, now may be the most important time to take a look at your choices again before deciding. Buy those plane tickets, quick!

         And while you’re visiting campuses, visit the Financial Aid Office at each.  You might be able to up your offer while on campus.  (This is also a good way to move up on the Wait List—see our blog.) If you’ve received an offer of financial aid and like the school, consider it carefully.  Money often makes a big difference to families.  You’re not alone there.  For some students, the most affordable school is the best school because you will have the greatest chance of actually graduating.

         Too often, we hear of cases of students who have to come home after a year or two because the family can no longer afford the price of college.  Hopefully, all of your college choices have strong academic programs and will suit your educational needs.  The differences might lie in location, weather, and strength of name recognition—and price. 

         Amazingly, schools that offer you money, do so because they really want you to attend.  They know you’ll make a difference at their school.  Isn’t that nice to know?  Don’t worry about the lack of name recognition.  As you become more “in the know,” you’ll realize that schools like Kenyon, Ursinus, or Whitman have a swoon effect on all the best people.  By taking the less-traveled road, you’ll be helping the family and getting every educational benefit you ever hoped for – all at the same time! --PB