Insider tips for the week of Nov. 21, 2016


Below are our insider tips to help your family with the complicated college process:

4 financial aid questions that can cost you money
– In a well-done article for Money Magazine, Kim Clark explains how colleges set their own rules for handing out their scholarships and how differences in two financial aid forms may or may not help you.


Stop stressing about picking the right major – In an interview with Lynn O’Shaughnessy, career expert Jane Horowitz says that in most cases, the academic major that students select is not nearly as important as the skills that they acquire and identify while they are in college. Focus less on the major and more on making sure that your child develops the skills that employers highly value. You can watch the full video interview here.


Not all colleges give scholarships if your kid is smart – A little-known fact is many colleges do not give scholarships based on academic ability, otherwise known as “merit aid,” and instead prioritize their dollars to “need-based aid” for financially needy students. Use CollegeData’s tool to see the percent of students that receive merit aid at the schools your child is considering. For greater detail, click on the specific college, choose “Money Matters” and go to the third section down “Profile of 2014-15 financial aid” to see the average amount awarded for merit gifts.


5 tips on the college process from someone who just went through it  – Katie Miller, an incoming college freshman, shares 5 lessons she learned the hard way. Take a few minutes to read and discuss her advice with your child.