Dayton Christian High School

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1 Dayton Christian High School College Counseling Handbook Mrs. Katie Pennington, M.Ed. Director of College Counseling

2 Dear Dayton Christian High School Students, As you explore colleges, complete applications, and visit campuses, use this book to aid you in your college and career search. Keep it handy and refer to it as often as possible. There are many options available to you beyond high school. Use the time you have now to explore these options and broaden your outlook on college possibilities. As you consider college choices, you should assume a growing sense of responsibility in the selection process, thereby preparing yourself for the independence and decision making encountered on the college level. It is my objective to assist you in exploring your college choices and aid you in the admission process. You are encouraged to use both this handbook and the College Counseling Office resources to your fullest advantage. I will be on campus one day a week to meet with students about their college planning goals and progress. Please see Mrs. Smith to schedule a meeting. I am also available to assist you every day via , phone, or Skype. In addition, I will be scheduling informational presentations for each class and their parents throughout the school year. Thorough research, proper timing, and effective communication between students, parents, and the College Counseling Office significantly increase the chances of making the proper college decision. This is a new and exciting time in your life, so enjoy! We look forward to working with you as you embark on this new endeavor! Sincerely, Mrs. Pennington 2

3 Table of Contents Planning Calendar... 4 Information Sources... 8 Choosing a College Factors Colleges Consider When Considering Your Application Standardized Tests The Application Process Requesting Transcripts and Test Scores Teacher/Counselor Recommendations College Interviews Application Types Financing Your College Education Helpful Numbers

4 PLANNING CALENDAR JUNIOR YEAR SEPTEMBER - MARCH 1. STUDY! Colleges and universities look for a strong upward grade trend. Continue your hard work throughout junior year and beyond. 2. Schedule an appointment with Mrs. Pennington to discuss your college options. 3. Visit with college representatives who come to DCHS to discuss their colleges. The schedule is posted in the College Counseling Office. 4. Attend local college fairs to learn more about college options. 5. Discuss your ideas about college with your parents. 6. Use the Family Connection portal in Naviance to obtain information about prospective colleges. You will receive your login information from Mrs. Pennington. Utilize the College Search and Personality Type Assessments. In addition, internet resources such as Peterson s ( and the College Board ( offer useful search tools. 7. Send in your registration to take the SAT and the ACT at least once this year. Taking these tests as soon as possible following the October PSAT will give you more opportunity to improve your score. 8. If possible, visit some of your college choices during some of our school holidays, preferably when the college is in session. APRIL 1. Many schools require the SAT Subject Tests. Be certain to check admission guidelines to see if any of your schools require them. If they do, and you are finishing a subject in your junior year, it is advisable to take the SAT Subject Test in that subject in June. For students who are considering applying for Early Decision in the fall, it is especially important to take the SAT Subject Tests in May or June. Tests in English, Math and one other area are recommended; however, check admission guidelines for the tests each college specifically requires. 2. Plan your senior schedule carefully. Check graduation requirements in the individual college catalog to be certain you are taking courses for the colleges in which you are interested. 3. If you think you may want to apply to one of the military academies, now is the time to contact them for information. 4. Investigate summer enrichment options. MAY 1. Plan summer trips so that you can visit colleges that you are considering. Call or the college admission office and request an interview appointment, if available, and a campus tour. SUMMER BEFORE SENIOR YEAR 1. Visit schools, preferably while in session. 2. Visit college websites to find information about admission, applications, scholarships, and financial aid. 4

5 SENIOR YEAR ALL YEAR 1. Meet with college representatives as they come on campus. Listen to announcements to obtain the date, time and place of meetings. 2. Visit the College Counseling Office to use resource books and files on colleges around the country. 3. Schedule a meeting (or several!) with Mrs. Pennington to discuss your applications, essays, upcoming interviews, and any other aspect of your college planning process. 4. Read bulletin boards and newsletters and check DCHS s website often to learn of college sponsored functions, scholarship offerings, and ACT, SAT I and SAT Subject Test date reminders. 5. Use Family Connection in Naviance to research colleges, clarify your career goals, communicate with Mrs. Pennington, write your resume, and research scholarship opportunities. The College Application tool should be used to keep track of deadlines. Mrs. Pennington will explain which tools you need to utilize. 6. Watch and meet all application, scholarship and financial aid deadlines. REMEMBER: These deadlines are different for each college. It is up to YOU to keep track of all applicable deadlines. AUGUST - SEPTEMBER - SENIOR YEAR 1. Return the Brag Sheet and Parent Questionnaire forms to Mrs. Pennington. These items must be on file in the College Counseling Office before you are able to schedule a senior college planning meeting with Mrs. Pennington. 2. Attend any information night meetings held for the senior class. 3. Continue your college search by researching any colleges where you will complete an application. 4. Register to take the October ACT, the November SAT/SAT Subject Tests and December SAT/SAT Subject Tests. 5. Get organized. Start a separate file on each college to which you are applying and keep copies of all correspondence with colleges. Consider creating a spreadsheet to keep track of all application and scholarship deadlines. 6. Early decision applicants should notify Mrs. Pennington of their decision to apply early. Check deadlines and standardized test requirements. 7. Turn in transcript requests to Mrs. Smith at least 2 weeks before the deadline. 8. When colleges request teacher recommendations, be sure to ask your teachers ahead of time if they are willing to write a letter for you. If you apply via the Common Application, do this before entering their information online. If you apply any other way, you may need to have your teachers mail in letters with college specific recommendation forms. Give these forms to the teacher of your choice with stamped envelopes addressed to each college. Give the teacher a list of your colleges and their deadlines and allow at least two weeks before the first deadline. Remember, the teacher is doing you a favor. 9. If you will be applying for financial aid, determine which colleges and scholarship programs require the CSS Financial Aid Profile and mail your registration four to six weeks before the earliest school or scholarship deadline. 5

6 10. Attend college fairs and meet with college representatives when they visit DCHS. 11. Research outside (private, not affiliated with the colleges) scholarship opportunities. Mrs. Pennington will keep a running list on the DCHS website, but this is not exhaustive. Some outside scholarships have deadlines in early Fall. OCTOBER - SENIOR YEAR 1. Check deadlines for college applications, recommendations, and transcripts. Early decision/action deadlines can be as early as October 15. Regular decision deadlines will vary from November 30 to March Consider applying to at least three schools (one being a reach, one being 50-50, and one "safety" school). Talk with Mrs. Pennington to clarify your college application list. 3. Take the ACT. 4. Register for any standardized admission tests not yet taken. 5. Continue researching and applying for outside scholarships. 6. Everyone should have at least one transcript request submitted by November 1. NOVEMBER - SENIOR YEAR 1. If needed, apply to take the SAT Subject Tests scheduled for December. It is your responsibility to check to see if your colleges require official test scores sent from the College Board. If so, remember to have the scores sent to the college. It is your responsibility to have them sent. 2. Take SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests. 3. Use each university s Net Price Calculator to estimate the cost of attending if you are accepted. 4. Continue applying for outside scholarships. DECEMBER - SENIOR YEAR 1. Pay attention to the Priority Scholarship Deadlines at your colleges and universities and apply for admission before then. A frequently occurring Priority Scholarship Deadline is December 1st of senior year. (Remember, at most schools you must be admitted before you can apply for scholarships; plan your application timeline accordingly.) 2. Continue to have college applications, scholarship applications and essays completed and mailed by the deadlines. 3. Continue applying for outside scholarships. 4. All transcript requests and counselor recommendation forms that have deadlines during the Christmas break must be turned in 2 weeks before the end of the semester. *It is ideal to have all of your applications for admission completed (along with all necessary information submitted) before the start of Christmas break. Many colleges award scholarships first to early applicants, even if the official deadline for applications isn t until later in the spring. You want to complete your applications early so you can focus on Financial Aid during the spring. 6

7 JANUARY - SENIOR YEAR 1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on-line at In most cases, financial aid is on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, it is in your best interest to file as soon after January 1st as you are able. You will most likely have a good idea of what your eventual financial aid package will be if you used the Net Price Calculator for each university where you applied. 2. Some colleges require a seven-semester transcript, a Mid-Year Report, as part of the admission process. Please alert Mrs. Smith of any colleges to which she needs to send your seven-semester transcript. 3. Do not hesitate to update your colleges on any new honors, awards, achievements or recent grades you have received. Universities will use this new information when reviewing regular decision or deferred applications. APRIL - MAY SENIOR YEAR 1. Beware of spring fever. You must maintain your grades since colleges require a final transcript upon graduation. They can and will withdraw acceptances based on poor senior year grades. 2. Colleges will have released their decisions no later than the middle of April. Take your time to decide which college is right for you. If you need to, make additional visits to your top colleges to ensure you feel at home there. 3. Keep track of any financial awards, scholarships, grants, etc. You will need to submit a detailed list of acceptances and scholarships earned to the College Counseling Office in late spring. 4. Once you have made up your mind, notify ALL colleges that accepted you where you will be attending. This will allow the colleges to go to their waiting list, which may help one of your classmates. A short note or is all that is necessary. 5. May 1st is the National Candidates Reply Date the date when universities require all students to inform them of their intent to enroll. No university should require you to make any decision prior to that date. Be sure to submit required housing deposits, in addition to any tuition deposits. 6. If you are put on a waiting list, see your Mrs. Pennington to discuss your options. 7. Inform Mrs. Smith as to where your final transcript should be sent. It is the policy of DCHS to send only one final transcript, unless you have been put on a college's wait list. In that case, we will send out two final transcripts. JUNE - SENIOR YEAR Final transcripts are mailed. Colleges reserve the right to withdraw an acceptance if your senior grades are inconsistent with past performances. SEE MRS. PENNINGTON IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS. 7

8 INFORMATION SOURCES A number of resources are available to you for exploring colleges, their programs, and their admission requirements. USE THESE RESOURCES WISELY. NAVIANCE FAMILY CONNECTION Dayton Christian High School has invested in the Naviance program because of its wealth of information and organizational help to students and families. You will receive your login information from the College Counseling Office. Use Family Connection to research colleges, narrow down your college list, research careers and career outlooks, take personality type assessments to clarify your goals, search and apply for national outside scholarships, create a resume, keep track of your applications, and request transcripts and recommendation letters. COLLEGE REPRESENTATIVES During the school year colleges will send representatives to DCHS to talk to prospective students. These meetings take place primarily in the fall. Make every effort to meet with representatives from colleges. Perceptive admissions officers have a remarkable ability of putting names and faces together even after a brief meeting. When you are meeting with a representative, remember to ask questions and do not take the meeting lightly. The representative whom you meet at the school may be a member of the admissions committee that reviews your folder for an admissions decision. A calendar showing these visits will be posted in the College Counseling Office and on the website. Most visits will be during lunch. COLLEGE INFORMATIOAL MEETINGS Throughout the year, Mrs. Pennington will offer informational meetings for students and parents. These meetings will be specific to each grade level. Be sure to check the website and announcements for these dates these meetings will include valuable information about the college process and what you need to be doing. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOUR COLLEGE SEARCH You should contact the university directly to receive more information. Many college websites have online forms you can use to sign up for their mailing lists. If you decide to or call the university for more information, be as formal and polite as possible. It s never too early to make a good impression. COMPUTER SEARCH ENGINES I have found the sites and (click on College Search at the top of the page) to be the easiest search engines to use. COLLEGE VIEWBOOKS AND PAMPHLETS There are a variety of these brochures located on the bookshelf in the College Counseling Office. 8

9 COLLEGE CATALOGS - In an effort to be environmentally conscious, fewer universities publish complete course catalogs. However, you may be able to find electronic versions of course catalogs on many university websites. These catalogs can provide general information about the academic program in your prospective field, the admissions and graduation requirements, the school calendar, special programs of interest, and the cost of the university. They will also contain information about the college's history, traditions, philosophies and policies. OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION - The internet is the best way to find information on scholarships and and are the two best sites for searching. You should also check the DCHS website for any information we have received regarding outside scholarships. You are encouraged to seek all forms of outside scholarships to fund your college education, but be wary of any sites that charge you money to give you scholarship information. Often, it is better to apply for local scholarships than national scholarships. 9

10 CHOOSING A COLLEGE There are various factors that will come into play when choosing the college or university for you. Listed below are some of these factors, and each student should weigh them differently according to his own priorities. Using the resources discussed in the previous section, you can determine which colleges meet your criteria and arrive at your college choice. Begin by designating 5 to 15 schools as those that meet your personal priorities. As your information on each college grows, narrow your choices to anywhere from 5 to 7 schools. High application fees sometimes prove too prohibitive; therefore, we encourage you to file applications with at least 3 schools. Some schools now waive the app fees. At the same time that you are choosing schools based on your priorities, be careful not to limit yourself according to financial factors. These may be the determining factors that affect your final decision, but the preliminary search should be open. After you are accepted to your schools, make a visit to each college still on your list. You re going to spend at least four years of your life there; you want to feel as though it is the right place for you. Academic considerations should be the primary factor in college selection; however, we know that other considerations play a very important role in selection. There must be a balance between all factors: academic, social, family, etc. But you have to look. You will not find the right college and/or opportunity for you unless you look. Don t let others sway your opinion. You are the only one who knows which college is right for you. ACADEMIC CONSIDERATIONS Read the following academic considerations and weigh their importance to you. 1. Do you know what you want to major in? Does the school being considered have a program in that field? Is the curriculum strong? Is it rigid or flexible? If you are unsure, does the college offer a variety of majors for you to choose from? 2. What are the college's admission standards? Is it competitive, selective, or highly selective? Do you have the credentials to be admitted? 3. Is the school and program accredited? 4. Are there graduate and professional schools affiliated with the college or university? 5. Are there special academic programs available (i.e., honors program, remedial)? 6. Is study abroad available? Where? 7. Are advanced placement tests accepted? Does the school have its own placement testing? 8. How diverse are the subject offerings? 9. How is the academic year divided? (i.e., two semesters, Christmas mini-semester, summer sessions) 10

11 10. What is the student/faculty ratio? How large are the classes? 11. Are undergraduate students taught by professors or graduate assistants? 12. What is the school's reputation? 13. What cultural activities does the school have to offer? 14. Are credits transferable to other schools? 15. What is the availability of classes? 16. How accessible are the professors? PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS The following information focuses on non-academic considerations when choosing a college or university. Read them carefully and be fair to yourself in appraising them and how they apply to you: 1. Where is the school located? How close is it to home? What is the climate? Is it located in an urban, suburban or rural area? How does the cost of living differ? 2. What is the size of the school? 3. What is the make up of the student body? 4. What is the academic atmosphere on campus? 5. What personal services does the school offer (i.e., career placement and counseling, or tutoring)? 6. What is the extent of campus facilities - social, personal, and academic? 7. What degree of self-discipline and independence is required of you? 8. Family tradition. Did everyone in your family attend the same school? Does this apply: "It was good enough for them; it's good enough for me."? 9. How important are existing friendships with peers going to a specific college? Will this influence your decision? OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Lastly, there are other considerations that come into play when making the college choice. 1. What extracurricular activities are available? 2. Is ROTC available? 3. What religious organizations are active? 4. What are the expenses (tuition, travel, room and board)? 5. What financial aid is available? Is there work available on campus? 6. Is there a job placement service for graduates? 7. Is housing available to all students? Where are the residence halls located on campus? 8. How is security on campus? 9. Are there internships or mentor programs available in your field of interest? 11

12 FACTORS COLLEGES CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING YOU FOR ADMISSION Some schools will set certain requirements for their applicants. If the applicant meets the minimum test score and the grade point average required by the college, he is admitted. If he does not meet these requirements, he is not accepted. Other institutions, particularly the private universities, have a more individualized process of admission. They consider each applicant separately by performing a holistic application review; the entire application packet (grades, test scores, essay/s, strength of curriculum, letters of recommendation, interview) for all applicants is considered. 1. Admission representatives often first consider a student's transcript, including freshman, sophomore, and junior year grades. In some cases, they will request a student s 7th semester grades (MidYear Report) before they will make a decision. Representatives pay close attention to the level of difficulty in your course load, particularly in the senior year. Most colleges will recalculate your GPA using only the unweighted grades earned in the 5 academic subjects (English, Math, Foreign Language, Science, and History). 2. Schools then consider the student's standardized test scores, including SAT and ACT scores. Many schools will superscore (take the highest score in each subsection) the SAT. Fewer schools will do this for the ACT, although you may find some that do. While it had been the practice for many universities to prefer the SAT over the ACT, it is now the case that all universities will accept either the ACT or the SAT. 3. The following three items are all considered differently according to school policy and the student s strengths. --The student's expression of himself or herself in essays. This is your time to tell admission representatives more about you than your grades and test scores may show. Consider writing a creative essay or one that speaks of your personal experiences. This is your chance to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool, being careful not to divulge anything too personal or be too sensational. --Extracurricular involvement/potential for leadership. Consider holding a leadership position in a club you are particularly interested in. And don t just join clubs for the sake of putting them on your resume; schools like to see depth of involvement, not just breadth of involvement. --Counselor and faculty written recommendations. These letters will be based on the counselor or teacher s personal interaction with you as well as the information you supply in your Brag Sheet. Be sure to complete the form thoughtfully and thoroughly. A number of other admissions factors are often considered: 1. Special Talents You may send a sample of a musical or dramatic performance, slides of your artwork, an example of your creative writing, or evidence of exceptional athletic ability. However, because of the size of many universities 12

13 applicant pools, more and more institutions are shying away from accepting these items as part of an application packet unless, of course, you are interested in seriously pursuing these talents in college. If your talent is in athletics, contact with the college coach of your sport as well as with the admissions office is important. 2. Alumni connections. 3. Geographic mix. 4. Exceptional academic talent - independent research, a science fair project, or National Merit recognition may be the thing that singles you out as the candidate to accept. 5. Diversity of background and cultures. 13

14 STANDARDIZED TESTS You will need to submit scores from either the ACT or SAT to each university where you have applied. (There are some colleges, more and more each year, that do no require standardized test reports. They choose to evaluate applicants without these scores. See Mrs. Pennington if you are interested in a test-optional school.) These tests are typically taken for the first time at the end of your junior year and may be retaken as frequently as you like during your senior year. Registration for can be done online ( and and should be done well in advance of the test; often registration deadlines are set for one month prior to the test date. At the time of registration, students can choose to send scores to multiple colleges (up to 4) for free. There will be a charge for any scores sent at a later date. When filling out the registration form, be sure to enter DCHS s code. This way we will definitely receive your test results. Some colleges will accept scores sent from the high school; others will require them to come directly from the testing agency. It is up to you to know this information through researching your colleges. If they require testing agency reporting, you must request that the scores be sent through SAT or ACT the College Counseling Office cannot request them for you. Remember: you should take the tests more than once. The higher score will be accepted in most cases, and sometimes colleges will split your scores, taking the highest of each individual score. This is called a super score. DCHS will send all of your score reports unless you tell us otherwise. ACT The ACT is a three-hour examination consisting of four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Each section is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. Additionally, sub-scores are provided and a composite score is given. The ACT also offers an optional 30 minute writing test; this section is required for admission by some universities. PSAT Students may take this test during sophomore or junior year. This is a pre test to the SAT. This test is not used by colleges for admission; it is a shortened version of the SAT. It is used in National Merit Scholar determining. SAT This is a 3-hour and 45 minute test of verbal, math and writing abilities administered by College Board. The three sections are scored on a scale of , and then a composite score is derived by adding the three scores. SAT Subject Test These tests may be required by highly selective universities for admission and/or college placement. They are one-hour tests on a particular subject matter, typically given on the same testing dates as the SAT. Most colleges will want three achievement test scores: English, Math and another of your choosing. You may be a "walk-in" for any of the tests mentioned above. You must bring with you the normal registration fee for the tests, a stand-by fee (currently $42 for the ACT and $43 for the SAT), a completed registration form, and an acceptable form of identification. 14

15 WHICH TEST IS RIGHT FOR ME? It is my recommendation that students take both the ACT and the SAT at least once. Some students find that they score better on one or the other. In general, students who excel in writing tend to score better on the SAT. Students who are particularly gifted in science tend to score better on the ACT (the SAT does not include a science section.) You will not know which test is your test until you try both. ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMINATIONS AP tests are given at DCHS in early May and are used by many colleges to determine a student's placement in a subject. It is at the university s discretion whether or not they award college credit for your high scores. Do not assume that if you take the test, your college will award credit to you. Students must register for these exams in early spring. 15

16 THE APPLICATION PROCESS Reminder: Submit the Brag Sheet and Parent Questionnaire to Mrs. Pennington when you return to school at the beginning of your senior year. Use of the Common Application is strongly encouraged for all of your applications. Be aware, however, that some schools require supplementary items to go along with the Common App. Some schools do not accept applications through the Common Application and require you to complete their own application. If this is the case, be sure to complete the online version. Check the deadlines for admission and for scholarship consideration. You are responsible for knowing the deadlines to the colleges and universities to which you will apply. Read application instructions carefully and answer every question - even if the college presents it as optional. Have someone proof-read your essays. You may them to Mrs. Pennington for review before submitting your application. If you have used the university s name in your essay, double check that you have the correct name with the correct application. Save all essays that you submit with your applications; you may be able to use the same essay on another application. If you are mailing any components of your application, make sure that your name and another method of identification (SSN or DOB) are on every page. REQUESTING TRANSCRIPTS AND TEST SCORES Not every method of application requires the same procedure to request transcripts. Below are the most common ways to apply and the corresponding method of transcript request. Using Naviance to Request Transcripts When you complete your application, you will indicate this in your Naviance Family Connection site. This is where you may request that a transcript be sent from our office to the college(s). Be sure to send the request for the transcript at least 2 weeks before the colleges deadlines. Mrs. Pennington will show you how to do this in class meetings in September. Universities That Do Not Use Naviance If your college does not use Naviance, you will need to make a paper request for a transcript. Again, this must be completed two weeks before the deadline. The paper request forms may be found online and in the College Counseling Office. 16

17 TEACHER/COUNSELOR RECOMMENDATIONS Many universities require you to submit a Secondary School Report (SSR) or Counselor Recommendation Form with your counselor letter of recommendation. If any of your colleges require one of these forms, you must alert Mrs. Pennington via Naviance or in person so that it can be sent with your transcript and letter of recommendation to any university that requires a letter of recommendation. There a place on the SSR where you should indicate whether or not you waive your right to access your recommendation after enrollment. While this is ultimately your choice to make, waiving your rights encourages your recommenders to be frank, and admissions counselors won t wonder if your recommender was being cautious when writing the letter. Universities may also require at least one teacher recommendation in addition to the SSR and counselor letter of recommendation. You should consider this letter an important aspect of your application materials. It is acceptable to send more teacher recommendations than those requested; however, do not overdo it. One or two additional recommendations are plenty. Keep in mind the following when planning your teacher recommendation: 1. Carefully consider the teacher/s you select. Choose teachers who know you well and with whom you have a good rapport. For example, it is not necessary to ask only your English teachers because you think they will be the best letter writers. If you do not have an established relationship with them, their letter will offer little insight into your character, no matter how well it is written. 2. When you decide which teacher you will ask to write your recommendation, be sure to ask them in person before either submitting their name to Naviance as a recommender or before approaching them with any required forms to be completed. 3. If you apply to a school that does not use Naviance, you will need to submit paper recommendations to universities. Make sure you have all the necessary forms and stamped envelopes addressed to the colleges. Add a note telling the teacher the exact date the recommendations are due at the college. If you ask a teacher to write recommendations for several colleges, give him/her all the forms together at one time. 3. Be sure you have filled out and submitted your application before requesting a recommendation letter. 4. Prepare some personal information about yourself to give to the teacher to help him/her individualize the letter of recommendation. You may give them a copy of your Brag Sheet. 5. Ask your teachers politely to write your recommendations. Give them at least 2 weeks notice; do not wait until the last minute. 6. Thank-you notes are always appreciated. 17

18 COLLEGE INTERVIEWS Many selective colleges require a personal interview as part of their admission process. These take place either on the college's campus or here in Dayton by a member of an alumni group. In most cases an interview conducted here in Dayton by one of the local representatives will carry as much weight in your admission as if you had gone directly to the school. Of course, a school visit, if possible, will give you a better outlook on the school. Here are some suggestions for the admissions interview: 1. Be on time and be neat in your appearance. 2. Be knowledgeable about the college. Read some of the college's admission materials prior to your appointment. 3. Have a few questions ready to ask that are not answered in the printed materials. Your questions should show that you have thought and read about colleges in general and about that college in particular. Housing or social life questions are fine, but precede these with academic or career oriented questions. Interviewers may set first impressions by the first question students pose. 4. Meet your interviewer with a firm handshake and maintain eye contact as you talk and listen. 5. Do not expect trick questions but be prepared to talk about yourself and your academic record, extracurricular activities, accomplishments, career interests and interest in that particular college. Also be prepared to talk about current events and books you have read. 6. Do not be overly nervous; remember the college is just as interested in selling itself to you as you are in selling yourself to it. 7. Remember your interviewer's name so you can send a letter thanking him/her for his/her time. If possible, ask for a business card so you can spell the interviewer s name correctly. APPLICATION TYPES EARLY ACTION Applying early action to the university of your choice allows you to receive an admission decision well before the normal spring notification dates, typically even before the Christmas break. In the past, students who applied this way had a better chance of gaining acceptance to a particular university. However, because of the continually increasing applicant pool, many universities have restricted the number of students admitted through this program. When you receive your admission decision, you are under no obligation to the university to attend. You can wait to receive all of your other acceptance letters before making a final commitment. EARLY DECISION With this type of application, the student agrees to enroll if accepted and, depending on the college, to make no other applications or to withdraw other applications if he 18

19 or she is admitted; therefore, the student is committed to attending that university. Students not admitted under Early Decision are usually reconsidered with the regular decision applicants. Applications to other colleges can still be processed in time to meet application deadlines. If you are interested in this program, contact the college early for specific details. Any student thinking about applying for Early Decision should set up a meeting with Mrs. Pennington early in their senior year. Some colleges that offer early decision require SAT Subject tests. Because the early decision deadline is so early in your senior year, you may be pressed for time to take tests and have the college receive them in time, particularly if you plan to retake the SAT. You must check with the college you have in mind to: 1. Find out if they require SAT Subject Tests for Early Decision applicants. 2. Find out if they must receive test results by the stated Early Decision deadline. REGULAR DECISION - Submit your application later in the school year (typically by January 1st) and receive your decision by April 1st. ROLLING ADMISSION Admission decisions are made by the university as applications are submitted. Students can typically know their admission decision within a month if they apply this way. 19

20 FINANCING YOUR COLLEGE EDUCATION Financial aid is money used for education that comes from sources other than the family. Financial aid is meant to supplement the family's contribution to make college education more affordable. The first word of advice is to apply for aid. You will not receive aid if you do not apply. Do not eliminate a college immediately because of price. If you do not mind disclosing the information requested, you have nothing to lose by applying for financial aid except the time required to complete the forms. If you are curious about what type of aid you may be offered at a particular university, I encourage you to consult the Net Price Calculator located on every university s website. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the Net Price Calculator uses institutional data to provide estimated net price information to current and prospective students and their families based on a student s individual circumstances. Using the NPC may require you to input a combination of academic and financial data. Know that this information is not allowed to be permanently captured by the university. Naturally, all college financial aid offices expect a student's parents to contribute as much as possible toward college expenses. They also expect the student to help through summer jobs, savings, veterans' benefits, gifts from relatives and friends, and scholarships from sources outside the college. If the combination of parental and student resources does not amount to enough to cover the costs of attending college, all colleges will then try to arrange for loans, grants and jobs to make up the difference for any qualified student. Eligibility for financial aid received directly from federal or state sources or awarded by the college (funded on a federal or state level) is established through the use of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or the CSS Profile. The colleges in which you are interested will indicate which forms they prefer. To determine your eligibility for financial aid, it must first be determined what your family contribution will be to your college costs. This is what the FAFSA and Profile forms do: find your estimated family contribution (EFC). You and your parents complete the FAFSA any time after January 1. Parents and students will be asked to itemize their income and assets, and list savings and earnings. Working with this information (and taking into account such factors as family size, number of family members in college, and parents' ages), FAFSA estimates the amount parents should be able to contribute to the first year of college. The information submitted is then processed on a computerized sheet, and you are given a Student Aid Report. Copies of this computerized sheet are sent to you and to each of the colleges to which you applied. Once the colleges receive your Student Aid Report, they can begin to put together a financial aid package for you. (It is referred to as a package because it is usually made up of two or more kinds of aid, such as loans, work study, and grants.) 20

21 Your EFC will not change, but the cost of attendance will vary among colleges. In turn, your financial need (cost of attendance minus EFC) will vary among colleges and the amount of aid you receive should increase as you consider more expensive schools. An example follows: College A College B College C Cost of Attendance $2,000 $5,000 $14,000 EFC $ 2,500 $2,500 $2,500 Financial Need $ -0- $2,500 $11,500 For College A, no aid would be awarded. The amount you and your family can contribute exceeds the amount the college costs. NOT ALL COLLEGES WILL MEET YOUR FULL DEMONSTRATED NEED. This is just the number that they use when determining the aid they will offer you. KINDS OF FINANCIAL AID Most colleges offer two different types of financial aid to accepted students, meritbased and need-based aid. Merit-based aid includes several categories; the most common are academic, artistic and athletic scholarships. Typically given to students regardless of their family assets and income, merit awards are free money money that doesn t have to be paid back. However, it is often the case that these awards come with stipulations: students must maintain certain GPA, play a specific sport, or declare a particular major. Usually, scholarships are awarded before the FAFSA is filed, so the colleges do not even consider your family s EFC when awarding scholarships. However, the scholarships will be taken into account when the college determines your need-based aid. Conversely, need-based aid is solely based on financial need (family assets and income) and is awarded in several different forms: grants, loans, and work-study programs. Grants come in two forms: institutional (money comes from the university) and federal (money comes from the government). All grants are free money money that doesn t have to be paid back. Loans include money that has to be paid back over a period of time. Many financial aid packages include loans for both students and parents. Students are often offered both subsidized (interest does not accrue on the loan while you are in school) and unsubsidized (interest accrues while you are in school) loans. Parents may have the option of taking out a PLUS loan for the remainder of the tuition charges. Student loan interest fluctuate year by year; we will have the most updated loan information available when you file your FAFSA. Work-Study Programs are on-campus jobs that are awarded to students based on their financial need. Money is issued to the students in the form of a check and is based on the number of hours he has worked during that pay period. Families often use funds from work-study jobs as pocket money for their students. It is rare for that money to be put toward tuition. 21

22 FINANCIAL AID PROCEDURE The general procedure for applying for financial aid is as follows: 1. Visit the financial aid page of each university s website to find out which financial forms the school requires. (FAFSA and CSS Profile are the two most common forms.) Colleges may ask you to indicate what kind of aid you are interested in (i.e., loans, grants, etc.). Express an interest in all forms of aid; this leaves your options completely open. 2. The Profile should be submitted four to six weeks before the college's or program's deadline date. Many times this deadline is in the fall of your senior year. Fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year you plan to enter school in the fall. It takes between six and eight weeks for these forms to be processed. 3. REMEMBER: FINANCIAL AID AT ALL COLLEGES WORKS ON A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS. Each college has a certain amount of money budgeted in its resources of financial aid (i.e., work study, federal loans). Therefore, you will want to get all forms in early to have your package awarded before the funds lessen in each category. 4. Once the university has received the results from your FAFSA and/or Profile form, all schools where you have been accepted will send you a letter detailing your financial aid packet. 5. Contact the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend if you have any questions or if any problems arise. 6. Communicate any "special circumstances" to your financial aid officer. Most financial aid packages will be a combination of institutional (money comes from the university) and federal (money comes from the government) funding. It is at your discretion whether or not you want to accept all of the awards given to you. (Typically if an award is refused, it is some sort of unsubsidized or outside loan.) PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS There are many businesses and organizations that each year offer financial aid in the form of scholarships or grants to qualified students. Some of this information is received by mail and many scholarship offerings are posted in Naviance and on the DCHS website. However, it is up to you to search for outside scholarships do not rely solely on our list as it might not be comprehensive. There are also national organizations (i.e., American Medical Association, Boys Scouts of America) that provide some form of college funding for eligible students. Additionally, many companies have programs to help pay the cost of post secondary education for employees' dependents be sure to check with your parents' employers. REMEMBER: USE THE ALL OF THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO YOU TO GET THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM The National Merit Scholarship Program combines a yearly search for academically talented U.S. high school students with services to broaden their opportunities for college admission and financial aid. The only route of entry is the PSAT which must be taken in October of the junior year. On the basis of the PSAT selection index, high 22

23 scorers receive one or more forms of recognition including commended students, semifinalists and finalists. Also available are corporate sponsored scholarships and the National Achievement Scholarship Program for outstanding African-American students. TO BECOME AWARE OF ALL SOURCES OF SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID, USE THE FINANCIAL AID/SCHOLARSHIP SEARCH WEBSITES, CHECK THE COLLEGE COUNSELING WEBSITE DAILY, AND COMPLETE YOUR OWN SEARCHES! 23

24 Dayton Christian s CEEB Code #: HELPFUL NUMBERS Dayton Christian s address: 9391 Washington Church Rd. Miamisburg, OH Dayton Christian College Counseling Office #: (937) For problems with SAT/SAT Subject Test registration, changing test date, sending additional score reports call the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at (866) For problems with ACT registration, call ACT at (319) To inquire about missing ACT score reports or to request additional ACT score reports, call ACT at (319) To inquire about your eligibility status or to speak with a counselor at the NCAA Eligibility Center, call (877) To speak with a counselor concerning your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), call FED-AID ( ). To check the status of your FAFSA application or to request a duplicate Student Aid Report, call (319) If you are a National Merit/Achievement Semifinalist and have questions, call (847)

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