By: Maggie Talamantes

The time for college applications is quickly approaching but the seniors of Dover High School still have many questions about the process.

Q: What is FAFSA and how do I apply for it?

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form determines students’ eligibility for financial aid. To apply, first you must make a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This allows you to fill out the online form and access information on your financial aid and student loans. After making your FSA ID, gather the necessary documents for applying, this includes: social security card, driver’s license, 2016 W-2 forms, bank statements, etc. Then you simply answer the application questions. While filling out the application, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool speeds up the whole process and makes entering your financial information much easier. Finally you will be asked to enter 10 school codes for the universities you wish to apply to. Remember you can always update your FAFSA! All the schools you list will receive your application for their financial aid use. For more information, application question guide, and a full list of required documents, go to https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/fafsa-guide/ .

Q: How many colleges should I apply to and how many backup schools should I have?

The CollegeBoard recommends you apply to 5 to 8 schools. This ensures you get into at least one school you like. Don’t be afraid to apply to more than 8 but make sure they are worthwhile. It is also recommended you have two or three backup schools included in the 5 to 8  you are applying to.

Q: What is College Application Week?

College Application week is one week in which you are able to apply to colleges in Delaware for free. This takes place in your English class from October 23rd to October 27th.  See your English teacher or counselor for more information regarding the application process.

Q: What is the Common Application?

The Common Application is an undergraduate college admission application that allows you to apply to over 700 universities all over the world. Most schools accept this one application, fill it once and you’re done.

Q: What is financial aid based on?

Financial aid is calculated using your expected family contribution (EFC) , your school year, your enrollment status, and the cost of attendance of the school you will be attending.

Q: What are some things I should look for in a college and how many colleges should I tour?

What you look for in a college is very specific and personal to your academic and extracurricular needs. You should always consider the location, the size, the environment of the school, the tuition and overall expenses, the sports and activities, and of course, if they have your desired major. All of these characteristics play a big role in your college experience. Ideally, you want to tour everywhere you want to apply but that is not always the most convenient or likely to happen. Realistically, you should tour three to five campuses and keep an eye out for what you want a school to have.

Q: Is it okay to use the same material on different applications?

Yes! In fact, applications like the Common App encourage you to use the same information on all your applications but don’t hesitate to tweak your application more towards what each university wants.

Q: Should I apply to colleges if my test scores or GPA are below their published test scores/ranges?

 Absolutely! With a strong essay and an application filled with your accomplishments, your chances of getting accepted are heightened. Your extra curriculars can sometimes speak louder than grades.

Q: On a related note, should I apply to colleges I don’t think I can afford?

 You never know what financial aid you can receive and how much you can win from scholarships. Remember: it never hurts to apply and see what happens. Your feelings can always change towards a college and the price might seem insignificant compared to the other benefits of the school.

Q: What are the pros/cons of community college?

 

Pros Cons
  • Cheap
  • Close to home
  • Smaller classes
  • More night classes
  • Flexible schedule
  • No test scores required for entry
  • Limited degree options
  • Possible intransferable classes
  • Can make you feel unprepared for a 4-year university
  • Lack of fellowship due to part time and quick turnover

Q: What are honors program and what are the benefits?

 Honors programs in college are very similar in high school in which the classes are more challenging, require extra work, and move at  a faster pace. Depending on the school, honors students can attend smaller classes, have a closer relationship with the faculty, and live in a separate housing community. In many schools, you also have access to priority registration and graduate with a special honors certificate.

Q: How important are SAT/ACT scores?

 Very. They carry a lot of weight in your application. Competitive schools value standardized tests, but if your score is not the best or out of a school’s range, your grades and extracurriculars can make up for that. It is also recommended you take the SAT/ACT at least twice to improve your score.

Q: What is the difference between a major and a minor?

 A major is the field in which a student focuses during the course of their degree. A minor is a secondary concentration of courses that often complement the major.

Ex: Major: English   Minor: Political Science

Q: How do I get an application fee waiver?

If you are an income-eligible student who has taken the SAT using a test fee waiver, you get 4 college application fee waivers sent to you beginning in late August. Read more on College Board.

Have anymore college questions? Set up an appointment or email your guidance counselor, DM the Senator Newspaper twitter @DHSsenator, or visit these helpful websites that can help you prepare and give you some more answers and advice:

  1. https://www.collegeboard.org/
  2. https://www.scholarships.com/
  3. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/