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  1. Villanova Candidates’ Weekend
  2. Deciphering College Financial Aid Letters
  3. Private Jets and College Visits
  4. Six Activities to Expand Your Campus Visit
  5. Liberal Arts College, what is that?
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Custom College Visits » Our Blog
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Villanova Candidates’ Weekend

Candidates’ Weekend at Villanova: ‘Awesome’

Recently, one of my students with whom I have been working over the past year, described his experience at Villanova University’s Candidates’ Weekend as ‘awesome.’ Although this is not always the case, it is all the more reason why students who are working to make that final decision about what college to attend, should participate in these events. Perhaps one of the schools will hit the mark—or perhaps not. But that’s why these events are important—to enable your teen to ultimately choose a school where she or he will feel most comfortable both academically and socially. In other words, to find that college where the chemistry works!

I thought it would be beneficial to share Sean’s experience with other students and parents that might be deciding whether or not it is worthwhile to attend admitted students events. While not all of them are run the same way, like Sean, most students find these visits very valuable—in some cases regardless of whether or not they have visited in the past, as there are some activities unique to accepted students.

Awesome Candidates Weekend at VillanovaBelow, Sean shares with us an excerpt of his weekend at Villanova:

I had a great experience at Villanova. Their Candidates’ Weekend gave me a great taste of what attending the school would be like, and was invaluable in helping me come closer to my decision about what school to attend. The activities throughout the weekend helped me better understand the philosophy of the school, and how I might be able to fit in there.

Although it is easy to get numbers and information from a website, until I went to Candidates’ Weekend, I had no idea how it would actually feel to go to Villanova. This weekend enabled me to meet students, speak with professors, tour dorms, and spend time on the campus where I could possibly spend the next four years of my life.

One of the highlights was having the opportunity to spend time with current students, because they shared their interests and experiences with me and I could see how I might become part of their community. I was also able to sit in on a class, which allowed me to get a glimpse of the learning environment; I realized that while it will take a lot of hard work, I would be able to succeed at Villanova.

The weekend was set up for parents as well as students and it was very helpful to have my mom by my side. It was helpful to hear her perspective on the school as someone who has attended university, and she thought of questions that I never would have and noticed things that I didn’t.

Although this weekend did not go as far as to help me decide where I want to attend college, it went a long way towards helping me see why I would fit in so well at Villanova; without attending the Candidates’ Weekend, it would have been much more difficult for me to come closer to making my decision. This shows why these weekends are, in my opinion, a mandatory step as one attempts to decide where they want to go to college.


The post Villanova Candidates’ Weekend appeared first on Custom College Visits.


Deciphering College Financial Aid Letters

Deciphering College Financial Aid Award Letters

A Guest Post by Peter Mu – Registered Representative and Financial Advisor 

Congratulations! Your child just got into his dream school! What a great feeling that is. Years of hard work have finally paid off for him. While families cheer for this moment of joy, many are also confronting the reality of how to fund college expenditures for the upcoming years. Your teen may have already received his Financial Aid Award Letters, or is expecting them any day. Making sense ofFinancial Aid Letters the various offers can be very difficult. Below is a quick summary of how to decipher the items you might see and some resources available to help you decide the best way to finance your child’s college education. The awards generally are categorized into those that you have to pay back and those you don’t. Anything labeled as a loan will have to be paid back with interest at some point. If it’s labeled as a grant, an award or a scholarship, you probably won’t have to pay it back.

The Federal Pell Grant1 is an award funded by the US Department of Education to assist low-income families to pay for undergraduate studies.  For the 2015-2016 school year the maximum award amount is $5775.

The Federal SEOG6, or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, is another need-based grant prioritized for those with “exceptional needs.”  This is often awarded to the most needy families with the lowest EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) and those who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients. 75% of the source of this funding is provided by the US Department of Education and 25% comes from the colleges themselves.

The Federal College Work Study2(FWS) funds part-time employment for students.  These opportunities such as tutoring or library assistant are often conveniently located on or near campus.  The Department of Education and the employer share the cost. If the student studies full-time and works less than half-time, earning from the Federal Work Study is exempt from FICA taxes but is subject to federal and state income tax and is therefore reported on next year’s FAFSA.

Merit-based Aid is awarded by colleges or outside organizations for outstanding academic performance or test scores. There isn’t a unified name for them but usually the sponsoring organization’s name is reflected in the award. For example, this might say “Chancellors Award” or “University of Washington Scholarship.”

The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan3 are probably the most commonly seen type of student loans.  The subsidized version is a need-based loan.  The federal government pays for the loan interests while the student is in school.  This can lead to a great deal of savings over time.  Repayment of the loan doesn’t have to start until six months after graduation.

The Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan4 is a loan taken out by the parents to help fund a student’s education.  Like any personal loan, this will depend on the credit history, income and parents’ assets. The loan rate is fixed for the term.

The Federal Perkins Loan5 is a low-interest federal student loan for students with exceptional financial needs.  The loan interest rate is fixed at 5%.  The school itself is the lender for this program so not all schools participate.

You should compare the offers you receive by reviewing what percentage of the award you won’t have to pay back and evaluating the interest rates on the loans. Remember, there are also private student loans available at local financial institutions and the loan rates can be very competitive as well.

Contrary to common myths negotiation is often possible. The scholarship decision process is a human one. If you are disappointed that your son’s dream school didn’t award you as much as other schools may have, you can always write to them and ask for a reconsideration.

Having a child leaving the nest for college marks a significant life event. For many parents this opens the next chapter of life. Saving and investment objectives change and new cash flow demands emerge. Your financial strategies should be realigned now to reflect this change. Take the opportunity to start a conversation with a financial professional today.

This article was written by Peter Mu

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS) 20 Bicentennial Circle, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95826 Securities products & services and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your individual situation. CA insurance license 0E19513

Links to other sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services, and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

GEAR 2015-4494 exp 04/17

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The post Deciphering College Financial Aid Letters appeared first on Custom College Visits.


Private Jets and College Visits

The Point of a College Tour is Not Which Jet You Fly!

There has been much written lately (MarketWatch, Cosmo, Forbes, etc) about the 1% using private jets to visit three to four colleges in a day with their teen. Most of the emphasis in these articles has been on the cost of the jet charter. One example has been the East Coast private jet company who has offered a 10 hour card at a discounted $43,000.
 Private Jets & College Visits
The point of a taking your child on a college tour is to determine if your child will excel academically, ‘like’ the people and be engaged in the community of that specific school. In order to figure that out, it takes more than a quick wheels-up/wheels-down and black car visit to the school.
In addition to information sessions and guided campus tours, here are five activities that students should do while visiting a campus:
  1. Meet with a current student
  2. Meet with a professor
  3. If interested in sports, visit the athletic facilities and possibly have a meeting with a coach
  4. Have a meal in the dining hall and visit the campus center
  5. Visit the surrounding town or area

No matter how you travel from school to school, make sure you allow yourself enough time on each campus to fully experience the academics, lifestyle and the people.

Alan Caine

The post Private Jets and College Visits appeared first on Custom College Visits.


Six Activities to Expand Your Campus Visit

Many times your student’s campus visit involves listening to an Information Session, then walking the campus with a student guide. After the tour many people leave campus and head to their next destination.

We challenge you and your student to spend more time on campus.

In my Twitter account @CollegeVisitTip one of the most retweeted posts is:

When visiting a #college campus talk to students. Facilities might be awesome, but you want to ‘Like’ the people.

So how do you find out if you ‘Like’ the people? Here are six activities your student can do:

  1. Hang out in the campus center. Listen to what students are saying.
  2. Walk into a department office, ask if you can meet and speak with a grad student or professor.
  3. Find a student to meet-up with. Have coffee or a meal and ask great questions.
  4. Network with the other visitors on the tour, catch-up afterward and compare notes
  5. Make an appointment to meet a professor, don’t just listen, ask good proactive questions.
  6. Attend a class.

Above all be relaxed and try and have some fun.
Alan Caine

The post Six Activities to Expand Your Campus Visit appeared first on Custom College Visits.


Liberal Arts College, what is that?

What’s a Liberal Arts college?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Anselm College, a traditional New England liberal arts college

Saint Anselm College, a traditional New England liberal arts college

liberal arts college is a college with an emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences. A liberal arts college aims to impart a broad general knowledge and develop general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.[1] Students in a liberal arts college generally major in a particular discipline while receiving exposure to a wide range of academic subjects, including sciences as well as the traditional humanities subjects taught as liberal arts. Although it draws on European antecedents,[2] the liberal arts college is strongly associated with American higher education, and most liberal arts colleges around the world draw explicitly on the American model.[3]

There is no formal definition of liberal arts college, but one American authority defines them as schools that “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.”[4] Other researchers have adopted similar definitions.[5]

Although many liberal arts colleges are exclusively undergraduate, some also offer graduate programs that lead to a master’s degreeor doctoral degree in subjects such as business administrationnursingmedicine, and law. Similarly, although the term “liberal arts college” most commonly refers to an independent institution, it may also sometimes refer to a university college within or affiliated with a larger university. Most liberal arts colleges outside of the United States follow this model.

Some other Liberal Arts colleges are:

You can explore more Colleges here:

Wikipedia’s list



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