Look out for these four college admissions myths

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    It’s hard enough making the best college decisions without getting confused by persistent college admissions myths.

    From a financial standpoint, misinformation can lead your clients to overpay for college and even force them to postpone their retirement.

    You can help your clients avoid these types of wrong decisions by sharing with them these four college admissions myths:

    1. Getting into college is getting harder and harder.

    UCLA researchers oversee a massive survey of freshmen attending four-year public and private colleges annually, and each year the results show that more than 75% of freshmen are accepted into their first-choice school. And almost all first-year students (95%) end up voting in one of their three best elections.

    Going to college isn’t hard unless it’s a goal primarily aimed at bright, high-income students who believe that a highly negative school is essential to success in life. Of course, we’re talking about the elite school darlings that US News & World Report glorifies.

    When the Pew Research Center looked into the matter, it found that highly competitive schools made up only 3.4% of all colleges and universities and made up only 4.1% of total enrollments. Only 17 institutions accepted less than 10% of their applicants.

    In contrast, more than half of the schools in the Gallup Research Universe of 1,364 four-year schools accepted two-thirds or more of their applicants.

    Decades of pioneering research has shown that high-income students are not the ones who benefit from an elite education. Eventually they were born into gold ticket households. Studies show that first-generation, low-income students benefit most from elite education.

    2. Test results can increase or weaken the chances of approval.

    More than 76% of schools use exam-optional or exam-blind admission, which is an all-time high. Nearly 1,800 colleges and universities will not require the ACT or SAT for the 2022-2023 school year.

    The trend of making test result submission optional had developed for years but exploded during the pandemic when personal testing was not possible. The vast majority of schools that became test optional during the height of the pandemic have remained so.

    However, your clients need to know a college’s guidelines for merit scholarships and financial aid, and test submission. Families need to determine if failure to submit results would affect their chances of receiving institutional awards.

    For the still small but growing number of test-blind institutions, it will not be an issue not to submit any results. Test blind schools, spanning all University of California campuses, refuse to accept ACT or SAT results from their applicants. This is the best possible situation.

    3. You must either accept or decline a college rewards package.

    Aside from the most popular schools in the country, most colleges and universities have to rush to fill their freshman courses every year. According to Inside Higher Ed’s latest annual survey of admissions directors published in September, only 32% of schools met their freshman admissions goals by 1st semester!

    Often, through sophisticated software, colleges strive to determine what type of prize package certain categories of teenagers are likely to accept. The software is designed to offer just enough to seal the deal with a student, but nothing more. With college prices this high – in some cases a bachelor’s degree can cost more than $ 325,000 – it makes sense to appeal against awards.

    How successful an appointment will be might depend on how much a college wants an accepted student and what the institution’s freshman deposit status is like.

    4. In order to pay for college, private scholarships need to be found.

    In fact, private scholarships are a very small source of college money.

    For wealthy families who do not qualify for state or federal grants, the largest source of money through merit scholarships will come from the schools themselves.

    In the past, I have been contacted by parents who wanted to know how to find private scholarships after their teenagers were accepted into colleges they couldn’t afford.

    The hunt for money after college admission is a backward attempt at funding a bachelor’s degree. And it’s usually an extremely ineffective approach.

    At the beginning of the process, families should evaluate schools that provide them with needs-based help or merit scholarships. A great way to know ahead of time whether a school will be generous to a child is to use the college’s net price calculator.

    After entering a family’s income and wealth, a net price calculator provides an estimate of a family’s net price after deducting expected grants or institutional grants from the cost of attending school.

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