Volume 1 | November 2018
College Counseling Newsletter - Class of 2019
Hello, Phelps Parents and Families!

This newsletter offers information about the college selection and application process as your son prepares for the next big step in his life. Phelps seniors have completed the Transition to College course that showed them how to research and identify "good fit" colleges, write their college essays, and complete the Common Application or apply directly to specific colleges. They learned about ways to pay for college tuition and about essential practices for success once they arrive on campus. Several Phelps seniors have already been accepted to colleges on Early Action and Early Decision. The rest are gearing up to submit their applications. Here is an overview of the college application timeline:

  • October 1, 2018 - FAFSA available online for 2019-20 (free application for Federal Student Aid)
  • October 10, 2018 - Seniors took the SAT on campus at Phelps.
  • November 1 or 15, 2018 - Early Action and Early Decision deadline for many colleges
  • January 1 or 15, 2019 - Regular Decision deadline for many colleges (Deadlines continue throughout the winter/early spring.)
  • Spring 2019 - Financial Aid deadlines for many colleges. (Check each school's website.)
  • May 1, 2019 - National Decision Day (Students must select the college they will attend and pay the deposit to secure their enrollment.)

January 1 is the Regular Decision deadline for many colleges on the Common Application. Phelps seniors will be encouraged to submit their applications before or during Winter Break (December 14 - January 2). Seniors will continue working with Ms. Walton, Director of College Counseling, until classes end on Thursday, December 13. Feel free to reach out with questions about the process!

The Phelps College Counseling website (linked below) is a great resource for all things college-related.
Important Links
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Filling out the FAFSA is highly recommended for all U.S. citizens! Your son can qualify for federal and state grants and/or loans to help offset the costs of college. Filling out the FAFSA is a family project: the student needs his own FSA ID (with his email address) and one parent needs a separate FSA ID (with a different email address) to sign off on the form. The family's 2017 tax information is required to calculate the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) and determine financial aid eligibility. Make sure to list all colleges to which your son is applying on the form!
Early Action and Early Decision
Compared to previous generations, the college admissions timeline your son is working with is significantly accelerated. Early Action and Early Decision are increasingly common options. Both mean an earlier application deadline (starting October 15) and an earlier decision. Early Decision is binding, which means that a student can apply to only one school ED. If he is admitted, he must commit to attending that school and withdraw all other applications. Early Action is not binding, so students can apply to multiple schools EA.

"Sticker Price" vs. Out-of-Pocket Costs and Scholarship Resources
The full cost of enrollment (tuition and fees plus room and board) is a college's "sticker price." However, most students pay significantly less than the full sticker price because they qualify for financial aid. So don't write off a college based on its published sticker price. With financial aid, even a very expensive college can turn out to be affordable. Colleges' financial aid packages can consist of institutional scholarships (for academic or athletic merit, funded by the college itself), federal and/or state grants, work-study programs, or loans (based on the FAFSA and offered through a U.S. government entity). These amounts reduce the sticker price to what you can expect to pay out-of-pocket. Use online tools to help estimate the cost of attending a certain college, or ask the college's Financial Aid office about scholarships that require a separate application process.

So, how does a student cover out-of-pocket costs? Family contributions, income from a part-time job, or private scholarships are all options. Private loans, often with higher interests rates and less flexible payback terms, are not recommended. FastWeb (linked below) is a good resource for identifying private scholarships opportunities. Beware of scholarship scams. You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship.

College Counseling | The Phelps School | (610) 644-1754 | thephelpsschool.org