The class of 2017 has had it rough. First they were told there would be a brand new SAT launching in spring of 2016. Then they were informed that the ACT would undergo a few changes too. Next, a new FAFSA would launch in the fall of 2016. Oh… and a new application called the Coalition would come into play. Then, surprise! The UC’s announced new essays this year. Current high school juniors have had a ton of gargantuan changes to their college admissions process this year.
So what do these changes mean for you?
Most families had plenty of time to deal with the new SAT option. Some families opted for the ACT to avoid change. Even though the ACT had a few revisions this past September, the changes were minimal compared to its counterpart at the College Board. Others gave a shot at the new SAT this spring. Either way… they’re already in the midst of overcoming this shift in college admissions testing. We just recommend that you DO test. While some colleges have come out to say they are test optional schools, you need to be careful. Test optional may require higher GPA’s or additional hoops through which to jump. In addition, a lack of ACT or SAT score in admission can mean no merit aid. Yikes! Take the test on which you are stronger, and study!
So what about the new FAFSA? This is huge. The new FAFSA will launch three months earlier than it used to in the past. It now opens October 1st of 2016 for class of 2017. That means high school seniors are applying for financial aid a full year before their first year of college. They’ll also be dealing with financial aid forms at the same time as applications. Plus, the new FAFSA is based off of prior-prior-year tax information, meaning that class of 2017’s financial aid forms will be asking for 2015 tax year numbers. What does this mean? Plan early! We’re talking to you, class of 2018. Make sure you’re taking into account financial aid at your colleges before wasting time and money applying too. We can help you understand where you’ll get the most amount of scholarships and grants. Getting professional help can save you stress, time, and money!
That brings us to the Coalition. This is a brand new application for college. Roughly 90 colleges are members of the Coalition, with 3 being Coalition-exclusive-colleges. Get organized and know how many applications you’ll need to complete! Many students have to fill out 4+ applications and write 7+ essays to go with those applications. Figure out your deadlines early, so you can properly budget your time. We recommend hiring an expert consultant to keep you on track, give feedback on essays, and ensure you’re using your time as efficiently as possible.
Last change to discuss is the UC essay revision. The University of California system updated their essay prompts. Students now choose 4 out of 8 prompts and write 4-350 word essays. How to deal? Plan! Figure out your stories and find the prompts that work for you.
We’ve covered the gist of it! Need help managing all of this? Call us (818) 201-4847! We are college admissions experts.