This time of year I get calls from parents and high school seniors who have not started the college process. They are not concerned about how late in college application season it is, they tell me, because they are applying to colleges that have "rolling admissions". My heart sinks when I hear this. Coincidentally, these families are often in lower income brackets.
What these students and parents do not know is that although they may be admitted to a college, they are much less likely at this point to be awarded merit aid. They are also unaware that students who are low income need both merit and need-based aid as well as student loans to fully cover the cost of college.
I also get calls from higher income families at this point who have sticker shock from the colleges where their teens have been accepted who want to begin the college scholarship process. At this point in the senior year, there is much less in scholarship opportunity available.
The keys to college admission and scholarship success for families include starting the process early, applying to several colleges that match the qualifications of the student and being willing and ready to fill out scholarship applications at colleges and for community organizations during the entire senior year.