Progress Report. New Years. Senior Year.

I have visited a few chat rooms, and it seems like places where moms brag about their brilliant kid’s test scores and scholarship offers.  They quote ACT scores that are in the top 97% of the country.  Full ride at school A that the kid is not in love with, or school B that the kid loves but will cost 100k$.  Frankly, I don’t believe some of what I read, and it is just not that helpful.  I know most of us consider themselves normal, but to me it doesn’t look like any normal moms are speaking up in the chat rooms, I have visited.

JumpStart Jr. has a high GPA, and test scores that put him slightly above average for the country.  We are very proud of him, but his test scores will certainly will not earn huge academic awards.

JumpStart Jr. has chosen 5 schools to apply to.  He has completed all 5 applications. Roanoke College and Radford waived the application fees.  We paid application fees at Christopher Newport University, Virginia Tech, and James Madison University.  I completed the FAFSA which determined our expected family contribution to be 23200$.

Roanoke college is a private college with a cost of attendance of 53,200$. The acceptance text, acceptance letter, and merit award letter came within a 3 day span earlier in December.  The merit awards came to 27,200$.  A final price of 26k$ puts Roanoke College in line with expensive state public schools.  There are scholarship competition days in Feb.  JumpStart Jr. has completed his application for a chance to compete.  There are over 100 scholarships for the 500 incoming freshmen.  The scholarships range from full ride to 1000$ per year.  The cost to attend Roanoke College could become very competitive, if the competition goes well.  They have not released any information based on our EFC yet.

Radford sent their acceptance letter.  Radford is the least competitive school where he applied, and the smallest cost of attendance is 19100$.  There was no merit award.  Once I logged into Jumpstart Jr’s online account, I found the financial aid offer.  It showed a subsidized loan of 1000$ and unsubsidized loan of 4000$.  Subsidized are the better loans which are interest free until graduation.  Unsubsidized loans begin building interest immediately.

Christopher Newport application was completed early action, and the acceptance decision happens April 1.  We traveled to Newport News and he did an interview for the leadership and honors program, which come with scholarship money.  The cost of attendance is 24,400$ and the leadership/honors scholarships vary widely.  CNU is probably out of the running if he does not receive scholarship money.

JMU application is complete and the acceptance decisions happen Early April. The cost of attendance is 20,400$.

Virginia Tech application is complete and the acceptance decisions happen April 1. The cost of attendance is 21,900$.

JumpStart Jr. understands that cost will be an important factor in the decision making progress.  He is practical and hasn’t stated a top pick.  Although in casual chitchat, I have seen about 20 adults ask him to pin down his top choice.  I teach seniors and there are special dates after acceptances are announced.  I see the happy students wearing their school sweatshirts to school, and I see the depressed students without a sweatshirt.  The depression seems to be compounded when kids have told everyone they really want a certain school and get wait-listed or denied.  I also see conflicted students struggle with decisions where they are accepted at 2 schools with very price points.  Students stating decisions on top picks, before they have all of the facts, has always seemed reckless to me.

The next few months should be interesting when colleges make their decisions about acceptance and scholarships.  There is a lot to consider between “the right fit”, cost, credit from dual enrollment classes, and programs of study. It is only about 45 days until JumpStart Jr.’s 18th birthday, and he officially becomes an adult.  Sometime in the next 3 or 4 months a college will be chosen.  We have important work to do choosing a school, setting up tools, and establishing financial accounts in his name. 2017 will be a year filled with decisions that begins shaping JumpStart Jr.’s life.

Posted in Paying for college., updates.

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