Dazed and Confused

You know the quote “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger”?  If that is indeed true, then the college admissions and application process will make all of us invincible!

This year, in particular,  there are changes in almost all parts of the process, from the different applications that are available to the early deadline for the FAFSA. 

So here is my list of the Top 3 Changes in the Fall 2017 Admissions Process:

1.     New personal insight questions for the UC applications

This year, the personal statement has been replaced with the personal insight questions.  Students have the opportunity to choose four (4) out of the eight (8) to questions to answer. 

What this means, is that the student has more of an opportunity to showcase who they are in areas of leadership, academic passion, creativity or any other area they choose.  It also means that they need to be able to express that in a succinct and focused way, as each short answer question requires only 350 words.  For more information, click here

2.     A new application – the Coalition Application

A new group called the Coalition for Access and Affordability chose to create an entirely new application.  

I’ll leave it to you, for now, to read more about them, but suffice it to say that as with anything new, there are going to be “kinks” to work out, and it will be more confusing before they accomplish one of their primary goals, which is to make it easier for students to apply.

As an example, Wake Forest, a new Coalition member college, now has FOUR different ways to apply:  Coalition Application, Common Application, their own application and through CFNC – or College Foundation of North Carolina. 

There are currently 94 member colleges of the Coalition, and as of last count only 56 are taking the application this year and 38 are waiting it out until next year. 

What this means, is that it is more important than ever to double and triple check the admission requirements of each college you are applying to so you can decide what application will be best to use for your individual needs.

3.     New FAFSA deadline and PPY (Prior, prior year)

You will now be able to submit the FAFSA starting on October 1st, 2016, instead of January 1st, 2017.  The earlier submission date also means that the tax information required will be from 2015, as in prior prior year.   One of the overall goals for this new deadline is for families to receive feedback from colleges on financial aid closer to the same time that college acceptances are sent out, so that they are able to include this information into their overall decision-making process much earlier. 

What this means, is that state deadlines as well as those of each individual college will also be impacted so it is important to be super vigilant as to how this all ties together and make sure that you check the deadlines on the college website and ask the college how the earlier FAFSA deadline will effect when financial aid will be awarded.  Many colleges have already moved up their priority admissions deadlines so that they can make decisions earlier to coincide with this new federal FAFSA date.  

While there is much more that is part of the overall admissions process, these are the three overall changes that affect the most number of applicants.

I often hear from my clients that one of the things they appreciate Is that with all they have on their plates, it is great to have someone who can weed through the huge amount of information out there and find what they need that is relevant for their specific situation to guide them through the process.

My hope is that this post helps you feel more informed and knowledgeable and a little less dazed and confused. 

All right, all right, all right….!