The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is set to launch its application in July, but the recommended essay prompts for the 2016-2017 season have already been released, though colleges can choose to not require an essay or offer alternate options. So far, a word limit has not been announced.
- Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
- Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
- Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
- What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
- Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
Although the questions have been released, many other details, including which schools will be using the application, are still up in the air. Of its 93 members, 60 are saying that they are not planning to use the application this season, and it remains to be seen how dependable the technology will be when presented. For more details, click here.
The tables have finally turned. Now that students have been notified by colleges as to where they've gotten in, it's their turn to make the decisions. And for the students to whom money matters, financial aid offers add another layer of complexity. Here are a few tips published by consumerreports.org to help figure out those financial aid offers:
- Make sure you understand the total amount you'll receive. Pay attention to the figure "total cost of attendance," but not all schools handle this number the same way. Some figures include tuition, fees, room and board, while others include additional costs such as books, activities and living expenses.
- Think about the type of loan you will need. You can opt for a Direct loan or a Perkins loan, and they can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Make sure to research which ones best suit your needs.
- Find out if work-study programs are available. Work-study programs can be extremely helpful in making ends meet, and they are usually offered on campus.
- Make sure that your offer will continue for four years. Schools often supply a financial figure for the first year of college. Be sure to find out what you are guaranteed throughout your four years.
- Financial aid offers are not written in stone. You can always appeal an offer with the schools' financial aid office. This is especially true when you have a more generous alternate offer.