Student Resources, Inc.

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Myths vs. Reality

"All schools are alike."
Not really. Although, many have similar features or characteristics, each school has some area that can be of interest to a student. Each college has a "personality" or "feeling" which a student usually senses, and which makes the school just a little different than the others. See College Planning.

"Only one school will fit the student."
Again, not really. In fact an annual study by UCLA indicates that year after year over 90% of first year students enroll at their 1st or 2nd choices.

"Our high school will tell us what to do."
Don't rely on your high school to do the work or to be in the position to direct your college search on an individual basis. In the end, the decision-making is the responsibility of the student and the parents. Take charge of the process, control it and be informed. Most important, don't wait for the high school to begin the process.

"Saving ahead only disqualifies the student for financial aid."
Not necessarily. The majority of aid today consists of loans. Saving ahead actually assists the parents in reducing the amount of debt that they may have to assume to pay for college expenses. The rules for determining how much a family is expected to pay places more emphasis on wages and earnings than on savings or investments. See Paying for College.

"I'll never get a scholarship."
There are many sources locally, regionally and nationally. Sources include schools, state and federal agencies, employers, student activity groups, business, community and religious organizations. The number of sources varies with each student and family. Be realistic in expectations. There is no single step or method to locate or to identify all the potential sources of grants and scholarships for which the student may be eligible.

There are many places to search including the high school counselor, the local library, the internet and state higher education agencies. Scholarship search programs provide a way of doing some preliminary research for possible sources of assistance. Searches are never inclusive of all possible sources. A search offers a starting point and can save some time, but searches do not offer an assurance of aid.

If a search fee is required, it is for someone else other than you to do research and to provide a start to finding possible alternative sources of aid. HOWEVER, beware of search offers that promise or guarantee the student will receive aid or that charge a fee to receive a scholarship.

"The college only accepts the top 10% of the high school class. Why bother to apply."
Go for it. Colleges generally do not accept all the same profile of students. If you really feel that you could succeed at a school, "reach" for it. Be sure to apply to other schools which you consider good possibilities and some that you feel are probable. Most important though, do not apply to just one type of college.

"He or she is such a good student that he or she can go anywhere the student wishes".
Not necessarily. Be sure to apply to more than one school. Don't be in a position of being disappointed. Sometimes, the number of students to whom a school can offer admission is often determined by the available space or for other reasons. The school may have too many applications and just cannot accept all. As result, some very good students are denied admission at one school, yet not at another. Keep your options open. See College Planning.

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