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Conversations to Have about Your College Search Over the Holidays

The holiday break is such a great time to take a rest from school, connect with family and friends, recharge and      chat with your family about where you’re at in your college search! Here are some of my tips for things to discuss to hit the ground running on your next steps:

 

If You've Been Admitted 🎉

 First off, congratulations! If you have been admitted this is a wonderful time to share the news with family and friends who don’t know and celebrate with them! Talk with your parents and those close to you about what schools you’re considering, and talk about what you’re thinking in terms of your needs and questions. Some questions to keep in mind might be: 

  • Are we able to schedule a tour or attend an Admitted Student Day? 
  • How do my financial aid offers compare?
  • What things am I looking for in a college campus and which schools provide these?
  • What are the faculty like in my program at each school?
  • What support services will I have available to me academically, mentally, spiritually, and socially?

 

If You're Waiting for an Admission Decision

 During the holidays, there are often lots of questions from family members about your college plans. When it comes to waiting for an admission decision from Valpo, you can expect to hear a decision within a few weeks after applying. (Admission decisions will not be released over the University’s holiday break.) So what can you plan for?

  • Share with your family that you’ll receive an admission decision soon and that merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission too!
  • Think about if you are to be accepted to Valpo and compare schools:
    • What things am I looking for in a college campus and which schools provide these?
    • What are the faculty like in my program at each school?
    • What support services will I have available to me academically, mentally, spiritually, and socially?

 

If You Haven't Applied 💻

 Taking  advantage of extra time you can spend filling out your applications is highly recommended! So how can you involve your family?

  • It never hurts to have someone look over your application before you click the submit button, or, to be with you when you submit to celebrate! Sending in your applications should be exciting, it is a huge milestone in your academic career! 

 

Reminder, Valpo’s application is free! You can add us to your Common App or apply at valpo.edu/apply.

 

If You Haven't Filed the FAFSA Yet

This is a great opportunity to have lots of time and help from family while filling out the FAFSA. The FAFSA has questions you most likely will need your family to help answer. Things to discuss with your family when filing the FAFSA:

  • Are we on the right website? Make sure you’re on gov! Some copycat websites are out there so it’s best to type in this URL rather than Google search.
  • Sometimes families are hesitant to file because they don’t think they’ll receive any additional money by filing. That’s not the case at Valpo! 100% of students who file the FAFSA will receive at least $1,000 in additional gift aid on top of their merit scholarships! You read that right, $1,000 just for filing! 
  • Have we made sure to add Valpo’s school code to our filed FAFSA? Valpo’s code = 001842.
  • Do we need some guidance when filing the FAFSA?
    • Write out a list of questions and book time to chat with our Financial Aid Office online at edu/finaid.

 

If You Have Filed the FAFSA and You've Received Your Financial Aid Offer

 Congratulations! This is an awesome spot to be in and can spur some great conversations with your family.

  • How do my financial aid offers compare across the colleges I’ve received them from?
  • What financial questions or concerns do you have?
    • Write out a list of questions and book time to chat with our Financial Aid Office online at edu/finaid.
  • Think about if there are any other scholarships inside or outside of the U niversity that may be of interest to you. 

 

If You Have Not Visited Campus

 Talk with your parents about the possibility of visiting, especially if you are deciding between a few different schools you haven’t visited. Mailed materials and websites are a great starting point, but stepping foot on-campus is truly when you’ll be able to see if you can envision yourself having a future there! 

 

Upcoming Visits include:

  • Admitted Student Days
  • Honors Visit Day
  • Campus Tours
  • Overnight Visits 
  • Saturday Visits

 

These are all available for registration online at valpo.edu/visit.

 

If you have visited campus

 This is a great time to discuss how you felt the visit went with your family if you have not already. Or, talk more in depth about the visit. 

 

  • How did the visit make you feel — welcomed, excited, informed?
  • What questions do you still have? 
  • Do you feel that another visit might be helpful and are there any upcoming events or visit days that you’d like to look into going to? 
  • If you haven’t applied yet, do you think you want to now that you’ve visited? 
  • Ask how your parents felt the visit went as well!

 

I hope these tips help you start conversations with family and give you a better idea of where you might like to attend in the fall! Best of luck to you as you continue your college search journey!


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