lysa-85Hey Guys! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been on campus for the entire month of January. Williams has a winter study term during the month of January, where you take one course weekly for the entire month. Usually these courses are not as straining as the semester long academic courses, and they range from Baking classes to trips to the Bahamas to study sustainable agriculture. The best part is that it’s the one time you’re allowed to be off campus periodically besides studying abroad for a whole semester!

So this winter study, I took a course called Quest for College. It was an early college awareness program devised by one of the Deans of my college. We would travel to various high schools throughout the county surrounding Williams, and facilitate a game called Quest for College, about how to prepare for college, choose the right schools to apply to, test taking suggestions and financial aid awareness. It was a really great experience. I learned a lot from the students and about the college admissions process, because we visited surrounding colleges as well.

One of the most important things that I learned that I really want to share with all of you was about financial aid. So, let’s say you’ve applied to all your top choice schools and you’re starting to get acceptance letters in the mail this spring. So, you get your letter back from your first choice school: YOU GOT IN!…And then, you get a letter from your second choice school..YOU GOT IN!.. BUT, the second choice school is offering you a better financial aid package. Which school should you go to?

This question might seem a bit tricky. It might surprise you, but YOU DON’T JUST HAVE TO ATTEND your second choice school just because it costs less. This is because, FINANCIAL AID IS NOT A TAKE-IT OR -LEAVE IT PROPOSITION! Nothing is set in stone yet. You have the option to accept or decline certain aspects of your financial aid package. And if you really want to go to your first choice , all you have to do is call them and discuss relooking at your financial aid package. AFTERALL, THEY ALREADY ACCEPTED YOU…IF THEY WANT YOU TO GO TO SCHOOL THERE…then they are going to help you out as much as they can. I have had friends who have called schools and told them that another school was offering them more money and that they would have to go to that school, due to that reason. And you know what?? The other school increased their financial aid offering. So, the moral of this story, is that NEVER GIVE UP IF YOU TRULY WANT TO GO TO  A SCHOOL…’s better to call and find out if there is anything else they can do for you..even if they recommend some outside scholarships you could apply for or figure a work-study program into your package. The worst that can happen is they’ll say that there’s nothing more they can offer you. In that case the decision is up to you, but you still have other great schools to choose from! Don’t ever limit yourself! In the end it’s always worth a shot to ask. Financial aid offices should be dealt with in a similar way as your parents. If you want something from your parents what do you typically do? YOU DON’T JUST GIVE UP…. YOU ASK UNTIL YOU GET SOMETHING OUT OF THE SITUATION! Try doing the same with colleges. Be Optimistic!