Since we have offices in Old Saybrook and Madison, Connecticut, I have conversations with parents from each town socially as well as professionally. I have to remind them that financial aid is not likely for those from the Connecticut shoreline. Relatively speaking, we are in or at least far closer to the 1% than we generally realize. The median household income in the United States is $51,000. (When I meet with clients in our Fairfield and Westchester County, NY offices, they usually know they are in the 1%!)
During college counseling sessions, parents will sometimes directly tell me their household incomes and note that they just meet their basic bills. They are hopeful that I will tell them that they will financial aid. But most earn far too much.
I am also now of the age that my friends have college age or soon to be college age children. The subject of college tuition comes up constantly. It is not a happy topic. The only good news – surprisingly – relates to SAT (and ACT) scores. Good test scores pay for college.
Good grades do also but not as much. Merit aid programs have GPA minimums – which, sorry to say, due to grade inflation, almost everyone meets – and then base awards on test scores.
Activities – other than for DI athletes – do not. As I’ve written elsewhere, parents and students suffer needlessly over playing time and parts in the school play. Enjoy those extra-curricular activities. Make friends. Learn a skill. Be part of a team or a cast. But keep in mind that success on the playing field or on the stage has no long term significance for most everyone and certainly not in relation to college cost.
The good news: SAT scores correlate heavily with merit awards and if your children get the right training and practice, they will be well positioned to earn a lot of money for college.
Register now for our next SAT Prep class.