Apply Early in Uncertain Economic Times

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An article from USATODAY.com claims that “financial doors can open for college applicants that plan ahead.” In the article, experts agree that the key to getting into the college of your choice is planning.  Along with planning comes action. You’ll need to get your applications in before the crowd in order to ensure success.  bills

Increase Your Chance of Acceptance

If you’re targeting a dream school, but you fall a bit short of meeting the academic criteria for acceptance, you may increase your chances by applying early and securing funding through loans or other available means.  During this down turn in the economy, many families may have trouble financing the more prestigious institutions.

Put Your Eggs in More Than One Basket

It’s always wise to apply to several schools in the event you aren’t accepted to your top choice.  With today’s shaky economy, it’s even more important to diversify.  Moderately priced schools that once were able to accept a wider range of students may now be more selective due to increased applicants looking for a good educational value.

(For more on the value of education, see this article on the Princeton Review’s Top 100 Best Value Colleges for 2009.)

Be On the Lookout for Deals

Many pricey private institutions are offering incentives in order to meet their admissions goals.  According to the USATODAY.com article, Lawrence Technical University in Southfield, Michigan is offering half off tuition for 400 laid-off workers and their families.

Some schools will remain affordable due to tuition freezes.  However, this may also mean more competition for these schools.

Consider the Community College Route

As a former academic adviser at a community college, I definitely endorse this avenue for attaining higher education in a convenient, more affordable way.  Community college is more affordable and can allow students to commute from home, saving money on living expenses.  Also, community colleges can be a great place to start for students who may not be ready to go away to school.

Community college cost less, and many do not have admission requirements beyond having a high school diploma or equivalent.  For these reasons, more folks will be turning to their doors to begin their post secondary education.  Which leads us back to the idea of planning and applying early.

Don’t Miss Out

Begin making your plans for college now.  Fill out your financial aid paperwork, narrow down your list of target schools, and get those applications in.  Getting a jump start on the application process is sure to put you ahead of the crowd in today’s struggling economy.

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