Finding the Best College for Your Academic and Financial Situation

Ask the Experts by Harry H. Gemuend, III

Q: I know there are many things to consider, but what would you say are the top two factors to consider prior to my child applying to college?

A: Finding the best fit for your son or daughters social and academic needs is difficult. Couple that with several myths surrounding affordability (i.e. out of state being too expensive, eligibility of financial aid) and the process becomes even more frustrating.

Academic preparedness and positioning your family's financial situation are by far the two most important factors in assuring that your child attends "the best possible college at the lowest possible cost." To ensure the best possible results you should consider attacking both of these areas as early as your child's freshman year.

Creating a well-rounded academic resume is considered important however, most admissions professionals will tell you that ACT/SAT test scores and overall GPA still carry a lot of weight. Extra-curricular activities such as sports, clubs, and student government etc. make excellent fodder for an application, as does civic and faith-based volunteerism.

Knowing how your family's financial situation can and will affect your ability to qualify for both need based, and merit based financial aid is something I deal with regularly. There are many elements that factor in to the production of both the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms that will determine, to some degree, what your expectations for scholarship and grant monies will be. Many people make the mistake of assuming they make too much money to qualify and neglect taking advantage of every opportunity to do so.

Harry Gemuend is the founder and CEO of College Star Counseling, LLC. College Star Counseling is dedicated to work with your child to get the most scholarship and grant money possible from the school and program of their choice. Gemuend can be reached at 313.818.8550 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . College Star Counseling is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals.

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