Friday, April 22, 2016

Part Seven: FAFSA and CSS

As you journey through your college process and figure out the do's and dont's of what to do there are many things, that are not told to you. Unless you are privileged enough to acquire a college counselor or someone who can help you every step of the way in the process I encourage you to do research and  ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS. Asking questions has probably been the most helpful thing. Just assuming something or trying to figure it out yourself is the difference between getting missing a deadline or gaining a wonderful  opportunity.

With the college process there are many things that are important but the most important is getting financial aid. Unless you are super rich or have had a college fund since you were born, you need to be meticulous about applying to scholarships and filling out all the financial aid applications.

As far as I know of there are two very important applications that need to be filled out for colleges to receive any type of aid. FAFSA and CSS profile. These two applications are universal in aiding students in the United States to receive some sort of financial assistance with college bills.

FAFSA- Free Application For Federal Student Aid
CSS- College Scholarship Services

The first and more commonly known, FAFSA, is a government application where you will list, describe and fill out a form detailing your financial status. With this application make sure to include ALL the schools that you applied to whether you've been accepted to them or not! Institutions base their aid from what the government is willing to give you. But keep in mind state affiliated grants and programs do not apply to you if you attend a school on another state (each state has its own financial programs and grants so the amount of money offered may vary).

The second and less known, CSS profile, is an application where you list every detail of your financial status. This is an application that many private colleges ask for because they typically have more money to offer their students and want to know what exactly your financials look like before they award any additional aid. This is a tricky application because some private schools do not require this. So it is imperative to know which schools need it and when they want it by. Whether it be FAFSA or CSS schools have their own deadlines, there is not one universal date that they all want it by. So my advice would be the earlier the better.

Some tips to help when you are filling out these applications
  • Make sure to set aside time to fill out these applications, they take a good 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Always ask for help, have someone that has done this before to help you as you fill them out.
  • List EVERY school that you applied to (all colleges on FAFSA, all private colleges who asked on CSS).
  • Make sure to know when deadlines are, missing out on an opportunity to receive aid from a school is not the way to go.
  • ASK QUESTIONS, don't be afraid! I have asked my school counselors numerous questions on every topic, I've also emailed many of my colleges admissions and financial offices. I've even called many of my colleges just to sort minor and major details out.
 After filling out these applications at a maximum it takes two weeks to process all the data and to award you aid, that's why I mentioned doing everything as soon as you can. Many times we have tunnel vision and think we are the only ones that applied to that school. You must be patient while waiting for these documents and responses from schools. Trust me, waiting is not one of my strengths. I was anxious and constantly checking my email and mail box. But once it finally came it put things into perspective.

Helpful Links:

Live ~Laugh~Love 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My First Launch Party!!!

I was invited to the Motivos Magazine Spring Launch Party yesterday and I had an amazing time! If you don't know Motivos Magazine is a bilingual magazine (English and Spanish) that is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a magazine that puts its value in informing people about the Latino community and culture. The magazine has four main categories that it focuses on Culture, Life, College and Career. This magazine prides itself on informing others and enriching and empowering youth around the country. The magazine is currently available in 37 states and over 900 schools! If you haven't heard or read this magazine I highly encourage you to go to and order your own copy of the Spring Issue: Imagination Edition!

At the start of the party founder Jenée Chizick introduced herself to the crowd and gave background on the magazine and how it went from an idea to a reality. She then proceeded to show us a short video which was a compilation of clips of her speaking about the magazine and other students who were exposed to so many different opportunities through the magazine. I was very moved by everyone's words and the story and message behind what they are trying to accomplish and what they are accomplishing with their publications.

I really enjoyed how inclusive and open everyone was, even though the magazine is bilingual and promotes and informs about the Latino community. The publication itself is very inclusive in trying to showcase anyone who has drive and passion. This is very refreshing in a society where mainstream media is very superficial and idealistic. This magazine hits close to home because it discusses real and important issues while also showcasing real and talented people.

I cannot rave about this magazine enough. If you want to find out more, visit their website and follow them on social media! Instagram~Facebook~Twitter

Live ~Laugh~Love 

Part Six: College Acceptances & Rejections

So as of now I have been accepted. And rejected from colleges and universities. I applied to 8 schools; Emerson College, Syracuse University, Ithaca College, Hofstra University, Kutztown University, Shippensburg University, Temple University and Lebanon Valley College. I got accepted to all except for Syracuse University. Sadly I was rejected but I see it as a sign that I wasn't supposed to go there. But I also knew when applying that it was a reach school. A reach school meaning that I wasn't sure that I would get into it but there was still a chance.

As I am reviewing my acceptances I am so proud of myself. I am trying not sound self absorbed but I always knew college was the end game and its always been one of my goals. During this college process, I have been pretty much on my own. I went to my school counselor here and there for simple questions but I applied on my own and did all the research on my own. And I got accepted (and rejected) all on my own, with the support of my parents. 

Now all that's left to do is to pick which one to attend which is easier said than done! I'm currently waiting to receive back all my financial aid packages from all the schools and then making a decision. Although the deadline for committing to a college is near I want to make sure I am making the right decision, this is the biggest decision and investment I'm ever going to make.
Live ~Laugh~Love