Congratulations! Now that you know which colleges have accepted you, all you have to do is decide which is your favorite, right? Understanding the price you will be asked to pay is an important step in the decision-making process. The details of the cost will be in your Financial Award Letter. This is the point that most families need a financial reality check. When you review your Financial Award Letters, it can be both confusing and disheartening if the dream school you worked so hard to get in to doesn’t award you as much as you had hoped. Parros College Planning works with all of our families so that they understand the costs before applying to that dream college.

Center stage is Olivia Vickers, one of our students who joined Parros College Planning in 2017 as a sophomore, the ideal time to start college planning with us. We were able to guide her in the college planning process as she pursued her goal to study musical theatre.

“I know that in my future I will have to work hard for what I want, and I am determined to be a success,” said Olivia about her choice of careers. “When I visited Wagner College the most important factor I considered was the welcoming atmosphere I felt when I toured there. I felt like it was truly my home away from home.”

Olivia felt that the second most important factor for her was the location. She has always wanted to live in New York City and loved that Wagner is only a 20-minute ferry ride from the city, the perfect way for her to get her feet wet without having to dive right in. The third most important factor in her college selection was the theatre program. Wagner’s program felt like the perfect fit for her and it seems like it will be an easy transition from her high school program.

Now back to that Award Letter! To untangle the confusing language and layout of the Award Letter, you must ask yourself, how much of your “Award” are grants or scholarships and how much are loans? You need to know the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans. What are the pros and cons of taking out loans in your name as opposed to in your parent’s name? Why does each school’s Award sheet look different, and lastly, how can you figure out which one is offering the best package? Once you answer these questions, understanding your awards will make this process much easier and more effective.

Having said this, after reviewing each of Olivia’s Award Letters, the decision was made to appeal what Wagner offered. Parros College Planning has years of experience in this process and was able to guide Olivia and her family to a successful result.

Olivia’s mom, Sheryl was fast to point out, “Olivia received The Founders Scholarship worth $100,000 over four years based on Merit and an additional $4,000 from her Vocal Performance major she will be pursuing. We are very proud, but there was still quite a large gap financially that we needed to close. We stayed in constant contact with Lisa, and she guided us through Parros’s Appeal Process. She coached us on how to handle our phone conversations and what to focus on, which was so helpful because emotions can certainly get in the way. With Lisa’s help, we were able to secure an additional $18,000 in grants that are renewable annually. We cannot say enough wonderful things about having Parros group on our side. Through the entire process over these last two years, we have always felt cared for and we are very thankful for their help.”

We are very proud of Olivia, and her parents, regarding their approach to the Appeal Process and their trust in us paid off! We know that Olivia will be successful and we are so happy to have helped her in achieving her ultimate goal: a perfect college fit. As you think about why you should use Parros College Planning we want to reinforce that the sooner you start, the better your options will be in the end. Parros College Planning offers assistance for both decoding award letters and moving forward with financial aid award appeals to help students get what they need in order to attend their dream schools. You worked hard to get in, so why shouldn’t you be able to go?

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