February 2020
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Rejection Hurts: Bouncing Back from a College Rejection Letter

Hearing “We regret to inform you” after a long and difficult process navigating college admissions is often not a welcome answer. You have spent significant time, energy, and money to apply for admission and when the admissions team tells you “no,” it can feel like a personal attack. Colleges are becoming more and more selective because of a growing pool of applicants, which makes rejection a possibility.

Regardless of your qualifications, competitive schools cannot admit all the qualified applicants for one major reason: they don’t have the capacity and physical space. A denial does not mean that you are not a good student or a hard worker, it just means that the number of qualified students outweighs their ability to accommodate them all.

Although it makes complete sense to be upset about a denial from a college or university, remember to not let it shadow the acceptances you have received and will receive. There is not one set course to higher education- you have options and your path will look different from your peers. If you find yourself reading a “no thank you” letter from a college, have a conversation with your school counselor or a college counselor at the Center for College Planning (CCP) to talk about next steps and review your options.

In the meantime, be sure to check out this article about an alumni interviewer for Yale University and his thoughts on college rejection and why it’s okay and normal to receive a rejection letter. Call us at 800-747-2382 x119 if we can help.

Money Bag

What You Need to Know: Free Money Versus Student Loans

It’s close to impossible to have a discussion on the topic of college in the United States without discussing cost of attendance. We know that attending a post-secondary institution helps students achieve long-term success, but this success often comes with the financial burden of student loans. There are ways to purse a higher education without going broke, and we break this down into two categories: free money and not free money (loans).

  1. Free money comes in the form of grants and scholarships and does not need to be repaid. The difference between a scholarship and a grant is that scholarships are awarded on merit and grants are awarded on financial need. At the Center for College Planning (CCP), we have developed a scholarship search function on our website to help you search for free money. One of our favorites is the Planet Fitness scholarship through the Boys and Girls Club. We also recommend applying to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation - read into the next article to learn more! If you submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and you met the need requirements, you may have received a Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is awarded by the government to students demonstrating outstanding financial need. If you did not earn a Pell Grant through the FAFSA, it does not mean that you are not in financial need; it is still very possible that you will receive grant money through your colleges or universities. Keep an eye out for award letters from schools which will outline grant money.
  2. Loans taken out for college are not free and need to be repaid with interest. By filing the FAFSA, you are automatically eligible for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan. Although these loans are not free, they tend to have a lower interest rate and offer a 6-month grace period between graduating or falling below half-time in school status and repayment. Other options for federal loans are Parent Plus Loans which are issued to parents rather than you, the student. Some private banks or other lending institutions also offer student loans which are attached to a credit score and have different rates and incentives then Federal loans. If you need a private loan to fund your education, we recommend shopping around and no matter what loan you go with, not borrowing more than you need. We realize that college is expensive and it is often necessary to borrow money, but be sure to research and apply for free money (scholarships and grants) first. The less money you need to take out in the form of loans, the more financial freedom you will have after graduation.
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The Common App of NH Scholarships: The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

Scholarship applications for the 2020 – 2021 academic year are available now!

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is the state’s most extensive source of private scholarships, awarding more than $6 million in scholarships to over 1,500 students in 2019. To be considered for scholarship money, the following components are required: (1) an electronic copy of the FAFSA - if you have not yet filed, call us at 888-747-2382 ext.119 to schedule an in-person appointment for help; (2) an electronic copy of your high school transcript; and (3) email addresses for the individuals willing to write a letter of recommendation. The Foundation will also consider non-academic or non-need-based factors such as community service, school activities, and work experience. Highest priority is given to students with the fewest financial resources.


Applying to 4-year programs? Be sure to submit your application by April 17, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET

Applying to 2-year programs? Submit your application by June 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. for consideration.


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Let’s Talk About Paying for College

To help you and your family understand financial aid packages and funding options, our counselors offer a Paying for College evening program. During this session, we discuss financial aid award letters, types of aid and financing options, how to calculate cost of attendance after aid, and information on writing a special circumstance letter. Be sure to check our calendar to find out when we will be in your neighborhood! We also offer one-on-one funding options appointments in our Concord office, which offer a personalized conversation.

To schedule an appointment with a professional College Counselor, call 888-747-2382 ext.119!

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Summer Plans, Vacation, and College Planning!

Good news: Punxsutawney Phil said we will have an early spring, which means it’s almost time to start planning for summer! The summer is a great time to get started on college planning and your college journey. Here are a few tips on how to get prepared for the summer months:

  1. Think about an academic summer program at a local college or university. Summer pre-college programs prepare high school students for college life. You’ll live in a dorm, eat in the dining hall, and take classes-some of which could earn you college credit! This is a great opportunity to get a taste for college life and explore your interests, while demonstrating to colleges that you are eager to learn. Here are a few local universities with summer programs: Boston University, UMASS Amherst, University of Vermont, and Keene State College.
  2. Get a head start on standardized test preparation. In our January Varsity Letter, we discussed the School Day SAT and the chance for high school juniors to send a free SAT score to their colleges of choice (for more information on the School Day SAT, click here.) The summer is a great time to begin preparing for the SAT or the PSAT and what these exams ask of you. At the Center for College Planning, we recommend using Khan Academy’s official SAT preparation program because all of their materials are offered for FREE.
  3. Visit college campuses. Although school may not be in session, the summer is still a great time to visit college campuses. Families typically have more free time and can spend more time exploring a given college or university. Visiting campus can be very telling and often helps to narrow down a list of schools. During the summer months, admissions representatives and staff on-campus typically have a more flexible schedule and can spend more time answering questions. If you’re able, ask about setting up an interview with your admissions representative. This is a great opportunity for the representative to put a face to the name on your application and gives you an opportunity to explain who you are and why they should admit you. To get started, visit the admissions pages on the college websites of your choice. You can typically register for a campus visit or an admissions event through the school’s website, but also don’t be afraid to call. When you call, you are building a relationship with the admissions office and getting your name out there. Also look into colleges that offer a scholarship for visiting campus; this is a great way to earn some extra money to finance your education!
  4. Apply for a job. College admissions teams look at applications holistically-meaning they admit the whole student and not just a good GPA. Although your grades and the rigor of your transcript are important, colleges are also interested in how you spend your time outside of the classroom and are curious about your interests. A summer job is a great way to show colleges that you are responsible, determined, and reliable. Not to mention you will be paid! The money you earn could help you buy textbooks or a late night pizza for you and your friends as you study.
  5. Attend a Center for College Planning Summer Boot Camp workshop. Each summer the Center for College Planning (CCP) offers workshops on the College Essay and the College Application. In the College Essay workshop, you will learn what makes a good essay, review successful essays, and being work on your own. This workshop will be offered on the following dates: July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5, and August 12. Each session is four hours, running from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. In the College Application workshop, you will create an application organizer, begin the Common Application, and receive hands-on support from college counselors. This workshop will be offered on August 7, August 11, August 13, August, 17, and August 19. On each date we offer two sessions: the first from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and the second from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Both workshops cost $25 and are located at our Concord office. To register, please call 888-747-2382 x119.

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Register Now for the 21st Annual Destination College - New Hampshire's Statewide College Planning Event

When: Saturday, March 28, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: Saint Anselm College

This year, we want you to “Get in the Driver’s Seat” on the road to college.

On Saturday, March 28th, nearly 1,200 New Hampshire high school juniors and their parents/guardians will travel to Saint Anselm College for NHHEAF’s 21st annual Destination College event. Our signature college preparation program features nearly 20 college planning workshops, a college fair with over 60 colleges and universities, and the chance to win scholarship money! This event is FREE to attend, but online registration is required for both the attending student and parent(s).


Are you a senior looking to study biology, chemistry, agriculture, or a bee-related field? If so, check out this $1,000 scholarship opportunity from the NH Beekeepers Association!