When students have multiple college and scholarship offers to consider, how do they know which one is the best offer?
This is Where I’m Going to College
Jessica logged onto zoom for our college decision session. She had all her college admissions in hand. She told me at the very beginning of our session, “Cyndy, I know where I am going to college. College A offered me a $25,000 per year scholarship.” I was not sure this was the right choice for her yet. We had not gone through her other choices. “What were you offered by the other colleges?”, I asked. She did not know. So we logged into each of the colleges portals, and recorded the financial aid awards she had been offered at each one in GuidedPath, in My Decisions. It was a good thing to do. She started to see her college choices from another perspective once they were all on the decisions dashboard in GuidedPath for her to compare.
College Planning Finale is Decisions
The big finale to all the work and efforts of the students, parents and you as an advisor, is at the end of the process when college decisions come in. How can you manage the process? What resources can help you make this a less stressful and more clearly define a students options as they consider their best fit?
GuidedPath Decisions Dashboard
The Decisions dashboard in GuidedPath gives parents and students a clear visual representation of each college’s offer. It makes it much easier for the parents or students to see what their true options are. The graph on the College Decisions page is structured to include grants, scholarships, student loans, parent loans and other financial resources offered from each college.
The College Decisions Dashboard is where everything comes together to give you an overall picture of each students’ college application process. Which colleges have they heard from? Which ones are they waiting to hear from? What dates do the decisions come in? What colleges was the student admitted, waitlisted or not admitted to? Find all this information on the dashboard. The data on the dashboard, just like any other part of the process, is only as good as the data entered in the system. In the webinar, I demonstrate the decisions dashboard and how to use it effectively.
My College List and My Decisions Details
To get the most out of your Decision dashboard, there are two tasks required:
- All colleges the student applies to must be on the My Colleges List. This ensures the entire workflow from applications to admissions is set in place.
- All admissions data must be entered into My Decisions Details. This will help populate the data you need on the Decisions dashboard. This is a great assignment for parents or students as a part of the their decision process.
How to Handle Missing Data
Each of the following tabs on the Decisions dashboard is linked to another page in GuidedPath. This is a quick way to see what data is missing and to get it added where you need it.
- College Responses: takes you to the My Decisions Details page
- College Notifications: takes you to the My Decisions Details page
- Accepted Colleges: Financial Aid Breakdown: Compare Costs page
Using the cost comparisons is one of the most valuable tools in GuidedPath. It is designed to help parents understand the long term financial implications on their financial resources for each college a student is considering attending. How much aid did the student qualify for? What percentage of aid was awarded? What is the average amount of financial aid or merit awards? How much in grants and scholarships is offered. How does it compare to other colleges? These and many more questions are answered in the Cost Comparisons. This is one of the biggest financial investments a family is making. Providing all the tools and information needed to make an informed decision is our responsibility as advisors.
The GuidedPath Knowledge Base Has You Covered
You can find several articles about the Decisions dashboard and other connected tools in the GuidedPath knowledge base.
Business and Admissions Do Mix
In the webinar on Decisions Cyndy discusses how to use the admissions outcomes for your entire class to drive business decisions. Which were the most popular colleges for your class to add ot their college lists? Which ones did students apply to? Get accepted, denied or waitlisted at? How much total scholarship money did your students have? Use this information to put on your website, in your social media and marketing. Use this data to not only drive your marketing, but drive your business decisions. It will help you know which colleges to visit, what kind of workshops to host, and to see over all patterns. It will help you manage the upcoming class better. This information is included in the Statistics page of GuidedPath.
The group statistics feature in GuidedPath provides you with many data points. You can pull this data for one class or multiple classes. The data is divided into the following categories: Academic, Colleges, Outcomes. You can view GPA’s, both weighted and unweighted for your classes. View Applications data for colleges students applied to, admitted at, and enrolled in. See the total number of applications submitted, and the average number of applications submitted per student. This helps you know how to plan workshops and workflow for the next class. Deadlines, including ED, EA REA, Priority and more are included. Also, what is the most popular application types? The top three popular colleges students added to their college lists, applied, accepted and enrolled in. How much scholarship money did your students have, as a class? Using these analytics should be used to drive your business and marketing direction for the next year and more.
Remember Jessica? After we went through this process with her, looking at all her college admissions offers and financial aid offers, I asked her, “Jessica, is it worth your parents spending $30,000 per year for you to go sit on the beach at College A? You have two other private college offers that are better. Either of them would require $8000 from your parents each year.” Laying out the true costs was crucial for Jessica to make a choice. Needless to say, Jessica did not go to College A. She ended up at a public college that was $8000 per year for her parents. It was still at the beach, but at least it was more affordable for her family. It turned into a win-win for Jessica, her family and me, as her advisor. I felt good knowing I had been able to help her make the most informed decision possible for her future. The grand finale, and consequent celebration, culminates with the decision a student makes about where they are going to college. This outcome is greatly anticipated by not only the student and their family, but by us as their advisors. We celebrate with them! GuidedPath provides the tools to make this an informed and joyful experience.