Grace is a senior in Houston, Texas. She attends a public magnet high school.
Have you heard any responses?
I have heard back from two schools: Baylor and UT Austin. I got into Baylor mid-January and just got my decision from UT. I was accepted into Baylor with merit scholarships, cutting 50% of the yearly tuition, but with $20,000 left over to pay for (not even including textbooks, room, and board). Baylor has become a school that I may not even consider when I make my final choices. UT Austin placed me in a CAP program. What this essentially means is that they weren't able to offer you a place in the freshman class but are interested in you applying as a transfer student next year. As my boyfriend explained, you may be able to think of it as asking out a crush to go on a date, and they say no but add "I'd still like to be friends." I'm not going to lie, I felt devastated after I saw the news. UT was one of the schools that I hoped to attend, and I am now certain that I will not be participating in the program because of the requirements it needs to fulfill a transfer. What I find interesting however was the number of students from my school getting the CAP program. While I knew that admissions were tough, not as many students were accepted as expected. On a lighter note, UH has offered me a full ride with a stipend (including merit and financial), and I am very grateful for that. If I do end up attending UH, I know that I will be covered and that I would not have to worry about the burden of financial responsibility for college.
Have you submitted your CSS profile? I have little experience with the FAFSA and none with CSS. How, from a student's perspective, are they different?
I have finished it, and it was a tough process. With FAFSA, you are able to input information through the IRS, significantly cutting the amount of work you have to do. The CSS however, you have to manually input all of the information. In my case, my parents are divorced and with FAFSA, I was only required to submit my mother's information (custodial parent) and my father's information wasn't needed. CSS required both to submit a W2 and Tax Returns, and it took a while for me to get this information from my father.
Has another month of reflection brought you to any different conclusions?
I think this month has been a bit of a whirlwind. I have seen myself lose the energy to go to school as the amount of work has become so small that I find myself picking up double sessions while working. Being honest, I don't feel like a senior. It hasn't hit me that I will be graduating soon and that I will soon be semi-independent. I have also come to the conclusion that I should have applied Early Action for all of my schools. I think that it would have been more beneficial to do so especially since having to coordinate with the financial aid office is a challenge of its own.
What's the mood of your school like now that virtually all the seniors have sent out applications and are in "waiting mode"?
Everyone is very nervous, and we have all grown to be a bit more patient but we are all on the edge to wait for those deadlines. Every senior has started to busy themselves since we all have so much time, but to be honest there is still as much stress from previous semester since we are more concentrated on figuring out the financial aid, applications, and just life in general. It has become this weird gray line in between high school and college where we have become detached from school, and venturing out just a bit more.