Master The Four Pathways

Families with college bound high school students can follow the 4 Pathways for accessing maximum award and scholarship money. This page introduces you to and provides an overview of each pathway.

Click the blue "learn more" links for details about that individual pathway.

1. Maximize Your Award: The federal system is based on formulas that determine the family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Getting an early start on understanding your own EFC allows you time to maximize your financial need using proven financial strategies that will lower your EFC amount according to the federal formulas. Remember that when you lower your EFC for year one, that increased financial need usually carries forward for all four years. Learn More

2. Pick the Right Colleges: Today it is important to not only find one college that matches your student's interest, but to find a number of them. Your college financial profile, the student's academic or athletic interests, the size of the college and your geographical preferences has to be matched to a set of colleges. You will discover that money and choice of college targets are closely linked. For both families with and without financial need, making sure you have the right options when deciding on the best fit for the student is extremely important. Learning you have no financial needs is critical for designing and implementing your college planning. Learn More

3. Market Your Student: Getting into college today is more competitive than ever. If you want the financial need and scholarship money the student has to stand out from the crowd. Learning how to package and market the student is more important than most people realize. Learn More

4. Be First in Line: Colleges operate on defined timelines. While it may seem early, winter of the student's junior year of high school is the optimum time to start having the discussions and beginning your efforts in determining what schools you will be targeting. Students need to be ready for the fall when school deadlines are approaching and SATs, essays and letters of recommendation are needed. Merit scholarships are awarded on a first come first serve basis--staying on schedule can have major financial advantages. Learn More