The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

COLLEGEdata
Featured image for “CollegeData:  Evaluating A College’s Financial Aid and Merit Scholarships”
July 11, 2022

CollegeData:  Evaluating A College’s Financial Aid and Merit Scholarships

How do you research financial aid and merit scholarships that a student might get at individual colleges and universities? With college sticker prices continuing to climb, it’s an important question to ask because the financial aid and merit award policies at schools will vary widely. Not knowing how to research the generosity or stinginess of individual colleges can cost you...
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Featured image for “Reach, target and safety schools:  Don’t slip when creating a smart college list”
January 11, 2022

Reach, target and safety schools: Don’t slip when creating a smart college list

A critical part of the college search process is creating an excellent list of colleges, which often includes reach, target and safety schools. Families often slip badly on this extremely important yet tricky task of pulling together a solid college list. If a teenager creates a problematic list, parents can easily pay too much money for college. One of the...
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Featured image for “A Quick Way to Find Generous Colleges”
July 6, 2014

A Quick Way to Find Generous Colleges

How can you find the most generous colleges and universities? I’m talking about the institutions that meet 100% of financial need or close to it? And what about the schools that provide merit scholarships for affluent students who don’t qualify for need-based aid? How can you find schools that provide a large number of these scholarships? In the six-minute video...
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Featured image for “Schools That Award Lots of Merit Scholarships”
December 16, 2013

Schools That Award Lots of Merit Scholarships

I recently wrote a post that shared the colleges and universities that say that they meet 100% of financial need for the majority of their families. If you missed it, here it is: List of Colleges That Meet 100% of Financial Need The story prompted a mom to email me over the weekend with this question: Have you ever published...
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Featured image for “Beware of the College Bait and Switch”
July 24, 2013

Beware of the College Bait and Switch

I heard this week from a father from Southern California whose son will soon be starting his sophomore year at American University in Washington DC. He has a daughter who is also interested in attending college on the East Coast. Here is part of his email: My son loves AU which fits his interest in politics and government, but as...
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September 21, 2012

A New Tool for Merit Scholarship Searches

During a workshop that I held this summer, a mom interrupted me when I was talking about a College Board search engine that parents can use when they are looking for the schools that provide the best need-based financial aid. “What if you’re not going to qualify for financial aid?” the mom asked. “Is there a search engine that will...
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March 28, 2012

Financial Aid Bait and Switch?

When families look at financial aid packages they often assume that a school’s financial aid support will remain the same for four years. That, however, is a dangerous assumption to make. The financial support that some colleges and universities give students will shrink after their freshmen year. Bait and Switch? Why would this happen? I can’t speak for schools that...
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December 6, 2011

Sizing Up Your SAT and ACT Scores

Over the weekend, teenagers across the country suffered through the final SAT exam of  2011, which gave me an excuse to share some statistics on the SAT.  If you missed the post, here it is: 8 Statistics You Didn’t Know About the SAT Today I’m answering a question from a mom, who was prompted to write after reading my SAT...
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September 27, 2011

Are Colleges As Generous to Upper Classmen?

When families look at financial aid packages they often assume that a school’s financial aid support will remain the same for four years. That, however, is a dangerous assumption to make. The financial support that some colleges and universities give students will shrink after their freshmen year. Bait and Switch? Why would this happen? I can’t speak for schools that...
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July 19, 2011

Reading a College Admission Office’s Mind

In my last post I talked about the benefits of visiting colleges before applying — particularly at schools where you can collect brownie points for showing up. If you missed it, here it is: Which Colleges Should I Visit? Today I’m directing you to a couple of resources that can help you pinpoint whether a school really cares if you...
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