College Application Process
The college application process is established with the primary goal of preparing the best application package for each student. The School Counseling Department has developed the following procedure to provide for the most efficient and trouble free process. Be sure to visit our Scholarship Page for the latest scholarships available.
Virtual College Fair - October 27, 2021
Financial Aid Help
For Senior Students and their Parents/Guardians
Successfully Navigating FAFSA Completion During COVID
More information can be found here: College Readiness Flyer.pdf
For Junior Students and their Parents/Guardians:
Please read and follow each step carefully:
Pay special attention to all deadline dates. (Application, SAT I and SAT II tests) You must request to have all your SAT I and SAT II scores sent by the College Board, Princeton, NJ directly to each college which you submit an application.
Ask teachers for recommendations in the beginning of senior year or end of junior year. Most schools require 2 letters of recommendation; counselors will always provide one of those recommendations.
Do not delay in obtaining the application. Common Applications are available at www.commonapp.org. Students are responsible for obtaining all applications at each individual school website.
Do not delay in filling out the application. Check the deadline date of each application via the www.commonapp.org.
Fill out the transcript request via Naviance (https://student.naviance.com/derbyhs). Check it carefully and be sure all forms. Completed applications may include, but are not limited to: application, fee, teacher letters of recommendation, personal essay, resume, and portfolio. The guidance office will supply all transcripts, SAT/ACT scores (if needed), counselor letter of recommendation, report cards, and school profile.
When you need to see your counselor about post high school plans, schedule your appointment with the guidance secretary. See your counselor frequently during the entire process.
Important Brief on FINANCIAL AID
Financial Aid consists of three major components; grants (scholarships), low-interest loans (usually with extended time limits for payback), and student employment.
The generic formula for financial aid is:
Cost of Attendance (tuition and fees, books and supplies, cost of transportation, room and board, miscellaneous items) minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals Need for Assistance.
The EFC is determined by a Need Analysis based upon information given by the family in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and The CSS Profile (College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE). Some colleges have their own aid forms in addition to the two listed above. You need to check with each college and follow their instructions.
All colleges require the FAFSA. It determines a student's eligibility for all forms of Federal Student Aid and the state scholarship program if applicable. The FAFSA must be filed after January 1, and before your earliest financial aid deadline.
The FAFSA can be downloaded by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is also usually available by December in the Guidance Office.
Any DACA students can search this website for AACTUS for undocumented students: https://www.ct4adream.org/student-resources-1
The CSS PROFILE is required by many private colleges and some scholarship programs. A directory located on the back of the form lists all colleges and scholarship programs that require this PROFILE. Unlike the FAFSA, the CSS PROFILE is not free - there is a fee for filing. However, the PROFILE can be filed before January 1. The PROFILE is usually available in guidance in the early fall.
Many high income families believe that they would not qualify for aid and do not file. This may be a mistake. Regardless of income and other assets, parents may qualify for the Federal PLUS loan. This program enables families to borrow up to the full cost of education (less other aid) at very attractive interest rates.
Here is a direct information contact:
The College Place Director, Connecticut
Student Success & Outreach
Housatonic Community College
SMS 203-309-3887 (students only)
Book an appointment online at: https://calendly.com/tcpconnecticut
Questions you need to ask each college:
Are you "need blind"? (A "need blind" school college does not review the student's financial circumstances until after the admission decision has been made. Nowadays, many colleges are "need aware". This means that when considering students with equal academic records who are "on the cusp" of acceptance, preference will be given to the student who demonstrates ability to pay.)
Can you meet 100% of demonstrated need? (Some schools do not have the funding to meet 100% of demonstrated need in all cases. This is known as "gapping".)
What is your policy regarding outside scholarships? (Let's say you get some local awards that total $1,000. Some school will deduct that amount from your grant money.)
"Packaging Policy" Questions:
What percent of your aid package is grant money vs self-help?
Does the aid package change over four years?
Do you have a "preferential packaging" policy? (Some schools will give a better aid package to a student with a stronger academic profile or to a student entering a certain field.)
Do you give comparable aid offers to applicants under early and regular decision programs?
Do you give any type of merit-based aid ? How do I apply?
Some final things to remember:
If you think there is a chance you might need aid at any time over four years of college - apply now - because some colleges do not let a student apply at a later date if they did not apply as a Freshman.
Don't feel that you must avoid the "expensive" schools because you need aid. Those schools usually have proportionately more funds to offer so that your aid package may not cost you any more "out of pocket" than one from a school that has a lower tuition.
Don't be shy about calling the Financial Aid office of any school you are interested in. The staff are there to answer your questions.
Don't, under any circumstances, pay a company or individual for "lists" of scholarships and aid-related information. It's all free and readily available in our College/Career Center, at the local library, and at websites given below.
Important Financial Aid Numbers
Federal Hotline 800-4FEDAID (8 a.m. - 8 p.m.)
Connecticut Hotline 800-407-3147
CSS PROFILE 800-778-6888 (8 a.m. - Midnight - 7 days a week)