Frequently Asked Questions
If you are contemplating college, you know that applying to and paying for a college education can be an overwhelming process. Ducerus can help with our unique resources for high-quality, customized student college positioning and financial planning. Our comprehensive services are designed to address the specific needs of parents and students as individuals. We strive to develop a personal relationship with every family we serve based on trust. Our specially trained college planning professionals at Ducerus can help you stay ahead of the competition by positioning your student to take advantage of the secrets that get students into the most sought-after colleges as well as help them pay for their education. We start by defining career possibility and majors so that your student can pursue a meaningful education rather than just "attend college." We also identify high-visibility extracurricular and volunteer activities that will get your student noticed in the admissions process. We assist your student in attaining relevant work experience and career-oriented internships that will catapult him or her to the top of the admissions list. Ducerus will streamline the complicated admissions process to maximize your efforts and increase your student's rate of college acceptance, no matter what his or her academic record. We offer significant guidance in creating a personalized school list tailored to your student that includes the best choices for admission, financial aid and other factors. We then break down the complicated application process with consistent, step-by-step coaching and give expert instruction on how to apply, including writing powerful essays and personal statements. When it comes to financial aid, we know that many factors can affect your approval for various scholarships and grants. Our experts will evaluate and show parents how to reduce their college costs regardless of income. Our proprietary methods will also help identify the historically aid-generous schools to which your student can apply to maximize savings opportunities. We will analyze award packages to calculate the actual cost of attendance for your student and give appeal assistance when colleges under-award or mis-award financial aid. Parents and students who have worked with Ducerus recommend our service to their friends because our knowledge and expertise works!
My friend is an accountant and claims I can get financial aid without hiring a college planner. Is this true?
It is a common misconception that the process of applying for and obtaining financial aid is easy. However, this is not true. In fact, many find that filling out the forms is complicated and confusing, and few know how to identify and resolve problem areas that can increase the amount you are expected to pay, known as your EFC (Estimated Family Contribution). It is also important to have a professional help you identify schools that are historically aid-generous and match your child's interests, as well as to maximize financial aid awards.
My child goes to private school and they have a special college counseling office. Can't they take care of all our needs?
Most private schools have very helpful college counseling offices that are ready with a variety of information and assistance designed to encourage college-bound students. This is a benefit that many public school students do not have. However, these office are often unequipped to actively help evaluate your EFC (Estimated Family Contribution), match historically aid-generous schools to your child's interests, and maximize financial aid awards. While it is never a bad idea to have your student work with a personal counselor, you may also want to consider supplementing that help with outside expert advice. Ducerus works directly with many high schools to increase their percentage of college-bound students.
My main concern is how I’m going to pay for college. Does this mean my child should only be applying to public schools?
It is not necessarily true that state and public colleges will cost you less than private ones. In fact, because it can take longer to graduate (due to the availability of requisite classes, and lack of resources), and their financial aid packages are often less generous, public colleges can actually have a higher "effective" COA (cost of attendance) than private schools. Our planners can assist you with this institution-specific information.
I’ve already sent in my FAFSA. Is it too late for you to help me?
Even if you have already turned in a FAFSA, you should contact us. In many cases, we can help you amend your filing or file an appeal to change your student's financial aid award. However, it is important that you contact one of our offices as soon as possible as every day matters.
How can I tell if a school is right for my son or daughter?
There are many factors that can affect whether a school is a good fit for your child, including: campus population, location, class size, school emphasis, social environment, and of course, average GPA and test scores. Financial factors may play a role as well. For example, is the school you are looking at a historically aid-generous school? Getting to know more about specific schools is a good way to determine with your child if each school seems like a good match. Don't be afraid to challenge old ideas and include a wide variety of schools in your application decisions. With our team's in-depth knowledge, we can provide your student or child with excellent school options that are best-matched to your child's interests.
How do I find and secure scholarships?
While every little bit of money may help, private scholarships may not be giving you the financial benefits you need to keep your child in college. In many cases, your overall financial aid may be reduced by the amount of private scholarships, and that my hurt your overall financial picture. If you want to pursue private scholarships, it is best to start with organizations to which you belong such as religious institutions, sports groups or civic organizations. You should be very careful to follow all instructions and meet all deadlines.
What do I need to know about loans?
Loans may seem like the ideal financial solution for college, but many cost far more than you might expect. The wisdom of using loans depends on your personal financial situation and your student's educational goals. Each loan offer should be evaluated with this in mind. At Ducerus, our certified and licensed professionals give you an in-depth analysis of the actual cost of each type of loan and help you decide if borrowing money is the right decision for you.
My student is only a freshman—when should we get started with Ducerus?
When it comes to planning for college, the earlier the better! Start off by taking the Ducerus University Prep student positioning courses to help your child take the right high school classes, choose and secure work at high-visibility internships and volunteer opportunities, actively plan for the future and think about the college process. The sooner you as a family begin these activities the better your final results will be.
What are weighted and unweighted GPAs?
When you hear of a GPA higher than 4.0, this is often what is called a "weighted" GPA. Some schools will give extra GPA points for advanced and AP classes. However, colleges usually want to use an unweighted, 4-point GPA. Most electives and PE classes are not included in the final GPA score. Check with your high school to determine how your student's GPA is calculated. <strong>How important are extracurricular activities?