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2 Guideto the Top 25 Colleges for Hispanics

3 Central Office Chevrolet Motor Division General Motors Corporation 100 Renaissance Center PO Box 100 Detroit, Michigan Dear Parents and Students: For us at Chevrolet, it is very important to contribute to the progress of our Hispanic community. The key for that progress and the best inheritance we can leave our children is education. In order to help them get started, Chevrolet and HISPANIC Magazine have once again teamed up to produce the Tenth Edition Guide to the Top 25 Colleges for Hispanics. Inside this book you will find a summary of what some of the leading universities and colleges have to offer and valuable advice on how to select the best school that suits your interests. It also contains an extensive listing of scholarships available for Hispanic students, and information on how to apply for these funds. Chevrolet shares many things in common with the Hispanic community. The importance of embracing its roots, and preserving its culture, values and traditions have helped to make the Hispanic community one of the most important communities in the United States. Its future progress will depend on the continued success of its students. We want to be part of the pride and progress of the great Hispanic family, and for that reason we encourage you to apply for our own scholarship - the "Chevrolet Excellence in Education Scholarship" - by filling out the enclosed postcard. We hope you ll find this booklet useful in helping you make your final decision. The best reward will be when your children come home with a college degree. Sincerely, Mel Stewart Manager, Talent Acquisitions Sonia María Green Director, Hispanic/Asian American Marketing and Sales P.S. We d also like to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate the recipients of the "Chevrolet Excellence in Education Scholarship": Ronald K. Anguas George Bahamondes Adam L. Castaneda Cindy M. Chavez Justin E. Gonzales David S. Gonzalez Diego Gonzalez-Zuniga Paola Gonzalez Enedelia Hernandez Yonicio Hernandez Gabriel V. Lopez Jennifer Luna Pablo T. Nava Adriana R. Olivan Tinita Ortega Jose M. Pena Christina D. Ray Clarissa E Rendon Raul Rocha Kriten L. Stryker 2004 GM Corp.

4 Guide to the Top 25 Colleges for Hispanics TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 1 High School The Journey Begins CHAPTER 2 College Preparation for Parents CHAPTER 3 Making the Match CHAPTER 4 Apply and Conquer CHAPTER 5 The Cost of The College Education CHAPTER 6 The Top 25 Colleges for Hispanics CHAPTER 7 The College Journey

5 INTRODUCTION We must encourage more Hispanic Americans to pursue postsecondary education. Too few of our academically eligible Hispanic students are enrolling in college. And, of those who do, too many are leaving short of completing their degree. As a result, only 10 percent of Hispanic Americans graduate from four-year colleges and universities. It is crucial that we increase this percentage. Statement from Secretary of Education Rod Paige As with most Hispanics having immigrated to the United States, the primary hope to make such a move was to provide their families and children with greater opportunities. One of these opportunities is for their children to obtain a college degree. For many young Hispanics, their generation is the first in their family to have that chance. For others, they are continuing the family tradition of a college education into the new century. It is with this knowledge Chevrolet and Hispanic Magazine create the Guide to the Top 25 Colleges for Hispanics annually to assist young Hispanics who aspire to that goal. A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics found more than 65% of Hispanics in the U.S. are foreign born or are U.S. born with parents who are both foreign born. Many of these parents may not be equipped with sufficient information and resources to assist their children on the road to college. Others may feel the cost of a college career is out of their reach and may limit their choices. For this reason, we take considerable efforts to develop the Guide to reach the Hispanic community. The Guide is the only comprehensive college guide specifically geared to the needs of Hispanic students. In this 10th annual edition, we offer students and parents recommendations to prepare for entering college. Whether a first year high school student, a senior or community or junior college student, the Guide offers tips to help you along the way. Because cost is such a considerable factor towards selecting a college, the Guide has two chapters devoted towards the issue of expense. One of the chapters is dedicated to parents, describing what options they have financially as well as their collaboration in the selection of a college for their children. Another chapter delves into financial aid and lists over 50 scholarships geared for Hispanics, including the Chevrolet Excellence in Education Scholarship. An issue still making headlines is Affirmative Action and the impact on the admissions process. The Guide looks at this issue, among others which should be definitely observed when selecting a college. This year s Guide again features the ranking of the top institutions where Hispanic students are thriving. The criteria this year places more emphasis on the selected 1

6 college s retention of Hispanics not just the percentage of Hispanics admitted to the university. In short, these are the institutions that have supported the Hispanic student and their efforts to obtain an invaluable degree. The guide also purports the road to college does not end with an acceptance letter, we have included a chapter devoted to making the college journey a successful and enjoyable experience. Part of this experience touches upon the further exploration of one s heritage among other diverse cultures within the university. On behalf of Chevrolet and Hispanic Magazine, we support you on your road to college and believe you can achieve all you can dream. 2

7 CHAPTER ONE High School The Journey Begins The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life. Plato (427 BC BC), The Republic High school can be seen as the first step towards higher institutions of learning. As Plato stated, your future life is determined by the choices you make. You may wonder, is it really necessary to obtain a college degree to be successful in the future? First you have to figure out what success means to you. Is it making more money, the recognition of achievement or simply self-fulfillment? Only you know that answer. Perhaps you may not know how to define success just yet, and college can help. College is more than just another four years of school culminating in a degree. It is a growing experience where you explore the world and yourself. More students only even begin to think about college until their senior year while others start early in middle school. Either way it is never too early, nor too late to start taking a closer look at your goals and how a college education can help you achieve those goals. High school can be tough. You are physically changing and realizing who you are as a person, as well as mention all the social demands you face. The decision to go to college is just one more item to add to the list. You may feel uncertain of whether to go to college and may feel pressured by family. Ultimately the rewards of a college degree are immeasurable. The most obvious benefit of a college degree is monetary. And with the growing competitive job market, a college degree greatly improves the number of opportunities available and your earning potential. Although this is the most measurable of benefits, there are others which are priceless. So how do you make the most of your high school years on this journey to college? Here are four important factors you should consider while still in high school: HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM Most public high schools have a minimum requirement of courses necessary for graduation which have been set by each state. As a result there are vast differences among states with respect to required courses for graduation. Some states only require 3 years of English and 2 years of Mathematics consisting of geometry and at least one algebra course. Whereas other states require 4 years of both Math and English and 2 required courses for social sciences and natural sciences. A number of states go further requiring 2 courses of a foreign language. In short, the minimum in some states is just that, the bare minimum. The same holds true for private high schools. Although for the most part they attempt to have a more rigorous 3

8 curriculum, they still may just require the minimum as indicated by the state in which they reside. As a result, the burden of preparing for college rests on the student to make the right selection of courses. So how can a student be sure they are taking the right courses to prepare them for college? Again this varies greatly by institution but here is a basic guideline. 4 English courses with substantial writing 3 minimum Mathematics courses emphasis placed on algebra, trigonometry or geometry and especially pre-calculus 3 minimum Natural Sciences courses including biology, anatomy, chemistry, or physics 3 minimum Social Sciences courses including history or political science 2 minimum Foreign Language courses, utilize your existing knowledge of Spanish and expand your fluency Additionally, a student interested in pursuing a degree in math or science should delve into more than just the minimum requirements and pursue coursework related to their area of interest. Now the question of Honors or AP (Advanced Placement) coursework comes to mind. When you have the opportunity to be enrolled in any Honors or AP courses, take advantage of it! Although the work involved and the expectations may be far greater than the average level courses, the advantages far exceed the effort. These courses are also defined as College-Prep, because simply stated these courses are preparing you for college in many ways. Many students feel these courses will be more difficult to achieve high grades and opt taking lower level courses expecting to obtain higher grades with less effort. As many admissions professionals agree, the achievement of a lower grade in a college-prep course actually holds more weight than an A in a mid level course. Many Ivy League schools will expect you to have completed college prep courses in many subjects before even considering you for admissions. Advantages to AP and College-Prep courses help to: Develop college level study skills necessary to succeed. Sharpen your writing skills essential for all areas of study in college. Improve your time management skills. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Activities outside of the classroom are very important. They allow you to socialize and make new friends, and also play an essential role in discovering who you are. First and foremost, whether you are on an athletic team or a club you are learning lessons about teamwork and commitment. Consequently, these activities also help students and teachers relate to each other in a different setting, allowing the teacher to learn more about you than just your grades. This is important for several reasons. The first is teachers will know you from another perspective. This will help them in writing a truly informed recommendation. In addition, you will have the opportunity to tap into the knowledge your teacher may have about a particular major curriculum, college or other questions you may have about school. 4

9 With this advice, you may feel it s best to sign up for all the sports teams and clubs tomorrow. However, a large list of clubs and sports isn t what truly catches an admissions officer s attention. After all, just being a member of a club does not necessarily show much of who you are. What they are looking for are examples of leadership, determination and dedication. Your selection to be in particular clubs or sports also gives the admissions official more insight into your interests and how you might best fit at their college. Another great way to enhance your potential and also impress upon an admissions reviewer is your involvement in community service. Your contribution to a worthy cause is essential for the purposes of both looking good on your application, but for your own personal growth. The university will feel a young person who participates in community efforts becomes an adult concerned with the world they live in and tries to make it a better place. Also look for the numerous opportunities you have during your summer breaks. There are many college summer programs available to academically proficient and minority students. This is a great experience for any student, even if the college you attend is not the top one on your list. Sometimes they are offered with transferable college credits which can further help with your first years in college. Some other students may opt for a summer job, which also provides a wonderful learning experience. All work and no play will make for a dull person, so remember to also relax and enjoy your friendships and make memories to last a lifetime! RESOURCES FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT The majority of high school students may not be aware of the vast amount of resources are available to them. The first and most obvious place to start is visiting your guidance counselor, often! This resource offers you the opportunity to speak to a professional about your career choices, the colleges you are interested in, as well as financial aid and much, much more. This person has probably been certified in the field of counseling, is expertly trained in the admissions process and has frequent contact with university admissions professionals. The counselor has access to many tools they will gladly share with you, as well as tips to organizing your search and preparation for standardized exams. Your counselor can also be a great source for a recommendation; after all he or she will see your efforts and determination to enter into college. Start to cultivate a relationship with your school counselor early to make the most of this valuable resource. Another commonly overlooked resource is your teacher. Although you may only look upon them as task masters, they can offer you much information on your road to a college selection. Get to know your teachers find out where they attended college and how they selected their majors. You may be surprised to discover many of them changed majors and careers which lead them to become teachers. Their experiences can help you in so many ways outside of just the classes they teach. They will be happy to share them with you and offer advice to help you along the way. One more underused resource is the college presentation made on high school campuses. Many times college admissions professionals will experience low stu- 5

10 dent attendance at high school presentations. Regardless of whether or not you are interested in a particular college being presented, you can always learn something new from these professionals. Perhaps you feel the presenting college is out of your academic or financial reach. However, they might present methods to help you which you are currently not aware of. Also, go further than just picking up a brochure, approach the college representative. Most times this may be a college student peer advisor, who may have much more to tell you about the college than just the coursework. In short, take advantage of these presentations and try to gain some amount of information each time. There are a vast number of other resources available to college bound students these days. Whether it is guidebooks or internet sites, the information is readily available and accessible to most students. At the end of each chapter, we will cite resources we believe are most helpful. By all means, do not limit yourself to the ones mentioned here. Find additional tools which best apply to your situation and use them! CREATING A PORTFOLIO In addition to a resume, a portfolio is used by many professionals. It is a collection of achievements or examples of one s work. In your case, a portfolio can be similar to a scrapbook of your accomplishments. You would no doubt keep a newspaper clipping featuring you and your success as part of a team or club. If you volunteered at a local hospital for example, get the person s name who supervised you and your responsibilities, perhaps even a letter of recommendation. Don t wait until your senior year to go back and get recommendation letters. Ask for them at the time you are participating in the activity. A portfolio is a collection contributions of your work in the different activities you were involved. This portfolio method will be very useful when writing your application essay. STANDARDIZED TESTS AND ENTRANCE EXAMS There is nothing more nerve-racking or stressful than the mere thought of taking a standardized test. The reality is that for now, they are here to stay. Another fact you should know is they don t end in high school! You will be taking similar tests for admissions to graduate coursework, certification, and onward depending on your career! Although many students feel these types of exams fall short in evaluating a student s aptitude, they help the admissions board to assess the basic knowledge necessary to thrive in college. It does not, however measure your intelligence or abilities. Understand the exam score is only one factor which influences your entrance to college; albeit it is an important one. When looking at standardized exams, it can seem like an acronym alphabet soup. But each test has a particular function. Understanding what the tests are geared for and when you are expected to take them can ease the tension you may feel towards them. Here is a table with some basic definitions and when to take these tests. It seems at first glance these are a lot of tests to consider taking and preparing for. However, before you sharpen those pencils, let s take a closer look at each test, 6

11 compare them and see how they impact your admittance to a college. PSAT/NMSQT What s on the test? You can expect to find 2 verbal and math multiple choice tests and one writing skills test. What s the scoring scale? The PSAT/NMSQT score reports provide three different scores on the 20-to-80 scale; one each for verbal skills, math skills, and writing skills. Test Acronym Full Name Test Objective/Purpose What year taken PSAT/NMSQT Preliminary SAT/Nat l Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test Practice SAT tests verbal, math and writing skills, scores also used for the National Merit Scholarship program As early as 9 th grade, but geared to 11 th through 12 th grade level knowledge SAT I Scholastic Aptitude Test Reasoning Test Measures verbal and mathematical reasoning skills students have developed and college readiness As early as 10 th grade, preferably 11 th or 12 th grade SAT II Scholastic Aptitude Test Subject Test Measures how much students know about a particular academic subject and how well they can apply that knowledge Depends on subject anytime from 10 th to 12 th grade ACT American College Test Designed to assess general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. As early as 10 th grade, geared to 11 th through 12 th grade level knowledge PSAT, SAT I, SAT II data presented by the College Board and ACT by the American College Test Program Is this required for college admittance? Not necessarily, it serves only as a precursor to the SAT and allows you to find your weakness in preparation for the SAT. It does not impact you negatively if you do not score well. However, if you are interested in a National Merit Scholarship you must take the test. You should be aware there is a National Hispanic Recognition Program in which you can participate. SAT I & SAT II What s the difference between SAT I and SAT II? The objective of the SAT I is to measure your verbal and mathematical skills. These scores are primarily used by college officials to determine your readiness for college. SAT II is a subject based test to measure the skills you have acquired for one particular subject, such as science or history. In general all colleges require SAT I, but some do request SAT II as well. Most colleges require the SAT I and it is generally considered the most essential test. What s the scoring scale? The scale ranges from 200 to 800 for each section, verbal and mathematics. The new SAT will include a writing section also scored in the same way. The previous high score was 1600, the new SAT will be 2400 max. Is it true there have been some changes to the test and what are they? We mentioned in our Guide the SAT I and the PSAT will be changing for The new PSAT will be implemented in the Fall 2004 and the new SAT will appear in the Spring The New SAT has several changes. First there will be a separate writing section which adds another 35 minutes to the exam length, and 7

12 includes multiple choice grammar questions. In the verbal section, analogies have been eliminated and the critical reading section now has shorter reading passages. The math section is also changing eliminating quantitative comparisons and the inclusion of advanced algebra. Why is the SAT changing? Many academic institutions and administrators felt the test did not adequately assess a students aptitude and decided to review the current test structure. They felt the multiple test sections did not fully measure a student s knowledge or skills. This is why a writing segment is now included to provide colleges with another basis upon which to measure a student s ability. ACT What s the difference between the ACT and the SAT? The ACT is defined as an assessment (what have you learned) the SAT is primarily aptitude (reasoning abilities and problem solving). In addition the ACT includes a section for natural sciences. In early 2005 the ACT will also have an optional writing assessment test to provide a sample of the students writing skills. There are other differences with regards to scoring but for more details, visit the web sites for both SAT and ACT. Should I take the ACT? Again this depends on the school you are applying for. Each college has their own standards for admissions and for some having both the SAT and the ACT is beneficial. It never hurts to hone your test taking skills, but speak to your counselor to make your choice. Scoring Scale: Scores range from 1 (low) to 36 (high) for each of the four tests and for the Composite. The Composite is the average of your four test scores. Other Exams There are some other standardized tests you should be aware of. AP Advanced Placement Test which coincide with the AP coursework and allows the student to demonstrate their ability to complete a college level course. May result in earning college credits. CLEP College Level Examination Program allows students to demonstrate proficiency in college core coursework. Examples would be to fulfill a foreign language requirement by proving fluency in Spanish. TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language used to assesses the ability of nonnative speakers to understand and use the English Language. This may be a requirement for some universities if you are a foreign born student. PREPARATION FOR TAKING STANDARDIZED EXAMS The apprehension anyone may have about taking standardized tests is normal. Most times the anxiety one feels before an exam may be related to the following issues: Unfamiliarity with the exam structure and the types of questions which appear. Feeling unprepared making you unable to answer the questions correctly. Pressure to get a high score in order to enter college or obtain a scholarship. 8

13 Fortunately, there are so many ways in which you can make these issues less of a concern. Selecting the best method for you depends on your own individual style of learning. Books and Manuals Go to any bookstore, library or online bookseller and you will find great amount and variety of books dedicated to test preparation. Start by selecting an overall review book of the exam you are taking. It should provide you with several real test examples with answers and explanations as well. Before purchasing, you might want to look into a library either in your school or neighborhood. Make sure it is a current issue within a year or so. Because the SAT is changing this year, be sure you purchase a book pertaining to the new format. Also, try to have at least two books by different publishers so you can have enough variety of practice questions. Pros: The advantage of using manuals and books is they are for the most part inexpensive and easy to find. You can pace yourself as you wish and refer to the practice questions as many times as you like. Cons: You have to be self-disciplined and committed to completing the exams provided and learning from your mistakes. Are you the type of person to go back to your old algebra books to review concepts you keep missing on the practice exam? You better be, because you won t have any inside tips or hints, or any other types of instructions to help you. Cost: The greatest advantage of using books and manuals is the cost. On average, manuals of this type range from $10 - $50 dollars. At the end of this chapter you can find a reference list of books available, but again do not limit yourself to just these. Ask your counselor which ones they recommend and find most useful. Courses As with the books, there are also many test preparation services and courses if you wish to use them. You can ask your counselor or search on the internet as to where to find these courses. Check also with your local community college or university. Many times they also offer test preparation courses on campus. The courses can be in a classroom setting or with individual tutors and they can range from one-day to several week classes. Pros: Courses are wonderful to help you retain the information because it is presented both visually and orally. The instructor usually gives more information than you can find in a book. They can also offer a lot of advice for improving your skills, and can more readily pinpoint your weaknesses than you could yourself. An individual tutor can go even further to customize your training and focus on your individual questions and concerns. Cons: Courses and tutors are very costly. This can be seen as both good and bad. Because of the investment you or your family is making, you may feel an obligation to make the most of these classes. On the downside, because of the cost, 9

14 this may not be a viable alternative. Cost: Basically dependent upon your choice of format. The cost may range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Online and Computer Based Training Thanks to the wonderful world-wide web and software, there is an additional option for test preparation. Online and computer training programs are very easy to find, again by searching the internet or your local computer software store. There are many sites with courses you can pay for, but you can also find free downloads. Pros: The pros are these courses are right at your fingertips any day and anytime. Because they are computer based, you cannot cheat yourself through the sample questions and they offer immediate scoring and question review. Cons: Again based on your personal learning style, you need self-discipline and dedication to make the most of these courses. Also because you are self-reliant, you won t have anyone to measure your weak points and make suggestions to improve your test-taking skills. Cost: Online courses vary from free to up to a couple hundred dollars, again depending on the length of the course. Software can also vary from a few dollars to fifty dollars. Again check with your library, they might have software available online to use within their facility for free. Practice Tests Another practical test preparation option is to participate in practice tests in actual test situations. The PSAT is viewed as a practice test and there are practice tests administered as part of test-prep courses. These tests afford you with the familiarity of the testing environment, and may also get you in touch with colleges in which you are interested in. At the end of the PSAT, you will be asked to select institutions you want information from. The test score will in no way affect your standing with the institution. SHARPEN BASIC TEST TAKING SKILLS Here is a list of basic ways to prepare you for standardized tests: Read There is no greater skill more easily acquired than reading comprehension, a basic skill necessary for all facets of life. Reading beyond the classroom requirements, just for fun, including fiction, news, magazines, poetry, basically any form of material that you like, will also expose you to correct grammar and sentence structure and it will become second nature to you as you read more and more. Expand your vocabulary Again, reading naturally accomplishes this without much effort. Whenever you come across an unfamiliar word, check your dictionary or thesaurus. An easy method of doing this is subscribing to online s for word of the day. Practice your writing Again this is an immeasurable skill in addition to test taking. Being able to express your thoughts clearly and concisely is a valuable talent; find different ways to improve your abilities with help from your instructors. 10

15 Practice your math Try to understand the concepts behind the solution to math problems. Work together with your teacher to improve your ability to answer complicated questions. Make sure to review and understand geometry and algebra, the majority of questions come from these two areas. One last thought about standardized tests: Keep it in perspective. If you have taken the time to prepare yourself, using the resources available to you, chances are you will do well. Although they are essential on your road to college, a low score does not eliminate you from attending college. You have opportunities to retest and improve your skills if scores are low. In addition, there are some institutions where other requirements factor in more than test scores. Again these tests are just a standard of measure and not a valuation of your capabilities. You can do anything you set your mind to. HIGH SCHOOL CHECKLIST Select challenging courses throughout your high school years whenever possible. Participate in extracurricular and community service activities which interest you and where you feel you can best use your talents. Use as many of the readily available resources as you can and as often as possible. Create a portfolio highlighting your successes, achievements and learning experiences. Start early so you are sure not to miss anything when creating your resume. Standardized exams are here to help you understand your weaknesses and improve upon them. Take practice exams whenever possible. Understand the purpose of each exam and which one the college you are interested in requires. Utilize other exams such as AP and CLEP to improve your knowledge of a subject. HIGH SCHOOL JOURNEY Freshman Year: Start by selecting college bound courses if you have the ability. Look at your weaknesses as opportunities to improve them early on and not in your senior year. Start working on your study skills. Know who your counselor is and what they have to offer. Look into what activities interest you to join. Talk to your parents about your plans for college so they too can prepare themselves, if they haven t already. Enjoy your first year of high school, make new friends and get to know yourself! Sophomore Year: Again choose a rigorous and challenging course-load. Meet with your guidance counselor. This person will be essential for you to help 11

16 you make your college and career options as well as testing and preparation. Start taking practice exams. The PSAT is given in October, so make sure to register for the exam by September. Also find out about SAT II subject testing. Utilize test preparation resources early. Take a more active role in your sports, clubs or community service. Try to find opportunities where you can exercise leadership, organization, and cooperative skills. Start building your portfolio. Start taking inventory of your strengths and interests to help you identify what careers suit you and investigate all your options. Have fun with your friends, find a summer job, and take school summer trips if you can. Junior Year: Take AP courses and fulfill AP tests whenever you can. Take the PSAT in the fall even if you have already. Your skill-set has improved over the year and you should find out what areas you still have difficulties now. In the spring or summer take your first SAT or ACT. Attend college fairs and make campus visits, especially your local colleges. Keep your counselor in the loop at all times. Research colleges and careers as you find out more about where you want to go. Get admissions packages to understand what each institution requires. Start asking teachers from last year and this year to write recommendation letters. Remember to include community service coordinators as well. Start researching financial aid and scholarship opportunities early. If you already know which college you are interested in, ask if they allow early admission. Find out what the requirements. Visit the campus and make sure you can speak to an admissions representative or peer advisor. Check with your local college about summer course programs designed for high school students. Look forward to the year to come. Make this summer a memorable one with your family. Senior Year Continue taking AP courses and exams. Look into the CLEP exams as well. Start gathering information together with your family to prepare your financial aid package and complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You can file your FAFSA as early as November but no later than January to maximize your chances to receive aid. Take or retake the SAT or ACT as needed during the Fall. Continue to use test-prep resources or consult other resources to improve your score. Prepare application packages early in the Fall if you have identified you college choice. Make sure to send applications to second and third choices, etc. to ensure you have selections to make if you are not accepted to your first choice school. 12

17 Create your college essay. Work with others to review and improve as needed. Look into housing costs and availability if you are moving away. Work closely with your guidance counselor. They will help you organize your search and application process and keep you up to date with deadlines. Enjoy your senior year. It only happens once in a lifetime. Reward yourself for your efforts and dedication. RESOURCES AND REFERENCES Books: The Great Big Book of How to Study by Ronald W. Fry, June 1999 Super Study Skills: The Ultimate Guide to Tests and Studying (Scholastic Guides) by Laurie, Phd Rozakis, August 2002 Kaplan SAT 2004 with CD-ROM, Kaplan Press, Spring 2004 Edition 10 Real SATs, Third Edition by The College Board, May 2003 Cracking the SAT, by Adam Robinson, John Katzman, 2004 Edition Act Assessment Success 2004, by Peterson s, 2004 Online: CHEVROLET EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARD WINNER My advice for high school students considering college is to start early. It s important to take challenging courses and become involved in student and community organizations. Something that proved essential was having a college binder in which I included a copy of my high school resume, financial aid information, college essays, copies of college and housing applications, scholarship information, etc. Also, I recommend that students build good relationships with teachers and counselors. - Adriana Olivan 13

18 CHAPTER TWO College Preparation for Parents I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. Harry S. Truman There is no greater privilege in life than those fortunate to be parents. And there is no greater reward for a child than a parent concerned with their future happiness and success. Parents can be the most positive influential voice in helping a student who is considering college. Their support and encouragement is immeasurable to a child. In a 2003 report by Public Agenda the study states, Hispanic parents are much more likely to see college as an absolute necessity, with nearly twice as many Hispanic parents saying it is virtually impossible to make it in today s world without a college education. However it also states, Although Hispanic parents are more likely to emphasize the importance of getting a college education, Hispanic students are significantly less likely to complete either a two-year or a four-year degree. Interestingly the majority of Hispanics understand the value of college, there is a low application and retention rate in colleges. Why the discrepancy? One reason is parents may not know what resources are available to them and their children in the decision making process. They may not be equipped with sufficient knowledge about the college application process to help their children. Some parents speak only Spanish; due to this language barrier they feel limited in their ability to seek guidance. Others are unaware of what they can do early in their children s lives to financially provide for their college education. These and other factors are creating unnecessary boundaries for our Latino youth. However, there are resources and they are definitely available if you look. Begin your resource search with school teachers and counselors. If they do not provide sufficient information look at service agencies specifically geared for Hispanic families. There are many non-profit organizations which provide the information you need to get started. OVERALL PLAN Discuss as a family the decision of going to college and what will be required. As a student, review the previous chapter for guidelines. As a parent, your major concern will be the financial obligations colleges expect. Do not let your current situation deter you or your child from deciding to go to college. If it is early 14

19 enough, you have several options available to you. This chapter is dedicated to college savings plans and other alternatives. If it is late in the planning process, there is another chapter devoted to financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Obtaining a college degree may be expensive but not impossible, regardless of what your financial situation might be. Many Ivy League schools, such as Harvard, are implementing programs for disadvantaged families to allow talented students regardless of economic stature, obtain their degrees. Keep the dream alive and work out a plan fitting your situation. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS Before looking at the options currently available, you need to analyze several points. What is the estimated cost of the tuition, room and board for the extent of the degree? How old is your college bound child and how many years do you have for saving funds? How much of your income can you put aside for saving? How will this affect financial aid? Review these factors before selecting a plan. You might choose a plan not suited for your needs if you don t understand what your needs are. Speak with your bank representative or financial advisor to assist you. They are indispensable when analyzing the numerous options available. Also, consult the internet to find out more about the plans described here. 529 Plans Named after the 529 Tax Code which allows earning and withdrawal from this account free of federal taxes penalties and perhaps even state taxes. For now, these tax benefits area allowable until There maybe further amendments by congress to extend this period. There are two classifications of 529 Plans: 529 College Savings Plans are also referred to as Education Savings Accounts. The funds can only be used for qualified educational expenses, such as tuition, housing, books, etc. These accounts are state managed and usually invested in mutual funds. There are many plans which you can choose from. Start investigating your options using the internet or guides and manuals to choose which one is best for you. Pros: Earnings and withdrawals are federal tax-free Simple to start and contribute funds You can use the funds at any college or university, in any state Funds are treated as parental assets and have a lower impact on Financial Aid and the account holder (parent) has control of the funds Cons: There are risks related to the performance of the stock market Many have account manager fees can be up to 2% annually If congress does not make the amendment, the tax benefits would discontinue 529 Prepaid Plans are different from the Savings Plan. This Plan allows you to 15

20 purchase your child s future education at current prices. Originally, these plans were created for State Universities only. However, there are now 220 private universities which participate in what is referred to as the Independent 529 Plan. There are some small risks to a plan of this nature although it does allow you more choices if you wish your child to attend a private school. Pros: As tuition increases for in-state colleges, there is assurance from State Governments these increases will be matched by state funding Lower risk as long as you are sure where your child will attend college Cons: Some require state residency to participate Can negatively affect financial aid Some plans may only be used for tuition and exclude room and board Coverdell Education Savings Accounts Once known as Education IRAs, these accounts allow you to save up to $2,000 annually per beneficiary tax-free for education expenses. This account allows withdrawal of the funds for private elementary and high school usage as well as college. In some cases, this may be a good first option for an educational savings plan if you have a young child. The proceeds are placed in your child s name and they are not penalized for withdrawal until they reach the age of thirty. Pros: Can be utilized for other educational expenses such as computers, special coursework, tutoring, etc. Can be withdrawn to pay for elementary and high school expenses Cons: The total contribution amount annually is limited to $2,000 per child regardless of contributor. Any excess will result in a penalty The funds from this account may affect your financial aid eligibility Because contribution can be turned over to child, if not used for college, you lose a degree of control over the distribution of the funds Restrictions based on income level, must be less than $190,000 for joint contributors or $95,000 for single filers OTHER FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS There are other alternatives for funding your child s college education. These are: Custodial Accounts These accounts, also known as Uniform gifts or Transfers to Minors Act accounts have opportunities since they now have a lower tax-rate. The child is the primary holder of this account, thereby giving them control of the funds after age 18. It does however provide more flexibility for usage of funds. 16

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