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Looking to Reduce College Tuition? Go to Europe!

The Global Antidote: Going to College in Europe Earlier this year, Money reported that “Americans are Moving to Europe for Free College Degrees.” Colleges are free in Germany, Iceland, Norway and Finland. In other countries, they’re bargains compared with U.S. colleges. Last year, the Wall Street Journal cited enrollment increases in Germany (33 percent) and the United Kingdom (8 percent). King’s College London, a top U.K. college pictured above, costs about $24,000, and tuition at St. Andrews is only slightly higher.

Of course, there are drawbacks. U.S. colleges offer more amenities than do European colleges. Solid financial packages can help defer costs for the right students. Proximity to home may be a factor, while post-graduation employment can be a major consideration.

How to find out more? There’s a site called Beyond the States, which has both free and fee-based information.

Interestingly, the debate about free college in Europe is similar to what we hear in the United States, especially at election time. Just as I was putting this section together, the Hechinger Report released an article focusing on Freie Universität in Germany (pictured above). The university, which was totally free, now has minimal charges, and Germans are split as to whether or not they should charge tuition.

Back in the United States, between working on applications, asking for recommendations, and sitting for the PSAT, scores of parents and students experienced the college process in some way last week. To make sense of it all, check out the latest.

Using the Common App? A Volume of Ramifications! Wasn’t the Common App supposed to make the application process easier? According to an article in The Atlantic, that’s not necessarily the case. Colleges have to deal with huge increases in applicant volume, often not knowing who will really want to be on their campuses (even though the volume increases imply more selectivity). According to The Atlantic, that means differentiating “students who not only have the right academic chops but would actually enroll if accepted—from the scrum.”

Scrutinizing Scholarships Unigo if offering a scholarship match. All your student needs to do is sign up.

Submitting such applications will cost you time and effort, but should never cost money, no matter how small the amount. FinAid, a reliable source of financial information, tells us about “Warning Signs of a Scholarship Scam.” These may include application fees, requests for personal and credit information, time pressure, no restrictions, or a line like, “We apply on your behalf.” FastWeb, another good site, warns that it “screens all of the scholarships available on the site and does not charge anything for its services.”

Remember: Your student is best served by taking the most challenging curriculum for his or her skills and interests and doing the best job possible academically, increasing the chances for merit aid. Another deal-breaker for merit aid could be a student’s standardized test score, so your student should give the tests a best shot.

Surviving the PSAT The other day, I read that a New Jersey student from a Jersey Shore community jumped out a bathroom window (safely) to avoid taking the PSAT (seriously). For students who were mature enough to stay inside, the PSAT was an important exercise in managing time, following directions, and practicing all-important skills, including:

Reading: finding the thesis, matching evidence and data to claims, using context clues

Writing and Language: applying principles of grammar and usage

Math: following directions, practicing problems, marking up the test booklet, checking work

Hopefully, parents will see results by the end of the calendar year. Also, if you’re the parent of a student who took the PSAT, remember that your student will receive his or her test booklet along with the score report. The test booklet should be a first resort when prepping for future College Board tests. Remember, if your student wants to then pursue in-depth test prep, Noodle Pros are ready to help.

Weekend storms and winds are bringing in changes, so we’re hear to help you navigate the process. Be sure to email me with questions.


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