Appealing Financial Aid Decisions

Appealing Financial Aid Decisions

As college-bound high school seniors begin to decide where they’ll call home for the next four (or more) years, we at Within Reach think it is prudent for parents to simultaneously assess all financial aid decisions of which they’ve been notified in order to better understand the impact said decisions – or award packages – will have on family finances. Are the schools to which your student has been accepted offering him or her a work-study program? If so, how much of your student’s expenses does the program subsidize? Does the award package consist of student loans, which translate to years of debt, or is the institution offering your student grant money? Or, worst of all, did your family simply receive a big, fat “NO” as a response to your request for the financial aid you truly need to send your son or daughter to his or her dream school? Navigating the college financial aid “game” can be tricky – and daunting – and we suspect that many parents across the country share the same questions when it comes to interpreting their individual financial aid packages. Continue reading

Is There Really Beauty in Rejection? (On Not Getting In)

Is There Really Beauty in Rejection?

(On Not Getting In)

It’s March, and the college acceptance “waiting game” is officially in full swing. Notifications of waitlists, deferrals, acceptances, and rejections are as plentiful as the pollen here in Atlanta, and students across the country are simultaneously celebrating and crying as they hear from their dream schools. After four years of studying, volunteering, achieving, interning, do-gooding, and striving to be the very best versions of themselves in order to impress college admissions officers, students will receive notifications that will – and understandably so – electrify or ruin a day, weekend, or even month. “Look on the bright side”, counselors and parents suggest, but as anyone who has been rejected by an employer, school, potential suitor, or otherwise well knows, finding the “silver lining” can be nearly impossible when one truly feels that he or she has done everything in his or her power to earn acceptance. Continue reading

Connecting the Dots: A Parent-Student Perspective on the Within Reach-Guided Application Process

Connecting the Dots: A Parent-Student Perspective on the Within Reach-Guided Application Process

We are back on the blog with the third entry of our ongoing series called “Connecting the Dots: a Parent-Student Perspective on the Within-Reach Guided Application Process”. To refresh your memory, we introduced you to Emily*, a high school freshman from a rural high school in the Washington, DC, area in October, when she shared a colorful recap of her Stanford University tour and info session. Today, we are thrilled to hear from Emily a second time, as she shares her wonderfully insightful perspective on navigating high school with intellectual curiosity, humor, and an incredible drive to succeed.

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Beyond The February ACT: What Now?

 Beyond the February ACT: What Now?

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The February 7th ACT is officially behind us, and hundreds of thousands of students across the world are now waiting anxiously for their score report. To those students who have not yet received their results, don’t worry! The ACT began posting scores on February 17th and will continue to do so – typically on Wednesdays and Fridays – until April 3rd. Students, we encourage you not to place value on how quickly your score is posted, as the order in which you receive it is not a reflection of how high or low it will be. Many factors can influence the timeliness of a score report posting, including delays in document delivery from testing center to ACT headquarters and inaccuracies in self-reported student information. Continue reading

AP vs. IB: Are They Evaluated Equally in College Admissions?

AP vs. IB: Are They Evaluated Equally in College Admissions?


In 2014, 73,000 International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma candidates were examined in the United States. Since its inception in 1968, the IB programme has focused on developing “the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills” that students need to “live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world”. Continue reading