Updates For 2017-2018 

The COMMON APPLICATION CHANGES effective 2017-2018.
1) "Google Drive Integration: Students will now be able to easily access and upload documents, resumes, and school assignments while completing the Common App and the college-specific sections of the application. We know that many school districts have adopted Google Docs and Google Drive to enable their students and teachers to create, collaborate, and access shared documents from any internet connected device. We also recognize that some students do not always have personal computers at home but use Google Drive on school or library computers to store their documents. We want to meet students where they are. By incorporating the tools that they are already using, we are making the process more accessible for students.
2) Advisor and Recommender Enhancements: Students receiving support from advising and community-based organizations will be able to work with those counselors just as they work with their school-based counselors and teachers within the application. These individuals will then be able to manage their caseloads and view student progress within the Common App system. In addition, any student who wishes to do so will be able to share a view of their in-progress application (read-only) with their school counselor, advisor, or mentor. If a student chooses to invite an Advisor, that action will remain private. The Advisor invitation and profile information will not be visible to a student's colleges or any other invited Recommender.
3) Courses & Grades: Many students are required to submit self-reported high school academic records when applying to some colleges and universities. With Courses & Grades, students will be able to fill out their self-reported transcript information as part of their Common Application. By integrating the Courses & Grades section into the Common App, those students who are already sending this information will be able to complete and submit it with their Common App, making the process of self-reporting transcripts more standardized and streamlined for students, counselors, and colleges. Seven Common App member colleges plan to use Courses & Grades in the coming year.
4) Spanish Language Resources: Key information for using the Common App has been translated so that students, parents, and other family memberswho speak Spanish as their first language can better understand the college admission process. These new resources will also benefit counselors who work with these families and need Common App materials in Spanish."1 
 1. The Common Application, 10 Apr. 2017. Web. 24 Sept. 2017, http://www.commonapp.org/whats-appening/application-updates/key-innovations-2017-2018-common-application 

Starting with the 2017­–18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the following changes have been put in place: 

1) Students are now able to submit a FAFSA® earlier.  Students have been able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA since Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date is a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016–17 schedule. The FAFSA became available Jan. 1 as in previous years.)
2) Students now report earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) must report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.  
                         *The following table provides a summary of key dates for the early FAFSA submission timeframe and reporting of earlier tax information. 

Source: Federal Student Aid, Web. 25 Sept. 2017, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/fafsa-changes


The CSS Profile will be required for approximately 200 colleges  for 2018-2019.  The CSS Profile and the FAFSA share the same timing of submission, (begining October 1) and income information , (based upon 2 years prior to when the student starts college).  For more information on the CSS Profile, click HERE

Source:  The College Board, Web 26, 2017, https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org 


The College Board added an August test date to their schedule in 2017.  The SAT subject tests share the test dates with the SAT, except in the month of March. The dates for the SAT and SAT SUBJECT TESTS for 2017-2018 are as follows:

For a 2017-2018 SAT Test Schedule, click HERE

For a 2017-2018 SAT SUBJECT Test Schedule, click HERE 

Source: The College Board, Web. 24 Sept. 2017; https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/dates-deadline 

The College Board added a JULY test date to their schedule for 2018. For a 2017-2018 ACT Test Schedule, click


​The College Board made some changes to the three AP history courses for the 2017-18 school year. These changes are primarily based on the format to make it more user friendly to the student and were based upon teacher feedback.  There is no additional content and does not require any specific action by the students or teachers.  The majority of AP Exams take place in May,  on the same day, in all high schools across the country.   For the AP Exam Schedule for 2017-2018, click HERE. 

Source:  The College Board, Web. 25 Sept 2017, https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/exam-dates-and-fees

INTEREST RATES ON FEDERAL  LOANS Disbursed  on or after July 1,  2017- 2018 ​
DIRECT SUBSIDIZED  UNDERGRAD            Rate = 4.45%      Loan Fee =   1.066%
DIRECT UNSUBSIDIZED  UNDERGRAD       Rate = 4.45         Loan Fee =   1.066%
DIRECT PLUS PARENT                                 Rate = 7.00%      Loan Fee =   4.264%
PERKINS                                                       Rate = 5.00%

Source:  Federal Student Aid, Web. 26, Sept. 2017 https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans

​Forbes Expected Family Contribution Graph 2017 - 2018​​               

Source:   Forbes Article  2016 Guide To College Financial Aid, The FAFSA And CSS Profile. VIEW  



​​​Wellesley Weston Magazine 

Weston Town Crier

The Cape Cod Times December 14, 2015
Cape authors offer wide array for local shopping
Cape authors reminisce, thrill and demystify in this - the first of two installments of local books for holiday giving.

Demystifying College Admissions: A Parent-to-Parent Guide to the Reality of the College Process,” by Terry Greene Clark, 2015, ISBN, 978-0-9964739-0-3
Terry Clark found that her own two college degrees (a B.S. and M.B.A.) were of little help when she started the college application process with her own daughter. So when it came time to start the search with her second oldest child, she started to think about how to break down the process into manageable and quantifiable pieces, including a timeline. Written list-style with notes in the back, the book is easy to use and may be helpful to those embarking on the search for the right college.

The Dorchester Reporter December 9, 2014

Dot native seeks to ‘demystify’ college planning for parents ​

​By CaleB NelsoN speCial to the RepoRteR

      As the college application season draws to a close for aspiring gradu- ates, high school juniors are just beginning the college search. The new federal “Scorecard” web- site, ranking colleges according to graduation rates and the estimated salary of graduates, is just one of the many places to start.
     After guiding her three children through the college application process, Terry Greene Clark wrote a book, Demystifying College Admissions, to help par- ents lead a conversation about college. In an interview with The Re- porter, Clark explained how she encouraged her oldest daughter into the search. “February of junior year she didn’t even want to go look at colleges,” Clark said. “She just was not prepared to do it, and  I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this girl is going to need a gap year.’”
     Sitting down to discuss college options, Clark encouraged her daughter’s interests and sense of purpose. “We ended up focusing on liberal arts schools that had a women’s rowing team that was division three, and had a suburban campus,” she said.  Starting with a discussion of the attributes, size, location and atmo- sphere, of the college her daughter would want to attend, Clark buried herself in research.
    “It became somewhat of a part time job to figure out how I was going to get this child, who was reluctant to even think about college, to land on something that was going to make her a happy healthy adult in the future. That is where it started, with gathering all of this information.” “The learning curve is huge at the begin- ning because there is so much vernacular, and vocabulary and nuance to the college process.”
     Growing up in Savin Hill with five siblings and a single mom, Clark was the first in her family to graduate from college. Remembering her own difficulties finding a college, and enrolling, she decided to write a guide book for parents. “The best thing that parents can do is help kids understand who they are,” she said. “Un- derstand where your child is in the process and help them grow from there.”
     Demystifying College Admissions reads like a conversation. It outlines the resources, references and research that every teen will need for his or her college search, and it also includes stories from a family who has been down the path a few times. “The first step that every parent should do is just take a deep breath, and take a step back,” Clark said. “The college process is a marathon, not a sprint. It is some- thing that will change over the course of the next year and a half to two years. Your teen will not be the same person a year and a half from now, even if you don’t believe it.” “They do not need to be at the finish line right now. They just have to be willing to be open, and learn and get through the process. Parents need to know that it’s a process, and that there is a bigger picture.”
     Clark’s book began with a series of letters that she wrote to her old- est daughter in college, to keep in touch and share stories and wisdom. "I discovered that she loved the letters I sent, and savored them, and would reread them, and it awoke in me this desire. I really enjoyed writing, and as that progressed it spurred on this process.”              Immediately after her daughter matriculated, Clark’s son began his college search. It was a completely different experience, but a little easier since she had already done the re- search. While he applied to colleges, she began visualizing her book from start to finish.
“I felt strongly about providing people with a real flavor of what our lives were like. My children were the ones who gave me permission to share their stories, because it is really their stories that I’m sharing, and what was important for me was just to be honest.”
Two years later, when she began the college search with her third child, Clark startedwriting in earnest. Now Demystifying College is available on Amazon and in book stores around Massachusetts. Fifty percent of profits will go to charities designed to enrich education.
     “My intent is to help people along in their journey,” Clark said. “It’s ok to be overwhelmed. It’s ok to know that yourchildchangedtheir mind ten times even after they applied early decision, because it’s normal. It’s a process for your teen as well. They are not just being defiant or lazy. They’re not sure, and may be afraid to make a move and choose the wrong path. My hope is to help parents understand the situations that they’re facing.”
     To find out more about Clark’s work illuminat- ing the path to college for teens and their parents, visit terrygreeneclark. com. ​

January 2017

​​Forbes 2017 Guide To College Financial Aid, The FAFSA And CSS Profile

2017 EFC Quick Reference Table for College Aid 

Step 1 – Locate your income in the AGI column.
Step 2 – Find the column at the top of the table that corresponds to the number of dependent children that you have and follow that column down to the row that corresponds with your income (AGI). The intersecting number is your estimated Federal EFC based on parental income only. The estimated EFCs in the table below do not take into account your assets, or if you make contributions to qualified retirement plans or receive any form of untaxed income. All of which will increase EFC.​

Source:  Forbes Article  2016 Guide To College Financial Aid, The FAFSA And CSS Profileby Troy Onink.  Click HERE to view article.  

June 2016

​​Forbes 2016 Guide To College Financial Aid, The FAFSA And CSS Profile

​2016 EFC Quick Reference Table for College Aid Eligibility
Step 1 – Locate your income in the AGI column.
Step 2 – Find the column at the top of the table that corresponds to the number of dependent children that you have and follow that column down to the row that corresponds with your income (AGI). The intersecting number is your estimated Federal EFC based on parental income only. The estimated EFCs in the table below do not take into account your assets, or if you make contributions to qualified retirement plans or receive any form of untaxed income. All of which will increase EFC.

Source:  Forbes Article  2016 Guide To College Financial Aid, The FAFSA And CSS Profileby Troy Onink.  ClickHEREto view article.  

​​March 2016  

Common Application Essay Prompts 2016-2017 

The Common Application has announced that the 2016-2017 personal statement essay prompts will be the same as the 2015-2016 prompts.  They are as follows:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
 2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family

February 2016

FAFSA Applications Changes for 2017-2018

      Effective October 1, 2016, the timing of submissions and eligibility requirements for the FAFSA will change.  FAFSA forms will now be accepted on October 1, 2016 rather than January 2017 for the school year of 2017 -2018.  

       In terms of eligibility, financial aid distributions will change from using a family's one year  prior income to being based upon a family's (single year) income two years' prior to attending college. 

"This new method is referred to as prior, prior, because students' college financial aid eligibility will now be based off of income from two years prior to when a student enrolls in college, not one year prior the way the rule has been until today."

​For more information on this subject, please click HERE to see Troy Onink's article,  Paying For College: Understanding The New Prior - Prior FAFSA Filing Format. 


Continued 2016/2017 ​UPDATES to First Edition                 Published on 6/30/2015 

Chapter #9

​Forbes Expected Family Contribution Graph 2017 - 2018

Source:   Forbes Article  2016 Guide To College Financial Aid, The FAFSA And CSS Profile.VIEW   

Federal Grant  Disbursed July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017

     Pell Grants - $5815                Iraq and Afghanistan Grants $5413.77 

Federal Loan Rate And Fees Disbursed Oct. 1, 2016 - Oct. 1 201 

     Direct Subsidized Loans       - 3.76%     Fee 1.069%

      Direct Unsubsidized Loans   - 3.76%      Fee 1.069%

      Direct Plus Loans                  - 6.31%      Fee 4.276

     Perkins Loan                          - 5.0%

​Parent Plus Loan Replace Tip #2

     Tip #2 "The US Department of Education offers two main types of discounts on Direct Loans.  First, borrowers can receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction for auto-debit payments.  Second, a 1.5% rebate at the time of disbursement, can be retained by making the first 12 payments on time."16

Federal Financial Aid Forms:  FAFSA

     FAFSA can be filed on or after October 1.

     FAFSA will now distribute financial aid based upon a family's (single year) income two years prior to when a student  attends college.

Chapter #10

What I wish I had know...

     …to evaluate the financial implications of colleges in a more diverse geography since some universities look to attract and entice students from a variety of backgrounds and locations.​

.....…about state and region college tuition discounts that allow residents to attend a college in another state without paying out-of-state tuition.  See NASFAA website for details  https://www.nasfaa.org/State_Regional_Tuition_Exchanges 

Chapter #11

      It is important to remember that Naviance is limited because it only gives you information based upon colleges that graduates from your student’s high school have attended in the past. 

End Notes And Work Cited   All end notes were checked and updated accordingly.  The following are the  additions to  Work Cited:

Anderson, Nick. “As SAT enters a new era this week, students say the exam has improved”, The Washington Post. 3 March 2016. Web. 1 Sept. 2016. <https:// www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/03/03/as-sat-enters-a- new-era-this-week-students-say-the-exam-has-improved/?tid=a_inl>.
———. “Why your new SAT score is not as strong as you think it is.” Washington Post. 11 May 2016. Web. 1 Sept. 2016. <https:// www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/05/11/ why-your-new-sat-score-is-not-as-strong-as-you-think-it-is/>. 

Student.collegeboard.org. CSS/Financial Aid Profile. The College Board, 2016. Web. 8 Aug. 2016. <https://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile>. 

Updates For 2019

To follow in summer 2018  after the 3rd Edition of demystifying COLLEGE ADMISSIONS is released on Amazon.  

Terry Greene Clark

Follow Me

 2016/2017 ​UPDATES to First Edition                            Published on 6/30/2015 

Chapter #1

​​Many College Guide books like Princeton Review and Peterson's are now available on line. Go to :  Princeton Review  www.princetonreview.com/college-education  or Peterson's www.petersons.com. 

Chapter #4

The Common Application Essay

​The  2016–2017 Common Application Essay Prompts are the same as they were in 2015-2016.   

Chapter #5


​The Format for the SAT changed in the Spring of 2016. 

In the past, the SATs and the ACTs were two very different and separate tests that measured similar but distinct constructs.  The ACT has always been known for measuring achievement related more to high school curricula, while the SAT was geared toward evaluating general verbal and quantitative reasoning.  This all changed in March of 2016 when the SAT redesigned their test.  Highlights as of August, 2016, are as follows:  

1) SAT will run 3 hours and 50 minutes for an optional essay.

2) The test will score each subject area – Math and Evidence Based Reading and Writing – independently on a 200-800 point scale.

3) The Redesigned  SAT removes the penalty for any wrong answers. 4) The optional essay will have a scale ranging from 2-8 with results reported separately. 

  There have been three Redesigned SATs administered.  Overall feedback is mixed but the test scores seem to be 50-80 points higher for current students than scores from students in the past. To compare the old SAT versus the new SAT, go to the CollegeBoard website at https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/inside-the-test/compare-old-new-specifications

     In my opinion, it is still too early to evaluate the implications of the Redesigned SAT given the fact that the Class of 2017 will be the first high school students to be evaluated in the admissions process with these scores.  If your students are open to the idea, consider having them take a practice test for both to see if one is better suited than the other.

AP Testing

​ MATH AND COMPUTER SCIENCE - STEM:  Add Computer Science Principles

Chapter #6

2) An offer of admission may come with a contingency.  This relatively new phenomenon offers students admission to the university at a later date.  This may include second semester enrollment or a semester/year abroad before attending a university.  This unique approach not only benefits the students who want to commit to a particular university but also enables colleges to minimize the impact of students leaving while maintaining a steady enrollment of qualified candidates. 

Terry Greene Clark - Author