LIVINGSTON, NJ – On Wednesday, the Livingston High School (LHS) Counseling Department presented a program called, “Overview of the College Process” to explain the various steps involved in applying to college. LHS parents and prospective college students were invited to attend.

LHS Guidance Counselor, Sinead Mallon, discussed finding the right ‘fit’ for each student during the college search process. Mallon informed the crowd that the right fit could depend on a variety of factors including size, location, interests, and climate. 

“If you are sick of this brutally cold and snowy winter, you may be considering colleges out in California,” Mallon remarked.

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A significant part of the program focused on financial factors impacting the quest for the right college. Attendees learned that tuition is not the only finance to consider—there are also transportation, necessities and extra resources, such as books to consider.

The program also covered the extended process of applying for financial aid and scholarships—exposing parents to numerous options available if the “sticker price cost,” as Mallon called it, “is already making their stomachs churn.”

After discussing the application process, School Counselor Ronald Niznik broke down the content of the applications—revealing the answer to the most popular overarching question ‘what are colleges looking for’? 

“To many it is difficult to hear, but the ‘first and most important thing they will consider is your GPA and transcript,’” Niznik said. 

SAT/ACT scores, extracurricular activities and recommendations were among the other components on the list.

The program ended with information on resources available for assisting in the college search. Attendees also learned of opportunities for obtaining a ‘real feel’ for favorite schools, such as online tools like: Naviance Family Connection and College Board, which allow students to create a list of colleges, and compare themselves to others who have applied to each school of interest. 

The LHS Counseling Department also recommended campus tours, overnight stays and classroom sit-ins to expose prospective students to the day-to-day realities of a school.

For anyone who missed the LHS workshop, or is looking for more information, there are other resources that will help in the college selection and application process, such as the College Benefits Research Group (CBRG). The company is sponsoring a free community workshop for parents of college-bound high school students on strategies for maximizing their family’s college financial aid and lowering out-of-pocket costs. The workshop will be held Tuesday, March 4, at 6:00 p.m., at the Cedar Grove Public Library, which is located at 1 Municipal Plaza, Cedar Grove, NJ. Seating is limited. Reserve space early. Families can register by calling 888-802-2740 or visiting the website.