Category: Admissions

14 Feb

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Just One More Thing!

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By Dan Fenyo

I’ll admit, it’s been a few years since I’ve lived in a dorm. My expertise on the matter may be somewhat dated. While I stand by my advice from Monday’s article, I thought it might be a good idea to consult the real experts: current MSMC resident students!

Some of our wonderful Student Ambassadors sat down and gave me a list of items they wish they had thought to bring on move-in day as freshmen. Let’s take a look at some of their suggestions:

Extra Sheets and Towels

The experts’ advice? However many towels you think you need, bring more. The same goes for bed linens, of course. As a fan of Douglas Adams’ the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I can attest to the importance of having a towel on-hand at all times. In a similar vein, the Ambassadors also recommend that your student packs a folding drying rack to cut down on how many dryer loads when laundering their bounty of towels. In the case of extra towels and sheets, it’s a classic example of having them and not needing them instead of needing them and not having them. What’s worse than drying off with a smelly towel anyway? Yuck! Continue Reading

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11 Feb

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There’s No Place Like Home

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By Dan Fenyo

Ah college dorm residency! For some, an exhilarating first foray into independent living. For others, an unbridled plunge into unsupervised bedlam. Still others will reckon with the experience in totally unpredictable ways! Any idea which one your child will be?

For resident students, transitioning into life in a dorm may be the single most jarring change in their college journey. With high school students enrolling in an increasing number of AP and college-level classes, the academic course-load they encounter by the time they actually reach college might seem completely manageable (or even laughable). Although calculus might be old hat to them, living on their own could be uncertain territory, so before you unpack the minivan and say goodbye to them until Columbus Day, here are a few tips to help ease their move-in and your headache. Continue Reading

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04 Feb

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Safe and Sound

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By Dan Fenyo

Some of the most common questions we receive from prospective students are about campus safety. As a parent, sending your child to live elsewhere (potentially somewhere very far from home) can be a terrifying prospect. There’s a long-standing tradition in movies and television of representing college campuses as communes of debauchery and criminality crawling with carbon copies of 1978-era John Belushi stumbling around with less-than-savory intentions; in short, Saturnalia punctuated intermittently with classes and assignments. The reality of it though is that Hollywood’s depiction of college simply doesn’t exist. At least, it doesn’t exist at the Mount!

Joking aside, security on campus is a very serious matter for parents, students, and the college itself. For that reason, Our Office of Campus Security and Safety is one of our greatest assets here. Matthew Byrne, our director of Security and Safety is a retired Police Chief of the Middletown Police Department. Carl Truffi, Coordinator of Security and Safety, served as a sergeant for the NYPD. So many others have served in law enforcement in some way over the years. With that kind of background students and families can rest assured that the folks managing the safety of the campus know what they’re doing. Continue Reading

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31 Jan

Comments Off on Thursday Thoughts – Financialese 101: The Basics of Jargon

Thursday Thoughts – Financialese 101: The Basics of Jargon

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By Dan Fenyo

So, you’ve gotten your financial aid package in the mail and tore it open only to find a sheet of paper so densely cluttered with verbiage that you nearly fainted. Sound familiar? If so, I thought today would be a good time to break down what some of the lingo you’ll encounter on a financial aid package means for you (and your wallet!) I’ll be referencing our financial aid letter specifically, but much of the language I discuss will be common to any school your child applies to.

Right off the bat, the first two big numbers you’ll see are Resident Cost and With Parent/Commuter Cost. These values represent the overall cost of tuition plus residency if applicable. Resident Cost, obviously, is a significantly higher sum as a result of Housing and Meals; these are what we call Direct Costs – that is, the costs directly associated with your student attending college. You might also see a series of Indirect Costs such as Books and Supplies, Transportation, and Personal Expenses. These values are estimates and based on what a student will likely spend in the course of a year. If a commuter student is eating filet mignon and oysters Rockefeller for lunch every day, you can bet their Indirect Cost is going to increase quite a bit! On the other hand, students who buy used textbooks and opt for more cost-effective supplies may see those expenses decrease. It’s generally safer to budget too much over too little, so estimates tend to err on the higher side. Direct and Indirect Costs combine to create a student’s Estimated Cost of Attendance which, as I mentioned, is probably slightly higher than the real cost. Continue Reading

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28 Jan

Comments Off on FAFSA is Your Friend

FAFSA is Your Friend

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By Dan Fenyo

If you have a child applying to enter college in the fall semester and have already filled out the FAFSA form, congratulations! If you haven’t filled out the FAFSA form (or have never heard of it), then we need to have a serious chat.

FAFSA, also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, has gained a reputation among parents of college applicants as a sort of bureaucratic boogeyman. To the uninitiated filer, it might seem like incomprehensible gibberish designed to be deliberately baffling. To the experienced filer though, it may become a veritable nemesis in the most classical sense: impending, unavoidable, and fated doom.

I’m not here to sell anybody on the joys of paperwork. Far be it from me to defend a ten-page document which, at thirteen-thousand words, is almost exactly half of the length of The Old Man and the Sea. The question stands: why should I fill out an application on the same order of magnitude as a Hemingway novel?

The answer is of course, free money. By filing your FAFSA form, you become eligible to receive loans and grants for your student’s tuition, books, residency, or indirect college costs. These financial aid packages will be calculated and disbursed by each institution whose six-digit Federal School Code (FSC) appears on a filer’s FAFSA app. In the case of your student applying to Mount Saint Mary College, you’ll want to include our FSC, 002778, when you file. When your application is processed, our Office of Student Financial Services will send you a letter outlining the types of aid and their respective values. The earlier you file your FAFSA form, the faster you’ll receive a financial aid package, so aim to complete the form as soon after the October 1st start date as possible!

Every school will mail out financial aid packages at slightly different times, but if you’ve filed FAFSA and haven’t heard back from all the colleges your student has applied to by early February, it might be a good time to contact the school directly and get some more information. For Mount applicants, I always suggest that the admissions counselor for your region be your very first point of contact for anything. Even if we can’t answer your questions directly, we’ll be able to facilitate your contact with other offices on campus. If you aren’t sure who represents your region, check out this page for information about our entire team.

Understanding financial aid can be one of the most crucial (and more confusing) components of college admission; don’t feel like you have to tackle it alone. When in doubt, contact your admissions counselor!

Later this week, we’ll break down some of the specific pieces of aid that you might see in a financial aid package and delve into the nitty-gritty of loans vs. grants, interest rates, subsidization, and payment plans! Until then, make sure you share your questions about financial aid on Facebook and Instagram!



Daniel Fenyo
has been an admissions counselor at the Mount since September 2018. A lifelong Hudson Valley resident, he enjoys reading, writing, and all things nerdy in his free time.

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