NPR and Boston Globe Tapped Wellesley Pros for Advice and Comment as College Admission Season Peaks

April 10, 2014

As college admission decisions and financial aid packets have been sent out across the country, journalists have asked members of Wellesley’s administration to share their insights about important facets of the process.

Wellesley’s Director of Student Financial Services Scott Juedes spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin for Tell Me More, offering his advice to families on decoding financial aid packets. “The first thing you should do is step back and just say congratulations to either your student or yourself if you are the student because it's been a long road to get here,” he advised. “But after you've done that and you are starting to figure out your financial aid award, you don't want to focus solely on 'how much grant did I get?' or 'how much loan?' or even on the bottom line of the financial aid award letter. What you want to try to do is figure out: 'what are my bottom-line costs?' My suggestion would be to focus on cost versus the actual financial aid award.”

The cost of higher education includes tuition and fees, but room and board, travel, and ordinary living expenses are a part of it as well. Even things like the cost of participating in on-campus events are worth considering. At Wellesley, almost all events are free of charge for students.

On a related subject, Dean of Admission Jennifer Desjarlais and Associate Director of Admission Maggie Farnsworth talked to WBUR about why so often the best low-income high school students don’t apply to selective colleges. Sometimes they assume they can’t afford it. Farnsworth told the story of one admitted student who didn’t realize what a good deal Wellesley had offered her, saying, “She had taken what she thought was a full ride at her local state university, but it only covered tuition. She didn’t read the fine print until after she had deposited, and it was way past our deadline, and she called and said, ‘Oh, my goodness. I didn’t realize I’m now going to have to pay room and board.’ And room and board these days is thousands of dollars.”

Desjarlais also spoke on a Boston Globe panel about the college admission process, and about the importance of taking risks in high school as well as in college.

With the Class of 2018 newly admitted, Wellesley wishes all families clarity and peace in the college decisions process. As for the Class of 2019… it’s never too early to start preparing!