more choices and more perspective would have been nice.
Start early with all the forms and applications. There are more
than one can imagine, and even though most are now available online,
many are still painful and seem to be highly subject to being sent
back for revisions.
One in particular, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid,
is quite possibly the worst online form and system ever devised. It
requires multiple passwords and easily allows for one to enter
incorrect information. Then the office mails back a letter weeks
later to let you know that you've improperly entered some bit of
By then the passwords have expired, so you get to reapply for a
password to reapply for financial aid, and the new password takes a
few days to receive. I've seen IRS tax codes that make more sense.
Anybody who can get that application right on the first try should
get bonus financial aid.
At my house, the pressure seems to be mostly on the parents. My
kid isn't feeling much pressure yet, but I figure that he'll get his
share once we drop him off at school and drive off into the sunset.
Thus, I've decided that I will wade through these last few weeks
and make sure that he actually gets into school, and then I'm turning
it over to him.
It feels a lot like when I camped out for two days to get my kids
into the magnet grade school they first attended -- it's just another
step in the long process of making sure that your kids get what they
need to get the education they'll require.
It's painful, but it's worth it.
* MARK GLEASON is a Costa Mesa resident and parent.