Golden Rule #2

If you’ve heard about any of the effects of the housing crisis, you may know how difficult it is to try and sell a home when the market is down.  In fact, it’s so difficult that a whole new business industry called, “home staging,” has sprung up.  The job of the home stager is to make your house look as favorable to a potential buyer as possible.  They arrange the furniture, plants, and décor in just the right way, to make the best impression. Studies show that buyers decide on whether to buy a home within the first 30 seconds of being in the home!  So, a home seller wants to make sure their house is packaged for just the right buyer.

Now imagine that you are trying to sell a very unique product that we’ll call, “YOU.”  Even more, we’re looking for just the right college to sell YOU to. However, the college has hundreds, if not thousands, of potential students to choose from.   How do you get YOU to stand out from the rest?  The answer is golden rule #2:

Golden Rule #2:  You need to know how to favorably package yourself and your family’s financial situation for schools that you want to attend.

Just like in “staging” a home for the best buyer, you need to stage (or package) yourself for the best college.  To do this, you need to do a little research on your college of choice in order to put together the best package.

For this package, you’ll need to know two key pieces of information.  First, what is the DNA of the college?  By DNA, I refer to any number of words that relate to its ethos, atmosphere, community, culture, climate, etc.  Every college has a certain “feel” to it and a certain type of student that they are looking for.  Do you know the school’s culture?  More importantly, do you fit the culture of the school?  The last thing you want to be is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole; and that’s what a mismatch in culture would feel like.  This is why a sight visit (or preview) to a college is so important in understanding the type of learning environment you are coming into.

Second, you need to know how to present your family’s financial situation in the most favorable light.  Again, this will require some research on your part in understanding how FAFSA handles different types of income, assets and other financial resources.  In addition, colleges can ask for more specific information beyond what FAFSA asks for, sometimes called a “profile” form.  Knowing this upfront and the types of questions you’ll be asked, will help you get ready to “stage” yourself in the best possible light.

If this seems all a little overwhelming, don’t worry.  You’re already ahead in the game by being here and learning more!  Take the next step in creating the best “package” of YOU by downloading the free financial aid manual at

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