Right about this time last year, I had 39 colleges on my list. Crazy, right? I was super pumped! I had amazing supplements in mind and I was ready for my senior year. I felt victorious knowing I had everything planned ahead of time.
But did I really have everything figured out?
Around November, I discovered this atrocious thing called the CSS PROFILE, and 85% of the schools I wished to apply to were private schools. As Leonard from Big Bang theory said “What would you be if you were attracted to another object by an incline plane wrapped helically around an axis?” Yeah that’s right: Screwed.
My Definition of the CSS Profile
The most irrational, atrocious and tedious application in the history of the most irrational, atrocious and tedious applications.
College Board’s Definition of the CSS Profile
The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (often written as CSS PROFILE), short for the College Scholarship Service Profile, is an application distributed by the College Board (yes, the same evil one from AP and SAT) in the United States allowing college students to apply for financial aid. It is primarily designed to give College Board member institutions a closer examination of a student’s and his or her family’s finances. It is much more detailed than the FAFSA.
The Problem with the CSS PROFILE
Well, in order to apply for the CSS PROFILE, you must pay a $25 base fee that covers the application and a report to the first school or program, and an additional $16 for every school or program you are sending it to.
$16 is not a lot, but if you are applying to a few more schools than the average senior, it adds up. If you end up applying to more than 10 private schools, THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY!
My Advice for the Day
Make wise decisions. I’m sure many individuals have told you about the importance of making a priority list for college. But I’ll say this, APPLY ONLY TO SCHOOLS YOU COULD SEE YOURSELF AT! Don’t just apply to every single top notch, elite schools just to increase your chances of getting in to one of them, because at the end of the day, you’ll only pick one when that fateful day arrives! It is SO EXPENSIVE to apply to schools you don’t like between CommonApp/application fees, test score fees, and financial aid form fees. Save yourself the trouble!
How You Can Pay for the CSS PROFILE
- Check your budget. See what you can afford, keeping in mind that you have to send standardized tests scores, CSS, applications, among some other things that all cost money.
- College Board gives six fee waivers for the CSS PROFILE if you qualify. The waivers are automatically applied to your CSS based on your information entered into it.
- QuestBridge is a scholarship program for a low income, high achieving students. They offer fee waivers to selected students.
- Contact schools and beg for fee waivers! I contacted ALL the schools I applied to; some said “Sure, here’s the code,” some said “No way, you must pay on your own,” and some said, “No worries, here’s a pdf of CSS, fax this directly to us.” USC, Stevens, and Brandeis, I remember, were few of the many schools I was applying to that offered me waivers.
As they say, “If there is a will, there is a way!”
For more information on the CSS PROFILE, see the CSS Student Guide for this school year.