Admitted Students Weekend

When spring rolls around students all over the country are going through the same thing: making college decisions. The acceptance letters are in, the financial aid packages have arrived, and now there is one thing left to do: CHOOSE. While I am now in my junior year of my undergraduate career, I remember this time of year vividly, my senior year of high school trying to choose the right college to attend. I've briefly mentioned some of my experience choosing a school, but there is an event coming up at The Theatre School that is has got this on my mind. That event is Admitted Students Weekend. I remember as a high schooler going on countless college tours, reading endless pamphlets, and surfing around too many college websites. Sometimes these would be an overload of too much information, and sometimes not enough information, but the tours and pamphlets and websites don't always let you know what the student experience is really like at a college or university. Enter Admitted Students Weekend. I remember once I had received my acceptance letter to DePaul, I was beyond excited. But I had a big choice to make whether to attend DePaul, which had been my first choice at the time, or choose one of the many other options I had. A big thing to consider is fit - do I think I can fit here? Will I get not only the education I desire, but also the student experience I want? 

The Theatre School at DePaul hosts an awesome event to allow students to get a taste of just that. Students who have been accepted into one of the many different degree programs at TTS are invited in April to come to campus for Admitted students Weekend. This is a 2 to 3 day event where students who have been admitted get to truly experience the student life of people with their major. These prospective students get to spend the night in the dorms with current students with their same major, seeing for themselves what it is like to live on campus. They get to watch classes attended by current students to see what they are learning, and get to attend a demo class themselves to try out some of the work. This is a chance to meet some of the other students who may attend, meet current students, ask questions and feel the energy of the school. There are panels with current students and panels with alumni, answering any questions, addressing concerns, and sharing their own experiences. 

As a girl from the Pacific Northwest, who had never really been to Chicago other than to tour the schools, it was important to me to know more before making a huge decision to move all the way across the country. Also I knew that the other school I had visited really didn't feel right to me. In April of 2013, I got an invitation to attend Admitted Students Weekend, to come see what it is like to be an Acting Major​ at DePaul. I can honestly say that it is one of the best decisions that I made. With some objections from my parents, I found a way to get a ticket to Chicago to visit for the weekend. When I got here, I got to tour the school (this was not the beautiful 73 million dollar facility we have now), meet the students, ask questions and get a feel for it myself. I really had to ask myself, based on what I have seen and heard here, could I see myself here? I think that is a CRUCIAL question to ask yourself when picking a school. There are many factors to think about, for me they were location, cost, curriculum, diversity, and more. To be honest, cost was a huge one for me, coming from a single parent home. But to be even more honest, it was important to me to put the cost aside and ask myself is this where I see myself for the next 4 years? For me, the answer was yes. I loved the idea of conservatory style training paired with a well-rounded liberal arts education. I loved the idea of being in Chicago. I loved what I saw as a collaborative environment with committed students and artists. I loved the values DePaul has regarding service to our community and using the city as your classroom. These appealed to me greatly. 

I just received an email today saying that this coming weekend is Admitted Students Weekend at TTS, and to be on the lookout for ways to make the students feel welcome, and help them with their decision. It is crazy to me to be on the other end of the experience this time around, as I have the last few years. I am so grateful that DePaul hosted a weekend like this, as it really helped me make one of the biggest decisions in my life. My advice to anyone currently making their own college decision is to definitely attend any event offered such as the one I have just mentioned. But if you have only experienced the tours, and the photos and paragraphs that are scattered across the website, really ask yourself, "Can I see myself here? Will I get what I want out of my education and my experience?" Answer honestly, and go with your gut. Everything else will work itself out. 

This is a very exciting time of year, and I am very excited to see who decides to become a Blue Demon next fall. 

Financing Your Education

I submitted my FAFSA for 2016-2017 last month, it is the LAST time applying for financial aid in my undergraduate career!  Looking at the cost of attendance, and what kind of aid I’m eligible for has got this topic on the brain, and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all.

Everyone knows college is expensive. This is true at any institution of higher learning. And without sugar coating anything- it is true at DePaul. While I can only speak from my own experience, when I was applying to college, cost and financial aid were of upmost importance. While it had always been my dream to attend a great private school, one with a fantastic arts program and career opportunities, the price tag often made it seems like my dream college was out of reach.  DePaul had always been my first choice school, but the cost was overwhelming. To my good fortune, DePaul is also one of the schools I applied to that offers the most scholarship and financial aid to its students, and in my 3 years has continually tried to help me pay for my education.

When paying for your higher education, whether at DePaul or elsewhere, it is important to cover all your bases, and know what resources you have available to you.

1) FAFSA - this is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is an application that all students must fill out before being offered any kind of aid. This form is for the government, and schools use it to determine how much aid you will be offered. When I was in high school, there was a rumor that FAFSA was just money they give to students. NOT TRUE. FAFSA is simply a way of measuring your “need” to see if you are eligible for government funding grants and loans that will be paid to your school.  Remember loans are the ones you have to pay back!

2) Know what kind of scholarships and grants your school offers. DePaul offers a MULTITUDE. In fact a great majority of students at DePaul receive scholarships and other aid to cover costs of tuition, housing, and more. Be in communication with the financial aid department of your school.  There are ALL kinds of scholarships available, from academic to talent, to even ones based on service. Weighing what is available against cost of attendance is a great way to measure if a school is affordable to you.

3) Know there are outside scholarships available. I have spent many hours of my life applying for outside scholarships, and believe me there are tons out there! I am fortunate to currently have a scholarship from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which gives me scholarship dollars to supplement the aid I get from DePaul. There are scholarship search engines that help you find ones based on the criteria you specify! The internet is a glorious thing for finding help paying for college.

4) On campus jobs and work-study. Many schools, including DePaul, offer on campus jobs, and work study jobs that you can apply for to help get some extra cash or cover educational costs.

The key is really about being strategic, being thorough, and knowing for yourself what is doable. I knew coming to college that I wanted to keep my debt to an absolute minimum. Weigh your options! Paying for college is hard, but luckily I have been adamant about knowing the resources available to me, and DePaul is one of the most helpful institutions I know! I will graduate with an arts degree from a great private catholic school, with minimal debt! That’s absolutely something to be grateful for.

 

Check out these links to learn about Financial Aid and scholarships to finance your degree!

 FAFSA - The Government Website can be found here​

 DePaul Financial Aid Department info located here​

 There are many scholarship search engines out there. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Fastweb​

Cappex  ​

Scholarships.com ​

And of course there is always good old fashioned Google! 


Visitng DePaul

​​​​​Hello, again friends! 

As some of you may know Fall Visit Day​ is almost upon us!  While I myself never got to attend a Fall Visit Day when I was applying for college, I highly recommend visiting any college you are interested in, including DePaul University! Scheduled visit days and other campus tours are an excellent way to get to see a school, learn what it is like, and get your many burning questions answered. When I was in high school, I went on about a million campus tours of various colleges and universities (at the insistence of my parents, ha!) and I can honestly say it is well worth the time and effort it takes to make it happen. 

For those who are not as familiar with Fall Visit Day, or what happens during a campus visit, let me lay it down a little for you. Visit Days and campus tours are a way to introduce prospective students and their families to the college or university they may be interested in. It is essentially a time when prospective students can learn about the unique qualities of that institution, view the campus, speak to admissions staff, and ask those questions that we all have when searching for the right school. Here at DePaul, fall visit day is a great way to tour campus, learn about admissions, housing, dining services, resources on campus, ask questions to current students or alumni about their experience at DePaul, and find answers to anything you have been wondering about. It is a fantastic way to sample what DePaul has to offer, and fall is the best time to do it, when the weather is nice, classes are in full swing and you can get the real experience. 
This is a picture of me, the summer before my senior year of high school. The new Theatre School​ building was still under construction!

While I mentioned before that I had not been to Fall Visit Day, when I was applying to college, I was able to take a campus tour during the summer. When looking for colleges I knew that I was very interested in coming to Chicago, and applied to a few schools here in the city. I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip out here to visit them, and that was the first time I was able to visit DePaul. There was an informational session about DePaul, it’s mission and values, a guided tour of the campus and facilities, and I even had a meeting with someone in admission of The Theatre School. It was nice to be able to see where I would potentially be eating, studying, working out, having classes, and learning about what makes this school unique. While summer worked out for me, I wish that I could have visited for the first time while school was in session. It is nice to get a sense of the vibe on campus, and see the facilities in use. I didn’t get to see the dorms, or see the students, which was something I was looking for. Fall Visit Day is the perfect time to check out what the school has to offer. 

My few tips if visiting a college are:

1) Plan ahead and check the weather- you may be walking around in unfamiliar surroundings and varying weather, so wear the right shoes, bring that umbrella, and be prepared. 

2) Do not be afraid to ask questions! Asking questions is a great way to learn! Big or small, it’s okay to ask about anything from tuition to laundry! No question is stupid. 

3) Write it down: if there is something you want to ask or want to see, write it down so you don’t forget when you are there. Also, if you are like me, and visit many schools, take notes of how you felt on campus and the answers you got so you can refer back to them later. 

To learn more or register for Fall Visit Day, visit the DePaul Website: