Anita from Warwick, New York


At Signature College Counseling, we help students and families navigate the college search journey so that it is a positive experience rather than a daunting one. From finding the schools that are the best fit – socially, academically, financially and emotionally – to applications and financial aid submissions, we’re here through it all. We educate you about the process and equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best, most informed decisions. Our consultants provide valuable insight (we’ve worked with 600+ students) and guidance to make the admissions process easier.

We’re committed to helping you find and attend the college where you’ll thrive. Below is one example of a student we worked with. Her name has been changed to maintain her privacy.

A Signature College Counseling Orange County Success Story

Anita came to us in the middle of her junior year. From Warwick, in Orange County, she attended Warwick Valley High School. A hard working, diligent, respectful and focused young lady, Anita excelled in her math classes and knew that she wanted to apply to college as a business major. Her grades were solid, in the low to mid 90’s, taking some challenging courses throughout high school, including AP’s and honors classes. Anita is Hispanic with a father who was born and raised in Mexico. He came to the US when he was a teenager and never graduated high school. Her mom, who was born in the US growing up in Queens, graduated college later in life. They all lived in Queens until Anita was in 6th grade.

Highlighting Activities of Interest to Colleges

When it came to trying to shine a spotlight on Anita’s activities, the list was incredibly robust. Anita was an honor roll student and involved in plenty of extracurriculars. She took part in various volunteer activities that served the underprivileged in the community both through Interact (a high school club), selling pottery where the proceeds were donated to local organizations, along with various other acts that helped her community. In addition, Anita was a violinist who played in the school orchestra and participated in NYSSMA, a member of the Art Club, an officer of the History and Spanish Clubs, and a member of the math team, competing locally, as well as in the Mathworks Modeling Challenge. But it was in her high school Future Business Leaders of America where her passion lay. Anita also worked throughout the year at a local orchard, a conference center, and a local ski mountain, as well as caring for children. Needless to say, Anita was busy! She loved New York City, visiting museums on a frequent basis, with MOMA and The Gugenheim being her favorites.

Identifying Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities

Anita’s parents could not afford to pay full price for her college education and would qualify for some financial aid. Since Anita’s college journey happened during COVID, her dad lost his job during that time and her mom’s pay was reduced. Finances were tight, even before COVID, but during COVID that became even more so. Their Expected Family Contribution was $26,000, meaning what the federal government says they could pay for one year of Anita’s college education. Bottom line is that Anita needed enough funding, whether it be from financial aid or merit scholarships, to bring her net cost of attendance to around the $30,000 mark. We felt confident that we could get Anita close to that net amount given her academic credentials and her financial aid opportunities.

Finding Colleges that Were Her Best Fit

Given that Anita wanted to be in or near a city, and being able to major in business was a must, we selected schools that fit that criteria. We selected Boston University (which we knew would be a significant stretch), Drexel University (which is located in the heart of Philadelphia), Northeastern University (which is an urban school in Boston but has a bit of a campus giving it the best of both worlds and also would be a significant stretch). We added Temple University, also in Philadelphia, which would be a safety school for Anita, as well as SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Albany, to be sure we included a couple of NY state schools. We also added University of Pittsburgh, which is also located in the city of Pittsburgh.

Selecting the Right School for Anita

Anita got accepted to many schools with various aid awarded to her. University of Pittsburgh had the lowest net cost of attendance for a non SUNY school of $28,000 and Drexel was more generous than we had anticipated with a net cost of $38,000, also accepting Anita into their honors college. The surprise that all of us were ecstatic about was her acceptance into Northeastern. Not only that, but their net cost of attendance was at $35,000. Although a bit higher than the family desired, her financial aid is guaranteed for all 4 years, which is a significant plus where the family doesn’t have to be concerned with applying for financial aid for subsequent years and can plan accordingly. The other schools could not guarantee this aid. Anita was over the moon and in the end decided to attend Northeastern and is absolutely thriving there, which is no surprise to me. She is such a gem and we know that she will go far in life.

If you are looking for help with the college search and admissions process, our consultants are ready to help. Call or email us today to learn more.