A Mentor system is an online resource to help students and their families select a college, apply for admission, and plan to finance higher education.
MarylandMentor offers access to information and admissions applications for statewide and independent colleges and universities within Maryland. The student is responsible for the standard fee charged by a college or university upon submitting an application for admission, but otherwise, Mentor systems are provided free of charge.
Personal data entered by the user is not released to third parties without the user’s express consent and direction.
If you would like to know about your privacy rights on MarylandMentor, be sure to read the MarylandMentor privacy statement.
MarylandMentor can serve as a valuable tool in choosing a college or university, planning to meet admissions requirements, and getting answers to commonly asked questions. MarylandMentor is designed to be useful throughout the admissions process, from the time you begin your research to the time you’re set to attend your school of choice.
Plan for College
The Freshman Planner helps high school students plan their high school education to meet college entrance requirements. It allows students to track their high school work and compare it against the admissions requirements of the schools in MarylandMentor.
The Planner Timeline provides high school students with a general guideline of the financial aid and college application process. It begins with the 8th grade, and follows the process through the senior year of high school.
The Add Your Counselor module allows your High School Counselor to view your MyMentor section of MarylandMentor.
Select a School
The Comparative View module allows you to compare MarylandMentor campus statistics from the available parameters that interest you most.
The Campus Tours module provides online tours of the colleges and universities in MarylandMentor. It includes statistical data, photos of campuses, links to official campus sites, and other useful information. You can also choose between viewing information for undergraduate schools or graduate schools.
The Matching Assistant module allows you to select criteria that you would like your prospective college to meet. Once you have made your selections, MarylandMentor will display all matching MarylandMentor colleges.
The Distance Search module allows you to search for MarylandMentor colleges near a specific zip code.
The Mentor Search module is a search engine specific to MarylandMentor. It will search only the websites of MarylandMentor colleges and universities. You can even limit your search to the colleges and universities in which you are interested.
Financial Aid Simplified
The Financial Aid module provides an overview of financial aid, including the different types of financial aid, eligibility information, and application forms.
The Scholarship Search module searches for scholarships that match your profile.
The Financial Aid Calculator module estimates your expected family contribution, and eligibility for Pell Grants and government subsidized loans.
The Access your Student Aid Profile module allows you to check on the status of your application for a PHEAA guaranteed loan, view existing PHEAA serviced loans, or make a payment on these existing loans.
The Online Applications module allows you to apply online to the campus or campuses of your choice. You can complete and submit your admissions application from the MarylandMentor website. This module also helps you manage the applications you are working on and those you have submitted.
The Career Keyword Search module allows you to search for careers by entering keywords.
The Career Information module provides an overview of the career center and information as to how each module of the career section operates and what they mean for students.
The Career Self-Assessment module provides links to assessment surveys designed to help you identify your interests, skills, values, and personality. This information will be useful later when you’re trying to find a career that suits you.
The Career Matching Assistant will help you find a career based on your interests, skills, and preferences. Once you find jobs in which you are interested, the assistant will provide you with a list of related majors and colleges that offer them. Once you are done here, you can add your results to your portfolio for easy management and future reference.
The List of Careers module provides a comprehensive listing of careers organized by type.
The Links to Career Resources module will lead you to internship and volunteer resources.
The MyMentor Careers module will allow you to access any careers or majors which have met your specifications based on the Career Self-Assessment and Career Matching Assistant modules.
Ask an Expert
The Mentor eCommunications Center module provides online customer service and support including live-chat and voice over IP for questions or comments you have about MarylandMentor.
The Student Support module provides assistance on technical problems with this website.
The Frequently Asked Questions module answers the most commonly asked questions about going to college and using the MarylandMentor website.
The MyMentor module allows you to maintain a custom list of colleges and universities in which you are interested. You can choose to navigate MarylandMentor viewing only your select schools. You may add or delete colleges from your list at any time.
The Applications section will track where you stopped entering your information and will link you to all applications in progress. It will also provide the date and confirmation number of your submitted applications.
The Colleges section will store and allow you to access any colleges you have added to MyMentor from any other module. These colleges will automatically be used in worksheets and tables calling for colleges. You may add or delete colleges from this list at any time.
The E-mail section will allow you to store your sent or received e-mail messages.
The Profile section will store the information you enter about yourself. Make sure to keep your information as accurate and up-to-date as possible. The profile will be used to autopopulate your applications and search for potential scholarships that match your profile.
The Events section will allow you to access your personal or college events on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
The Recruiter section will allow you to select the schools to which you want your Profile information sent.
The Careers section will allow you to access any careers or majors which have met your specifications based on the Career Self-Assessment and Career Matching Assistant modules.
The Student Planner section will allow you to view a summary of your current courses in comparison to the selected schools in MyMentor. This information is based on what you have entered in the Freshman Planner module.
Are you thinking about going to college? Whether the decision has already been made or is still years away, please browse through our Planner Timeline, which we have designed to help you prepare for college. Please note that although you can complete most of the necessary tasks in your junior or senior years of high school, you should start planning as early as the eighth grade. Not only will this improve your chances of getting into your college of choice, but it will also make applying much easier.
Below is a general guideline of steps you should follow while preparing for college. Each step contains links to sections of MarylandMentor that contain tools and information to not only help you plan for college, but help you select colleges, apply to them online, and fund your college education. To go directly to the Planner Timeline, click on your grade level above.
Prepare for college early.
Vague advice, perhaps, but invaluable. Early preparation will help you greatly in positioning yourself to get into your college of choice. We recommend that you start as early as the eighth grade, and start using the Freshman Planner in your freshman year of high school. It’s not too late, however, if you are in your junior or senior year of high school. You can still choose, apply and be accepted to the college best for you if you plan carefully.
Regardless of the grade you are currently in, there are some general guidelines to remember and rules to follow:
Pay attention to dates and deadlines.
Keep in mind that even though they may not be required for high school graduation, most colleges require at least three, and often prefer four, years of studies in math, English, science, and social studies. Use the Freshman Planner to help determine the requirements for a particular school in which you may be interested.
In addition, most colleges require at least two years of the same foreign language.
Your grades are important but the difficulty of your coursework can also be a significant factor in a college’s decision to admit you. In general, most colleges prefer students who challenge themselves with tougher courses, even if they earn only average grades, than students who opt for easier courses that will boost their GPAs.
Honors and advanced placement courses are often weighted more heavily than other courses in calculating a student’s grade point average.
Computer science courses or courses that require students to use computers in research and project preparation can also help aid your future college performance.
College admission officers will pay the closest attention to your GPA, class rank, AP and other honors-level courses, and scores on standardized tests.
Participation in extracurricular activities is also a good idea in high school. Activities that require time and effort outside the classroom (such as speech and debate, band, communications, and drama) indicate that you are a well-rounded individual with many interests and a willingness to cooperate with others, putting forth the effort needed to succeed.
Volunteering at various organizations within the community can also be beneficial, giving you a chance to gain experience in and observe various work environments, while showing others your ability to reach out to those in need.
Plan a career.
Choosing a career can be difficult, but by figuring out what you most enjoy and what skills and abilities you have, you’ll get a better idea of the careers in which you are most interested and their corresponding majors. Having this information in mind will help you decide which colleges are right for you.
Find the college that’s right for you.
There are three ways you can select a college on this site.
By comparison: Use the Comparative View to find and sort colleges using preferences such as college type, location, size, cost, campus life, academics, etc.
By preference: The Matching Assistant allows you to indicate the factors you want to consider when choosing a college and matches the schools participating in the Mentor system to those factors, helping you to narrow down your list of schools.
Visit the college(s) of your choice.
Once you have narrowed your selection, visit your top choices through our Campus Tours. If possible, you should also arrange to visit the campuses in person.
Research your payment options.
You should look into scholarships, student loans, and other financial aid options before you apply to a particular college or university. Since there is so much financial aid available and since colleges are generally willing to work with you to put together a favorable financial aid package, money shouldn’t be a primary concern when considering a college.
Come back in January for financial aid assistance. Most financial aid forms have to be filed after the first of the year, after your taxes and/or your parents’ taxes have been filed.
We will help you sort through the financial aid process and give you information that will help you complete your financial aid forms and teach you other ways to get money for college.
When you search for a career, review your interests, skills, values, and personality. There are many assessment surveys that can help you identify these traits. The career counselor’s office at your school or institution is an excellent resource for such surveys. The Internet is replete with many good surveys that are available to you at no cost.
As you work through these surveys, keep a copy of the results for each survey that you complete. You should then use these results to explore careers on this site. Keep in mind that the results from surveys vary greatly. The following key to linking what you discover from the surveys to searching for careers is meant to be a rough guideline. We also provide a few links to sites that offer free surveys.
Most interest-assessment surveys indicate your Holland type. You may use your Holland codes to search for careers in the Career Matching Assistant.
Most surveys will help you map your skills into general work activities such as communicating, coordinating, performing technical activities, reasoning and decision making, information/data processing, coordinating/managing/advising, administering, and performing physical/manual work activities. You can search for careers by the above skill clusters in the Career Matching Assistant.
The surveys on personal values will give you insight into what you value the most in a career. Understanding your values will help you select a career with a good match to the things you feel most strongly about. Read about and further investigate careers from your values perspective.
Identification of your unique personality traits will help you identify careers that fit your personality, giving you the most likelihood of personal and professional growth. As you explore careers and find the ones that interest you the most, you should devote more time to learning about them and evaluating the match between your personality traits and the careers.
Your counselor can help you with the schools, financial aid options, and more stored in your profile. When it comes to preparing for college, don’t go it alone. Invite your counselor today. Once approved, your counselor will be able to review your portfolio and offer you advice on college exploration, admission applications, and other features available on Xap for High School Counselors. If you’re worried that your counselor may edit your information, don’t be. Your counselor will be able to see, but not change, certain portions of your portfolio such as the student planner, colleges you are interested in, the status of your applications, your career planning data, and the scholarships you’ve saved. Your username and password will remain private, and your counselor will not be able to alter any of the information you put in. To grant your counselor access to this information, click ‘Continue’ at the bottom.
Financial aid is the money you receive from a variety of sources to cover the cost of your education. The good news is that, regardless of income, most people are eligible for some form of financial aid. The financial aid sources available to a student attending college in Maryland include:
A grant is a need-based form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Grants are generally provided by individual states or the federal government and include:
Federal Pell Grants: This is the most common form of federal aid. They are need based, provided by the federal government and awarded by schools.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): These grants are awarded by schools and provide assistance for undergraduates with the greatest financial need. The program gives priority to students who receive Federal Pell Grants.
A loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. The main loan options are student loans, parent loans, and private loans. Federal programs for loans include:
Federal Perkins Loans: These are available to students who demonstrate the most serious financial need. They are federally funded and awarded by the school. Generally, these loans have the best terms and conditions; however, they are usually small in amount due to limited funds.
Federal Stafford (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) Loans: These loans are awarded on the basis of financial need and are regulated by the federal government. Students may be borrowing from a bank, a credit union, or directly from the government. A subsidized Stafford Loan is the loan of first choice, since the government pays the interest while students are in school. Students who do not qualify for a subsidized Stafford Loan may take out unsubsidized Stafford Loans. These students are responsible for paying the interest while still in school, but may postpone payment of interest and principal until after graduation. Any unpaid interest is capitalized once repayment begins.
Federal PLUS Loans: These loans are for parents of undergraduate students. They are based on credit history and require a credit check. The interest rate is low and repayment begins within 60 days after the disbursement of funds to the parent.
Scholarships are a form of aid to help you pay your undergraduate tuition. Like grants, they do not have to be repaid. Generally, scholarships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as financial need and/or academic, athletic, or artistic talent.
Institutional scholarships can be based on financial need, academic ability, or outstanding talent. Many are offered by private colleges and universities, though thousands of private scholarships are also available from other sources. To find out more about these scholarships visit your high school guidance counselor, college financial aid office, the Internet, your local library, or with the MarylandMentor scholarship search
Work study provides students with employment opportunities both on and off campus. Participation in a work-study program is typically based on the student’s financial need. Funding for work-study programs can come from either the federal or state level:
Federal Work-Study Program: This program allows students to subsidize their tuition and expenses with on-campus jobs. To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate financial need.
State work-study programs work the same as the federal program, the only difference being the source of funding.
Benefits for Specific Groups and Other Options
There are several financial assistance programs benefiting specific groups. Getting creative with your options may also help in paying your way through college.
For more information, visit frequently asked questions about financial aid or the Federal Student Financial Aid Homepage.
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Financial Aid in Maryland
The state of Maryland offers scholarships and grants based on a student’s financial need, talents, or career choice. Colleges and universities also give scholarships to students. A number of civic organizations, associations, clubs, foundations, churches, and businesses also provide financial aid.
In 2002-2003, the state of Maryland will award more than $81 million in financial aid to more than 38,000 Maryland residents. Students use this aid at Maryland community colleges, private colleges and universities, private career schools, and the state’s 13 public four-year institutions. The Office of Student Financial Assistance, a division of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, awards state financial aid funds.
Maryland Prepaid College Trust
The Maryland Prepaid College Trust lets you save for tomorrow’s college education at today’s lower prices. It is a state-sponsored program authorized by state law that allows families to save for higher education expenses — college and career schools — in a way that can accommodate nearly every family’s needs and budget. Through the Prepaid College Trust, you open a savings account that is guaranteed to grow as least as much as the increase in tuition costs between when you make deposits (contributions) and when the beneficiary of your account (student) goes to college. And, due to recent legislative improvements to the program, your savings may now grow even more. It is a safe, simple, and affordable way to meet your family’s future higher education expenses.
For additional information on Maryland’s College Investment Plan and the Prepaid College Trust, visit the College Savings Plans of Maryland website.
Need-Based Financial Aid
All students should apply for need-based financial aid. Many families mistakenly think they may not qualify for this type of aid based on their income and assets. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to apply for need-based financial aid.
You must complete the FAFSA to apply for Maryland’s need-based grants, federal financial aid, and financial aid from colleges. You must submit your FAFSA no later than March 1 to be considered for need-based aid from the state of Maryland, and you must apply every year. The U.S. Department of Education supplies and processes the FAFSA. The processed information is then sent to the Office of Student Financial Assistance and to all the colleges you list on the form.
On the FAFSA, you must list all the schools that you are thinking of attending. If you do not list a Maryland college, you will not be considered for Maryland financial aid.
You and your parents (if you are a dependent student) must be Maryland residents to receive financial aid from the state. Students and their parents (if you are a dependent student) must reside in Maryland for 12 months prior to attending a four-year college, or three months prior to attending a community college or private career school.
To be considered Maryland residents, you and your parents (if you are dependent) must:
own or rent and occupy living quarters in Maryland,
keep most of your personal property in Maryland,
pay Maryland income tax on any of your earned income,
register all vehicles in Maryland,
have a valid Maryland driver’s license (if you drive),
be registered to vote in Maryland (if you are registered),
receive no public assistance from another state (or entity).
If you or your parents (if you are a dependent student) are active duty military personnel stationed and residing in Maryland, you are considered Maryland residents for financial aid purposes. If you or your parents (if you are a dependent student) are Maryland residents and in the military, then you will be considered for Maryland financial aid whether stationed in Maryland or not.
So you’re thinking, “Great. I know the sources to pay for education are available, but how much do I really need?”
This is a legitimate question and when it comes to possibly borrowing money, you need to budget and borrow sensibly.
ESTIMATE THE REAL COST OF COLLEGE
Financing your college education means much more than just paying tuition expenses. It’s important to understand all of the costs involved, including room & board, books, lab fees, student membership fees, online access fees, spending money, etc.
Estimate a personalized college budget with the worksheet below. You can also calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or estimated repayment costs.
ESTIMATE THE COST OF YOUR EDUCATION
Create a budget for the full school year.
Dorm or apartment? Meal plan or home cooking? New books or used books? Think about ways to keep your costs down. Then use the table below to realistically estimate what you’ll need for the full school year.
Know your resources.
Discuss what your family can contribute and then aggressively go after “free money” options. Add up your total resources from savings, grants/scholarships and work.
How much more will you need?
Subtract total resources (Box B, above) from total expenses (Box A, above). Enter the total in Box C, below. If your resources can cover your expenses, you’re all set. If not, you’ll need a way to make up the difference from student loans and other sources.
SOME IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT BORROWING
Once you decide to borrow, borrow only what you need.
Estimate the amount of debt you may be able to afford and your monthly student loan payment before you borrow.
Borrowing is a responsibility – take it seriously!
If a student loan is your first borrowing experience, consider this responsibility seriously – your ability to borrow in the future depends on it. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions on your promissory note. You are agreeing to repay the loan with all accrued and capitalized interest and deducted fees. You are obligated to repay your loan regardless whether you complete your education, are satisfied with your education, or are able to find a job. Read and keep all records relating to your loan.
Choose your lender wisely.
Most loans come from banks and there are differences from bank to bank. When choosing a lender consider:
Interest rates and costs
Interest rate savings options (e.g., reductions for consistently making on-time payments)
Variety of loans offered
Experience in student loan financing