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Home » Applications, College Admission, Colleges, FAFSA, Financial Aid News, Scholarships

High School Seniors: Getting Ready for College Check List

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If this is your last year of high school, you probably have a million things on your mind. At the forefront, though, is the constant question: What are you going to do next year? If college is in your plans, then it’s time to check in about your progress.

  • Have you applied early anywhere?
  • Do you know where else you will be applying to?
  • Have you taken your ACTs or SATs?
  • Have you applied for scholarships?

The list of things to do is long and it can be overwhelming at times. But burying your head in the sand won’t make it any less so.

If you are avoiding or procrastinating dealing with your college application responsibilities, here is a friendly reminder of what you need to do each month from now until May. Follow this checklist and you should be ready to hit your freshmen year of college running!

October/November

  • Set up campus visits and start on your application forms
  • Register for your ACTs or SATs if you have not taken them yet
  • Identify as many scholarships as possible and start working on your applications

December

  • Narrow college choices and complete applications
  • Ensure your letters of recommendation are in process
  • Request financial aid materials from schools you are applying to
  • Begin gathering materials to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Apply for scholarships

January

  • Fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible after the 1st of the year
  • Continue applying for scholarships

February

  • Complete FAFSA, if not already finished
  • Continue applying for scholarships

March

  • Continue applying for scholarships
  • Build a college budget that include expenses and income sources
  • Work on lining up a part-time job for the summer to gain both spending money for college and value experience for your future career

April

  • Receive your acceptance letters to college; consider your options and consult with mom and dad.
  • Review your financial aid award letters. Create a chart to compare the offers, including grants, scholarships, loans and work study. Also include the real cost of college attendance, as more expensive schools offer greater financial aid packages.
  • Accept your offer of admission and make a non-refundable deposit to the school of your choice – usually by May 1.

May/June

  • Get ready for graduation! Congratulations!!
  • Complete housing registration forms and other documentation required by your college
  • Finalize arrangements for financial aid
  • Continue applying for scholarships, which believe it or not are still in the peak of their award cycles (yes, even in the summer)
  • Work as much as possible to put aside money for living expenses in the fall

If you follow these basic steps throughout the rest of your senior year, you will be ready academically, socially, and financially to start school in the fall. Any questions?

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