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for Getting Ready to Go to College
Advice provided by Scholarship
you're planning to go to college once you finish high school,
But are you really ready?
college is a two-year process. And unless a rich uncle is
going to write that $30,000 check for you, it is going to
involve acquiring and submitting financial aid forms,
scholarship applications, and grant applications. But don't
despair. By following the suggestions below, and by carefully
monitoring the process, you should be buying college textbooks
before you know it. Keep in mind, however, that this is a
process; it isn't like taking one test and getting an A. It
requires diligence, double-checking, and follow-up.
When you are
a high school JUNIOR:
- Take the SAT
and/or ACT...this is a must.
- Keep your
grades up! Remember that colleges look at your entire high
school academic record when making admissions decisions:
what you do in 9th through 11th grade is just as important
as what you do as a high school senior.
college options. Decide what is important to you: Location?
Curriculum? Size? Diversity? Athletics? Social life?
- Keep an eye on
your local papers and community bulletin boards for college
nights and open houses; talking to representatives at
college fairs is a great way to find out about the colleges
you are considering.
- Research your
scholarship and grant options. Utilize the best
customized scholarship search service available on the
You just can't mimic their resources yourself; they will
save you time and headaches, and help you avoid scams.
- Send away for
scholarship information and applications with early
deadlines. It's never too soon to do so since some
scholarship and grant applications need to be received in
the fall of your senior year.
- Make an effort
to be involved in your community or in extra-curricular
activities at school.
- Join a club,
do a service project, sign up for a committee at your
church. Admissions officers and scholarship providers will
want to see evidence of your leadership and commitment to
service when they review your applications next year.
colleges that interest you most, as soon as you enter your
high school homeroom. Don't delay. Send away for information
and applications; be sure to check out web sites for
information you can obtain online.
Sign up to
re-take the SAT or ACT. Buy a study guide or sign up for a
test prep course to take before the actual test date. Believe
it or not, you CAN improve your test scores by taking them a
second time, and better scores could affect your ability to
visit any colleges you can. Find out when there are
prospective student activities or if you can sign up to
"shadow" an existing college freshman.
(and then once each month thereafter), search for scholarship
opportunities using the premiere online service, ScholarshipExperts.com.
Take time to fill out the entire profile on the site, making
sure to ask your parents about their work experiences and
association/union memberships for optimal results.
Pay attention to
early admission deadlines. By October or November, submit
applications for early decision programs.
financial aid presentation. These are offered at schools,
libraries, and college campuses.
Narrow your list
of intended colleges, and make sure you have all the financial
aid forms required by each school. Required documents may not
be the same at each school, so pay close attention to what
Obtain a Free
Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). This should be available
in January, and it is very important. Call 1-800-4-fed-aid;
the online address is http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA form
can also be obtained from high schools, colleges, and local
submit the FAFSA immediately (it can be submitted anytime
after January 1st in your senior year). Make a copy for
yourself. Parents should compile income tax information and
complete taxes early.
In the FALL
of your SENIOR year:
SPRING of your SENIOR year:
- Verify that
you have submitted all of your financial aid forms. The
FAFSA must be filled out and sent in between January 1 and
March 15 -- get it in early and file it correctly to avoid
delays in funding decisions.
- Be sure to
send in your scholarship applications on time; several
scholarships have spring deadlines. Check back regularly
to find even more awards during the spring and summer
months; you should update your profile each month to
generate new, customized award lists.
- Verify that
you have received your Student Aid Report (SAR); it should
arrive about 4 weeks after you have submitted your FAFSA.
financial aid packages when you receive admissions
notifications. Look for the best rather than the most.
- Finalize your
choice and notify the college.
- Sign and
return financial aid forms to the university you plan to
- Send your
final transcript and student loan application.
- Notify the
schools whose enrollment offers you decline.
You are about to enter one of the most amazing times of your
life, and one that will change you forever. Make the most of
your college experience, and remember to study. It is
important to maintain your GPA so that you can maintain your
scholarships throughout your college career.
information about this topic, visit www.ScholarshipExperts.com.
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