Paying for School Checklist

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1 Paying for School Checklist There is a lot to do to get into college. Planning ahead will save you time and energy in the long run! Use this checklist to stay on track for college. Better yet, use it to create a calendar for yourself. Include meetings with your guidance counselor, specific test dates, and application deadlines. And be sure to check it often so you don t miss anything! Preparation: Freshman through Junior Years 9 th Grade Complete assessments in GCIS and explore occupations and programs of study that interest you. Do well in school every course and every grade will count! counselor to plan your high school courses. Make sure you are on track to graduate and meet admissions requirements. 10 th Grade Complete self-assessments in GCIS and explore occupations that interest you. If you haven t already, get involved! Check out clubs that interest you, or become active in a community organization. Register to take the PSAT in October. counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and meet admissions requirements. 11 th Grade Challenge yourself with AP courses and do well on AP exams. They can count towards college and look good on applications. Take the PSAT. Start your college search: Complete self-assessments and decide what you may want to study in college. Undergraduate School Sort matches colleges with your preferences.

2 Talk with your guidance counselor about your financial aid options. Attend college fairs and career fairs at your school. Calculate your potential college costs, and estimate your federal student aid eligibility at Register to take the SAT and ACT in the fall. counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and meet admissions requirements at state universities. Start planning for summer. Work at a summer camp, volunteer in your community, or get a job. Don t wait until school is almost out to decide what to do! If you are interested in an athletic scholarship, talk with your coaches about your options. Then contact college athletic departments at schools you would like to attend. Visit NCAA.org for more info. Keep your parents or trusted adults in the loop! Share your future goals with them, and ask for advice. Summer before 12 th Grade Register for fall SATs. If you took AP exams your junior year, your scores should arrive in July. Start visiting colleges in your area to get an idea of the different types: local technical colleges, colleges and universities, and private schools. Continue narrowing down your list of potential colleges. Include one or two backup schools to apply to that you know you won t have any problem getting into. Request applications and financial aid info from colleges you want to apply to. Search in GCIS for scholarships you may want to apply for. Ask your parents if their employers offer any financial aid benefits. Learn more in the Paying for School section of GCIS. Create a calendar of all your upcoming deadlines: college admission applications, financial aid applications, and scholarship applications. If you plan on competing in Division I or II college sports, register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.

3 12 th Grade: Your Senior Year September Complete assessments in GCIS, continue exploring programs and research schools and costs. counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and in the best position you can be for college. Discuss your financial aid options. If you are applying to an early decision program, get to work on applications! They will probably be due in the next two months. Begin writing your college essays. You will want them to be perfect when you submit them to colleges. Make a resume in GCIS, if you haven t already. Update it throughout the next several months as your progress and experience increases. October Early decision applicants should have all their materials submitted. Ask for letters of recommendation from respected adults. Give them your resume and an idea of the schools or programs you are applying to. Find adults with a connection: If you are applying for a science scholarship, a letter should be from your chemistry or biology teacher! Take the SATs. Make sure the scores are sent to the colleges you ve chosen to apply to. Some college-based scholarships require you to submit your application materials early. If you are applying for them, be sure to submit your applications in time! November Continue working on applications and essays, and submit them on time. Proofread everything! Take the SATs. Make sure the scores are sent to the colleges you ve chosen to apply to. Request your PIN at You will use it to electronically sign, submit, and edit the FAFSA. Using a PIN (instead of mailing in a signature page) will minimize processing time.

4 December Finish all college applications before winter break begins. Submit scholarship applications by their deadlines. If you submitted an early decision application, you may receive a reply this month. Some schools offer financial aid now, while others do not. You may need to accept the award in writing. Take the SATs. Make sure the scores are sent to the colleges you ve chosen to apply to. Gather important documents you will need to fill out the FAFSA. Complete the FAFSA4caster at or the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. Save the information. You will be able to use it to complete the FAFSA next month. January Prepare your tax return with your parents as early as possible. You will need this information to complete the FAFSA. Complete and sign the FAFSA at as soon as possible after January 1. Attend College Goal Sunday for help with the FAFSA. More info at Have your guidance counselor send your transcripts to schools that require them. Complete and submit financial aid applications to any of your colleges that require them. If you submitted an early decision application, you may receive a decision this month. February Contact your college admissions offices and make sure they have received all of your application materials. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) should arrive two to four weeks after you submit the FAFSA by . The will link to the SAR. If there are any errors, make corrections online using your PIN or on the form and mail it back. If you do not receive your SAR four weeks after submitting the FAFSA, call the federal processor at FED-AID ( ). If your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has an asterisk next to it, your application has been selected for verification. You need to submit all requested materials as soon as possible.

5 March College admissions decisions begin to arrive. Review everything you receive carefully. Some schools may require more materials or acknowledgement that you have received their decision. Some scholarship and financial aid decisions begin to arrive. If you haven t already, begin thinking about what you want to do this summer. Work? Intern? Volunteer? You may need to apply soon to some programs. April College admission decisions arrive. Review everything you receive carefully. Some schools may require more materials or acknowledgement that you have received their decision. Scholarship and financial aid decisions arrive. Compare financial aid packages offered by the colleges you applied to. If your financial situation has changed, you can appeal the college s decision. Now the fun part: choose which college you will attend! Mail the enrollment form, financial aid acceptance form, and deposit before May 1. Notify the other colleges in writing that you won t be attending. Not accepted? Meet with your guidance counselor to find colleges you can attend. May Keep those grades up! Colleges don t want to see your grades drop after you are accepted and can reverse their decision. Take AP Exams for college credit or placement and make sure your scores are sent to your college. If you are placed on a waiting list for a college and plan to wait for an opening, contact the admissions office and let them know you are still interested. If you will be borrowing from the federal government with a Stafford or Perkins loan, you will need to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete online counseling. If you are planning on using a PLUS loan or private loans to pay for part of your college costs, begin checking out your options.

6 June Have your guidance counselor send your final official transcripts to your college. Thank everyone who has helped you make it so far! If you plan on competing in Division I or II college sports, have your councilor send your official transcripts to the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, as well. Summer before College Sign up for and attend a freshmen orientation. Familiarize yourself with the college campus and the city. Determine your housing and transportation plans. Where will you live for the summer? When will you arrive for college? Do you need a car? Work to help pay for moving and college costs. If you were awarded money for work-study, you may need to take action to receive a student position. Determine when tuition payments and fees will be due. If you have received financial aid, it will be applied to tuition and fees first, and then any remainder will be given to you.

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