Steps for Success Applying to Colleges

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1 Steps for Success Applying to Colleges

2 Researching Colleges and Majors My Big Future Search for colleges based on many different criteria, explore college majors and careers, and get tips on applications and essays College Navigator Search for colleges based on many different criteria Indiana Career Explorer Take interest inventories and explore careers which may interest you

3 Comparing Schools Research college admission standards What high school classes should I have taken in order to be a good candidate? What high school GPA does the college require? Does the college require an SAT or ACT score? What does my SAT or ACT score have to be? What kind of diploma do I need (Academic Honors, Core 40, or General)?

4 Preparing to Apply Determine what you will need in order to complete the application for each school Test scores Essays or Personal Statements Letters of Recommendation Resume (list of extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and service activities) Requirements can vary by school. Determining what you need for each application before you begin can help you stay organized.

5 Test Scores Does the college require an ACT or SAT score? Will the college accept my ACT or SAT score reports from my high school, or do I need to send them directly from my ACT or College Board account?

6 Letters of Recommendation Will the college review letters of recommendation? Whom should I ask to write me a letter? What should the letter discuss? Academic achievement Leadership Service Work ethic

7 Essays and Personal Statements DO try to demonstrate commitment and leadership rather than just a list of every activity in which you have participated DO allow your personality to shine through what you write DO express a strong interest in attending a particular school if you genuinely have one DO proofread to avoid embarrassing mistakes

8 Applying to Colleges Once you know what each school requires, you are ready to complete the application(s). Most schools prefer that you complete the application online. Be sure to check and see if the college requires a counselor form to accompany your transcript.

9 Applying to Colleges After you complete the application, you should ask Mrs. Elaman to send your transcript to each school to which you have applied. Use the college application cover sheet for this. Remember that if you have applied to one or more schools on the Common App, you should ask Mrs. Elaman to send your transcript to the Common App rather than the individual schools. Remember to bring $1 to the guidance office for each transcript you want sent.

10 Applying to Colleges When you ask Mrs. Elaman to send your transcript, bring all materials you want to accompany your transcript, including letters of recommendation, personal statements, counselor recommendation forms, etc. Avoid asking for the transcript to be sent, then bringing in the counselor form or letters several days later.

11 Other Recommendations Whenever possible, the student (rather than the parent) should communicate with the admissions office. Always complete applications in ink, not pencil. Carefully proofread all application materials. Create a professional-sounding address for use with applications. Clean up your social media accounts. Make sure your digital footprint reflects you as you want to be seen.

12 Financial Aid & Scholarships Paying for College

13 Filing the FAFSA

14 Why should I file the FAFSA? The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the tool you must use to apply for need-based aid from the federal and state governments. This includes grants. Also, most colleges require that students file the FAFSA annually in order to be eligible for scholarships and student loans.

15 How and when should I file the FAFSA? The FAFSA will be available each year beginning on January 1 at Remember, filing the FAFSA is free. If a web site asks you for money to file the FAFSA, you are on the wrong site! Be mindful of state filing deadlines. The deadline for most Indiana colleges is March 10, but the deadline may be earlier for some colleges.

16 What do I need to file the FAFSA? You will need information regarding your family s income from the current tax year. (For example, if you are filing the FAFSA in January 2015, you will need your W-2s and other tax documents from 2014.) If you need to, you are allowed to estimate the numbers you submit to FAFSA, then correct them later.

17 How do I get grants? The only way to get grants is to file the FAFSA. The state and federal governments will then use the data you input to determine if you will be awarded grants.

18 Other Scholarships & Financial aid

19 Where should I look for scholarships? Check the application procedures and deadlines for scholarships that are specific to each college. (Look on the college s web page under financial aid.) Check to see if your parent s employer offers any scholarships Check with organizations of which you are a member Check the CHS Guidance Office s Scholarship List regularly Check scholarship search engines

20 Where should I look for scholarships? The CHS Guidance Office posts any scholarships we know of to our scholarship site. You can also check these reputable search engines: Fast Web College Board Scholarship Database Sallie Mae Scholarship Search Scholarship Experts

21 A word about deadlines The deadline is the last possible time to turn in a scholarship. Please avoid giving Mrs. Elaman a form to fill out or a request for a letter of recommendation at the last minute. Carefully check all deadlines to see if they are postmarked by deadlines or received by deadlines so you can plan ahead.

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