So you're just starting your senior year and are planning on going to college next year, here's the 12 month low-down to go from senior to college Freshman! Request information and applications packages from your short list of colleges. Use SchoolsintheUSA.com's "request info" feature for a fast way to receive information from colleges. Schedule college visits, attend college fairs and meet with admissions staff at your prospective colleges. Start identifying who will provide your recommendations and asking them for letters. Plan your education budget, including the application fees, using the SchoolsintheUSA.com Budget Builder. Determine the application requirements for each of your target colleges based on the information they sent.
Start to work on your application essay. Give yourself plenty of time to write several drafts and have someone else proof it. Register and take the SAT or ACT tests in October. Click here for the test dates.Determine how you will be financing your education. Your savings. Part-time job. Parents. Scholarships. Student loans. Request transcripts to be sent to your prospective colleges. Start researching and applying to scholarships. Check both private and public sources for relevant scholarships. If needed, investigate student loans. Check out www.fafsa.ed.gov. Request application information or apply online for funding.
If applying early, get your application packages submitted in November to those colleges that accept Early Actions and Early Decisions. Request ACT or SAT test scores to be sent to your early application colleges. Finish your essay, making sure it's customized for each college you are applying to. Confirm receipt of your letters of recommendation. If applying with the regular deadline, get your applications packages ready in December. Register and take the SAT or ACT tests in December. Click here for the test dates.Maintain a file of all submitted applications per college. Start gathering materials and financial records for applying to FAFSA.
Apply to FAFSA as soon as possible. Submit applications to colleges with January / February deadlines. Request financial aid information and forms from the colleges you are applying to. Send mid-year marks to colleges if necessary. Verify that your applications package has been received by the colleges you applied to. Review your Student Aid Report from FAFSA to ensure the information is correct.
Confirm with your prospective colleges if they've sent out letters of offer yet. Watch the mail. Check with the financial aid office of any of the colleges you've received a letter of offer from. Compare the offers you have received from your prospective colleges. Determine which college is going to be the best choice for you. Make a decision.
Notify all the colleges that sent you letters of offer of your choice that you will or will not be attending. Apply for on campus housing if this is going to be your living arrangement, or look for off campus housing. Sometimes student housing options are limited and go fast. Register for the college meal plan if this is going to be your arrangement. Apply for health / medical insurance, if attending college away from home. Verify your scholarship funding and notify the college of any private scholarships. Finalize your student loan options, if needed.
Have your final transcripts sent to your college. Finalize your housing arrangements, especially if you are renting off campus. Research and confirm your banking options near the college. Confirm all of your financial arrangements such as scholarships and student loans. Create a first-year college budget. Confirm and register for your first year classes. Purchase your text books. If you do this early, you may be able to purchased used text books at a discount. Investigate on campus jobs if you'll be working during the school year. Get ready to work hard and have fun!