Updated: May 6
Well, summer is almost here and if you are a junior in high school (or the parent of a junior in high school) chances are you are thinking about what college to attend after graduation. (If not, you better start thinking about it.)
Start making out your college wish list now and start visiting colleges as soon as you get the chance. There are many information sessions out there at many different universities, colleges and conservatories. For instance, there are faculty-led events and campus tours to check out. These visits should allow you to get an idea of what college is right for you.
While visiting any campus, you should leave time to really soak in what is going on around you. Check out the college newspaper, the student union and common area. What type of people do you see? How's it feel to be there?
Most of all, you definitely want to stop by the admissions office and learn as much as you can about the college admission process, grants, aid, work environments and student life. So, let's start with getting the funds for college so you do not have to rely solely on loans.
Before entering the admissions office, I would write down a few questions so you are organized and ready to go and can get as much information as you can so you can make a wise decision.
~ What type of financial aid does this university, college or conservatory offer?
~ Do you get extra money for completing the financial aid forms before the published deadline?
According to the Website, NerdWallet.com - “Each year, the FAFSA opens on Oct. 1. File your FAFSA as close to Oct. 1 as possible to improve your chances of qualifying for the most grant, scholarship and work-study aid. Applications began being accepted for the 2021-22 school year on Oct. 1, 2020. For the 2022-23 school year, the start date is Oct. 1, 2021.” https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/fafsa-deadline
To be considered for federal financial aid, you must submit your FAFSA form between Oct. 1 before the school year begins and June 30 of the school year you’re seeking money. This is a 21-month window. https://studentaid.gov/articles/know-your-fafsa-deadlines/
~ Is your University Net Price Calculator accurate? (What is a Net Price Calculator?)
You can usually find a Net price calculator on a college or university’s website. It allows prospective students to enter information about themselves to find out what students like them paid to attend the institution in the previous year (after taking grants and scholarship aid into account). This is important to know as it can help you figure out the amount left over that needs to be paid to the university, college or conservatory.
~ Are there other ways to pay for college besides loans and financial aid?
For now, I would suggest that after you pick out a few universities, start looking for money right away. Do not wait until the last minute to do this. So many teens are in need of funds right now, that waiting too long can make or break your chance of going to a school. Can you imagine all of the work you do for your AP classes, GPA, after school activities and volunteering, you get into the university of your dreams and then find out you are short on money? That would not be good. But, there is something you can do about it so get moving!!