Here's a list of the key steps you'll have to take in applying for financial aid. The timing we suggest here is approximate, and you should check with each of the schools where you're applying to ensure that it doesn't have different deadlines.
- Research colleges to ensure that you'll be applying to a variety of schools in terms of academic rigor and cost.
- Begin to research scholarships to understand what your options are. The summer before your senior year is a great time to put some grunt work in.
- Apply to a variety of schools and make sure not to rule out any simply because they're expensive.
- Talk to your guidance councilor and your parents about your financial aid requirements and your strategy for completing the required forms and applying for scholarships.
- Begin to apply for scholarships and grants. The earlier you apply, the more time you'll have for applying to as many as possible.
- Fire the FAFSA. Some schools require that you submit it by the end of February, so pay attention to deadlines.
- File the PROFILE or other custom forms required by the colleges to which you're applying.
- Continue to apply for scholarships.
- If you filed the FAFSA in early January, you'll receive your Student Aid Report (SAR).
- Check your SAR for errors and send in any required corrections.
- The majority of your acceptance letters and financial aid award letters arrive, which outline what financial aid package each school offers.
- Carefully compare each of the financial aid packages you receive, paying attention to the total amount of aid, the leftover amount your family will have to pay, and what the aid is made up of loans, scholarships, grants, work-study, etc.
- Contact schools to ask for more aid. Unless you've received a full scholarship, you and your parents should ask for more money.
- Choose your school and make sure to send in all of the required financial aid paperwork.
- Fill out any required applications for student and parent loans, as well as private loans, if you didn't receive enough financial aid from your school.
|From Getting through College without Going Broke by Students Helping Students®. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. |
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