Choosing a College
These timelines help you plan out your steps to college. They
begin the preparation process in earnest starting in your Junior year. However,
the preparation process should start much sooner than that. If you begin looking
for scholarships and researching schools in 8th or 9th grade, you will have a
good idea of what schools will meet your interests and what type financial aid
available to you.
- Visit some of the schools on your
list. An economical way to do this
is to combine a family vacation with a visit to the institutions near where you
will be visiting.
the course of the senior year, check the Web site for announcements of
scholarship and other opportunities.
serious about researching scholarships. Start applying, work on those essays,
and get your presentation together.
- Fill the holes in your resume
while you still can. Join those clubs, volunteer, and set yourself apart.
- Create a schedule of admissions
and financial aid deadlines for yourself.
- Check with a local high school
guidance office, bank, or public library to find a scheduled financial aid night
for an SAT or ACT test if you have not taken one.
(Students who have taken these tests may wish to retake for better
narrowing your post-secondary choices down to five or fewer; include at least
one that you definitely think will accept you.
your school choice(s) for current catalogs and admissions applications.
to attend a financial aid workshop in your area.
out and submit admissions applications.
sure your parents keep a copy of their federal income tax return in a safe place
so that you will be able to access information from it when filling out the Free
Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
- Obtain all financial aid forms
that may be required by your intended schools.
- Obtain a Free Application For
Student Financial Aid (FAFSA), available at high schools, colleges, libraries,
and by calling 1-800-433-3243. FAFSA is also available online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Apply as soon after January 1 as you can and before June 30.
- Your parents should compile income
tax information and complete taxes early to facilitate FAFSA completion.
- Check with your employer,
libraries, local organizations, churches/religious organizations, and your
parents' employers for additional scholarships. The majority of scholarships
have deadlines from February to May. If you miss them you'll be up the creek
until next year.
February / March
- Tons of scholarships have March 1
application deadlines. Remember this!
out and send in the application for financial aid (FAFSA) as well as other
applications for financial assistance.
- Check with your school's financial
aid office if they need a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR). You should get
this about four weeks after you submit your FAFSA. The FAFSA information Center
(1-319-337-5665) can answer questions you have after that.
mid-year grades sent to the schools that require them.
lining up a summer job.
April / May
schools will have notified you of their decision on admission and financial aid
admissions notifications and financial aid packages. Finalize your college
choice and let them know that you are accepting their offer.
- Follow-up with your school's
financial aid office to check status.
- Contact admissions and financial
aid offices of schools whose enrollment/aid offers you have decided to decline.
Other students may be waiting for your spot/aid.
June / July /
- Request that your final transcript be
sent to the institution you will attend.
- If you are not accepted for admission
at a school(s) that you wish to attend, consider trying for mid-year acceptance
at the same school(s), or try starting out at a local community college.
- Check with the financial aid
office to be assured that all of your documentation has been received.
- Verify with the your school's
business office that your financial aid awards are being credited to your
- Review the bill from your school and
make sure that its correct. Then try to grants
and government loans.