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Applying for College Financial Aid

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Applying for College & Financial Aid- May 7, 2019


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You don't need to pay for your college search

In March, federal prosecutors charged 50 people in a bribery scheme to secure spots at big-name schools in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted. That scandal led many students and families to wonder how they can be sure that college search consultants are legitimate but the truth is you don't need a paid consultant to search for colleges, apply to college, or apply for financial aid. Above all, walk away from anyone who guarantees you admission or a scholarship if you pay up-front. You'll find many free resources on the web and at your school you can start here.

Checklist for the summer before college

If you're headed for college in the fall, take these steps over the summer to be sure you stay on track:

  1. Make a budget. Review your Award Letter and pay close attention to what costs are and aren't included. Your high school counselor or your college financial aid office can help.
  2. Make a timeline. List the steps you need to take before you arrive on campus. When is your deposit due? First tuition payment? Housing application and deposit?
  3. Request a final transcript through your high school.
  4. Attend orientation. Whether online or in-person, orientation informs you about expectations and support services on campus.
  5. Get required immunizations. Your school will send you a list.
  6. Register for classes. If you know your major, start taking basic courses. If you're not sure, try out some subjects that interest you, but remember to include core courses like math and composition. Your advisor can help.

3 things to do if you take a gap year

If you're considering a gap year between high school and college, take these three steps:

  1. Apply to college and defer enrollment. Some colleges might let you defer their scholarships as well check with the financial aid office.
  2. Form a plan. What will you accomplish during the gap year? Will you work, volunteer, travel? Studies show that students who have a concrete plan are much more likely to start college after their gap year.
  3. Apply for financial aid during your gap year. File the FAFSA to qualify for scholarships, grants, and federal loans in the following school year.

Find more information from the Gap Year Association.


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