Are you thinking about going to college? Whether the decision has already been made or is still being toyed with, this Planner Timeline, will h help you prepare for college.
Below is a general guideline of steps you should follow while preparing for college.
Plan a career.
Choosing a career and a corresponding major will help you decide which colleges are right for you.
* Find the college that's right for you.
* Get information online about the school of your choice. Some schools have online admission applications for you to complete.
* High School Seniors should complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) on or after Jan. 1. To learn about ways to Get Money for college go to the Funding Your Education area.
* Take the necessary assessment tests.
* Most colleges in the U.S. require that students submit scores from standardized tests as part of their application packages. The most commonly accepted tests are the ACT Tests, SAT Reasoning, and SAT Subject Tests. For information about which you should take, talk to your high school counselor or to the admissions office(s) at the college(s) to which you will apply.
The ACT tests
* For detailed information about the ACT Tests, registering for these tests, how to prepare for the tests, what to take with you on test day, and understanding your scores, visit www.act.org.
The SAT Tests
* For information on and registering for any of the SAT tests visit www.collegeboard.org.
Other common tests
* The two- to three-hour Advanced Placement (AP) Program exams are usually taken after the student completes an AP course in the relevant subject. (Speak to your high school counselor about taking AP classes.) A good grade on an AP exam can qualify the student for college credit and/or "advanced placement" in that subject in college.
* The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) offers students the opportunity to gain college credit by taking an exam. Usually, a student takes the tests at the college where he or she is already enrolled. Not all colleges offer credit based on CLEP tests, and different colleges offer different amounts of credit for the same test, so do your research before committing to an exam. Your best source of information is your college.
Visit the college(s) of your choice
Once you have narrowed your selection, arrange to visit the campuses in person. This is an important step in the decision process, so whenever possible, plan a visit to the schools.
* Discover your payment options.
You should look into scholarships, student loans, and other financial aid options before you apply to a particular college or university. The Federal government has $80 billion available for funding education beyond high school.
If you currently are a high school senior, you should complete the FAFSA as early as possible, but no earlier than Jan. 1.
* Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on or after January 1st. Contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you need to complete additional financial aid forms and check into other financial aid options. In order to be considered for financial aid, you'll need to submit these forms even if you haven't yet been notified of your acceptance to the college(s) to which you applied.
* Go to the FAFSA on the Web now to complete the form. Or complete a paper FAFSA.
* Request that your high school send your official transcripts to the colleges to which you are applying.
* Make sure your parents have completed their income tax forms in anticipation of the financial aid applications. If they haven't completed their taxes, providing estimated figures is acceptable.
* Contact the admissions office of the college(s) to which you have applied to make sure that your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.
* If you completed the FAFSA, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within four weeks if you applied via paper.
* Complete your scholarship applications.
* Contact the financial aid office of the college(s) to which you have applied to make sure that your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.
* If you haven't received an acceptance letter from the college (s) to which you applied, contact the admissions office.
* Compare your acceptance letters, financial aid and scholarship offers.
* When you choose a college that has accepted you, you may be required to pay a nonrefundable deposit for freshman tuition (this should ensure your place in the entering freshman class).
* Take Advanced Placement (AP) exams for any AP subjects you studied in high school.
* You should make a decision by May 1 as to which college you will be attending and notify the school by mailing your commitment deposit check. Many schools require that your notification letter be postmarked by this date.
* If you were placed on a waiting list for a particular college, and have decided to wait for an opening, contact that college and let them know you are still very interested.
* Have your school send your final transcripts to the college which you will be attending.
* Contact your college to determine when fees for tuition, room and board are due and how much they will be.
Summer After Senior Year
* Participate in any summer orientation programs for incoming freshmen.
* Now that you know you will be attending college in the fall, it is a good idea to evaluate whether to get student health insurance in case of any unforeseen emergencies or whether your family's insurance coverage is sufficient.