Helping Maximize Your Financial Aid Potential

10TH Grade:


Make sure to participate in a few extracurricular activities, but remember, not at the expense of your grade point average.


Now is the time to start gathering information about school types and attending college fairs and other activities that will help you gain insights. If your family is planning to take a vacation time at this time of year, try to visit a few college campuses as part of a family trip.


Start to plan your Junior year. Meet with your Guidance Counselor and make sure that your schedule will include courses necessary for admission to the schools of your choice. Also determine how many advance placement classes would benefit you.


Sit down with your parents and start determining how much financial aid you will need. This might be a good time to take an SAT II Subject Test in a subject you have completed.


Don’t just sit home. Do volunteer work, or go to summer school. Start preparing for the PSAT.

11TH Grade:


This would be a good time to start looking for an outside expert to guide you and your family through the rest of the process. Take a leadership role in clubs or student government. If you enjoy or participate in sports, try to make varsity teams. Take the PSAT/NMSQT; this could qualify you for a merit scholarship if taken now.


Prepare a listing of your likes and dislikes. Try to determine your interests and possible career tracks. Send off “Intro. App” to the schools you have an interest in. Select courses for your senior year. Study the “Student Profile Report” to narrow your choice of colleges. Study for SAT exam.


Register to take the SAT exam in spring, either March or May. Take more trips to visit schools, but do not talk to the Financial Aid Officer.


Take AP tests in May and SAT subject tests in June. If you wish to attend a military academy or enroll in an ROTC program, now is the time to request applications. Make sure that you have your CollegeNet disk to prepare writing of the College Application.


More College visits. Do volunteer work or go to summer school. Register to take October or November SAT/ACT test if taking it over.

12TH Grade:


Review list of colleges. Start writing your essay for College Net. Ask your teachers for help with an essay. Find teachers who would be willing to write recommendation letters on your behalf. Retake SAT/ACT if necessary. Make a status sheet of where you are at in the application process with each school. Register for December SAT II subject tests if applicable. By mid-December have the College Net application finished and mailed to them for processing.


File FAFSA. Make sure your school guidance counselor has the forms to submit mid-year senior grades.


By now you should be receiving acceptances and possibly some rejections. Notify the school that you have decided to attend and be sure to include the deposit amount. Notify other schools that have accepted you that you won’t be attending. Congratulations, now you can relax and start gathering what you will need for the fall.



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