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Making the Most of Your Senior Year

No time for Senioritis

If your child is entering into their Senior year, there is an incredible amount of work to be done before the end of the year.  Don’t panic right now.  Having a plan in hand is how we help hundreds of Seniors each year.  There are quite a few simple tasks to work on right now and when you start with and then continue to build upon as the year progresses. So let’s help you get started:

Make sure you meet all the requirements for graduation by year’s end. Ask your counselor to help you stay on track with admission requirements and scholarships and sending transcripts and test score reports.

Create a Planning Calendar.

Senior year is a busy time. Stay organized by using a planning calendar for important dates like each college’s application deadline, test dates, financial aid deadlines, and so on.

Continue Visiting Schools.

If you have not yet visited your top colleges, make arrangements. If possible, schedule visits when classes are in session. If you can’t visit a school, look online for information and virtual tours.

Make a Final List of Your Top 3-5 Top Colleges.

You’ve talked with your parents and met with your counselor. You’ve researched colleges online and made visits. Now it’s time to settle on 3-5 colleges. Download their college applications and financial aid forms.

Look into Financial Aid.

  • Talk with your parents about what they can and can’t afford. Learn about financial-aid opportunities for which you qualify.

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To apply for federal financial aid, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA. October 1st is the first day you can file the FAFSA. Three to five days after you filed online, you will receive your Student Aid Report or SAR. The SAR will tell you how much your family is expected to pay for your education.

  • Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. It is an online application used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for their aid dollars.

  • Follow Up On Scholarship Opportunities. Send in scholarship submissions you’re working on. Also, check out state, local, and financial aid from the colleges.

  • Compare the Different Financial-Aid Packages. Financial aid plays a large part in your final decision. Review each school’s package thoroughly with your parents.
  • Complete Your College Essays. The college essay is an important part of the application. Make sure a teacher/parent proofreads your essay for mistakes and provides feedback.

  • Take the ACT/SAT. If you still need a higher score, register and retake the ACT and/or SAT. Request that your test results get sent to the schools you applied to. Ask a counselor to help you fill out a fee waiver if you can’t afford a college application or the ACT/SAT fees.

  • Finish and Submit All of Your College Applications. Mail in or submit your application online. Follow up with your high school’s guidance department to make sure they have sent everything that’s required, such as transcripts and test scores.

  • Contact Colleges to Make Sure They Received Your Application. Make sure that each college received the necessary materials: tests scores, transcripts, application form and recommendations. You may either call or email the admissions office.

  • Submit Mid-year Grade Reports. Send your senior year first semester grades as part of the application process. Have the guidance department send these out.

  • Check for Admission Decisions in the Mail. Admission letters should start arriving in March, followed by financial-aid award letters. Check your mailbox daily, this is what you’ve been waiting for!

  • Make Your Final Decision. Make your admission decision carefully. Thoroughly read each decision. Compare the different financial aid packages. Then choose the college that’s right for you. Mail in the enrollment form, deposit check and signed financial-aid package.

    Finish Enrollment Paperwork. Upon acceptance, you’ll receive a package with information on classes, orientation, housing and more. Complete the forms in the package and submit them by the deadline.

  • Send Your Final High School Transcript. Colleges require a final high school transcript. Contact your high school guidance office to make sure this gets sent.
    Inform the Colleges You Won’t Be Attending. Once you made a decision, inform the other schools that accepted you that you won’t be attending. This frees up a spot for another student.

  • Get Ready for Your First Year at College. Sign up for orientation and living arrangements. Schedule your first-semester courses.

And most of all…don’t panic!  We’re here for you. Take advantage of the FREE “get acquainted” call we really want you to set up with us.  It’s not a sales pitch- this is a simple conversation to help you get started and continue to collect the information you need to get ready for college. Book an appointment soon.  Isn’t it worth 15 minutes out of your day?

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