The beginning of the calendar year often inspires people to lay out a plan for what they hope to accomplish over the next twelve months. This will be a particularly busy year for those students who are currently juniors in high school, as they should be submitting college admissions and financial aid applications by the end of the year. It can get confusing, so here is an idea of what your year should look like:
- Save all 2021 year-end financial information.
- Research and select top college choices.
- As you add colleges, make a note of their application and financial aid deadlines.
- Determine whether standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, are required.
- Schedule college visits, either in-person or virtual. Have a list of questions prepared.
- Set up a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat.
- Talk to your parents about a college budget.
- Start listing achievements to add to applications.
- Begin asking for letters of recommendation.
- Apply for FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm for student and parent.
- Think about career options, to help narrow college field.
- Sign up for CFAA services, if interested. Space is limited, so this should be completed as early as possible.
- Parents and students should file federal income tax returns for 2021. This information will be needed for your financial aid applications.
- Enrolled students should schedule an information-gathering session with CFAA to discuss the entire financial aid process. You will receive an email outlining requested information.
- Narrow down a list of schools to apply to in the fall. Choose dream, target and safety schools.
- Note any plans for early decision or early action applications.
- Research scholarship opportunities and deadlines.
- Work on admissions applications.
- Create your college financial aid planning timeline based on institutional, state and federal deadlines.
- Use Net Price Calculators to determine estimated costs to attend selected colleges.
- Visit or communicate with school campuses to narrow choices and determine financial aid policies.
- Update CFAA regarding the status of college applications.
- Continue refining the college list, and update CFAA regarding any changes.
- Keep track of requirements for state and college early decision/early action deadlines for any new colleges.
- Look for that 2021 financial information you set aside, so it will be available for financial aid applications. Make notes of any special financial circumstances in 2022.
- Identify FAFSA/CSS Profile requirements and supplemental financial aid forms required by each college. The FAFSA and CSS Profile are available beginning October 1. Some colleges also have additional financial aid application requirements. Have everything submitted as early as possible, since some programs have limited amounts of funding available.
- Identify application and deadline requirements for any private or outside scholarships.
- Meet with CFAA via Zoom to review and submit completed financial aid applications.
- Closely monitor communications from colleges to determine if additional information is required.
- Respond immediately to any Requests for Verification.
- Review statistics regarding cost of college attendance.
- Continue researching scholarships.
- Submit financial aid applications if not already completed.
- Review any Student Aid Reports received. This is the Department of Education’s reply to your submitted FAFSA. It summarizes your financial aid eligibility for any federal programs.
- Gather end of year savings and investment documentation and W-2 earnings statements from the current year for next year’s financial aid applications.
- Watch for end-of-year scholarship deadlines.
Of course, your schedule might look a little different, but deadlines are what really count. Please contact CFAA with any questions you might have about your personal situation.
Good luck with your college action plan for 2022! Remember that CFAA helps with every step of the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to comparing financial aid offers and making the best choice for your family. Set up a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter