How to Start Preparing for College Applications in the Fall
High school juniors are now halfway through their junior year of high school. For 6 months, they’ve been balancing your scholastic, athletic, family and personal activities. Now, it’s time to start thinking about college admissions and financial aid. As of this moment, they have only eight or nine months left to complete preliminary activities before your application. Today, I’m sharing what high school juniors can do now to be ready for college applications in the fall.
re your application. Today, I’m sharing what you can do now to be ready for college applications in the fall.
Organize Your Financial Paperwork
Keep track of all those end-of-year financial statements/W-2 forms that are starting to arrive in the mail. If you’re working, you’ll need your own W-2 or financial statements in addition to your parents. Carefully document all changes in your family’s financial situation from last year to this year.
File Your 2023 Federal Income Tax Return
You’ll need it when you go to complete the FAFSA in the fall. Knock it off the list as soon as possible, so it won’t get in the way of your other tasks later on – and just keep it on hand. This may be something that your family has on file, so make sure to let your parents know you’ll need easy access to it.
Have a Financial Discussion With Your Parents
Talk about how much money is available for your college education, and mutually agree on comfortable price ranges. Ask your parents if they are willing to help repay any portion of student loans you may borrow. This will give you an idea of colleges that are in your price range. You also want to start thinking about what kind of budget you may be living on during your college years.
Start Your College Wish List
Think about what you want in a college education, and then start looking for schools that can meet your needs. Talk to classmates from your area with similar interests and ask about schools they are researching. You want to have a list of about eight to ten schools. One or two should be a stretch for your academic record and financial situation, and four to six should be a reasonable expectation for students with your capabilities. Add one or two safety schools where you have a very high probability of being accepted.
Study Cost Calculators
Look at websites from preliminary schools on your list, and check their net cost calculators. While this is not an exact amount, it does give you a pretty good indication of what it costs a typical student to attend each college.
Think About Future Earning Potential
While cost should not necessarily rule out a favored school, you do not want to rely on a heavy student loan burden. Think ahead to what students graduating with your degree from your college can earn, and balance that against what future loan payments might be. It’s important to be realistic about what you may earn and what you may owe. While a college education is amazing, you don’t want to be set up for financial burdens after graduation.
Finally, one big deadline to be aware of is filing your FAFSA by 1 October. You want to put that high on your priority list! The sooner you complete the FAFSA, the more financial aid you’ll be eligible for. By the time that you complete your FAFSA, you’ll have a good grasp on possible colleges, and know whether you want to apply for early decision, early action or regular admission, so you’ll be in great shape. I know it can feel like a lot but this is truly the start of a great journey for you and your family!
More about Jodi and College Financial Aid Advisors
Jodi is a FAFSA financial advisor who helps with the financial aid process to help families of college students maximize their financial aid. From completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options, Jodi is a fantastic resource when it comes to student financial aid. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.
Twitter: Now is the time for high school juniors to begin thinking about which colleges they might want to apply to. Here’s what else you should be thinking about!
Facebook Tip: Getting into college and paying for it is a complicated process for high school juniors. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you want out of your college experience – and we know just where to start!
Instagram: High school juniors are now halfway through their junior year of high school. For 6 months, they’ve been balancing your scholastic, athletic, family and personal activities. Now, it’s time to start thinking about college admissions and financial aid. As of this moment, they have only eight or nine months left to complete preliminary activities before your application. Today, I’m sharing what high school juniors can do now to be ready for college applications in the fall.