Now that the school year is over, rising seniors are beginning to think about attending college. The road ahead for college applications can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of tasks to do, deadlines to manage, and paperwork to complete. Summer break is here – and it’s the perfect time to kick back and relax. But, it’s also a great time to start prep for college application season and to get yourself organized in advance.
Here are four steps to prep for college application season this summer!
Narrow Down Your List of Schools
There’s a common misconception that applying to more schools gives you better odds of acceptance. But, the reality is that more applications mean more time and effort – as well as money in application fees. A better use of your time would be to research potential colleges and determine a realistic list of options for applications. Part of your research should be on the cost of the school, so talk with your family and determine what your budget for school is. If you’re struggling to narrow down your list, talk to your parents and friends about campus visits. Don’t forget to stop by the financial aid office and ask all of your questions about the costs of attendance!
Lay Out Your Application Plan
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of schools, determine the various application and financial aid deadlines for each of the colleges on your list. Write them down and work backwards to determine how much time you need to complete all of that paperwork. Work ahead as much as possible. This will save you lots of stress (and your family, too!). It will also make sure that you don’t miss a single deadline when it comes to college applications.
Talk to Your Parents About Money
As you’re working on your applications, it’s important to talk with your parents about money. If they’re helping to fund your college degree, you should be very aware of how much you can spend and what the payback process will be like. Together, you can determine what kind of budget you’ll have, how much money you need to borrow, and what kind of loans are best for your family. We know that these conversations can be difficult, but it’s better to have a tough talk now instead of being in over your head financially later.
Take Responsibility for Your Applications and Money
A lot of work goes into finance and college applications, so don’t let your parents do all the work. Find out what information will be needed to complete your applications and FAFSA later in the year and help to gather those documents. The summer is also a great time to earn extra money that you can save for out of pocket costs, textbooks, or to put against the loans you need to take. Finally, don’t forget to look for and apply for scholarships (check out our CFAA Scholarship Process). College applications are a group effort – and you play a big part in the success.
Summertime is a great time to start preparing for college applications. Enjoy your summer break – and take some time to gather documents, apply to scholarships, and finalize your potential college list so you can make the entire process easier on yourself – and your family. These steps are simple and will help you prep for college application season well in advance!
Who Are We
CFAA helps with the financial aid process, 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. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.