Student Aid Checklist: High School
The search for student aid usually begins your senior year of high school; however, you can complete some of these steps during your sophomore or junior year.
- Request applications and information from colleges.
- Visit school campuses throughout the fall to help narrow your choices.
- Look into overnight or weekend college visitation programs.
- Mark your calendar for college fairs and school visits from admissions representatives.
- Consider meeting with your school counselor to develop a college admissions plan.
- Register for the ACT1 or the SAT2 test. Consider taking a preparation course to be more comfortable with the testing process.
- Consider early admissions programs.
- Create a schedule of admissions and student aid deadlines.
- Begin completing college applications and essays.
- Request transcripts and letters of recommendation.
- Explore grants and scholarships.
- Complete the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
- Ensure that your school has submitted your transcripts and letters of recommendation.
- Finish completing college applications and essays.
- Submit applications for early admissions programs. Consider applying online. (Be aware that many colleges charge an application fee.)
- Submit all college applications. (Be aware that many colleges charge an application fee.)
- Obtain any student aid forms that your schools may require.
- Apply for a PIN (personal identification number) from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Check on your first semester transcript.
- Update your schools on any new accomplishments.
- Submit all federal, state, and school student aid forms.
- Submit applications and any other paperwork for any grants and scholarships you identified in October.
- Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR). The U.S. Department of Education sends your SAR after they process your FAFSA. The SAR summarizes your eligibility for federal student aid.
- Sign up for Advanced Placement2 (AP2) exams. Contact your schools to find out what score is necessary to receive college credit. Consider signing up for an AP preparation course.
- Keep a look out for your admissions decision letters.
- Compare your student aid packages to the cost of school attendance.
- Make a final enrollment decision and submit your enrollment deposit, if requested.
- Sign and return student aid forms to the school you will be attending.
- Notify any schools where you have been accepted that you will not be attending.
- Take any applicable AP exams.
- Send your final transcript to your chosen college.
- Contact the school's Financial Aid Office to check your student aid package status.
- Complete any remaining student aid forms.
- Plan for college orientation, transportation, and housing.
- Finalize transportation and housing for the fall.
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