1. Good grades and test scores are your ticket to get free money to go to college.
2. Take the SAT and ACT at least 2-3 times, and begin studying before you take each test. You can begin taking these tests as early as 7th grade, however it is a great idea to take the SAT and ACT at least once by June of your 9th grade year or beginning of 10th grade.
3. Start searching for scholarships that fit your profile,
4. Make a list of colleges. Choose up to 10 colleges, because 10 colleges can fit on your FAFSA form. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
5. Visit some college campuses as early as you can, but at least by 10th or 11th grade.
6. Get involved on your campus: join a club, play a sport, start a club, run for office, get involved in student government.
7. Start working on your essay, for two things: for your personal statement for your college application, and/or for scholarships. A Career Essay is a really good place to start.
8. Start working on logging the volunteer hours you have been doing in your community. This is a good thing to include in your essay.
9. Prepare an Academic Resume and a Personal Resume.
10. Start thinking about what teachers, administrators, and community leaders you are going to ask for recommendation letters. Pick people who will say great things about you.
11. If you are a Senior Start applying for colleges August 1st.
12. Proofread everything before you submit.
13. Look at applying to accredited private and independent colleges. Many of these colleges have endowment funds and additional funding resources to provide scholarships and grants to help you attend college. Remember there are over 7,000 colleges in the United States, and over 18,000 in the world so there is a fit for everyone.
14. October 1st, apply for financial aid by going to https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. You can select up to (10) colleges. Also look for scholarships on the website of the colleges you are applying to. Every student has to fill out a FAFSA to get any kind of aid, scholarship, grant, athletic etc.
15. If you’re considering private loans or Parent PLUS loans, be sure to evaluate the options at Juno a collective bargaining group for students and families looking to finance their education. You can join for free to see all your options.
16. Now that virtual classes are becoming more of a normal way of life, start learning how to become a great virtual learner. Read books of virtual learning. Try to organize your life so you have time to study, time to understand the material and who you can call or what resources you have available to you if you have questions or don’t understand. The key benefit to virtual learning is that it will truly help our students do better in college. Once you get to college, the syllabus, updates, some classes, grades and financial aid will all be online. Learning to master virtual learning and getting comfortable with it will truly help our students excel in college.