To be successful, you have to start early and do some detective work. With good grades, school participation, community involvement and persistence, the sky’s the limit. Students can find thousands in scholarship, grants, and loans if they start looking early enough.
Starting in the spring of the sophomore year begin gathering information on potential colleges.
Take the PLAN and/or PSAT in your sophomore year for experience and practice. The PSAT should be considered again in the junior year as a more accurate predictor of an actual SAT score and potential National Merit Scholarship recognition.
Take SAT and/or ACT in the spring of the junior year but possibly earlier depending upon the current level of math and verbal ability. Do a preparation program! See your school counselor for test dates and preparation program information.
Begin visiting colleges during the junior year or earlier if possible - during vacations, long weekends, and over the summer to narrow choices. During the summer many will let you stay in dorms and attend classes.
Late in spring of the junior year students who plan on applying to out-of-state schools should visit with their counselor to begin planning for letters of recommendations and review of the student’s resume.
In the fall of the senior year students should apply to colleges and for ALL scholarships for which they are qualified. Scholarship applications should be an ongoing senior year project. There are some scholarships which are available prior to the senior year.
As early as possible in the student’s senior year, parents should complete their tax returns so students can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) the required federal financial aid form for all grant, loans, work study, and Bright Futures. Students will get a report on what federal grants, loans and other awards they are eligible for, as well as how much their parents will be expected to contribute.