Planning for a college is a 2 years process. And it is going to take you much hard work if your family cannot afford the college fees. It is then up to you to acquire and submit financial aid forms, scholarship applications and grant applications which requires diligence and follow up. I know this might sound tedious, but you can pull it off all by yourself if you follow these tips. Read on..
If you are a high school junior, then you should start by taking the SAT or ACT. You cannot skip this part by any means! Colleges look at a students entire high school academic record when making admission decisions and therefore, always try to keep your grades up. Do not underestimate the result in preliminary grades because they count too!
You should decide what strikes you most about a college. Anything from location to social life can be taken into consideration. Going to a college fair and talking to the representatives is a great way to get acquainted with the college you are considering. Look for college nights and open houses on newspapers and community bulletin boards regularly.
In order to pay for the text-books and tuition fees, you must get research your scholarship and grant options. Now-a-days, there are a lot of good online scholarship search services around; you can try them if you like. However, you should avoid scholarship scams which fool you for your money. Some scholarships require you to write an essay on a certain topic. Keep in mind that, no matter how well you write, your essay will instantly get disqualified if you do not follow certain guidelines. Do not submit the essay by post if they ask to send it by e-mail, and vice versa. You should also be aware of the deadline while trying for an essay writing-based scholarship. While reviewing your scholarship applications, admission officers/scholarship providers may want to see the evidence of your leadership skills. Therefore, it is a great idea to be involved in your community or in extra curricular activities at school. Joining a club or signing up for a committee will also increase your chance of getting a scholarship.
In the fall of your senior year, pick the colleges that attract you the most. It is proven that re-taking the ACT or SAT improves a students test score. Therefore, sign up in order to re-take those tests and give mock tests before the actual test to hone your skills. Keep in mind that a decent ACT or SAT score increases the chance of getting scholarships. Attending a financial aid presentation is highly recommended. They are offered at schools and libraries. From your list of preferred colleges, take only a handful which you would give utmost attention. Obtain FASFA (Free Application for Student-Aid) from high schools or local libraries then submit it within as soon as possible.
In the spring, double-check if you have submitted all the financial aid forms and received the SAR (Student-Aid Report) which usually arrives a month after the submission of FAFSA. All you have to do next is decide which college you want to go to. Notify your preferred college of your decision and you are all done!