However, all opinions expressed are my own. #PayingforCollege #Ad
Like a deer caught in the headlights…that pretty much sums up how I would describe the entire college application process when I was in high school…senior year to be exact! I was part of the first generation of college attendees in my family. I was the oldest in my immediate family and oldest of all my cousins. That basically meant the entire process of applying and going to college was on me! I was the official guinea pig, or better yet, deer caught in the headlights! Keep reading to hear a little about my experience and how today is a whole new world!
Thank goodness for my CAP advisor! The CAP, or College Assistance Program advisor, literally held my hand through the entire process. Everything from taking the appropriate college entrance exams to applying for college, and applying for financial aid were made so much easier thanks to Mrs. Gunther! Unfortunately, with overpopulated schools, budget cuts, and mounds of supplemental tasks and paperwork, aka “red tape,” the process may not be as thorough as it used to be. If your teenager’s school has a CAP advisor, this is one person you want to get to know! Luckily, everything is also accessible online! Applying for college and financial aid is right at a student’s finger tips.
It’s funny because that inner dread of having to fill out endless applications started to rear its ugly head. My own daughter is now a sophomore in high school and we are already talking about this process at home…something I never had! This makes me feel confident that we are on track and with so many online resources we are able to keep a pulse on what is going on. Back in the day, everything was snail mail…now we have access to every step online!
Two websites that are officially bookmarked on our laptop is The College Board and FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Just click on these links and save them now…trust me, you’ll thank me later 😉 You might also want to commit the actual FAFSA website address to memory…it’s easy, fafsa.gov 👍
There are a few quick points & tips to remember when it comes to getting started on applying for financial aid…
- Create an FSA ID – This is your “electronic passport” to your federal student aid application online.
- Collect all the necessary documents…once you start, you just can’t stop! Just kidding…yes you can…but who wants to stop a million times to find something in the back of the filing cabinet?!?!
- Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines…know what the different deadlines are for state and federal applications. Put them on a calendar, set up an alert on your phone (and your teenager’s phone), and don’t wait until the last minute!
- That brings me to this point: Apply as EARLY as possible!!! You are going to need the most recent tax returns so get those done ASAP as well…the sooner the better!
- For more info on how to complete the FAFSA, check out BigFuture’s How to Complete the FAFSA here
“Money, money, money-in most cases, this makes all the difference.”
Let’s face it, it’s best not to put all your eggs (e.g. tuition expenses) in one basket. It is best to put it out to the universe as much as possible. To learn more about paying for college, check out BigFuture and CollegeGo.
BigFuture helps students search colleges, understand financial aid, and apply for scholarships. There is tons of money out there just waiting to be awarded! This site is pretty cool as it also helps set up those deadline reminders I mentioned above and helps navigate students through the entire college application process.
|Photo Credit: BigFuture|
The CollegeGo mobile app guides students through the essential steps in the college application process with different interactive features, such as games and videos.
|Photo Credit: CollegeGo|
- 3 Steps to Financial Aid
- Financial Aid FAQ’s
- 7 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid