SO YOU’RE GRADUATING…
Let’s get a checklist going so you know you’ve got all your ducks in a row.
- FAFSA filed
- Enrollment paid for
- Room & Board paid for (if you’re attending college away from home)
- Scholarships taken care of
- Loans taken out (if needed)
Those are the priorities you need to have taken care of BEFORE walking across that stage! Take it from me, someone who put all of it off wayyy later! My grades aren’t anything to be proud of, but I still got accepted into every college I applied to. If I can do it, then you can too, so don’t be scared. College applications are really intimidating! My brain shut down and I told myself I didn’t know how to file a application, but it’s not that hard, it’s just time consuming. You don’t have to have your major figured out either, which is a relief! I procrastinated BIG TIME and still haven’t done #2-#5, and I graduate tomorrow!
FILING YOUR FAFSA…
Here’s what you’ll need to file your FAFSA:
- your parent’s tax information (if you’re emancipated or adopted, there are special rules for you explained on the FAFSA form!)
- your school information
- your colleges
- your background information including social security number
- your grade history
- your family income
Once you think you’ve got all the information together, you’ll apply here! Make sure you take your time. If you feel overwhelmed or if you don’t have all the information to file your FAFSA, there’s a “save” option. You’ll have a pin to enter so you can come back and complete your form. For those who don’t know, the FAFSA will use your information to confirm which grants and loans you’re eligible for.
PAYING ENROLLMENT/ROOM & BOARD…
Once you’re accepted to a college and you make the decision that it’s where you want to go, the school will provide a link in an email, letter, or on their website so you can pay your Enrollment fee. This also applies for your Room & Board fee.
Scholarships and grants are equivalent to FREE MONEY. Trust me when I say you NEED to fill out scholarships ASAP! Some require essays, some require a simple signature, and some require creative entries! It’s like entering a Sweepstakes, you’re chosen at random (most of the time). Here are a couple of annual scholarships to get you started:
HOPE Texas Scholarship $1,300
1,000 Dreams Scholarship $1,000
ABA Diversity Scholarship $2,500
ACS Scholars Program $5,000
These scholarships were found here. At this site, you can find other scholarships to apply for that will help you cover your tuition. Other websites I found useful were Cappex, Fin Aid, and College Board. Good luck on your search!