Learn More About Financial Aid
Definitely, if you need financial aid to afford college, you should become knowledgeable about the financial aid process in your junior year.
Furthermore, as youre researching colleges, you should inform yourself about each schools financial aid. Learn which forms are required and use websites like College Scorecard and FAFSA4Caster to get a rough idea about how much youll have to pay to attend each school.
At this point, I recommend not disqualifying a school from consideration based on its cost or the financial aid you think you’ll receive. You may end up getting scholarship money or receiving a more generous financial aid package than you’re expecting.
Educate yourself about how to save and pay for college. Involve your parents and learn about financial aid with them.
Ultimate Goal: Know how to apply for financial aid and get a rough idea of how much the schools you’re considering will cost you.
Look For Leadership Opportunities
Joining clubs and organizations early on in high school allows you to begin building the relationships and skills that youll need to move into leadership roles later on. Taking on these leadership positions can help you learn how to navigate challenging situations and build strong communication skills.
As a high school student, you have countless opportunities to develop leadership skills that will help you stand out in the college application process and prepare you for success later in life. Extracurricular activities like clubs and sports teams, as well as volunteering opportunities are great ways to get involved.
How College Planning Help Can Benefit The Whole Family
Reading through these two accounts, you can see that professional college planning services made a huge difference for Family B in terms of admissions success and less stress.
I always provide a family-centric college planning approach. Students and their parents usually have different goals, needs, and stress points. If their concerns are not addressed properly, it will only lead to bigger frustrations down the road. My college planning services offer a third-party voice to balance all viewpoints and ensure the family works in the same direction just like I was able to help Family B.
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Befriend Teachers You Plan To Ask For Letters Of Recommendation
This is the time to start really getting to know your high school teachers better, especially those who teach core classes you consistently do well in, since they’ll likely be the ones you want to get letters of recommendation from for your college applications.
Develop a strong rapport with your teachers so they respect you and know you well, beyond just the grades you get on homework assignments and tests.
Its a smart idea to ask your teachers sometime in the spring if theyd be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for your college applications that fall. This way, you wont be stressing out at the beginning of your senior year about whom to ask or how much time to give them to write your letter.
Make Your College Decision
Once youve had time to go through your college acceptance letters , its time to make your final decision and pick the college you will attend that fall.
Youll have to submit your decision, along with a nonrefundable deposit, to your school of choice by May 1.
You should also get working on officially declining any offers from schools you have decided not to attend usually youll have to do this through an online portal. If youve been waitlisted at your first-choice school, read our guide to figure out what to do in this situation.
- School supplies
As mentioned, its a good idea to consult your roommate about who will be bringing what.
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The Guide To Saving For Retirement
Youve slaved through college, started working a 9 to 5 job, and now you have some money that you dont know what to do with. You never learned this in school, and now you need to know what to do!
You scour the internet and find thousands of different articles and advisors touting different options. After reading for hours, nothing.
Before you drive yourself crazy about what you should be doing with your money, take a step back and breathe. Youre probably doing an amazing job earning money, now its just tweaking things so that your money works for you. The problem is options there are so many different options and ways to save.
Luckily, you can work through this problem with focus and dedication, and a few minutes of your time. The next 20,000+ words will teach you, step-by-step. Youll do more than just understand how to save for retirement you actually will! To get started, all you need to do is be ready to learn!
What Happens To My Retirement If I Change Jobs
Many of us dont stay with the same employer from our first day of employment to our last day of employment. So that presents an issue about retirement funds. If you begin saving with your current employer, but then decide to switch employers, what happens to that money you saved with your previous employer.
Depending on the type of retirement account you had with them, you generally have three options that you can choose from:
Here are the top ten things to take away from this guide:
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When To Start Preparing For College
According to a report by the ACT administrators, only 38 percent of the 2.1 million students who took the ACT test during the 2015/2016 school year met the companys benchmarks in three out of the four tested areas for college readiness. While the company attributes part of this to the fact that more students are taking the ACT test than ever before, the achievement gap clearly demonstrates the importance of starting early on your college preparation so that you are ready for college and able to gain admission to a good school.
Having a longer period of time to develop your interests and to hone your skills can help you when it comes time to take your ACT or SAT and also to have a terrific scholarship and college admissions resume. Some experts recommend starting as early as sixth grade. We have found that starting to think about and to prepare for college should ideally start during the summer before your high school freshman year, but getting help later can still be of benefit to you. Here are some of the things that you should think about during each of your high school years so that you will be on a path to your own personal success.
Prepare For And Take Standardized Tests
Ideally, youll be able to finish your standardized tests for college by the end of your junior year. That will free up time in your senior year to focus on your college applications, schoolwork, and extracurriculars. If youve been on top of the college planning process, you should have done some studying for the SAT/ACT in 9th and 10th grade.
The SAT/ACT is an important component of your college applications. Figure out your target score, and if youre trying to get into elite colleges, learn how to get a perfect score on the SAT or ACT.
We recommend taking the SAT/ACT for the first time in the fall of your junior year, and, if you don’t do as well as you’d like, you can retake the test in the spring or in the fall of your senior year. If you havent done any preparation for the SAT/ACT before your junior year, you can spend the fall studying and then take the test in the winter or spring. However, if you wait to take the SAT/ACT, then you’ll have less time to retake it if you don’t get your target score on your first attempt.
Also, if you’re intersted in qualifying for a National Merit Scholarship, you should take the PSAT NMSQT in your junior year.
Ultimate Goal: Achieve your target scores on the SAT/ACT and AP tests.
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Find Out Different Funding Options
In order to incorporate and run a business, you need funds. Funding is a major concern. You need operational funds until you break even. If yours is going to be a non-profit college, you can raise funds through foundations or individual donors. You can also seek support from the community. If it is going to be a business, look for other options like:
- Grant options. They vary from state to state. So, you may need to do some extensive research to find people who are in alignment with your educational philosophy.
- Bank loans
- Angel investment
- Contact local and state government representatives to find out if they are interested in supporting a new college for social and economic benefits.
College Application Fee Waivers
Although there are some colleges that do not charge an application fee, most of them charge around $35 and the more exclusive schools, such as Stanford and Columbia, can charge close to $80. According to US News and World Report, in 2016 the average cost of a college application fee was $43.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling is a fee waiver that waives the application fee for up to 4 college applications. To qualify you must meet the ACT or SAT testing fee waiver requirements.
For more information on application fees, check out the following links:
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Begin Searching For Scholarships
While it might seem early to apply for college scholarships, its actually not, as many have deadlines between your junior and senior years. The US Department of Education offers a scholarship search tool you can use for free to get started on looking up potential scholarships.
We also maintain a comprehensive list of scholarships you can apply for as a junior. Some of these might require more documents and effort from you than others, such as transcripts and letters, so give yourself plenty of time to research and apply for them.
Work On College Applications
This, of course, will be one of the biggest parts of senior year. While the work should be your childs, you can support her be offering to read and provide feedback on applications and essays, making sure she stays relaxed and healthy, and giving assistance in other ways. Read Parents: Surviving the College Admissions Roller Coaster for tips on providing support during this process.
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Limit Borrowing To One Year’s Income
Once the acceptance letters arrive, stay focused on making the financially smart choice. You can always appeal for a better aid package, but if the final offer means your family’s EFC is more than you can cover from savings and cash flow, carefully consider a safe amount to borrow.
Kantrowitz says that if students borrow no more than what they expect to make their first year out of school, and if parents borrow no more than a year’s gross income , they should be in good financial shape.
Complete And Submit Your Fafsa
The FAFSA is released on October 1 every year, so try to complete and submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after this date as well as any other financial aid applications your schools might require. Most colleges will require you to turn in your FAFSA by February, so getting started on this sooner rather than later should help make the application process go a lot more smoothly.
Make sure to have your parents with you when you fill out your FAFSA as youll have to report your parents federal income tax returns and other essential information.
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College Planning Tasks You Can Do Before Winter Break :
- Make a list of what youre interested in studying and explore career ideas
- Learn about colleges and save schools youre interested in to your College Board account
- Make an appointment with your counselor to ask about upcoming college fairs and which college representatives are visiting your high school
- Browse the college brochures and catalogs in your counselors officeyou might find a college you havent thought of
Learn How To Pay For College
As a 10th grader, you probably dont know much about paying for college or even what the FAFSA is. So take this time to start familiarizing yourself with key financial terms and what paying for college actually entails in terms of tuition, housing, meal plans, etc.
We recommend checking out our helpful guides on the different types of financial aid and how to save money for college. If your parents are worried about upcoming college expenses, read these articles with them and explain to them how you plan to apply for college scholarships and do well in school to increase your chances of securing a merit scholarship.
If youll be paying for college entirely on your own, get started early by reading our guide.
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Get/stay Involved In Extracurriculars
Other than your grades and test scores, yourextracurricular activities probably have the biggest influence on the quality of your college applications. Colleges want their students to have exceptional achievements outside of the classroom, and theyre looking for individuals who use their leisure time to pursue their passions.
Some students believe they need to be well-rounded and do aton of extracurriculars however, to get into elite colleges, it may be more advantageous for you to develop a spike and exhibit excellence in a particular activity or field.
If you play a sport, you can focus your energies on reaching the highest level in your sport and becoming a recruited athlete. If you excel in science, you can use your time outside of school to prepare for and compete in science fairs and competitions. Additonally, you can take extra science classes at a community college or volunteer to help a professor with research.
Colleges prefer to see a sustained commitment to your activities, so if you participated in extracurriculars in your first two years of high school, you should try to stick with those activities, if possible. If you were part of a club, try to get a leadership position in that club. If you wrote for the newspaper, maybe you can become an editor.
Ultimate Goal: Demonstrate excellence in your extracurricular activities.
Maintain The Highest Possible Gpa
Your grade point average is a mathematical calculation of your final high school grades that take into account grading policies, high school settings, and the classes you took. Unfortunately, each high school has their own way of determining a students GPA, which can make it hard to compare students by this metric. Therefore, the colleges factor in more data as well such as your standardized test scores, class rank, and weighted classes you took. The average standard GPA is 3.0.
For more detailed information on GPAs, check out the following links
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Research Different Types Of Higher Education
Institutions of higher education may seem identical at first glance. All colleges and universities award degrees and offer a similar set of student services. However, the type of school you attend can have a significant impact on how much you pay, which degrees you can choose from, and your overall educational experience.
The following sections highlight the five most common types of colleges and universities, along with the kind of student who stands to benefit from each environment. If you need additional advice on which type of college fits your needs, speak to your high school’s college counselor.
Each state administers public colleges and universities. These schools receive state funding to provide residents with a good education at a lower cost than private schools. Out-of-state students can apply, but public schools often cap the number of out-of-state learners they admit each year. Also, out-of-state learners often pay a significantly higher tuition rate.
Due to potential cost savings, strongly consider your state’s public colleges and universities when researching possible schools. Through lower tuition, you can avoid incurring as much student debt.
Keep in mind that although a private school may open more doors after graduation, your professional success still depends primarily on your work performance. In other words, as time passes after you earn a degree, your alma mater’s importance diminishes.