Guess what, it’s October 1st, you guys! The time has come for warm sweaters, crisp air, and the (unofficial) start of the holiday season. At this time last year, I remember watching the first leaves fall to the ground, oh, and filling out the FAFSA. I was a few months into my senior year of high school and it was crunch time. Now, you might think finals are when crunch time really hits; but I’m here to tell you that the month of October is crucial for college-bound seniors.
Starting early gives you a head start, which you can later utilize to your advantage as the school year progresses. Deadlines can be easily missed once the second semester rolls around; and you also want to take some time to enjoy the end of your high school career, correct? If you do not have a clear plan for college at the moment, take this time to lay it all out. This still gives you ample time to ensure you get into the college of your choice.
Speaking of FAFSA
Every year, on October 1st, the Free Application for Student Aid, thankfully abbreviated as FAFSA, opens for students across the U.S. Now, the sooner you apply the faster you get your federal aid package. If possible, head over to their website and learn about all the required documents you need in order to fill out the application. There are many, and you don’t want to be left scrambling for documents.
Did you know that colleges also have deadlines for the FAFSA? Many colleges require you to submit your federal aid package by a certain date, and by not meeting this deadline you can jeopardize your final financial aid amount. Check with every college on your list for the deadline and aim to submit weeks in advance.
Question: Tell me what you think about the SAT
It’s no secret that SAT or ACT scores matter to colleges. I encourage you to start taking these exams early in your high school career. Aim for junior year at the latest. Whatever you do, unless you score extremely high the first time around, do not take either of these tests only once. You can choose between the SAT or ACT, and depending on your strengths you may want to go with one over the other.
Taking the SAT in October gives you time to re-take it at a later date, and still receive your scores in time to apply Early Action. At the moment registration is closed for the October date, but you can register for the November one right now on Collegeboard.org.
The early applier receives priority consideration
By Christmas 2017 I had already received three acceptance letters. Three! I went into the New Year with a secure college choice and multiple backup plans. All I had to do was apply Early Action. Do you know when most Early Action deadlines are? November 1st or 15th. Use the month of October to narrow down your college list, gather your docs, and write your essays. To help you keep track of all your passwords, download this simple printable.
Pro Tip: Understand the difference between Early Action and Early Decision when applying to college. If you are not sure what the difference is, check out this post that really breaks it, and the whole application process, down.
As a college-bound senior you may be feeling overwhelmed and I get it. Applying to college is a big step. Make sure to take full advantage of October for the smoothest application process and transition.
Can you think of any other tips college-bound seniors would benefit from? Or maybe you are a college-bound senior. I wish you the best of luck! May your top school choice accept you and grant you bountiful scholarships, always.