- Finalize your list of colleges. Decide which colleges best suit you and your career interests. Review any campus visit notes and compare schools on academic, cultural, and financial fit.
- Find information on admission, scholarships, and financial aid for the top schools you’re considering.
- Apprenticeships for Trade schools have individual differences when applying. Do some research on the ones you are considering. https://www.earnandlearniowa.gov/apprentice
- Some schools are still requiring the ACT/SAT for admission and some are not. Check your potential schools’ policies. If required, register now to take the September ACT® or SAT if you have not already taken. You may also retake the test if you are unhappy with your previous score. Check with your high school counselor or college admissions office before you retake the test.
- Stay on top of your senior year to-do’s with ICAN Senior Alerts. Visit ICANsucceed.org/signup to register for e-alerts and the ICAN Tip of the Week.
- Visit ICANsucceed.org/fsaid to learn about the FSA ID username and password. You and a parent each need an FSA ID for your financial aid form. The FAFSA application opens October 1st.
- Your senior grades really do matter. Colleges look at your overall grade point average (GPA) through all four years of high school. It’s not too late to improve your GPA.
- Let ICAN assist you through the college planning and financial aid process at no cost if you would like assistance. Visit ICANsucceed.org/apt to schedule an appointment online.
- If you are taking the ACT/SAT this fall, pick up a study guide at a local bookstore or library, or review online resources the testing companies provide for free.
- Begin writing essays for any admission applications that require them.
- Ask adults to write letters of recommendation.
- Be aware of deadlines. Research college scholarship days and deadlines at the schools you’ve applied to. Fill out any additional scholarship forms before the deadlines.
- Schedule your FAFSA appointment with ICAN for after Oct. 1 at ICANsucceed.org/apt if you need assistance outside what the school provides.
- Know the priority dates for filing the FAFSA at the colleges you’re applying to in order to get the most free aid. Submit your completed FAFSA after Oct. 1 but before the priority date. https://www.iowacollegeaid.gov/AidDeadlines
- Fill out the FAFSA https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa
- Talk to admission counselors at the colleges you’re applying to and find out whether retaking the ACT® or SAT® would be advantageous.
- Begin submitting your admission applications to the colleges you’re most interested in. Be aware of deadlines! Applications should be submitted by Nov. 1st for Early Decisions- (Early decision plans are binding — a student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college). Regular admission deadlines fall between December-January.
- Obtain financial aid forms from colleges that require forms other than the FAFSA.
- Update your www.Raise.Me profile and earn scholarships for college planning activities and class grades throughout your senior year.
- Avoid scholarship search and financial aid companies that charge a fee.
- Remember to keep copies of all forms you submit to colleges and agencies.
- Need help filing a FAFSA? ICAN can help. Visit ICANsucceed.org/apt to schedule an appointment.
- Considering taking the ACT® one more time? Register to take the December test.
If interested, research military education benefits.
- Send in college housing applications or look for rentals.
- Visit with your school counselor about application deadlines, local or state scholarships, and grants. Submit regular admission applications this month and apply for housing.
- Continue to apply for grants and scholarships.
- Stay focused! Grades in your senior year can affect college admittance.
- Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR) if you’ve filed your FAFSA. Check that it lists all the colleges requiring receipt of your FAFSA.
- Work with ICAN to create a plan to finance college with tools like Student Loan Game Plan – iowastudentloan.org/gameplan.
- Submit your FAFSA, if you haven’t already done so. Need help filing a FAFSA? ICAN can help. Click here to schedule an appointment or visit www.icansucceed.org/events to find a FAFSA Completion Event near you.
- Compare award letters. A higher sticker price school may offer you more free aid to make up the cost difference. Your school counselor can help or schedule an award letter comparison appointment with ICAN for this spring. An advisor will review your award packages and help you determine your best options. Visit ICANsucceed.org/apt.
- Ask your Mrs. Daft to send your first-semester transcripts to your top colleges that you applied to.
- Watch the mail and your email accounts for letters of acceptance.
- Send in college housing applications if you haven’t already or get ready to sign a rental lease for August.
- Confirm that the colleges you’ve applied to have received your first-semester transcripts.
- Find out whether you need to submit a transcript of your federal tax forms or additional financial aid verification forms to the college(s) of your choice.
- Keep your grades up — second semester grades are important and can affect scholarship eligibility and college admittance.
- Review your budget and financial plan for college. Talk with your parents about cost responsibility.
- Analyze your award letters using College Funding Forecaster – iowastudentloan.org/forecaster or walk through the process with an ICAN advisor – visit icansucceed.org/apt to schedule an appointment.
- Finalize your www.Raise.Me activities to maximize your scholarship potential to compare with award letters.
- Ask your school counselor about local scholarships.
- Decision Day is May 1. Decide which college you’ll attend. Send the required deposit, and sign and return the financial aid award letter, if required. Note other important deadlines.
- Tell other colleges you won’t be attending.
- If you’re securing a student loan, complete the required promissory note and entrance counseling.
- Begin making plans for a summer job if need be.
- Finalize your summer job or volunteer plans. Jobs related to your future career and volunteer work will be great experiences you can add to your resume.
- After final grades, ask your school counselor to send your final transcript to the college you’ll be attending.
- Return all necessary documents, including financial aid forms, to your college.
- Congratulations on your high school graduation!
- Verify you have housing for the school year.
- Notify the college about scholarships you received.
- Save money to help with college expenses.
- Attend orientation sessions to meet people, get familiar with campus and register for classes.
- Prepare a personal budget for college and review it with your parents.
- Check out the “College Packing List” to help make packing less of a chore. Contact your roommate and decide who’s bringing what so you don’t double up.
- Thank your family and friends for their support.
- Attend any orientation sessions that your college offers. They’re a great opportunity to meet people and get to know the campus.
- Turn in any loan applications and promissory notes if you haven’t already done so.
- Get pumped for your new adventure!