1. Monitor your grades closelyMost students believe it’s the grades they receive in the first three years of high school that are most important in terms of gaining college admission. Though they do play a major role, do not let this belief mitigate the importance of the grades you earn your final year. Many colleges will deny or rescind a student’s acceptance if their first-semester senior grades are poor. Additionally, getting good grades senior year can result in the awarding of scholarships, which can reduce the overall costs of college. Ensure your grades don’t slip by monitoring them closely from the onset of your senior year. If you feel they are not where they should be, assess your academic situation – for instance, you may not be spending enough time studying – and seek extra help if necessary.
2. Apply for scholarships and financial aidAs mentioned above, getting good grades your senior year is one possible way to earn scholarships. Other scholarships may be offered to students of particular backgrounds, and others still are based on students’ anticipated fields of collegiate academic study. Ask your high school guidance counselor about which scholarships you may qualify for, and then apply. In addition to scholarships, securing federal aid is another way to lessen the financial burden of attending college. During the spring of your senior year, complete an online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form with your parents (you’ll need their tax information). After completing the FAFSA, your college’s financial department will notify you whether or not you qualify for federal aid in the form of loans and grants. If you are offered aid, you need to indicate to the financial aid office whether you want to accept, decline, or reduce it.
3. Plan for housing, registration and orientationFilling out form after form is not exactly fun, but the good news is that many colleges ask students to complete and submit housing, registration and orientation information online. Avoid a last-minute scramble in planning your college housing, registration, and orientation by arranging for each as soon as possible. Make note of important deadlines and keep a checklist to help ensure you submit all necessary forms on time.
Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, the leading curated marketplace for private tutors. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.