It's May and your high school graduation is closer than ever! But remember, there are plenty of loose ends to tie up in high school...and there's plenty to think about for next semester as well.
This is why we've developed a list to keep you focused, and to help eliminate some of the unknowns you're facing. Remember, YOU DID IT, and you should be preparing for your next semester in college (no matter what this may look like). So, soon-to-be college freshman, here's what you need to focus on accomplishing this May:
1.) Don't Overlook Your Accomplishment
Your graduation ceremony may be impacted because of the ongoing Coroanvirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your achievement. If your ceremony is virtual, have an after-party for family and close friends. Or celebrate sometime over the summer when more people have had a chance to get vaccinated.
Also consider doing something just for yourself. Maybe it’s taking a week off after high school to simply relax, play video games, or visit a spa. After all, it has been a hard, unusual year, and you managed to finish high school and apply for colleges throughout it all. You deserve a break.
2.) Ask For More Financial Aid
It can feels very awkward to ask for more financial aid help from your college, but due to the pandemic, students and their families are feeling the pressure to pay for college. If you or your family has faced a financial hardship due to the national emergency, the federal government has given emergency cash grants U.S. colleges for students in your situation.
This article explains the most recent emergency financial aid relief
and can help you discover how much money your college has been given to share with students. Email your college's financial aid office asking how you can qualify for these emergency financial aid funds.
3.) College Summer Orientation Sessions
Email your admissions office to see if they're offering a virtual summer orientation. Start to make plans accordingly, looping your parents in so they can also attend.
4.) Summer Job Planning
Now's the time to begin searching and securing your summer job, if you haven’t done so already. A part-time summer job is great way to either save for college tuition or student living costs, like clothing, late night dinners, and early morning coffee.
5.) Final High School Transcripts
Reach out to your high school counselor to ensure they have the correct college of choice on record and are forwarding your final school transcripts to the college. Don't forget to say thank you for all of their help this year!
6.) Prepare Your College Budget
Prepare a realistic
(note the emphasis on the word realistic) student budget that you can actually USE once you get to college.
7.) Consider a Credit Card
If you’re 18, consider opening a credit card. It’s a good idea to start establishing good credit earlier in life. They key is to take out a low limit and only buy things when you actually have the money to pay for them.
Keep the balance as low as possible and pay off the balance each month, never spending money you don’t actually have! Avoid the credit trap: If you think you can’t handle a credit card, it’s best not to open one at all.
8.) Family Discussions Regarding Budgeting & Contributions for College (Aside from Tuition)
By now you’ve likely discussed the tuition budget, but have you discussed the other financial needs with your family? Talk about how is paying for computers and dorm supplies as well as other financial contributions for college living so that the entire family is on the same page.
It’s best to talk now because you’ll have the entire summer to work, save and apply for scholarships, and look for jobs on your college campus if your parents aren’t able to contribute. Keep in mind that, come fall, most jobs on campus will be taken so it’s best to know sooner rather than later.
9.) File Your Federal FAFSA
It’s your last chance to submit your FAFSA
form for federal aid – if you haven’t done so already! The federal deadline for the FAFSA falls on June 30 – so make sure you get yours in before then if you’d like to apply for federal aid.
The school and state deadlines typically fall sometime between February and early April, so it’s really best to submit your form as soon as possible after October 1!
11.) Find Your Future Roommate
If you need to find a roommate, there's an app for that! Check out roommate matching sites like roomsurf
Create a list of things to discuss with your future roommate, such as who’s bringing what to the dorm room, pet peeves, and what each of your daily routines are like - how you sleep, study, hobbies, etc.
12.) Keep Applying For Scholarships
Apply for scholarships regularly. Even as a college student, you'll still need to continue applying for scholarships! Look at these scholarships for the Class of 2021
Congrats to the Class of 2021! We’re so proud of your hard work and dedication!