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.
Speaking of which, you're about to embark upon the next phase in life during an awkward time (thanks, COVID-19). Graduation plans changed or up-in-the-air, senior-class trips and prom canceled...a Class of 2020 student, you've had A LOT of curve balls thrown your way recently. Don't let this overwhelm you.
Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.
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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 still 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
Let's talk about the elephant in the room - Coronavirus: Don't let COVID stop you from smiling and celebrating your high school graduation. Granted, you'll need to celebrate differently; here are some adaptive party ideas
for you to consider.
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On this note, don't forget to take care of yourself too. Self care is an important life lesson; the more pro you get at it now, the better off you'll be as a college student. Know this, if you're feeling sad about what's going on right now, you're not alone. Many seniors are feeling the same way. Check out this Seventeen magazine article
that discusses great tips on how to manage your stress or anxiety.
2.) Ask For More Financial Aid
We know this is no easy task, it feels so weird to ask for more financial aid help from your college - BUT due to the pandemic students and their families are feeling the pressure due to financial changes. 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 emergency cash grants
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and can help you discover 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. The current state of the economy will likely lead a crowd of applicants
5.) College Savings
Create a savings plan that allows you to save your summer earnings to start college off on a positive financial note.
6.) Final High School Transcripts
Reach out to your high school counselor via email 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 hello!
7.) 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.
8.) 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.
9.) 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 areas with your family? Discuss financial aspects regarding computers, 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 earlier than later.
10.) 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, especially the extra down time we've all acquired. Even as a college student, you'll still need to continue applying for scholarships!
Look at these scholarships designed just for the Class of 2020
13.) Finish High School Strong
STAY FOCUSED until the very end of high school! It was an odd switch moving to online classes so suddenly; don't let the digital classroom stop you. You’ll need those good grades to ensure admission to the college you’ve been accepted to!