The preparation for entrance to the realm of higher academia can be both exciting and daunting, especially for high school seniors and their parents. There are the obvious things such as choosing the right school, touring the campus and let’s not forget taking the dreaded SAT’s! However, one important aspect that many neglect to give careful attention to is paperwork deadlines.
Just like your English homework, colleges and universities expect their paperwork turned in on time as well. Missing a deadline could mean thousands of dollars in aid or a decline in acceptance. One might assume it’s a simple application and you’re done. No. There is paperwork that has to be turned in to other entities that have nothing to do directly with the university but will be imperative to your acceptance.
The following tips will help ensure that you remain ahead of the game and not finding yourself sweating your acceptance to the college/university of your choice.
1. Get out your kitchen calendar. Make a list of all your school choices, or even your potential school choices and their established paperwork deadlines. Include deadlines for all financial aid applications, as well as the deadline for the actual college application. Note all weekend tour dates and use these days to tour and find out more about your school of choice. The best place to find this information is online or you can simply call the university and they will send you a publicity package that will provide you with all the information you need.
2. Visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm#. This site provides all the information you need to know about financial aid deadlines for both the federal and state level. You can choose your state of residence and the year in which you plan to attend college. In Pennsylvania – All first-time applicants at a community college; a business/trade/technical school; a hospital school of nursing; or enrolled in a non-transferable 2-year program – August 1, 2012, by midnight Central Time.
All other applicants – May 1, 2012, by midnight Central Time.
3. Collect contact information! Colleges tend to run every phone call through a switchboard or a customer service desk. If by chance you speak to someone in person, for instance a financial aid advisor, get their name and number so that in the future you can call and speak to someone directly rather than leave messages or deal with customer service representatives that are often not as helpful as speaking directly to the people in charge.
4. When all of your packages arrive from each school you’ve applied to and you start to narrow things down, it is absolutely fine to call a university and let them know what another school is offering you and find out if there is any additional grants or scholarships that they can offer you to gain your acceptance of their package. Remember: universities are businesses offering education. Be sure to make them compete for your business!
These tips will get you started on the path to making this haunting process a breeze! Good luck!!