Jordan Hirigoyen CFNN Reporter
With college application deadlines just around the corner and the senior class of 2020 preparing for some life-changing decisions, students are under extreme stress and a heavy workload. However, with a well-thought out schedule and proper planning, you can reduce the stress of these situations significantly! Let me show you how.
Many factors must be considered when planning your next few weeks and month(s). From your college apps, (applications) to filling out the FAFSA, I’ve got you covered. Let’s talk about that.
First and foremost, you should compile a list of colleges to which you plan to apply. Although it would be optimal if your list was made prior to your senior year, the philosophy is kind of like planting a tree: the best time to plant a tree was fifty years ago. The next best time is today, so it’s always better late than never.
Your list should be composed of schools that interest you and that you genuinely want to attend. An adequate list should have around 6 schools for you: 2 “safe” schools that you (hopefully) have minimal issue getting accepted, 2 “target” schools that fit your academic prowess, and 2 “reach” schools into which you may have difficulty getting accepted but would be ecstatic if your did.
Next, you should begin filling out the Common Application (more commonly referred to as the Common App). The Common App is a place for you to fill out all your information and even use essay prompts to facilitate your application process. The Common App also stores all your information in one place, so you will not have to retype your information several times when completing separate applications.
Most colleges and universities accept the Common App with no issues at all. However, you should check to ensure that the schools to which you want to apply actually accept the Common App and the Common App essays.
Following the compiling of your list of applicable colleges and filling out the Common App, you should immediately set eyes towards the FAFSA. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an application you fill out to receive aid from the federal government in your college expenses.
The FAFSA opens October 1st every year and the official deadline is June 30, but you should fill out the form ASAP. In general, the earlier the FAFSA is filled out, the better the opportunities you can get from it. Everyone wants to maximize their chances at free money, so get started on this immediately to secure the bag.
After the FAFSA, you should begin your school’s application aside from the Common App (although the Common App will take care of a tremendous amount of work). This includes the school’s essay portion and other side things they may ask for (such as teacher/guidance counselor recommendations).
Another thing you should be doing is obtaining your transcript. This is easily accessible from the site CFNC.org if you’re applying to in-state schools. Your transcript is needed for every college to which you apply, as it gives a brief rundown of your academics throughout high school.
I wish you the best of luck with your college admissions and all of your after school plans! Be sure to let your counselor know what you need and constantly stay in touch with them!