Path to College

college path

If you’re reading this you must have a teen or are a teen who wants to go to college. That’s terrific, but now what? The NOW… Is the WHAT. Setting reasonable short term goals to achieve entrance into a desired school will enhance success. Follow LYFTeacher’s Now, App Countdown & Show Me the $$$ sections to help your teen get through the college application process without added stress.

NOW

  1. Complete personality testing & use career search tools on LYF’s When I grow up page
  2. College search using dropdown on right. Review entrance exam scores and student statistics for each.
  3. Go to PSAT 8/9 section and use tools to prepare.
  4. Improve your study skills and time management with APPS like: Quizlet, myHomework Student Planner, inClass, Evernote / Simplenote, Office Lens (GP)/ Office Lens (IT)
  5. Start SAT/ACT prep APPS: Daily Practice SATSATUP, Play 2 PrepCollege Passport, and create quizlet cards for Vocabulary.com’s New SAT Multiple Meaning List
  6. Choose 9th grade courses based on your abilities. Take classes to push you, but not push you over the edge. Save time for extracurriculars (EC), community service (CS), and/or work
  7. Search for non-profits that spark your interest. Read CS* dropdown & LYF’s: 5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Community Service 
  8. Choose ECs* that YOU like so you can commit for 4 years. EC’s can range from basketweaving to soccer… But love em! Colleges want you to stick and grow with EC’s.
  9. Team up with a resource like CollegeTrack or see if you have a similar program in your community.
    * EC = Extracurriculars
    * CS = Community Service
  10. Summer ~ Begin building your path. Read the Build Character dropdown then do something over the summer that backs up your passion. Dedicate time to learning or improving a new skill, volunteering, interning, taking a a course, and get familiar with the resources needed to succeed in high school like study APPS, summer reading, math review, etc.
  1. If you’re new to LYF, complete personality testing & use career search tools on LYF’s When I grow up page
  2. Begin or continue your college search using dropdown on right. Review average SAT, ACT and GPA’s needed for your schools of interest.
  3. Go to PSAT 8/9 section and use tools to prepare.
  4. Continue or start SAT/ACT prep APPS: Daily Practice SATSATUP, Play 2 PrepCollege Passport, and create Quizlet cards for Vocabulary.com’s New SAT Multiple Meaning List
  5. If new to LYF, improve your study skills and time management with APPS like: Quizlet, myHomework Student Planner, inClass, Evernote / Simplenote, Office Lens (GP)/ Office Lens (IT)
  6. Grow with your ECs*. Challenge yourself and show leadership. Read EC dropdown.
  7. Team up with a resource like CollegeTrack or a similar program in your community.
  8. Start volunteering. Read Community Service dropdown.
  9. Choose 10th grade courses based your goal.
    1. Ivy League or Highly Competitive Institution – Take an AP that promotes your passion or talent. Don’t overload in AP’s unless you’re truly Einstein and don’t need to study. It’s better to stay balanced. Take 1 AP & pass that AP exam with a score of 5, then take 2 exams and get 3’s, because Harvard will only accept a 5 to give you college credit. (View AP’s Credit Policy Search for required scores). Sure it looks good to have 2 AP’s, but it looks better to show your passion is Biology, you value CS, and follow ECs you love.
    2. Less competitive institution: Continue taking college prep courses and take AP if it won’t affect other course grades. If you want to go to a state school, you can get credit if you score a 3-5 on AP test. Think about taking a CC course over the summer to gain college credit.
    3. You want to graduate HS early. Take CC course during summer school then enroll in CC course during 10th grade if you completed it successfully. Your high school AND the college you will complete your degree accept Dual Credits.  Read more under: Earn College Credits in HS dropdown.
  10. Summer ~ Continue SAT/ACT studying using resources, apply for available scholarships, retake course if you got below a C, get an internship, volunteer, start a business, get a job, improve your EC’s, follow your passion, and/or take a CC course. Do not play video games and eat bonbons when you can learn a new skill for free online using our resources in When I Grow Up. Stay active!
    * EC = Extracurriculars
    * CS = Community Service
  1. If you’re new to LYF, complete personality testing & use career search tools on LYF’s When I grow up page
  2. Begin or continue your college search using resources in dropdown. Complete LYF’s College Comparison Chart. Delete unneeded columns and type using Word.
  3. Go to PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT10 BASICS section and use tools to prepare.
  4. After you receive scores go to: Use PSAT Scores to Prep for SAT section. Continue or start SAT/ACT prep APPS: ZinkerzDaily Practice SATSATUP, Play 2 PrepCollege Passport, and create Quizlet cards for Vocabulary.com’s New SAT Multiple Meaning List if you haven’t yet.
  5. If new to LYFTeacher, improve study skills and time management with APPS like: Quizlet or Flashcards+myHomework Student Planner, inClass, Evernote / Simplenote, Office Lens (GP)/ Office Lens (IT)
  6. Continue challenging yourself with your ECs*.
  7. Team up with a resource like CollegeTrack or a similar program in your community.
  8. Continue volunteering. Read Community Service dropdown if new to LYF.
  9. Choose 11th grade courses based on your goal & grades. Review 10th if new to LYF
    1. Ivy League or Highly Competitive Institution – Take another AP. If you maintained solid grades and did felt AP test was easy, take 2 AP courses you believe you can score 5’s on, if not, stick with 1 and focus on excelling in all subjects, your EC’s, and SAT/ACT prep. Continue to stay balanced.
    2. Less competitive institution: Continue taking college prep courses. Take another AP if you succeeded in one in 10th and feel you can pass AP exam with 3 or higher.  Take a CC course over the summer to gain college credit and/or gain high school dual credits.
    3. You want to graduate HS early. Take CC course during summer school then enroll in CC course during 10th grade if you completed it successfully. Your high school AND the college you will complete your degree accept Dual Credits. Read more under: Earn College Credits in HS dropdown.
  10. Summer ~ Continue SAT/ACT studying using resources, apply for available scholarships, retake course if you got below a C, get an internship, volunteer, start a business, get a job, improve your EC’s, follow your passion, and/or take a CC course. Do not play video games and eat bonbons when you can learn a new skill for free online using our resources in When I Grow Up. Stay active!
    * EC = Extracurriculars
    * CS = Community Service
  1. Pursue Your Passion. Continue to pursue what you love to do that allows you to learn and grow as an individual. From soccer to basketweaving, do it and do it with heart!
  2. Study hard! This year is your year to shine if you want to go to a highly competitive school.
  3. Relationship Building ~ Continue building relationships with teachers and coaches who you want to ask to write recommendation letters for college, or jobs/interns.
  4. Athletes – Register with NCAA Eligibility Center.  Send them an unofficial transcript at the end of 11th grade.
  5. Personality & Career Testing ~ If you haven’t yet already, complete testing on LYFTeacher’s When I grow up page.
  6. College Search ~ Begin or continue your college search using resources in dropdown. Complete LYFTeacher’s College Comparison Chart. Delete unneeded columns and type using Word.
  7. SAT/ACT Prep ~ Continue or start SAT/ACT prep APPS: ZinkerzDaily Practice SATSATUP, Play 2 PrepCollege Passport. Create or continue Quizlet or Flashcard+ cards from Vocabulary.com’s New SAT Multiple Meaning List.
  8. Get Organized ~ use a study and/or time management APP like: Quizlet or Flashcards+myHomework Student Planner, inClass, Evernote / Simplenote, Office Lens (GP)/ Office Lens (IT)
  9. Push yourself in your ECs*.
  10. Counselor ~ Meet with your high school counselor and Team up with a resource like CollegeTrack or a similar program in your community.
  11. Continue volunteering ~ Read Community Service dropdown if new to LYFTeacher.
  12. Recommendation Letter Request ~ After Spring finals, ask the teachers who you admire and have seen you grow, to write a letter or recommendation over the summer for you. Do not wait until the Fall when they are bombarded with begging.
  13. Course Selection for 12th grade:
    1. Ivy League or Highly Competitive Institution – Take another AP. If you maintained solid grades and did felt AP test was easy, take 2 AP courses you believe you can score 5’s on, if not, stick with 1 and focus on excelling in all subjects, your EC’s, and SAT/ACT prep. Continue to stay balanced.
    2. Less competitive institution: Continue taking college prep courses. Take another AP if you succeeded during 11th and feel you can pass AP exam with 3 or higher. Take a CC course over the summer to gain college credit and/or gain high school dual credits if your school and college of desire accepts.
    3. Graduating HS early. You may only need a few courses if you’ve been on an early graduation path since 9th grade. Review your credits with your counselor to see what it will take to graduate. If you’re new to LYFTeacher, ask your counselor about “Dual Credits”. You should also read more under: Earn College Credits in HS dropdown. If you graduate early what is your success plan? Will you join the workforce, enroll in a vocational program, continue courses at CC, etc. If you need financial aid, make sure you complete FAFSA the January prior to beginning college full time.
  14. Summer ~ Continue SAT/ACT studying using resources, apply for available scholarships, retake course if you got below a C, get an internship, volunteer, start a business, get a job, improve your EC’s, follow your passion, and/or take a CC course. Do not play video games and eat bonbons when you can learn a new skill for free online using our resources in When I Grow Up. If you’re applying for colleges, now is the time to work on your essays. Read Build up to APP Submission below. Stay active!
    * EC = Extracurriculars
    * CS = Community Service
  • Pursue Your Passion. Continue to pursue what you love to do and merge that into your future career. How can your passion be used in your future career?
  • Get on the College APP Track! If you haven’t yet, read the basic build up to APP submission below. This will guide you through the process without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Relationship Building ~ Continue building relationships successful peers. Who you know, is often more important than what you know.
  • Athletes – If you haven’t yet, register with NCAA Eligibility Center if you plan on playing  a college sport. They will require an unofficial transcript.
  • Personality & Career Testing ~ If you haven’t done already, complete testing on LYFTeacher’s When I grow up page.
  • College Search ~ If you’re undecided on a college, continue search using resources in the A+ College Search Tools dropdown.  If you haven’t already, use LYFTeacher’s College Comparison Chart to help you decide. Delete unneeded columns and type using Word.
  • SAT/ACT Prep & Test ~ Continue SAT/ACT prep APPS: ZinkerzDaily Practice SATSATUP, Play 2 PrepCollege Passport. Create or continue Quizlet or Flashcard+ cards from Vocabulary.com’s New SAT Multiple Meaning List. Take or retake the test within college deadlines.
  • Get Your LYF Organized ~ Do not become a slacker. Keep your grades up all year and set goals to reach your college and/or career goal. Continue or use APPS to promote organization and studying like: Quizlet or Flashcards+myHomework Student Planner, inClass, Evernote / Simplenote, Office Lens (GP)/ Office Lens (IT)
  • Gain LYF Skills! If you haven’t started already, it’s time to gain life skills so you can succeed in the real world. Skills such as banking basics, economics, money management, laundry, phone etiquette, resume building, interviews skills, and much more are neccesary for your success.
  • Counselor ~ Meet with your high school counselor and Team up with a resource like CollegeTrack or a similar program in your community.
  • Continue volunteering, working, and/or interning ~ Read Community Service dropdown if new to LYF.
  • Recommendation Letter Requests ~ If you forgot to ask your teachers about letter of recommendations earlier, it’s time to beg and consider kind gifts.
  • Course Selection for 12th grade:
    1. Ivy League or Highly Competitive Institution – Take another AP. If you maintained solid grades and did felt AP test was easy, take 2 AP courses you believe you can score 5’s on, if not, stick with 1 and focus on excelling in all subjects, your EC’s, and SAT/ACT prep. Continue to stay balanced.
    2. Less competitive institution: Continue taking college prep courses. Take another AP if you succeeded during 11th and feel you can pass AP exam with 3 or higher. Take a CC course over the summer to gain college credit and/or gain high school dual credits if your school and college of desire accepts.
    3. Graduating HS early. You may only need a few courses if you’ve been on an early graduation path since 9th grade. Review your credits with your counselor to see what it will take to graduate. If you’re new to LYFTeacher, ask your counselor about “Dual Credits”. You should also read more under: Earn College Credits in HS dropdown. If you graduate early what is your success plan? Will you join the workforce, enroll in a vocational program, continue courses at CC, etc. If you need financial aid, make sure you complete FAFSA the January prior to beginning college full time.
  • Summer ~ Continue SAT/ACT studying using resources, apply for available scholarships, retake course if you got below a C, get an internship, volunteer, start a business, get a job, improve your EC’s, follow your passion, and/or take a CC course. Do not play video games and eat bonbons when you can learn a new skill for free online using our resources in When I Grow Up. If you’re applying for colleges, now is the time to work on your essays. Read Build up to APP Submission below. Stay active!
    * EC = Extracurriculars
    * CS = Community Service
  1. Campus Explorer – search trade schools, community colleges & 4 year institutions
  2. Best Colleges – college rankings
  3. Bigfuture: College Board – explore majors, colleges, careers & compare schools
  4. Chegg College Search – search & compare schools
  5. College Majors 101 – Best site to learn about majors
  6. Ungio College Search
  7. YouUniversity – watch videos on schools, but remember that they’re selling their school. Ex. Eugene, OR has girl in shorts & t-shirt in sunny weather but they get 46 inches of rain each year. Research schools of interest beyond videos & websites.

Build Character Through Relationships & Pursuing Passion

Relationships: Building solid relationships with teachers/counselors, coaches and/or community leaders are vital in obtaining valuable letters of recommendation your senior year. Without strong relationships with educators and leaders, it will be difficult to receive letters of recommendation that make admissions remember you.

Relationship Building Tips

  1. Display a desire to learn and improve no matter how brilliant or talented you are. Introduce yourself to school administrators, ask them questions, and show them you care about your education. Be involved in class and ask teachers how you can improve your learning.
  2. Seek teachers, family members, and peers who are alumni of schools of interest. Ask them about their college experience. Find out where people you admire went to school. Their higher ed experience may have played a role in who they are today.
  3. Show leadership to coaches, teachers, and/or administrators. Leadership can mean being the worst player athletically, but the most valued player for your motivation. You can be be class president or class clown as long as you bring value to your class in a positive way. You can start a “Make your own APP” class during break ,or sell healthy snacks and donate proceeds to a Fight Diabetes. Leadership ideas are endless, but have PASSION doing it.
  4. Leave your mark. No matter what you do, do your best. If you volunteer, be positive and thankful. If you intern or work, respect your superiors, be on time, welcome more responsibility, and show your desire to be a team player. You never know who will be a connection to your dream school, career, or future in-law.

PASSION: Let your passion build your character. Whether it’s basketweaving, football, music, art, science… Discover YOUR passion (not your parents or friends). Passion promotes your ability to drive. Schools crave passionate students. Your passion needs to be felt in your application essay and shown through your actions.

SHOWING PASSION

  1. Prove your passion! Here’s an example: During 9th, join a club or be involved in an activity you enjoy (art, auto, computer, cooking, crafts, language, literature, math, music, science, sports, etc.). During the summer take a class related to your passion: a course at a community college or online in your passion, a skill class like jewelry or cooking, an agility course to improve your sport, etc. Then apply your new knowledge or skill in 10th grade. Make jewelry for friends, help others with their biology HW, teach your teammates your new trick, start a Make your own App Club… Be creative!
  2. Grow with your passion! Example: Over the next summer, take your skill/knowledge and use it to help others, create something, or continue to excel at it through more courses/practice. Examples: free math tutoring for kids, sell your jewelry at a local farmers market, volunteer at local animal shelter if you want to be a vet, put on a Kicking4Hunger camp if you love soccer, intern at a local newspaper if you love to write, play piano at lunch at a retirement facility if you love music… Be proactive!
  3. Become a lifelong learner in your passion… Strive to be an Alibaba, Angelou, Beethoven, Einstein, Robinson or Roosevelt in your passion. That doesn’t mean be the best, it means challenge yourself no matter what your obstacles are. If abuse, disability, discrimination and/or poverty can be overcome by people who had less resources than you, then you too can succeed in your passion. Let curiosity and drive push your passion despite obstacles.  Create your own wings to fly over a cliff… Be a Wright, be original!

Is CS your HS grad requirement or do you actually care? 

  1. I COULD CARE LESS ~ Red flags: Random CS hours that have nothing to do with your passion, completing minimum hourly requirements to graduate, and volunteering at a different non-profit each year. If you don’t care… Admissions will know, so don’t fake it.
  2. ITS OKAY ~ Find something you do care about. Read LYF’s 5 Simple CS Tips. Volunteering is not everyone’s cup of tea, but schools want to know you care about something. CS gives you an opportunity to show how you can benefit their campus community.
  3. PICK YOUR PASSION ~ Chose a non-profit that promotes your passion.  If you love soccer, start a Kicks4Soccer camp,if you love animals walk dogs at the SPCA, if you love math tutor kids at Boys & Girls Club, if you lost a loved one to cancer help Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
  4. ALL HEART ~ Read LYF’s non-profit highlights to get ideas about how you can get involve with great non-profits.
  5. ~ VOLUNTEER SEARCH & IDEAS ~
    50 Community Service Ideas – TeenLife’s 50 great CS ideas
    Create the GoodIdealist, and/or Volunteer Match – volunteer searches based on your preferences
    DoSomething – Thousands of random ways to Do Something meaningful
    Teen Life Volunteer Opportunities – volunteer options in big cities
  6. STICK WITH YOUR PASSION ~ Choose a CS and stick with it throughout HS. It will be a great letter of recommendation, prove your passion, and demonstrate your value as a community member.

Earn college credits 3 ways:

  1. Pass an AP –  After you complete an AP course, take an AP exam and receive credit if you pass. Read more at AP Basics & Prep dropdown. If an Ivy League is your goal this is typically your only credit source along with summer courses taken at their school.
  2. Pass a CLEP – View the 33 CLEP exams by College Board that cost $80 each to take. 2,900 schools give 3 credits for each passed exam. Most state schools accept CLEP, but Ivy Leagues do not. CLEP is a great option if you’re self taught. VERIFY that your future degree school accepts them.
  3. Complete Transferable College Credit Courses – At a community college (CC) or reputable institution. Verify that your future degree school will accept credit by calling admissions or going to their website prior to enrollment.
    1. Know your high school gradation requirements. Some high schools allow Dual and Concurrent Enrollment. This means you can receive both high school and college credits for a college course. Example: You pass an anatomy course at a community college. A dual enrollment school counts CC anatomy as 1 full year of HS science, plus you get college credit. This allows you to graduate HS early and earn credit toward a degree. If you take one 3 unit CC course each summer, you will complete 1 semester of college coursework plus graduate HS early. Most private high schools do not have dual enrollment. Some colleges like Harvard will NOT accept dual enrollment credits, so if you take a dual enrollment college course, Harvard will count it as high school credit only.
    2. EXCEPTIONS: Schools like Harvard will NOT apply any college credit you take prior to your high school diploma, unless it is taken at their summer school.
    3. Use Community College Review to find your local college and verify age requirement, which is typically 14 years old to apply. Most community colleges offer a variety of online courses as well. This is the cheapest way to take college credit course.
    4. Take an online college credit course from a reputable institution like UCLA extension. VERIFY credits will transfer to your school of interest before you enroll by contacting their admissions department.
    5. Use Penn State’s Transfer Course Evaluation Guide as a resource. If their guide shows an equal transfer class to what you want to take, it will most likely transfer to all schools minus a school like Harvard.

Join Something, Improve Something… Become Someone of Value

  1. Join Something… It can be a sports team, language club, music group, chess academy, or anything that you’re interested or have a talent in. Chose at least one activity you love and one activity you’re naturally good at, but might not love.  Ex. You love basketball, but you’re a natural runner. You don’t love to run, but you’re lightning quick. Play basketball in the Fall and run track in Spring. Basketball challenges you, but running might be your college ticket. Despite hating practice, you do it because you have a specific school or scholarship goal.
    1. DON’T OVER JOIN ~ Choose memberships and involvement wisely. Don’t be an activity collector, be an active member. If you love languages, choose a language club to join and increase your involvement each year. Your free time is limited, so do something YOU are interested in, not your friends or parents.
    2. COMMIT ~ By the end of your 9th, make at least 2 commitments to stick with until HS ends. It can be football, creating a cooking club & donating lunches to the homeless; debate, photography, and tutoring at the Boys and Girls club; band, dance team, and teaching piano. Whatever you choose… Stick with it!
    3. BUT, BUT, BUTT…. You can always create an excuse to quit, but think about your future over your emotional moment. You will have coaches you despise, disgruntled teachers, pissed off parents, and ungrateful people, but that’s part of life. Assume those unhappy people had a bad day or hard life. Commit to NOT follow in their footsteps. Fight them with your happiness and personal success. If Washington listened to everyone who thought he was insane to fight the world’s strongest army, there would be no United States. Don’t let your BUT make you feel like a BUTT for quitting.
  2. Improve Something… Display personal growth by fostering a talent and improving a weakness for your benefit. Example: You love acting, but have the coordination of a day old kitten. Foster your talent by improving the drama club with ideas and being involved in school plays. Then watch uTube videos to improve your dance skills in case you get a role that requires dancing.
    1. Read Boss of Your Intel to clarify your intelligence then foster your strength and develop a weakness with available resources like coaches, teachers, parents, peers, community, and online resources. The When I Grow Up dropdown is a great resource to gain a skill or knowledge.
  3. Become Someone of Value ~ Schools want roses, not thorns. Choose your extracurriculars wisely, nourish them, and survive storms, so your chances of receiving scholarships, accolades, and powerful letters from coaches, teachers, leaders, and/or others grows. Accolades and scholarships are awarded to students who prove their tree can grow money because they believe it can.

Experience to Enhance Your Abilities

  1. Experience not required ~ You don’t need an internship or job experience to get into an Ivy League, but your experience can take the place of an extracurricular. Whether you have to work or want an internship in a career of interest, make your experience work for you.
  2. Treat it like an extracurricular ~ Use your job(s) or internship(s) to prove your passion. You want to teach…Tutor. Love animals… Walk dogs. Want to be a doctor.. Work at a medical clinic. Want your own restaurant… Bus tables. If you have to work in your family business, find ways to improve it. If your mom does flower arrangements and you love computers, learn how to build her a website. If you help your dad with gardening jobs, but you hate pulling weeds, find ways to help get more clients so you can hire workers and manage billing instead. Use your job to learn skills that can benefit you in college or in your career.
  3. Excel ~ Find ways to get noticed. Learn a new skill, ask a peer if you can shadow them for a few hours each week to learn what they do without getting paid, come up ways to save the business money or expand it, find things to organize, leave your bad mood at the door and focus on the positive no matter how cranky other employees are. Your employee did not hire you to be on your phone, stare into deep space 9, or gossip with co-workers.
  4. Commit ~ Just like an extracurricular, find a job or internship to prove your commitment to personal growth. Whether it’s a summer internship or yearly job. Complete your summer intern and leave them wanting more of you. If you outgrow your job, move into another one shows you left because you wanted to improve your skills. Example: You bus tables for a year then get a job waiting tables at another restaurant because where you bussed didn’t have waitstaff openings. You committed to learning one skill which paved the way to learning another higher paying skill.
  5. LYF Job & Internship Ideas & Search ~
    1. Be Proactive
      1. Research local companies in your career interest. Submit inquiries to Human Resources(HR) Departments about unpaid high school internships or work. You can always submit your resume and explain your value if given the opportunity to intern or work for free. Unpaid interns can turn into paid ones after you prove your abilities.
      2. Use local job/intern resources in your town/city. Google: [your location, internships for teenagers or high school students] City Examples:  NYC’s Dept. of Youth & Community Dev., City of Chicago’s Intern Opportunities, Hire LA’s Youth City Program, San Fransisco.org resources like Youth Jobs,  Ventura County Resources, etc.
    2. Job Search
      1. Indeed , Looksharp and/or Monster – job search engines
      2. Snagajob – Read article then job search
    3. Internship Search (use job search engines and put “internship” after title)
      1. Internship Programs – internship search
      2. InternMatch – Part of Looksharp.com
      3. Chegg internships – Internships.com

Start applying for scholarships as early as possible. There are thousands of scholarships you can apply for prior to 12th so start your search now. Keep tabs on LYF’s Scholarship page and use the search engines below to find scholarships suited for you.

Scholarships search sites
Cappex – $11 Billion in $
CareerOneStop – Government Sponsored Scholarship Search
Chegg – $1 Billion in $
College Board – $6 billion in $
Fastweb – 3.4 Billion in $ Monster subsidiary, have to complete profile, rather annoying
Finaid – includes military aid
Niche – scholarship search & college rankings
Peterson’s – $10 Billion in $
Scholarships.com – $19 billion in $
Scholarship Monkey – simple & clean
School Soup – Search by state, city, affiliation and more
Student Scholarships – largest portal & career search
Unigo – No spam winner, big of privacy!!!

ENTRANCE EXAMS

MUST KNOW: College Board controls the PSAT, SAT & AP exams, as well as CLEP and bigfuture (IOW A powerful non-profit monopoly that profits greatly from your stress)

CREATE: A College Board account. Keep your username and password safe.

COMPARE: Each section of the PSAT8/9-PSAT-SAT exams: Reading, Writing and Math

PSAT 8/9 BASICS
1. Taken in 8th & 9th at school. View PSAT 8/9 Test Dates
2. Contains: Reading, Writing & Language, and Math Sections
3. Helps HS know AP placement & HS readiness
4. Scores: Released 2 months after test. View your scores at College Board if you’re over 13. Teachers & counselors can access scores if you’re under 13.
5. Use your scores to understand your high/low areas

PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT10 BASICS
1. They are the SAME test! PSAT/NMQT is taken in the Fall of 10th or 11th, while the PSAT10 is taken in Spring of 10th.
2. Tests taken at your school unless your school doesn’t administer. Check your school test date or find a school that offers exam.
3. Homeschoolers: Take at a local school & have results sent to you. View your state code and locate test schools. Test booklets cost $15 and a school may include an administration fee.
4. View Sample Questions
5. PSAT/NMQT are scores used for Merit Scholarships, not PSAT10
6. Practice Tests – Use College Board Tests or KhanAcadmey
7. Daily Practice App from College Board (iTunes / GooglePlay)

Use PSAT Scores to Prep for SAT
1. Access your PSAT scores online if you’re over 13. If not, get copy from teacher or counselor.
2. Watch videos to learn how to use your PSAT scores to your advantage:
***Guide to Assessing and Understanding your PSAT score
***College Board’s Understanding your PSAT scores
3. GO to KhanAcademy and link your SAT scores to your KhanAcademy account to get personalized practice based on your scores

SAT STEPS 4 SUCCESS
1. CREATE: A College Board account if you haven’t yet
2. WATCH: ACT v. SAT video below to understand differences & best choice for you
3. KNOW: How SAT scoring works: New SAT
4. PREP: Start in 9th using resources below
5. REGISTER: To take end of 11th and/or Fall of 12th
***View SAT Exam Dates &  Find an Exam Location
***Cost $43 or $54.50 with essay.
***FREE if FEE WAIVER applies to you
***View additional fees for late registration, waitlist & more
6. SEND SCORES: Login to account and send up to 4 FREE score reports within 9 days after exam. After 9 days and additional reports cost $11.25 each, unless fee waiver applies. $31 for rush order.
***Watch video at bottom for additional help

SAT Test prep done right & FREE
1. Begin with SAT Practice Tests. Take them, score em & read answer explanations.
2. Best all around APPS: College PassportSATUP,  Play 2 Prep, VarsityTutors
3. Chegg SAT Prep: Free while Beta lasts &
4. Varsity Tutors SAT Prep: Free diagnostic tests, practice tests & a free APP 
4. Khan Academy: Use your PSAT scores to get FREE prep based on your weak areas
5. The Critical Reader: Erika Meltzer’s Blog for prepping on reading, writing & essay
6. Scholastic’s basic SAT/ACT word list
7. Vocabulary.com’s The New SAT: Multiple-Meaning Word list to help you understand learn how to rely on context clues

Paid Prep
Albert.io: Limited FREE or paid prep
Mathhelp.com: $50 monthly, $199 for entire year of math help. APPS available

ACT BASICS
1. WATCH:
 ACT v. SAT video below if you didn’t in SAT section
2. CREATE: An ACT Account & get familiar with the ACT Test Prep
3. PREP:
****Complete ACT’s sample questions
****Download & Complete ACT’s 2015/16 Practice Test (answers at end)
****If you created an ACT account: Login & use Test Prep resources on the left
****Use ACT APP’s: ACT Up and Play 2 Prep  (ACT & SAT)
****Create Quizlet cards for Prep Scholar’s 150 ACT words
****Learnerator’s free & paid resources (soon to be albert.io)
4. REGISTER: Take at end of 11th and/or Fall of 12th
****
View ACT Exam Dates & Find an exam Location 
****Cost $39.50 or $56.50 with essay
**** FREE if Fee Waiver applies to you
****
 View fees for late registration, waitlist & more HERE
5. SEND SCORES:  Include up to 4 schools for FREE when you register to take the exam. A $12 fee applies if you request scores to be sent after registration, or for more than 4 schools. Watch video below, search College Codes and Login to send scores after initial registration

  1. Why take AP Exams? If you pass with a score your future college requires, you receive credits for similar course. If you pass four APs with required scores from your future college, you will complete a semester of college coursework.
  2. What score do I need to receive college credit? It depends on the school you attend. Scores range from 1-5. Use the AP Credit Policy Search to view required scores for schools. For example, Harvard requires a 5 on all subjects, while others require a 3. Keep in mind that credit systems vary at institutions as well. 1 credit at Harvard is equal to 4 credits at another institution. Students at Harvard graduate with 32 credits, while students at Berkley need 120 semester units to graduate.
  3. When do I take exams? In May, at the end of your a(n) AP course(s). View AP calendar
  4. What exams are offered? View AP course list
  5. How much is an exam? Depends. Exams begin at $92 but schools can add proctor fees and programs like Capstone is $139. Fees can be reduced by $30 for students with financial need.
  6. How do I send results to schools? Select the school(s) you want to send the results to when you take an exam. The first school is free, then it’s $15 (7-14 days) or $25 rush (4-9 days) for each additional report. Log in & send your scores HERE.
  7. Exam Prep: College Board’s AP exam practice questions for each subject. The Learnerator (soon to be albert.io), has great exam resources plus FREE and paid prep. Read their The Ultimate List of AP Tips
  8. Exam Prep APPs: FREE or cheap Prep APPS
      1. Allen AP – English, literature & economics
      2. AP Exam Prep, McGraw-Hill (most subjects, not the greatest)
      3. AP Chemistry: Practice Tests & Flashcards by Varsity Tutors
      4. AP Chemistry: AP Test Prep: Chemistry Practice Kit
      5. AP Psychology by Brainscape
      6. AP Statistics – Practice tests & flashcards
      7. AP World History Exam Prep
      8. BioPrep 
      9. Physics X – worth the $

APP COUNTDOWN ~~~ SHOW ME THE $$$ 

Videos to watch about college admissions:
1. CollegeWise Discussion
2. Today Show: Inside College Admissions

Admissions countdown begins January 1st of 11th grade year:
January to May
1. Start new year with separate College App calendar & folder on your phone/desktop. Include all Login & Passwords for testing (Collegeboard/SAT), application sites (CommonApp/UC), FAFSA, and schools you’re applying to so you can check status.
2. Check SAT / ACT test dates that work for you. Map your studying based on dates & register for tests. Shoot for May then retake in October unless you’re genius. Do daily test prep using resources in drop downs above.
3. Think about teachers, coach, or counselor you want to write recommendations.
4. Athletes: register with NCAA Eligibility Center if you haven’t yet.
5. Create a Common App account & download their APP to get familiar with process.
6. Continue college search. Finalize a list of 5 to 8 schools.
7. Go to the admissions website for each school and create a list of schools that require interviews. If possible, visit schools over Spring break and set up interviews. If not, set up interviews in August/September. Go to “Interview” dropdown for more info.
7. Search for scholarships using “Scholarship” dropdown. Write dates on calendar for ones you want to apply to.
8. Make a list of schools NOT on CommonApp: Review CollegeApp University/College Members. Check into your state school system like CSUMentor for the California State system. Write all APP deadlines on your calendar (App due dates, early admin date(s), SAT submission dates, ref letters due dates, transcripts)
9. Add early & regular admission dates to calendar using Collegedata.com
10. Understand how the early decision works. This is MUST read at Hamilton Gregg.
11. Brainstorm what you’re PASSIONATE about and how your passion fits into your school choices.
12. Create or use LYF’s Application Checklist to keep track of your progress.

May/June
1. Ask for letters of recommendation. See “Letters of recommendation” dropdown. Read about Recommenders on Comm App
2. Choose an essay topic on the Common App & brainstorm ideas that will give admissions insight into YOU. How can you benefit their school and what do you believe their school can give you? What are YOU (not your parent) passionate about doing/learning?
3. Request an unofficial transcript to be sent to you at the end of semester so you can review for mistakes.
4. Continue daily entrance exam prep if taking in Fall

July
1. Request admissions or alumni interviews for schools that require one.
2. Make a list of all additional essay & short answer topics. Brainstorm ideas.
3. Write your Common App essay & edit while reading it out loud. Record yourself reading it and send it to the person (AKA trusted teacher, mentor, counselor, etc.) you want to edit your essay. Ask them to please listen when they have the time and answer:  Can you hear MY inner voice, not the literal one? If they say YES, move on to August. If not, it’s time to rethink your passion and/or curiosity.
4.Continue daily entrance exam prep if taking in Fall

August
1. Send WordDoc of essay & short essay answers to the person/company you bribed into editing. See ESSAY dropdown for online assistance
2. Work on Common App
3. Begin other essays or short answer questions on WordDoc to cut and paste later
4. Begin other apps like UC applicationsCoalition for Access launches 2016
5.Continue daily entrance exam prep if taking in Fall

September/October
1. Complete all forms for early decisions applications (ED, EA, REA, etc.) Review types.
2. Continue test prep & take exams in October to meet EA deadlines
3. Request test scores to be sent to schools at Collegeboard & ACT. Go to “Score submission” drop down for details.
4. Begin applications that don’t open until October like CSU
5. Complete all requests for letters of recommendation and school forms for Regular Decision applications letters will be sent by correct deadlines. Review Recommenders page on Common App.
6. If you took a college credit course(s), send transcripts. Go to the school’s website, where you took the course, and request “official transcript” to be sent.
7. In October, register your CSS Profile (financial aid form for non-governmental aid) for private schools that require it.
8. Submit EA Apps before end of October. Verify college received all paperwork by deadline by calling or emailing admissions. Be polite & have your social security, student number, or any assigned number during app process. Write down names of people you speak to. Most EA deadlines are 11/1-11/15, don’t wait last minute!!

November/December
1. Complete all Regular admissions applications & submit UNLESS you’re waiting on EA letter. Finish all apps in November so you can dedicate December to finals.
2. GIVE THANKS during Thanksgiving Break or Winter Break! Write thank you cards (hand written) to letter of rec writers, teachers, coaches, counselor, essay editor, or whoever helped you. School interview thank you’s should have been written immediately after your interview.
3. Study for your finals!! Bad grades can turn your EA acceptance into a NO GO!
4. Mid-December – If you got admitted EA, withdraw all applications in progress. If you didn’t, a better suited school awaits you. Submit applications you completed in November, because you’re such a well organized LYFer… Pats for that!
5. Complete paperwork if you were accepted EA, such as signed contract and end of semester transcript.
6. Enjoy your Winter Break without app stress!

  1. Create Common App (CA) account & download their APP to keep updated
  2. Make a list of schools NOT on CA that you’re applying to: Review CollegeApp University/College Members
  3. Non-CA members, go directly to their admissions page and learn how to apply.
  4. State schools non on CA, typically have own their own common online APP like CSUMentor for the California State system and CCCapply for California Community Colleges
  5. Write APP deadlines on your admin calendar (EA:early admin, Regular Admin, SAT submission, ref letters, transcripts, interview, etc.). Collegedata.com has application deadlines for all schools.

Start Reviewing Essays as a Freshman to keep ideas on your backburner

May of 11th
1. Choose an essay topic on the Common App & brainstorm ideas that will give admissions insight into YOU. They will want to understand your passions, hardships, and how you handle situations.
July of 11th
1. Request admissions or alumni interviews for schools that require one.
2. Make a list of all additional essay & short answer topics. Brainstorm ideas.
3. Write your Common App essay & edit while reading it out loud. Record yourself reading it and send it to the person (AKA trusted teacher, mentor, counselor, etc.) you want to edit your essay. Ask them to please listen when they have the time and answer:  Can you hear MY inner voice, not the literal one? If they say YES, move on to August. If not, it’s time to rethink your passion and/or curiosity.
4.Continue daily entrance exam prep if taking in Fall

August
1. Send WordDoc of essay & short essay answers to the person/company you bribed into editing. See ESSAY dropdown for online assistance

Start this process in August or September of your senior year.

Brainstorming ideas that show how you see the world to create an image of who you are as an individual.  Envision memorable moments when you can vividly describe your excitement, happiness, fear, sadness, joy, regret, etc. Your recollection of these moments will help them understand you and how you view the world.  Ask a parent, coach, lifelong friend, or other people who know you well, memories they have about you that summarize your personality and/or attributes. What story would they want to tell at your wedding?

Take your YOU stories and outline your essay.  Be yourself!  Do not try to fit into a school that doesn’t fit you. You’re going to school to get out of your box. Make sure you have a titanium hook for the sharks, and hold their interest throughout, or your you’ll become part of their recycling bin.

Use personable vocabulary, not old SAT vocab. Your actions, reactions, and reflections will let the intelligent reader know who you are. If you choose to describe yourself, you might as well put I am intelligent, arrogant and annoying because that’s what they’ll read.

· Be honest with yourself. Do not create a façade behind which you have to hide. Do not create a false image of yourself to just please a particular school because you will most likely find that that school is not the right match for you anyhow.

· Do not use ‘Drama’ to make your reader feel sorry for you. It doesn’t work!

· Pay attention to your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. No one wants to read a personal statement essay with mistakes.

· Make sure that your essay correctly addresses the right school. There is nothing worse than submitting your essay for college X to college Y. Make sure you edit and correct all specific college referencesaccordingly.

Finally, writing an outstanding personal essay takes time and perseverance. As tempting as it might be, no one can write your personal statement essay for you better than you can. It is your story afterall.

Furthermore, the admission committee members are highly trained and knowledgeable professionals who read thousands upon thousands of applications and essays. As such, they are able to detect even the slightest differences between your writing style and vocabulary in one section of your application verses another. Once they suspect the authenticity or originality of your essay, they will almost always disqualify you.

Growing your passion and learning through obstacles are key when it comes to essay topics. Review topics each year so your well prepared to write for a similar topic the summer and fall of 12th.

Stanford University Supplement Short Essays Examples: (250 words or less)
1. Stanford students possess intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

2. Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better.

3. What matters to you, and why?

 

University of California Applications require 2 essays that are a maximum of 1,000 words in total

Sample Essay Prompts
Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

2015-2016 Common App Essay Questions
Prompt 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
Prompt 2: The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Prompt 3: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
Prompt 4:  Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
Prompt 5:  Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.

ACT SCORE SUBMISSION:  Include up to 4 schools for FREE when you register to take the exam. A $12 fee applies if you request scores to be sent after registration, or for more than 4 schools. Watch below, search College Codes then Login  to send scores after initial registration.

SAT SCORE SUBMISSION: Login to account and send up to 4 FREE score reports within 9 days after exam. After 9 days and additional reports cost $11.25 each, unless fee waiver applies. $31 for rush order. Watch video for additional help.

Summer before 12th – Request interviews at schools that require one

Preparation for questions:
1. Tell me about yourself ~ Keep it simple and sweet. Your passion(s), subject(s) you enjoy and what your career goal is.
2. What does our school offer you that another school can’t ~ Do your research! Make it something their school offers that another school doesn’t. Is it a specialty program, student activism, athletic team, small classes & superb teachers, outdoor activities merged into a well rounded education… Think of something that sets them apart and proves you’re not going there because your sibling did.
3. What can you offer our school? In other words, how can you add value to their campus? Research activities you can be involved in or think of something new you can bring to their campus that would benefit students or the learning environment.
4. What do you want to do outside of your academics while at school ~ Will you play a sport, join a music group, be part of their tutor program to help inner city kids? Research activities and local jobs around or at their school that you’re interested in. Contact the people in charge EC your interested in and see how you would want to get involved if you went there. Write down names of people you spoke in case you need to throw them out there during an interview.
5. Three adjectives that best describe you ~ Thesauraus.com here you come! Use a unforgettable adjectives or figurative language. Saying your intelligent proves you’re not a genius. Go from passionate to furiousenergetic to spunky, curious to Edison, shy to humble, musical to moving, kind to “all heart”. Or be creative, “I’m a sun that needs my avalanche to calm my tornado. IOW – I’m a bright star whose fury needs simmering at times.
6. What do you think about the latest news headline ~ Break light your TMZ and head light your CNN. Be up to date, discuss topics respected adults and think about historical comparisons. You don’t need an opinion, just general knowledge and thought.
7. Who is your hero ~ This should already be on your LYF profile under your personal hero. Make sure your hero has similar goals and qualities that you strive to achieve.
8. What historical figure do you most admire ~ This too should be on your LYF profile. Think… If you had coffee with any historical figure who would it be and why? They too should have qualities you hope to achieve in your lifetime. What actions, ideas, or movements did they spur that changed both past and present ways of thinking or doing things? Research figures that prove you think outside the box.
9.  Who has been the greatest help in your achievement? A parent, older sibling, coach, teacher, grandparent, or anyone who you should be grateful to. This is the person you may have hated for 3 years while growing up and have recently realized that you might not have agreed with their decisions, they did them because they care about your success.
10. Tell me about your community service ~ This is why your CS needs to follow your passion. They’ll see your passion or complete lack of enthusiasm. CS can also be how your involved in your community or school if you didn’t complete it.
11. What subject has challenged you the most? It can be a subject you love but forced you to study to grasp the concepts or art class because you have the drawing skill of a fish.
12. How will you handle the academic pressure? This is a good time to thank your teachers for helping you learn proper study skill and explaining that you have well-developed time management skills from balances HS AP’s, sports, clubs, and a part time job.
13. What courses are you  most interested in taking? Time to browse their course descriptions online and academic programs. If you’re undecided about your major, at least find a few courses that grab your attention and be prepared to mention them and why they spark your interest more than others.
14. What has been your greatest challenge? This question will most likely not be asked, but if you have had to overcome a major obstacle like a death of a loved one or abuse, merge those difficult obstacles into other answers. For example, if asked who has helped you the most and the person is someone who passed away, briefly explain how they helped you, then mention how dealing with the lose has taught made you stronger in some way. Another example is abuse. If you’ve dealt with any kind of abuse (drug, physical, mental), think about how you’ve dealt with it and use an adjective to describe yourself in doing so… the person who has helped you the most or your 3 adjectives if you have. I’m iron-willed (Tungsten-willed) for overcoming obstacles or honor-bound to the person you lost because you are forever grateful for the impact they had on sculpting who you are. Use meaningful life lessons and merge them into your adjectives, heroes, and description of self.
Interview Tips:
1. Dress appropriately
2. Be early
3. Show respect. Use formal titles: Professor/Doctor. Google your interviewer if possible.
4. Don’t even think about bringing your phone OR parents into the interview
5. Be confident, not arrogant… To prove your teachable, not annoying
6. Let your personality and enthusiasm shine

Read the bigfuture articles (College Board’s help site)
1. College Interviews: The Basics
2. College Interviews: Practice Questions & Strategies

Hopefully you read “Build Character” section so you have teachers, a coach, or counselor who is willing to sing your praises. If not, read it, then think about teachers/coaches/counselors you have a good relationship with. Choose someone who has seen you improve your abilities (academically/physically/artistically and/or socially) through actively participating, challenging yourself, and/or showing leadership. Examples: being a positive team captain, being the worst player but team motivator, running a class project, coming in during free time to get help because you want to do your best, starting a club on campus, creating a fundraiser, etc.
1. When to ask ~ The last month of 11th.  Meet with 2 to 3 primary choices. Explain why you chose them so they can understand their importance in your life… They won’t be able to say no after that. Ask them if they’d be willing to write the letter over the summer so they can devote time to it. You won’t need to submit the letter until October/November for early EA, but giving them more time shows them you respect their time.
2. Follow up ~ Once they agree to write, follow up with an email thanking them in advance for taking the time to write the letter.
3. Information ~ Provide them with correct addresses, your common app info, or other required information needed for their submission. Once completed they will submit an give you a hard copy of the letter.
4. Thank You ~ Give them a hand written thank you that include how they have impacted your life. Thank them for taking their time to write the letter as well as their impact on your life. A small token of thanks like a favorite candy bar, $10 gift card to favorite coffee spot, or other fav of theirs. Something that proves you put thought into it.

January
1. Complete FAFSA if you haven’t finished. Write down login & password. FAFSA closes in June. Read “FAFSA” dropdown. Check your state aid programs HERE
2. Study for finals if you take after Winter Break
3. If college requires, submit Mid-Year report request to your counselor
4. Notify colleges in writing if you change your classes
5. Verify that all documents for your applications were received by calling, emailing, or checking their online website. Write down names of people you speak to and be extremely polite! Know your social security, student number, or other important numbers before you call.
6. Research scholarships & complete any other financial aid packets. Check your state aid.

February/March
1. Complete FASFA app before March 1. You will get a SAR (Student Aid Report) by email or mail after you file. Make sure all information is correct. If completed correctly, your ECF (expected family contribution) will be displayed on the right hand side of application. Your SAR is how the school you attend bases your federal and non-federal aid. Read FASFA dropdown.
2. Complete additional state forms required beyond FASFA. Check programs HERE.
3. Send GPA verificaiton form if needed to places like Cal Grant for California residents
4. Continue scholarship search & applications
5. Visit schools you’re admitted to, if struggling with decision
6. Check on FAFSA and review financial aid packages schools are offering you.

April/May
**Review financial aid package if you haven’t done so already
**Decision time:
  1. Complete final visits if needed    2. Compare each: what will I owe after graduation; weather; students and staff you met; city or suburb;  living arrangements; teacher reviews for major; student life/activities; internships & work opportunities offered; what your heart tells you, NOT prestige or peer pressure
1. Make decision by MAY 1st, pay commitment deposit fee & create student online account for the school
2. Inform colleges you’re NOT attending in writing. Let them know you are grateful for their offer, but will be attending another institution in the fall. Let them know ASAP so waitlisted students can take your spot.
3. If waitlisted, contact school and follow their instructions
4. Do your best at school & don’t do anything stupid like drinking on campus. Your acceptance can be rescinded, i.e. boot to the butt. Don’t risk your future due to one bad decision.
5. Take AP exams & study for finals
6. Submit housing forms & pay deposit as early as possible to ensure your preference

June
1. Request final transcript to be sent to the school you enroll in
2. Athletes must send transcript to NCAA Eligibility Center
3. If you took courses at a community or other college, send transcripts to receive credits.
4. Request AP scores to be sent to your school to receive credits
5. Take placement exams for the school
6. Attend Freshman orientation & enroll in classes once Fall registration opens
7. Write thank you’s to scholarship donors & anyone else who helped you with process who you forgot to thank earlier!

Summer
1. Tie up any loose ends: housing, placement exams, deposits, thank you’s, and funding
2. Get in touch with your future roommates
3. Get geared up with correct technology that’s required to make Fall a smooth transition
4. Get a PT job or intern that will help you build your resume.
5. Get some down time for yourself and socialize with close friends before you start your new path.

  1. Select the school(s) you want to send you AP results at registration. They will receive all your AP results unless you ask any to be withheld. The first school is free, then it’s $15 (7-14 days) or $25 rush (4-9 days) for each additional report. Log in & send your scores HERE
  2. If you passed AP’s in 11th grade, the schools you applied to may want you to submit scores with your admissions application. If not, all AP scores will be sent to the school(s) you selected during AP registration for your 12th grade AP’s in May.
  3. Most schools require score submission by July 15. Verify your scores were received weeks prior to deadline. If you have more questions visit: AP Top Questions.
  1. Watch the Types of Federal Aid video on right to understand the types of aid the FAFSA covers
  2. FAFSA filing opens October 1 and closes June 30. No fee required to file.
  3. Follow the 6 STEPS before January 1st of Senior year:
    1. Create FSA ID using FSA ID Image link on right
    2. Write down your login & password information
    3. Download last year’s FAFSA app, so you know what to expect online.
    4. Gather data needed for FAFSA:
      1. Your Social Security number & your parents or legal guardian(s)’ Social Security number(s) UNLESS you are an independent (you support yourself financially). If your parents are divorced, use the SS# of the person who provides you with more than 50% of your support.
      2. Your driver’s license number if you have one
      3. Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
      4. Federal tax information or tax returns (1040) including IRS W-2 information, for you and your parents if you are a dependent student
      5. Current bank statement information, business records, records of any stocks, bonds, 529 accounts, or other investments
      6. Untaxed items such as: child support for any children in your household, worker’s compensation & Veteran’s non educational benefit
      7. View FAFSA’s “filling out” page for more details
    5. Watch PHEAA’s, Complete the FAFSA 2016 on right
    6.  Know the “Top 5 FAFSA Filing Tips” by SLN:
      1. File IRS 1040 form first or estimate taxes using last years pay stubs
      2. File FAFSA ASAP since aid is need based- – 1st come, 1st serve
      3. Be RIGHT, over being fast. Mistakes cost weeks or longer to fix.
      4. Must enter 0 if you don’t have a number to put in
      5. Complete FAFSA no matter what. Most state aid, private institutions, and federal loans use your FAFSA results to give you aid.
  4. After October 1st, start app using FAFSA image on right 
  5. Check your state aid programs HERE

What Happens After FAFSA is filed?

After completing FAFSA online, you’ll get a SAR (Student Aid Report) within 3 days if you signed online using your FSA ID. Verify information is correct. If completed correctly, your ECF (expected family contribution) will be displayed on the right hand side of application. Your SAR is how the school you attend bases your federal and non-federal aid.

FSA ID crop

FAFSA login crop

What Happens After FAFSA is filed?

SAR example

Complete as many scholarship applications as you can after you complete your FAFSA. Hopefully you applied to scholarships that fit you prior to 12th, but if not, get to it! Start your search engines now!  Visit LYF’s Scholarship page for highlighted scholarships.

Scholarships search sites
Cappex – $11 Billion in $
CareerOneStop – Government Sponsored Scholarship Search
Chegg – $1 Billion in $
College Board – $6 billion in $
Fastweb – 3.4 Billion in $ Monster subsidiary, have to complete profile, rather annoying
Niche – scholarship search & college rankings
Peterson’s – $10 Billion in $
Scholarships.com – $19 billion in $
Scholarship Monkey – simple & clean
School Soup – Search by state, city, affiliation and more
Student Scholarships – largest portal & career search
Unigo – No spam winner, big of privacy!!!

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