SE­NIOR YEAR

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - PLAN FOR COLLEGE -

• You want to avoid "se­niori­tis.” Take cour­ses that will pre­pare you for col­lege.

• Stay on track. Re­view cour­ses with your coun­selor to make sure you’re meet­ing high school grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ments, Ok­la­homa’s Prom­ise course work and GPA ex­pec­ta­tions, and en­trance re­quire­ments for the schools that in­ter­est you. Re­mem­ber to up­date your Course Plan Builder.

• Talk to your coun­selor about pos­si­bil­i­ties for con­cur­rent en­roll­ment (tak­ing col­lege-credit cour­ses while you're still in high school).

• Save your money. Con­tinue to plug money into your Ok­la­homa 529 plan.

• Sign up. Even if you’ve al­ready taken ACT or SAT, reg­is­ter for the fall ACT and/or SAT tests; you might boost your score. Have the of­fi­cial scores sent by the test­ing agency to the col­leges or univer­si­ties that have made your fi­nal list of schools. • Visit col­lege cam­puses that are a good match with your abil­i­ties and ca­reer in­ter­ests.

Septem­ber:

• Nar­row your choices. Many stu­dents se­lect three to five schools to ap­ply to, in­clud­ing their “dream” school, their “safety” school and two or three other choices.

• Check your tran­scripts to make sure you have all the cred­its you need to get into the col­leges that in­ter­est you.

• Find out from the col­leges whether or not they need of­fi­cial copies of your tran­scripts (these are sent di­rectly from your school).

• Keep an eye out for fi­nan­cial aid work­shops and sem­i­nars, for both you and your par­ents. There is a lot of help out there when you're look­ing for info on fi­nan­cial aid.

• Reg­is­ter for the Oc­to­ber/ Novem­ber SAT I, SAT II and ACT tests if you plan to take them. Make sure your of­fi­cial test scores are sent to the col­leges to which you are ap­ply­ing.

• Take an­other look at your list of col­leges, and make sure they still sat­isfy your re­quire­ments. It's not un­com­mon for stu­dents' goals to change.

• Make sure you meet the re­quire­ments (in­clud­ing any tran­script re­quire­ments) for all the col­leges to which you want to ap­ply.

• Dou­ble-check the dead­lines.

• Give any rec­om­men­da­tion forms to the ap­pro­pri­ate teach­ers or coun­selors with stamped, col­legead­dressed en­velopes, mak­ing cer­tain that your por­tions of the forms are filled out com­pletely and ac­cu­rately.

• Most early de­ci­sion and early ac­tion ap­pli­ca­tions are due be­tween Oct. 1 and Nov. 1. Keep this in mind if you in­tend to take ad­van­tage of these op­tions, and re­mem­ber to re­quest that your high school send your of­fi­cial tran­scripts to the col­lege on time.

Oc­to­ber:

• Com­plete your Free Ap­pli­ca­tion for Fed­eral Stu­dent Aid (FAFSA) be­tween Oct. 1 and June 30.

• Make a fi­nal list of schools that in­ter­est you and keep a file of dead­lines and re­quired ad­mis­sion items for each school. Many stu­dents like to have a "dream school" and a "safety school" as well as two or three oth­ers.

• Take the SAT or ACT tests. Have the of­fi­cial scores sent by the test­ing agency to the col­leges or univer­si­ties that have made your fi­nal list of schools.

• Reg­is­ter for De­cem­ber or Jan­uary SAT I or SAT II tests, if nec­es­sary.

• Get started on any es­says to be in­cluded with your ap­pli­ca­tions. Give your es­says to oth­ers (teach­ers, par­ents, friends) for feed­back.

Novem­ber:

• Sub­mit your col­lege ad­mis­sion ap­pli­ca­tions.

• Be sure to check them over thor­oughly! Hav­ing some­one else re­view your ap­pli­ca­tion with you can help you catch any er­rors.

• Be sure to con­sult with your school coun­selor about schol­ar­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties. Not all schol­ar­ships are for top stu­dents and ath­letes. There may be a per­fect schol­ar­ship for you — it's worth do­ing a lit­tle re­search.

• Work on your schol­ar­ship ap­pli­ca­tions and mail ac­cord­ing to dead­lines.

• Check with the fi­nan­cial aid of­fice of schools you are ap­ply­ing to for spe­cific in­for­ma­tion on schol­ar­ships and costs for tu­ition, fees, room and board, and any ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial aid info they re­quire.

• If you com­pleted the FAFSA, you should re­ceive your Stu­dent Aid Re­port (SAR) within four weeks.

• Make the nec­es­sary cor­rec­tions and re­turn it to the FAFSA pro­ces­sor.

De­cem­ber:

• Watch your mail­box if you sub­mit­ted an early de­ci­sion ap­pli­ca­tion.

• Early de­ci­sion replies usu­ally ar­rive be­tween

Dec. 1 and 31. If you do get an ac­cep­tance, you should with­draw any other ap­pli­ca­tions.

• If you haven't al­ready done so, make sure your of­fi­cial test scores are be­ing sent to the col­leges to which you are ap­ply­ing.

• Talk taxes. Make sure you and your par­ent(s) have com­pleted in­come taxes forms as soon af­ter Jan. 1 as pos­si­ble in an­tic­i­pa­tion of com­plet­ing the fi­nan­cial aid ap­pli­ca­tions, some of which have early dead­lines. All stu­dents re­gard­less if they qual­ify for fi­nan­cial aid must com­plete a FAFSA.

• Ap­ply for an FSA ID. Re­quest an FSA ID at fsaid. ed.gov. This FSA ID is used through­out the fed­eral aid process, in­clud­ing com­ple­tion of the Free Ap­pli­ca­tion for Fed­eral Stu­dent Aid.

SPRING SE­MES­TER Jan­uary:

• Check for other fi­nan­cial aid op­tions. In or­der to be con­sid­ered for fi­nan­cial aid, you will need to sub­mit a FAFSA, even if you have not yet been no­ti­fied of your ac­cep­tance to the col­lege(s) to which you ap­plied.

• Re­quest that your high school send your of­fi­cial tran­scripts to the col­leges to which you are ap­ply­ing.

• Con­tact the ad­mis­sions of­fice of the col­leges to which you have ap­plied to make sure that your in­for­ma­tion has been re­ceived, and that they have ev­ery­thing they need from you.

Fe­bru­ary:

• Com­plete your schol­ar­ship ap­pli­ca­tions.

• Con­tact the fi­nan­cial aid of­fice of the col­leges to which you have ap­plied to make sure your in­for­ma­tion has been re­ceived, and that they have ev­ery­thing they need from you.

March - April:

• You will prob­a­bly hear from the col­leges as to whether or not you are ac­cepted by April 15.

• If you will be liv­ing on cam­pus, sub­mit your hous­ing de­posit to en­sure you get the res­i­den­tial op­tion you pre­fer.

• Com­pare your ac­cep­tance let­ters, fi­nan­cial aid and schol­ar­ship of­fers. These are all im­por­tant things to con­sider when choos­ing a col­lege.

• When you choose a col­lege that has ac­cepted you, you will be re­quired to pay a non-re­fund­able de­posit for fresh­man tu­ition. This should en­sure your place in the en­ter­ing fresh­man class.

May:

• Take AP ex­ams for any AP sub­jects you stud­ied in high school.

• De­ci­sion time! You should de­cide on a col­lege by May

1. No­tify that school by mail­ing your com­mit­ment de­posit check. Many schools re­quire that your no­ti­fi­ca­tion let­ter be post­marked by this date.

• If you were placed on a wait­ing list for a par­tic­u­lar col­lege and have de­cided to wait for an open­ing, con­tact that col­lege and let them know you are still very in­ter­ested.

June:

• Have your school send your fi­nal tran­scripts to the col­lege you will be at­tend­ing.

• Con­tact your col­lege to de­ter­mine when fees for tu­ition, room and board are due, and how much they will cost.

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