eCampusTours

a blog about all things college

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Saving money is a good habit to develop as a young adult. Learning how to save your money is one of the most important steps you can take in order to be financially stable throughout your life. During your high school and college years, utilize these money saving secrets in order to stay on the path toward financial stability.
Set saving goals. By setting short-term and long-term goals, you will be inspired to keep track of your savings and will spend your money more wisely. For instance, you will be less likely to spend your money on frivolous items if you have a goal to save $5,000 so you can purchase a used car. Focus on the prize!
Deposit gift money into savings. Anytime you receive gift money, such as birthday or graduation cash, deposit it into your savings account. Since this is money that you weren’t really counting on, you know you can get by without it. So instead of spending it right away, put the money in a savings account and let it accrue interest.
Try to save half of your income. As a young adult, you are at the age where you probably have a part-time job but don’t have that many bills. Use this special time in your life to your advantage and build up a substantial savings fund.
Plan ahead. From flat tires to medical bills, you will be sure to encounter unexpected expenses throughout your life. Learning how to plan ahead for these unexpected expenses will help you avoid going into any debt. Begin building up an emergency fund or reserve part of your savings account for emergencies.
Don’t try to keep up with everyone else. If your friends always seem to buy the latest gaming system or designer clothing, you may be tempted to spend your money on similar items. However, keeping up with others is a never-ending battle as someone will always have something newer, faster, and shinier than you. Make the most of what you do have and save your money.
Avoid shopping malls. This saving secret will be hard for you if shopping is one of your hobbies. But keep in mind that shopping malls are designed with one objective – to make you spend money. To be financially savvy, you should find other ways to spend your leisure time, such as free concerts, sporting events, and art museums.
Reduce monthly expenses. Revamp your spending habits and deposit that extra money into your savings account. Here are a few ways to reduce your monthly expenses:
Limit vending machine purchases
Pack your lunch for school
Reduce drive-thru visits
Go to a matinee movie instead of an evening show
Check out books and magazines from the library instead of buying them
Avoid cell phone data overages by limiting your usage or upgrading your data plan
Don’t count on credit. Credit cards can be a great tool for handling unexpected expenses and to build a good credit rating (if used correctly). However, you should avoid using your credit card for everyday purchases or to pay for an item or event that you really can’t afford. Using your credit card for frivolous purchases will only cost you more money in the long run.
For more ideas on saving money during school, check out the articles in the College Budgets 101 section of this website.

Saving money is a good habit to develop as a young adult. Learning how to save your money is one of the most important steps you can take in order to be financially stable throughout your life. During your high school and college years, utilize these money saving secrets in order to stay on the path toward financial stability.

Set saving goals. By setting short-term and long-term goals, you will be inspired to keep track of your savings and will spend your money more wisely. For instance, you will be less likely to spend your money on frivolous items if you have a goal to save $5,000 so you can purchase a used car. Focus on the prize!

Deposit gift money into savings. Anytime you receive gift money, such as birthday or graduation cash, deposit it into your savings account. Since this is money that you weren’t really counting on, you know you can get by without it. So instead of spending it right away, put the money in a savings account and let it accrue interest.

Try to save half of your income. As a young adult, you are at the age where you probably have a part-time job but don’t have that many bills. Use this special time in your life to your advantage and build up a substantial savings fund.

Plan ahead. From flat tires to medical bills, you will be sure to encounter unexpected expenses throughout your life. Learning how to plan ahead for these unexpected expenses will help you avoid going into any debt. Begin building up an emergency fund or reserve part of your savings account for emergencies.

Don’t try to keep up with everyone else. If your friends always seem to buy the latest gaming system or designer clothing, you may be tempted to spend your money on similar items. However, keeping up with others is a never-ending battle as someone will always have something newer, faster, and shinier than you. Make the most of what you do have and save your money.

Avoid shopping malls. This saving secret will be hard for you if shopping is one of your hobbies. But keep in mind that shopping malls are designed with one objective – to make you spend money. To be financially savvy, you should find other ways to spend your leisure time, such as free concerts, sporting events, and art museums.

Reduce monthly expenses. Revamp your spending habits and deposit that extra money into your savings account. Here are a few ways to reduce your monthly expenses:

  • Limit vending machine purchases
  • Pack your lunch for school
  • Reduce drive-thru visits
  • Go to a matinee movie instead of an evening show
  • Check out books and magazines from the library instead of buying them
  • Avoid cell phone data overages by limiting your usage or upgrading your data plan

Don’t count on credit. Credit cards can be a great tool for handling unexpected expenses and to build a good credit rating (if used correctly). However, you should avoid using your credit card for everyday purchases or to pay for an item or event that you really can’t afford. Using your credit card for frivolous purchases will only cost you more money in the long run.

For more ideas on saving money during school, check out the articles in the College Budgets 101 section of this website.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under high school college money-saving secrets young adults

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Don’t let anything stand in your way of going to college! Fee waivers and special accommodations for the ACT are available for students who qualify.
Fee Waivers Students can receive ACT test fee waivers for the basic test fee for two test dates. Fee waivers are available for students:
who are enrolled in a free or reduced-price lunch program at school, based on USDA income levels
who are enrolled in a program for the economically disadvantaged (for example, AVID or a federally funded TRIO program such as Upward Bound)
who are in foster homes or are a ward of the state
whose family receives public assistance or lives in federally subsidized public housing
whose total family income is at or below the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) levels for free or reduced-price lunches
If you think you qualify, check with your counselor early as funds are limited each year and won’t be available once depleted. Visiting with your counselor is the only way to obtain a fee waiver.
Special Testing Special testing is available for students with documented disabilities. If you currently receive accommodations in school due to a professionally diagnosed and documented disability, you may submit documentation to support a request for one of the following:
National Standard Time with Accommodations
National Extended Time (50% time extension)
Special Testing (at school)
Information about required documentation and the process for requesting accommodations can be found at www.act.org/aap/disab/index.html. Visit with your counselor for assistance in completing paperwork.

Don’t let anything stand in your way of going to college! Fee waivers and special accommodations for the ACT are available for students who qualify.

Fee Waivers
Students can receive ACT test fee waivers for the basic test fee for two test dates. Fee waivers are available for students:

  • who are enrolled in a free or reduced-price lunch program at school, based on USDA income levels
  • who are enrolled in a program for the economically disadvantaged (for example, AVID or a federally funded TRIO program such as Upward Bound)
  • who are in foster homes or are a ward of the state
  • whose family receives public assistance or lives in federally subsidized public housing
  • whose total family income is at or below the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) levels for free or reduced-price lunches

If you think you qualify, check with your counselor early as funds are limited each year and won’t be available once depleted. Visiting with your counselor is the only way to obtain a fee waiver.

Special Testing
Special testing is available for students with documented disabilities. If you currently receive accommodations in school due to a professionally diagnosed and documented disability, you may submit documentation to support a request for one of the following:

Information about required documentation and the process for requesting accommodations can be found at www.act.org/aap/disab/index.html. Visit with your counselor for assistance in completing paperwork.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under ACT college high school

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Homework is a valuable part of learning. Though you probably think it’s a pain, homework does help to cement lessons taught in class. Be sure to establish homework strategies at the beginning of the school year so you can stay on track all year.
Assume that you will have homework every night. Even if you completed your assignments, take time to review them. It’s easier to see any errors the second time around. Don’t forget to look ahead to long-term assignments like research papers or science projects. If you’re fortunate enough to have time during the school day to finish all homework assignments, use your scheduled homework time to develop solid studying habits.
Don’t be intimidated by homework. It’s like a sporting event, but for your mind. Homework is part of your learning process. If you’re having problems with an assignment, check with your teacher or look for free homework help that might be available in your area. Many public libraries offer either a live or online homework service. Tutors are another option.
Make it a routine. Find a place and set a consistent time for doing homework. The adage states that it takes three weeks to develop a habit. Practice your homework routine, and it should become second nature before long.
Not only is homework an important part of your grades, but it also improves your study skills. While homework focuses on a specific assignment, studying goes beyond that to enhance understanding of the concepts and topics taught in class. Complete your homework assignments each night to help you develop good study habits.

Homework is a valuable part of learning. Though you probably think it’s a pain, homework does help to cement lessons taught in class. Be sure to establish homework strategies at the beginning of the school year so you can stay on track all year.

  • Assume that you will have homework every night. Even if you completed your assignments, take time to review them. It’s easier to see any errors the second time around. Don’t forget to look ahead to long-term assignments like research papers or science projects. If you’re fortunate enough to have time during the school day to finish all homework assignments, use your scheduled homework time to develop solid studying habits.
  • Don’t be intimidated by homework. It’s like a sporting event, but for your mind. Homework is part of your learning process. If you’re having problems with an assignment, check with your teacher or look for free homework help that might be available in your area. Many public libraries offer either a live or online homework service. Tutors are another option.
  • Make it a routine. Find a place and set a consistent time for doing homework. The adage states that it takes three weeks to develop a habit. Practice your homework routine, and it should become second nature before long.

Not only is homework an important part of your grades, but it also improves your study skills. While homework focuses on a specific assignment, studying goes beyond that to enhance understanding of the concepts and topics taught in class. Complete your homework assignments each night to help you develop good study habits.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under backtoschool high school

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Let’s face it: dorm rooms can be cramped, bland, and uninviting. The idea of living in a tiny room with two or three people for nine months may have many of you rethinking your living situations. But before you forgo the experience of dormitory life, realize that you can easily spruce up your living environment to make it homey yet functional at the same time. All you have to do is follow the steps below:
Step 1: Optimize Your Space The key to living in a tiny dorm room is to use the space you have available to its fullest. If your dorm room already has a bed that sits low on the ground, you can maximize the storage space underneath by slightly raising the bed. This will give you more space to store off-season clothes, books, or anything that you don’t use on a regular basis. At some schools, you can purchase lofts to put your bed on, which will give you space underneath for dorm seating, TV, and a mini-refrigerator. Some schools may even allow you to bunk two beds together, which will also allow room for a “living area.” In addition to maximizing space in the actual dorm room, you can also optimize the space in your closet. Utilizing closet organizers for shoes, sweaters, hats, and belts will not only keep you better organized but will also allow space at the bottom of your closet for more storage. There are all sorts of ways to better optimize the space you have in your dorm room; just keep an eye out for new ideas.
Step 2: Accessorize With Necessities There are several must-haves that you should put in your dorm room to help make it more functional. Good lighting is crucial to have because it will make reading and studying much easier. Invest in a desk lamp and possibly a floor lamp to put by your bed for nighttime reading. You will also need space to store important documents, such as tax information, bills, scholarship information, etc. Purchase a small filing cabinet to help you organize these important papers. You can even use the top of the cabinet to store your printer, pictures, or other knickknacks. Finally, a bulletin board is another dorm room must-have. This board can be used to hang roommate messages, class schedules, and assignment due dates. Make the bulletin board more colorful by adding candid photos of your family and friends. If you can think of anything else you deem as a dorm room necessity, be sure to bring it along.
Step 3: Express Yourself Expressing your individuality through your dorm room décor will allow others to assess your personality as well as make you feel more comfortable in your surroundings. Do you like to paint? Splash your favorite color on furniture or walls (using paintable peel n stick wallpaper) to brighten up your room. If you are artistically inclined, paint pictures to hang up on your walls. If you are not so artistic, check out peel n stick wall decals from Dormco.com and Roommates.com to liven up your bland walls. Dormco.com also has fun tin signs that you can remove and rehang year after year (unlike posters)! However you decide to express yourself, just remember to be creative so you will feel more at home and so you and your friends will enjoy hanging out in your room.
Step 4: Stay Comfortable To make your dorm room your home away from home, it has to be comfortable. While dorm rooms do not have the reputation of being very comfy, there are ways you can improve the comfort level of your new abode. Because dorm room beds can sometimes be hard, don’t forget to bring along a mattress pad to soften it up. Also, purchase a comfortable chair or couch that you and/or your guests can lounge in and be sure to have a large amount of pillows because these necessities make everything more comfortable and homey.
There are pros and cons to living the dormitory life but with the right decorations, you can easily make the positives outweigh the negatives and have a dorm room in which you’ll make unforgettable memories. For more dorm room decorating ideas and tips, be sure to follow our Dorm-Organization board and our Dorm Decor board on Pinterest.

Let’s face it: dorm rooms can be cramped, bland, and uninviting. The idea of living in a tiny room with two or three people for nine months may have many of you rethinking your living situations. But before you forgo the experience of dormitory life, realize that you can easily spruce up your living environment to make it homey yet functional at the same time. All you have to do is follow the steps below:

Step 1: Optimize Your Space
The key to living in a tiny dorm room is to use the space you have available to its fullest. If your dorm room already has a bed that sits low on the ground, you can maximize the storage space underneath by slightly raising the bed. This will give you more space to store off-season clothes, books, or anything that you don’t use on a regular basis. At some schools, you can purchase lofts to put your bed on, which will give you space underneath for dorm seating, TV, and a mini-refrigerator. Some schools may even allow you to bunk two beds together, which will also allow room for a “living area.” In addition to maximizing space in the actual dorm room, you can also optimize the space in your closet. Utilizing closet organizers for shoes, sweaters, hats, and belts will not only keep you better organized but will also allow space at the bottom of your closet for more storage. There are all sorts of ways to better optimize the space you have in your dorm room; just keep an eye out for new ideas.

Step 2: Accessorize With Necessities
There are several must-haves that you should put in your dorm room to help make it more functional. Good lighting is crucial to have because it will make reading and studying much easier. Invest in a desk lamp and possibly a floor lamp to put by your bed for nighttime reading. You will also need space to store important documents, such as tax information, bills, scholarship information, etc. Purchase a small filing cabinet to help you organize these important papers. You can even use the top of the cabinet to store your printer, pictures, or other knickknacks. Finally, a bulletin board is another dorm room must-have. This board can be used to hang roommate messages, class schedules, and assignment due dates. Make the bulletin board more colorful by adding candid photos of your family and friends. If you can think of anything else you deem as a dorm room necessity, be sure to bring it along.

Step 3: Express Yourself
Expressing your individuality through your dorm room décor will allow others to assess your personality as well as make you feel more comfortable in your surroundings. Do you like to paint? Splash your favorite color on furniture or walls (using paintable peel n stick wallpaper) to brighten up your room. If you are artistically inclined, paint pictures to hang up on your walls. If you are not so artistic, check out peel n stick wall decals from Dormco.com and Roommates.com to liven up your bland walls. Dormco.com also has fun tin signs that you can remove and rehang year after year (unlike posters)! However you decide to express yourself, just remember to be creative so you will feel more at home and so you and your friends will enjoy hanging out in your room.

Step 4: Stay Comfortable
To make your dorm room your home away from home, it has to be comfortable. While dorm rooms do not have the reputation of being very comfy, there are ways you can improve the comfort level of your new abode. Because dorm room beds can sometimes be hard, don’t forget to bring along a mattress pad to soften it up. Also, purchase a comfortable chair or couch that you and/or your guests can lounge in and be sure to have a large amount of pillows because these necessities make everything more comfortable and homey.

There are pros and cons to living the dormitory life but with the right decorations, you can easily make the positives outweigh the negatives and have a dorm room in which you’ll make unforgettable memories. For more dorm room decorating ideas and tips, be sure to follow our Dorm-Organization board and our Dorm Decor board on Pinterest.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under college dorm

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The transition to college usually involves leaving old friends behind and seeking out additional friendships at your new school. For some people, making new friends is easy. For others, it may be more difficult. Here are some tips for making new friends in college.
Attend orientation. As an entering college freshman, you should attend orientation in order to get a head start on meeting new people and forming relationships. During freshmen orientation, everyone is looking to meet new friends, which provides for the perfect atmosphere to start conversations.
Get involved. In order to meet new people, it is imperative that you get involved on campus. Join a student group such as the debate club or student government. Try out for a sports team. Consider joining a sorority or fraternity. Even if you decide that Greek life isn’t for you, you will still meet a lot of potential friends during rush.
Stay on campus. Avoid weekend trips home to see old friends during the first few weeks of school. This is the time when new students are trying to get to know one another. If you go home every weekend, you will miss out on the weekend activities that bond college students together.
Use your classes. Try to arrive to the lecture rooms a few minutes before your classes start so you will have time to talk with your peers. Sit in the middle of the classroom and strike up conversations with those around you about homework assignments, upcoming tests, campus activities, etc.
Open your door. Leave your door open when you are hanging out in your dorm room. Other students are looking to make new friends as well, so many will drop by just to say “hey” if your door is open. Likewise, you should do a drop-by to introduce yourself if you see an open door. Please note: You should always lock your door when you are not in your room.
Be outgoing. When someone invites you to go somewhere, be sure to accept the invitation. Attend sporting events held on campus. Go to campus parties. Check out university-sponsored events for freshmen.
Study in public. Instead of studying in your dorm room where you are sure to fall asleep, go to the library, dorm lounge, or campus quad. You’ll get in plenty of study time and have the opportunity to meet new people during your study breaks.
Get a job. It’s relatively easy to make friends on the job. Daily happenings at work usually bond coworkers together. So, inquire about work-study jobs. Look for retail job opportunities. Get a restaurant job. You’ll not only make new friends, but earn extra cash along the way.
Throw a party. If allowed at your residence, throw a theme party and invite various people. As the host or hostess of the party, make a point to introduce yourself to every guest. You should make quite a few friends by the end of the night.
As long as you extend yourself and make a point to meet new people, you should have a multitude of friends in no time. Happy friend hunting!

The transition to college usually involves leaving old friends behind and seeking out additional friendships at your new school. For some people, making new friends is easy. For others, it may be more difficult. Here are some tips for making new friends in college.

Attend orientation. As an entering college freshman, you should attend orientation in order to get a head start on meeting new people and forming relationships. During freshmen orientation, everyone is looking to meet new friends, which provides for the perfect atmosphere to start conversations.

Get involved. In order to meet new people, it is imperative that you get involved on campus. Join a student group such as the debate club or student government. Try out for a sports team. Consider joining a sorority or fraternity. Even if you decide that Greek life isn’t for you, you will still meet a lot of potential friends during rush.

Stay on campus. Avoid weekend trips home to see old friends during the first few weeks of school. This is the time when new students are trying to get to know one another. If you go home every weekend, you will miss out on the weekend activities that bond college students together.

Use your classes. Try to arrive to the lecture rooms a few minutes before your classes start so you will have time to talk with your peers. Sit in the middle of the classroom and strike up conversations with those around you about homework assignments, upcoming tests, campus activities, etc.

Open your door. Leave your door open when you are hanging out in your dorm room. Other students are looking to make new friends as well, so many will drop by just to say “hey” if your door is open. Likewise, you should do a drop-by to introduce yourself if you see an open door. Please note: You should always lock your door when you are not in your room.

Be outgoing. When someone invites you to go somewhere, be sure to accept the invitation. Attend sporting events held on campus. Go to campus parties. Check out university-sponsored events for freshmen.

Study in public. Instead of studying in your dorm room where you are sure to fall asleep, go to the library, dorm lounge, or campus quad. You’ll get in plenty of study time and have the opportunity to meet new people during your study breaks.

Get a job. It’s relatively easy to make friends on the job. Daily happenings at work usually bond coworkers together. So, inquire about work-study jobs. Look for retail job opportunities. Get a restaurant job. You’ll not only make new friends, but earn extra cash along the way.

Throw a party. If allowed at your residence, throw a theme party and invite various people. As the host or hostess of the party, make a point to introduce yourself to every guest. You should make quite a few friends by the end of the night.

As long as you extend yourself and make a point to meet new people, you should have a multitude of friends in no time. Happy friend hunting!

(Source: ecampustours.com)

Filed under college new friends

2 notes

Getting ready for college takes a lot of preparation. Use this college planning timeline for grades 8-12 to help you get started on the process.
8th Grade Year
Talk to friends and family about careers and possible school choices.
Consult with your middle and high school counselors to find out which courses you should take that will qualify you to attend certain colleges and/or enter certain career fields.
Discuss your financial situation with your parents to see how they can assist you in paying for your education. Work together to establish a savings plan in which you can participate.
Learn about financial aid from your school counselor.
Freshman Year
Build a flexible schedule allowing for study time, extracurricular activities, and your other interests. Use a daytimer, calendar, or app to help you get organized.
Get involved only in extracurricular activities in which you have a genuine interest and those to which you are willing to make the necessary time commitment.
Make a four-year schedule of classes that increases your eligibility to attend the college of your choice.
Start developing a high school resume by keeping a scrapbook of your accomplishments including articles about yourself, awards that you have won, and activities in which you have participated.
Take your parents with you to talk to your counselor about your interests, post-secondary possibilities, and career information.
Find out about summer jobs and how to gain the skills necessary to obtain one.
Look into volunteer opportunities that will expand your experience and skills.
Sophomore Year
Visit your school counseling office and explore college catalogs, websites, and other college materials including financial aid information.
Re-evaluate your high school course selection to make sure it meets college requirements.
Try to complete most of your academic requirements by your junior year.
Take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) and/or the PLAN (Preliminary ACT) in October to prepare you for college entrance exams. The PSAT may qualify you for certain scholarships.
See your counselor to take interest inventories to discover which career(s) might be a match for you.
Check out NCAA requirements if pursuing athletics.
Junior Year
Fall - August through December
Take the PSAT in October to practice taking entrance exams and to establish eligibility for some scholarships.
Attend sessions with college representatives who visit your high school. You may find it helpful to visit local college fairs.
Develop a list of possible post-secondary schools. Your counseling office and/or school library may have books and materials to help you. Request admissions literature and applications from the schools that are on the top of your list.
Talk with an admissions representative to determine if there are any institutional scholarships for which you could apply.
Begin researching private sources of financial aid such as scholarships and review applications. Request financial aid bulletins or emails from all potential schools. Estimate the costs for each school and begin identifying ways to meet them.
Spring - January through May
Take the SAT/ACT for the first time. Check with your intended college(s) about which test they prefer. Begin narrowing your choices for post-secondary schools.
Schedule campus visits. Consider an overnight trip that would allow for you to get a feel for what life is like on that particular campus.
Check with your counselor, libraries, and community organizations for the names of possible scholarship sources. Gather applications and review online applications as soon as possible. Keep records of anyone you speak with concerning grants or scholarships.
Start developing portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talents required for college admission and/or for scholarships.
Contact college coaches at your target schools if you plan to play sports in college. Give them a schedule of your athletic events for the upcoming year. Register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Develop a resume of your sports accomplishments including a highlight tape and relevant articles about your successes.
Summer
Practice writing online applications, filling out rough drafts, without submitting them.
Review applications, especially the essays. Ask others to proof the essay for any grammar, content, or punctuation errors.
Read all college mail and send reply cards back to schools of interest.
Apply for those scholarships whose deadlines are in the fall. You may be too busy once school starts.
Senior Year
Fall - August through December
Make sure you continue to meet high school graduation and college admission requirements.
Organize and record relevant dates on a calendar so you can plan your year more efficiently.
Register for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if needed.
Print copies of your admissions and financial aid forms. Practice filling them out before submitting the final one.
Meet with visiting admissions representatives from the schools that interest you.
Arrange visits to schools you are considering and schedule admissions interviews if required.
Take or retake the ACT or SAT.
Make the final preparation of your portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talent required for admission and/or for scholarships. Finalize your high school resume to send with your applications.
Identify at least two of the following to write solid recommendation letters for you: a teacher, an extracurricular advisor, a counselor, a principal, or an employer. Give the recommendation forms to teachers, counselors, etc. at least one month before they are due. Follow up on the progress of these recommendations.
Submit your college admissions applications. Watch out for deadlines.
Keep records of everything you submit.
Contact the coaches from the schools you are considering and include a resume of your accomplishments if seeking athletic scholarships.
Spring - January through May
Apply for financial aid by completing and submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible.
Call the school of your choice and confirm that they have received your admissions applications materials, including letters of recommendation and housing applications.
Request that your high school send a copy of your transcript to the school where you have applied. Make sure your first semester senior year grades are included on the transcript.
Make any needed corrections to your Student Aid Report (SAR) as soon as possible.
Submit any additional financial aid forms and documentation that is required by the school of your choice.
Review your financial aid award notification with your parents and make sure you understand the terms and conditions that accompany each kind of aid.
Notify the school(s) by the proper deadline as to whether you are accepting or declining admission.
Notify the financial aid office of any outside scholarships or grants that you have accepted since your initial application.
Be aware of due dates for tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses. Find out how your financial aid will be disbursed and whether you can defer payments until the funds are available.
Respond immediately to all correspondence regarding school, scholarships, and financial aid.
Participate in summer orientation programs for incoming freshman after graduation.
Meet all class registration deadlines.

Getting ready for college takes a lot of preparation. Use this college planning timeline for grades 8-12 to help you get started on the process.

8th Grade Year

  • Talk to friends and family about careers and possible school choices.
  • Consult with your middle and high school counselors to find out which courses you should take that will qualify you to attend certain colleges and/or enter certain career fields.
  • Discuss your financial situation with your parents to see how they can assist you in paying for your education. Work together to establish a savings plan in which you can participate.
  • Learn about financial aid from your school counselor.

Freshman Year

  • Build a flexible schedule allowing for study time, extracurricular activities, and your other interests. Use a daytimer, calendar, or app to help you get organized.
  • Get involved only in extracurricular activities in which you have a genuine interest and those to which you are willing to make the necessary time commitment.
  • Make a four-year schedule of classes that increases your eligibility to attend the college of your choice.
  • Start developing a high school resume by keeping a scrapbook of your accomplishments including articles about yourself, awards that you have won, and activities in which you have participated.
  • Take your parents with you to talk to your counselor about your interests, post-secondary possibilities, and career information.
  • Find out about summer jobs and how to gain the skills necessary to obtain one.
  • Look into volunteer opportunities that will expand your experience and skills.

Sophomore Year

  • Visit your school counseling office and explore college catalogs, websites, and other college materials including financial aid information.
  • Re-evaluate your high school course selection to make sure it meets college requirements.
  • Try to complete most of your academic requirements by your junior year.
  • Take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) and/or the PLAN (Preliminary ACT) in October to prepare you for college entrance exams. The PSAT may qualify you for certain scholarships.
  • See your counselor to take interest inventories to discover which career(s) might be a match for you.
  • Check out NCAA requirements if pursuing athletics.

Junior Year

Fall - August through December

  • Take the PSAT in October to practice taking entrance exams and to establish eligibility for some scholarships.
  • Attend sessions with college representatives who visit your high school. You may find it helpful to visit local college fairs.
  • Develop a list of possible post-secondary schools. Your counseling office and/or school library may have books and materials to help you. Request admissions literature and applications from the schools that are on the top of your list.
  • Talk with an admissions representative to determine if there are any institutional scholarships for which you could apply.
  • Begin researching private sources of financial aid such as scholarships and review applications. Request financial aid bulletins or emails from all potential schools. Estimate the costs for each school and begin identifying ways to meet them.

Spring - January through May

  • Take the SAT/ACT for the first time. Check with your intended college(s) about which test they prefer. Begin narrowing your choices for post-secondary schools.
  • Schedule campus visits. Consider an overnight trip that would allow for you to get a feel for what life is like on that particular campus.
  • Check with your counselor, libraries, and community organizations for the names of possible scholarship sources. Gather applications and review online applications as soon as possible. Keep records of anyone you speak with concerning grants or scholarships.
  • Start developing portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talents required for college admission and/or for scholarships.
  • Contact college coaches at your target schools if you plan to play sports in college. Give them a schedule of your athletic events for the upcoming year. Register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Develop a resume of your sports accomplishments including a highlight tape and relevant articles about your successes.

Summer

  • Practice writing online applications, filling out rough drafts, without submitting them.
  • Review applications, especially the essays. Ask others to proof the essay for any grammar, content, or punctuation errors.
  • Read all college mail and send reply cards back to schools of interest.
  • Apply for those scholarships whose deadlines are in the fall. You may be too busy once school starts.

Senior Year

Fall - August through December

  • Make sure you continue to meet high school graduation and college admission requirements.
  • Organize and record relevant dates on a calendar so you can plan your year more efficiently.
  • Register for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if needed.
  • Print copies of your admissions and financial aid forms. Practice filling them out before submitting the final one.
  • Meet with visiting admissions representatives from the schools that interest you.
  • Arrange visits to schools you are considering and schedule admissions interviews if required.
  • Take or retake the ACT or SAT.
  • Make the final preparation of your portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talent required for admission and/or for scholarships. Finalize your high school resume to send with your applications.
  • Identify at least two of the following to write solid recommendation letters for you: a teacher, an extracurricular advisor, a counselor, a principal, or an employer. Give the recommendation forms to teachers, counselors, etc. at least one month before they are due. Follow up on the progress of these recommendations.
  • Submit your college admissions applications. Watch out for deadlines.
  • Keep records of everything you submit.
  • Contact the coaches from the schools you are considering and include a resume of your accomplishments if seeking athletic scholarships.

Spring - January through May

  • Apply for financial aid by completing and submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible.
  • Call the school of your choice and confirm that they have received your admissions applications materials, including letters of recommendation and housing applications.
  • Request that your high school send a copy of your transcript to the school where you have applied. Make sure your first semester senior year grades are included on the transcript.
  • Make any needed corrections to your Student Aid Report (SAR) as soon as possible.
  • Submit any additional financial aid forms and documentation that is required by the school of your choice.
  • Review your financial aid award notification with your parents and make sure you understand the terms and conditions that accompany each kind of aid.
  • Notify the school(s) by the proper deadline as to whether you are accepting or declining admission.
  • Notify the financial aid office of any outside scholarships or grants that you have accepted since your initial application.
  • Be aware of due dates for tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses. Find out how your financial aid will be disbursed and whether you can defer payments until the funds are available.
  • Respond immediately to all correspondence regarding school, scholarships, and financial aid.
  • Participate in summer orientation programs for incoming freshman after graduation.
  • Meet all class registration deadlines.

(Source: ecampustours.com)

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