August prior to your SENIOR YEAR
• Request applications and information from colleges.
• Visit school campuses; look into overnight or weekend college visitation programs to help narrow your choices.
• Talk to your school counselor about taking Advanced Placement (AP) Program* courses for college credit.
• Mark your calendar for college fairs, visits from admissions representatives and financial aid events.
• Meet with your school counselor to develop a college admissions plan.
• Register for the SAT* exam or the ACT exam; visit EducationPlanner.org for free test prep and practice exams.
• Consider early decision/early action programs.
• Create a schedule of admission and financial aid deadlines.
• Begin college applications and essays.
• Request transcripts and letters of recommendation.
• Begin to explore scholarships; visit EducationPlanner.org to get information on free scholarship searches.
• Follow up to ensure that letters of recommendation are submitted.
• Complete and submit essays and applications for early decision/early action programs.
• Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship applications are due by December 1.
• Contact the financial aid offices at your target schools to see what financial aid programs exist on a state or campus level. These programs may involve forms and deadlines that are separate from federal programs and may require additional applications or information from you or your parents.
• Complete, photocopy and submit college applications.
• Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is required to be considered for most federal, state and college-based aid. The FAFSA serves as the application for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, and students can now connect directly from the FAFSA on the Web to the State Grant Form (SGF). You can access the FAFSA online at PHEAA.org/FAFSA.
• Submit applications for private or outside scholarships you may have identified.
• Be sure that you have submitted all required forms: the college admissions application, the FAFSA, any private scholarship applications, and any state or school-specific forms required for financial aid programs.
• Watch your email for your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR summarizes all of the information you provided on the FAFSA. If you did not provide a valid email address when completing the FAFSA, your SAR will be sent by postal mail.
• Watch your email for notices from the Pennsylvania State Grant Program. All first-time applicants will be asked to complete the online State Grant Form (SGF). NOTE: Pennsylvania students can now connect directly from the FAFSA on the Web to the SGF.
• Renewal students may be asked to provide additional information needed to complete their application for State Grant consideration.
• If taking an AP* exam, consider a preparation course for the tests, which are given in May.
• Receive admission notification(s); compare your aid awards to the school’s cost of attendance.
• Make a final enrollment decision and submit the enrollment deposit, if requested.
• Sign and return the financial aid forms for the school you will be attending.
• If a school accepted you but you will not be attending, notify that school of your decision not to attend.
• The deadline for the Pennsylvania State Grant (FAFSA application) is May 1 for students attending colleges, universities and college-transferable programs (excluding community colleges) and for all renewal students.
• After you have submitted your FAFSA and any additional information that is requested, check your eligibility for a Pennsylvania State Grant by visiting Account Access at PHEAA.org.
• Take any applicable AP* exams.
• Send your final high school transcripts to your chosen college.
• Contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to check the status of your financial aid.
• Complete any remaining financial aid forms.
• Plan for college orientation, transportation and housing.
• Finalize college transportation and housing for the fall.
• The deadline for the Pennsylvania State Grant (FAFSA application) is August 1 for first-time students attending community colleges, business, trade or technical schools, hospital schools of nursing, or two-year, non-transferable degree programs at a community, junior or four-year college.