Top Five Things for High School Seniors to Do Before January 1, 2022

Apply for Scholarships and Develop a Scholarship Calendar

Many students and parents concentrate on applying for college, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and then wait for the colleges to send them a financial aid offer. After the dollar amounts offered do not meet their needs, then they reach out to people like myself asking if there are scholarships, they can review. October – December is a good time to review and apply for local, regional and national scholarship offers and prepare drafts for early 2022 scholarship applications.

Apply for Admissions to Colleges and Universities

Check to see what the admissions priority application dates are for your top schools. Have your SAT or ACT test scores ready if at all possible. Please review the colleges and universities which you are interested in, to see if they use the Common Application or the Black College Common Application. These two options allow a student to apply to more than one college from the same web portal. Please apply to colleges you already have in mind and give some consideration to schools that reach out to you with marketing materials.

Check the Math Class Requirements for Your Potential Major

Most students enter college without checking what math class or classes are required for graduation in their major. Math is the primary reason students change majors. The most popular example is a student desiring to major in Business that does not like math. Checking out the requirements ahead of time allows you to work on your math skills while still in high school, maybe consider alternative fields of study and know what is going to take place as a college freshman. Each student is different and there are numerous college majors to fit your skill set, natural gifts and talents.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Please complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Check to see what the financial aid priority application dates are for your top schools.  If you are considering working at all while in college, please check YES to the interest in Federal Work Study (FWS) question on the FAFSA. If eligible, this will start the process of giving you some consideration for part time jobs on campus, working 20 hours a week or less. Please review the college’s admissions and financial aid websites to see if they will consider you for scholarships from the college or university automatically, based upon your grades, SAT/ACT, etc., or if they provide a link to a list of their scholarships for you to also consider submitting an application.

Review State Scholarship and Grant Programs

Students should consider applying to at least one college or university in their home state. This is a way to compare pricing for in state versus out of state schools. Applying for state scholarship and grant programs might provide you with additional funding, to go along with any earned private scholarships and FAFSA funds. Please check the deadlines for the programs and apply as soon as possible. Some programs tend to be based upon your FAFSA results while others are for students in specialized academic majors or for families with a military background.

By Kenneth McGhee, Director DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG)