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No matter where you are in your college search, there are resources available to guide you. Prepare for the college financial aid process by checking off the items below.


  • Make a plan: The sooner you think about making a plan to go to college, the easier your choices will be in the future. The Federal Student Aid website is a good resource that has checklists for what you need to do to prepare for college.

  • The PSAT 8/9 or Pre-ACT: Learn about these test options, which will help identify academic areas in which you need to practice. You may qualify for scholarships later based upon your test results now and in the future.

  • Saving for College: If possible, save what you can from birthday gifts or your part-time job. Savings will allow you to limit the amount you may need to borrow. Savings also provide you with options. Review some ways to save for college.


  • What you need to know about financial aid: Financial aid is money that can help you to pay for college. Review our tips on planning and paying for college.

  • The Language of Financial Aid: Learn the financial aid terms that will help you understand the process. 

  • Ask Questions: Each school is unique in how they offer financial aid. Ask questions about the process and opportunities available at each one.


  • Know Your Options: Explore financial aid options at the colleges and universities on your list.

  • Visit Use this free search tool to find scholarships for which you may want to apply. 


  • Understand Net Price: Most students do not pay the full "sticker price" for college tuition. Visit each potential college's website to find the estimated cost of tuition.  

  • Start the Process: Visit the financial aid websites of the schools to which you plan on applying and find out what you need to do to start the financial aid application process. 

  • October 1: Complete the CSS Profile if it is required by the schools to which you are applying. 

  • October 1: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), required by most colleges and universities. 

  • Please Note: Some schools require both the CSS Profile and the FAFSA. The priority dates for submitting these applications are based on whether you apply for admission in Restrictive Early Action or Regular Decision.

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