Additional Financial Key Points

Sample Application Checklist

You may be a great candidate for your school and program of choice, but if your college application is not complete and correct, the officials in charge of admissions may pass you by. Before you send that application package to your dream school, double-check its contents to make sure you've included everything on this list.

Official high school transcripts: In most cases, official transcripts will have to be sent directly to the college from your high school. Typically, the seal of the school must also be on the transcript. Request transcripts early to ensure they will arrive well before the due date.

Recommendation letters: Many schools require these. Ask adults who are well-acquainted with your strengths and experiences to write these for you. Give them a few weeks to respond to your needs, particularly during a busy time of year.

Resume: Include a succinct, clearly-formatted resume outlining your education, work experience, and volunteer work.

Test scores: You'll need to provide your official score reports for any required tests, such as the ACT or the SAT.

Work experience: Having a part-time job during high school shows responsibility and self-discipline. Even if your work experience is not directly related to your field of interest, include a description of all prior and/or current jobs.

Volunteer work: Admissions committees tend to look very favorably on all types of volunteer work. Outline how much time you spent as a volunteer, what organizations you were involved with, and your major responsibilities.

Awards: Detail any academic, volunteer, or other awards you may have received. If requested, be certain that you can provide proof of any awards and commendations.

References: You will probably be asked to provide a list of references. Make sure you precisely follow any instructions provided. For example, you may be asked to provide academic and work-related references. Be sure to check in advance with any individuals you plan to use as references before providing their contact information.

Application fee: Include any fees in the application package. Be sure to use only approved payment methods. These requirements and payment amounts will usually be listed on application instruction forms.

Due date: Finally, check the due date for your application. Begin gathering materials for your application package well before the due date, and allow plenty of time for the application to reach the school. The last thing you want is to have your perfect application discarded because it arrived a day too late.

Additional Financial Key Points

For most students planning to attend college, scholarships and loans will provide the funds necessary to obtain a higher education degree. If you plan to apply for scholarships and fellowships, it's important to find as many potential awards as possible. In addition to checking bulletin boards and websites, check with the following organizations and establishments to determine whether they have prizes for which you may be eligible.

The following possibilities will likely have very strict eligibility criteria. For example, you may have to be a certain race or religion to apply.

  • Religious groups
  • Racial groups
  • Parent's employment
The following are establishments found in most towns and cities, and they often show support for their communities by offering scholarships to local high school grads. They will likely accept applications from most individuals.
  • Libraries
  • Hospitals
  • Fire departments
  • Police departments
  • Banks
It's also worthwhile to look into the following possibilities. The eligibility requirements may be very specific or quite general. Always make sure you qualify for the scholarship or fellowship before you take the time to apply.
  • Veteran's groups
  • Lions club
  • Key club
  • American Legion
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Specialty clubs
  • Unions
  • Parent-teacher organizations
  • Private foundations
  • Civic groups
  • Athletic organizations

In addition to looking into all of these possibilities, take some time to conduct free scholarship searches at www.fastweb.com or www.fastaid.com.

Finaid Facts
Scholarship Search Help

If you are attending an undergraduate program that is receiving federal funding, you will complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when you begin the program. However, you can also get an idea of how much financial aid you will qualify for by visiting www.finaid.org/calculators/. Experiment with different scenarios to find out how much aid you would qualify for in different situations. By taking the time to do this, you can figure out how to get the maximum aid possible when the time arrives to submit the actual application.

Last Updated: 09/18/2014

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