A year ago, I was preparing my son to enter college. I felt like a well-oiled machine, making sure he would be ready to go in the fall. He recently completed his first college semester, reminding me the work isn’t done once he starts college. There are things needed to prepare for college every year.
FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid)
To get financial aid from the federal government, you have to fill out the FAFSA. This needs to be done not just the first year, but every year. Your financial state can change dramatically from year to year resulting in a change (better or worse) in what you may qualify for.
College Scholarship Renewals
Some scholarships are a one time shot, others are renewable. Check with the scholarship provider to find out if it’s renewable, and what needs to be done to secure future funds.
New Scholarship Opportunities
If a student applied for a grant or scholarship one year and didn’t get it, they should try again the following year. Students may also find new scholarship opportunities to apply for both privately and through the college itself. For example, my son’s university (my alma mater) has an alumni scholarship when students reach sophomore status.
If a student is going to continue living in the dorms, an application and registration fee is necessary each year. The sooner the application is submitted and fee paid, the better chance the student will get their room of choice.
Meal Plan Adjustments
After a year of college experience, a student may have a better idea what their eating habits are, and what meal plan best fits their lifestyle.
Preparing a student for their first year of college is a lot of work. However, it’s important to realize that the work isn’t over once they start their first class. Each year of college requires much of the same preparatory work, much of it needs to be done months in advance. But if you stay ahead of it, it gets easier every year!
How about you, Clever Friends, what would you add to the list?