Now that graduation parties are over and high school diplomas are in hand, parents and students need to do important planning for this fall. A scant two months remain before the serious work of the first semester in college commences in earnest.
A number of things need to be done by parents and students well before the start of college. First, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be filled out completely and correctly so that financial aid is ascertainable. The FAFSA is due by June 30, 2012 for students entering in September. Students and their parents can fill out the paperwork on the fafsa.com website
or pay a student service to assist with the filing. The phone service can be accessed at 866-549-8938. Assistance websites can cost about $80; however, the modest cost can be worth the aggravation saved.
FAFSA eligibility is determined by qualifying criteria. Most students are eligible for some form of financial assistance, including low-interest-rate loans regardless of income. An applicant (with some exceptions) must be a United States citizen, hold a valid social security number, have a high school diploma or GED, be registered with the draft, declare that he/she will utilize FAFSA for an educational purpose, and meet other qualifying criteria.
Since the eligibility requirements can be burdensome, students and their parents may want to hire a professional service to fill out the application for a modest fee. Over $200 billion is available to students for college. Filing the FAFSA is the first step in qualifying to access this aid. The stakes are high for all concerned.
Once the hurdle for paying college tuition has been cleared, the next step in the process is to decide upon a specific college and register for Freshman Orientation. The orientation sessions are held over a one-to-two-day period. Generally, parents and students are invited to attend.
The orientation will introduce students to college and explain in depth what is expected when students commence classes. The resources of the college and university are explained fully during orientation. In addition, the code of conduct for academics and student residence halls may be outlined so that parents and students understand the rules thoroughly.
Classically, two hours of study are required for each hour of class time. This rule applies more stringently to math/science classes. Students will be assigned a class adviser to explain the curriculum of the college and the required coursework for the first semester. Once the bill has been paid, students will be free to register for classes. Paying the bill early helps to ensure that students have access to their first choice courses and professors.