College Application: Done.
Letters of Recommendation: Sent.
SAT and ACT testing: Check.
For most high school seniors, the waiting game for college acceptance letters has begun. While you wait to hear back from the schools you applied to, there is one other application process waiting to be completed: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as FAFSA.
This application is provided by the office of Federal Student Aid and provides students with access to financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and work-study funds for college. Check out the following tips to help you complete your FAFSA application.
Watch Out for Deadlines
Although FAFSA applications can be submitted until June 30, 2016, most schools have different deadlines, such as UC schools who require completion by March 2, 2016. Check each schools individual website for any institutions you applied or been accepted to for specific information.
Gather Your Information Ahead of Time
You will need a lot of information while filling out your application so cut down on fill-out time by gathering things like your social security number, income tax returns and W-2s for yourself and your parents, and school codes for those colleges you’ve applied to from the Federal Student Aid website.
Most scholarships, grants, and loans are provided on a first come, first serve basis so don’t wait until the last minute to submit your FAFSA application. Get it done early to maximize the amount of aid you can receive.
Check for Accuracy
Filling out your FAFSA application can take anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours and although the process might get a bit tedious, accuracy is still the most important factor. Take your time filling out the information to avoid having to fix information later that might hinder your ability to meet deadlines or receive funds on time.
Ask for Help
If at any point you have questions, there is a plethora of information available to online or don’t be afraid to reach out to your school counselors and teachers if you need extra help. The FAFSA application process can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be.
Good luck, students!