If you’re planning to go to college right after you graduate from high school, then understanding the process and deadlines are important. And, because it can be such a big investment, your college preparation will include some planning. Making good financial decisions leading up to school can help you save money on your college education.
Here’s a checklist to help you manage the process.
- Take the SAT/ACT in the winter of junior year if you want to apply with “early decision/action.”
- Begin researching colleges and adding yourself to college mailing lists.
- Narrow your list of schools to visit and plan time to visit them in the spring.
Senior Year: Fall
- Meet with your guidance counselor to ensure you’re on track to graduate and meet college admission requirements.
- Register for tests required by the colleges, such as the ACT and SAT, if you haven’t already taken them.
- Request letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, etc.
- Collect school transcripts and begin applying to colleges.
- Estimate financial aid eligibility at FAFSA.gov in Senior Year Fall.
- Research grant and scholarship opportunities and submit applications.
Senior Year: Winter
- Ensure income taxes are completed and filed early. You’ll need this information to fill out the FAFSA.
- Complete and submit the FAFSA, which is available on Oct. 1.
- Review the Student Aid Report sent from your colleges of choice, make corrections and submit to the FAFSA processor.
Senior Year: Spring
- Compare financial aid offers from your chosen colleges.
- Contact your school’s financial aid office to see if scholarships, grants, loans or other aid are available.
- Choose a college. Many schools require an acceptance notification and a financial deposit by May 1, or sooner if you applied for early admission.
- If you need additional funding, apply for a private student loan starting June 1.
Summer Before College
- Set up a payment schedule for tuition and other educational expenses.
- Pay your first semester tuition.
- Choose a meal plan.
- Set up a student checking account and get a debit card or secured credit card from your credit union or bank. Navy Federal’s Free Campus Checking account is designed specifically for students and includes ATM fee rebates1 and no minimum balance requirement.
- Save extra money from a part-time job to help pay for books, other college expenses and build an emergency fund.
- Establish a budget for expenses outside of tuition, room and board.
- Shop for dorm room furnishings and décor, clothes and school supplies.
Applying for loans, setting a budget and making a payment schedule for repaying your loans are skills that will serve you well after college. Congratulations on taking this step. You’ve got great things ahead!
Up to $10.00 in ATM fee rebates per statement period.↵
This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.