Stay on Track

Checklist for this Week, February 26, 2013

For freshmen

Begin researching colleges and careers:

  • News articles, charts, and graphs that feature college and financial aid information can teach you about current trends in higher education.
  • Clipping articles about hot jobs and future career needs may help you choose your career.
  • Investigating the courses and education required for emerging careers can help you choose high school courses.
  • Start a file for the materials you collect.

For sophomores

More volunteering

  • Help others by volunteering at assisted living facilities, food drives/soup kitchens, and charity events.
  • Volunteer to help tutor at an elementary school in your area.
  • Help a favorite teacher at your school put up bulletin boards, collate papers, etc.
  • Go to a child care center after school to read or play with children.

For juniors

Here are some things to do as you search for the college you want to attend:

  • Call the college's admissions office prior to a campus visit. The staff will help you make the most of your time on campus and will provide suggestions on what to do and where to go.
  • Even if you have been on the campus before, take a tour. You'll get a thorough view of the campus and tour guides are a great source of information. It is also helpful to meet other prospective students and listen to their questions.
  • Meet with an admissions representative. He or she will review the college's admission criteria and help you understand the application process. This could be the same representative who reads your application next year.
  • If you have an idea of the major you might choose, you may schedule a meeting with an advisor from that particular department. The advisor can answer specific questions for you about a degree program.
  • If the college permits, visit a class.
  • Ask to see the inside of a residence hall.
  • When you return home, you may want to make notes about your observations. Also, if a college admissions representative or other advisor was especially helpful, it is appropriate to write that person a note of thanks.

For seniors and parents

Financial aid deadlines are approaching for many schools. Check with individual schools for information. Also, remember that you may be eligible for state aid even if you don't qualify for federal aid. Here are a few upcoming state deadlines:

  • To view all the state deadlines, see the U.S. Department of Education's FAFSA Deadlines.
  • Note that state forms do not replace the FAFSA. You should complete and submit the FAFSA by June 30 to receive federal student aid.