Stay on Track

Checklist for this Week, March 17, 2014

Now is the time to start learning the basics of money management.

  • Open a savings account and save some of your income.
  • Open a checking account, learn to write checks and balance a monthly statement.
  • Keep a list of expenses — all the items you purchase.
  • Talk about upcoming expenses with your parents. Find out what they expect you to pay for that new car, a bike, or college.

For sophomores

Here are a few important things to know about the SAT Subject Tests:

  • The SAT Subject Tests are one-hour, primarily multiple-choice tests in specific subjects. They measure knowledge or skills in a particular subject and your ability to apply that knowledge.
  • Some colleges may require one or more of these tests for admissions purposes or use them for placement in courses.
  • The best time to take a Subject Test is at the completion of a course in that subject.
  • If you are taking an Honors or Pre-AP course in one of the areas tested by a Subject Test, you may want to take the test this spring.
  • Seek advice from your teacher. Registration materials for the tests are usually in your counselor's office.
  • Get an update on a list of SAT tests that are available from the College Board (

For juniors

Here are a few notes about dual-credit enrollment:

  • An advantage of dual credit is the ability to earn both high school credit and college credit at the same time. It is a "two-for-one" venture.
  • Taking a college course while in high school gives you the opportunity to experience the structure and expectations of college classes.
  • One disadvantage of dual credit is that not all colleges will accept a course for college credit if it was also taken for high school credit. Check with prospective colleges to determine if they accept dual-credit courses.

For seniors

It's your senior year and you may be thinking, "I'm outta here!" But if you plan on going to college, here's why you should stay focused:

  • Colleges accept students contingent upon "successful completion of the senior year."
  • Admissions personnel watch for dramatic grade drops on midyear reports and final transcripts. Should your grades reflect a steep decline, the school may request a written explanation describing the reasons for the poor performance.
  • Occasionally, a college may require a student to attend summer school or be placed on academic probation for the first semester of the freshman year.
  • In rare instances, a selective college may actually revoke a student's acceptance if his/her grades drop in the final semester.

For parents

If you filed a FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal government. Here is some information about it:

  • The SAR will list the amount of money that you and your child are expected to contribute toward college expenses. This amount is called the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).
  • The SAR will also inform you of any federal grants (such as the Pell Grant) or federal loans for which your family qualifies.
  • The college financial aid office will also receive the SAR information if you provided the college's name on the FAFSA. The college will subtract the EFC from the Cost of Attendance (COA) to determine the student's financial need.
  • You can expect the colleges' financial aid award letters to arrive during the month of April.
  • More information about the Student Aid Report and the Estimated Family Contribution can be found in AIE's "Paying for College" section and "Managing Your Money" section..