Filing Your FAFSA

Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for financial aid, you won’t know if you qualify unless you apply. Although the process can seem complicated and difficult to understand, getting organized and becoming familiar with what is required will help guide you. Here are tips to assist you along the way:

  1. Sign in and begin your FAFSA application.
  2. Learn about what is required by going to FAFSA on the Web and take a look at the worksheets.
  3. Be prepared by gathering Social Security numbers for the student and parents, student driver’s license number, federal tax returns, proof of other sources of income, records of bank accounts and investments, and expenses.
  4. Students and parents should apply for their own individual PIN to use as their signature
  5. Be mindful of deadlines— this includes individual school deadlines for federal aid, merit-based aid and scholarships. Allow yourself enough time!
  6. Monitor your email and respond promptly to any communication and/or request for additional information from the school to which you have applied.
  7. If you’ve completed and submitted your FAFSA, the big work is done, but there are still things you need to do to make sure you have your best shot at receiving the aid you need:
  • Review your FAFSA confirmation page.
  • Review your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Apply for as many scholarships as you can.
  • Be on the lookout for your aid offer(s).
  • Make FAFSA corrections if you need to.
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Juniors: Get Ready For Tomorrow’s PSAT

Juniors, just a few thoughts we’d like to pass along if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s PSAT. Remember, the PSAT is a “practice” test for the SAT. Your scores won’t be reported to colleges but the PSAT will give you valuable feedback. In December, College Board will send your score reports to your high school. Go through your score report— see how you handled the different sections of the test and what you need to work on before you take the SAT. This will give you an idea of what to expect from the SAT and how you need to prepare. Talk to your guidance counselor about which test prep options make sense for you.

Of the 1.5 million students taking the test, about 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program.

When you take the PSAT you can choose to participate in the Student Search Service to receive information from colleges and universities about admissions and financial aid.

Back to tomorrow’s test— to minimize your stress in the morning, it’s a great idea to get organized ahead of time. Prepare tonight to get tomorrow off to a great start.

Gather and pack all the things you’ll need to take with you. Don’t forget any of the following required items:

  • Sharpened #2 pencils
  • Approved calculator

These are things you may want to bring along:

  • Water and snack, although not to be kept on your desk
  • Extra batteries or a back-up calculator
  • A watch

alarm clockRemember, to set your alarm, get a good night’s sleep and have a filling, healthy breakfast.

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ACT Announces Changes

Starting next September, students who want to increase their ACT scores will be able to retake individual sections. This change allows students to prep for only the sections they are looking to improve. They will also be able to save on testing fees. Currently the entire test cost is $52— ACT has plans to announce reduced fees.

With this change, students will be able to superscore their test, reporting the best score for each section from different test dates. Currently, students must submit full scores from each date and allow the college or university to superscore for them.

ACT also announced students will be able to choose between online testing and paper testing on national test days in test centers across the country. Online test results will be available within two days rather than the up to eight weeks it takes for the traditional paper test.

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Attend A College Fair

Attend a college fair— what a great way to get acquainted with many colleges and universities under one roof!  You can learn more about schools you’re interested in, get introduced to schools you may not be familiar with and connect with each school’s admissions rep.

Get the most out of college fairs by reading these tips:  

  1. Look online at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) fall schedule. NACAC also offers a schedule for students interested in the performing and visual arts and another one for those students wanting to learn about STEM programs. The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation also maintains a college fair calendar and agencies in your state may do the same.  Check with your guidance counselor for a complete schedule of fairs in your school district.
  2. Save time when you arrive by signing up in advance.  Complete the NACAC online registration form, print your barcode and take it to the fair. By scanning your code, college reps will have your information and so you won’t need to fill out individual info cards at each booth. They’ll also have your information if they want to reach out to you.
  3. Decide which reps you’d like to visit with and which events you’d like to attend by reviewing the list of participating schools ahead of time. Think about what type of school may be the best for you and have a few talking points ready.  Ask reps questions that are school specific and can’t easily be answered by looking at their website. Don’t forget to ask for business cards after your conversations.
  4. Pick up a map when you arrive and begin visiting with the schools at the top of your list.  As you walk through the aisles stop in to look at a variety of schools and chat with their reps.  Collect brochures and course catalogs to review when you’re back home.
  5.  If you have any questions once you are home, reach out with an email.  If you felt you had a meaningful conversation with any particular rep you may also want to send an email or a thank you note.
  6. Sort through all the brochures and other materials  you collected and save the ones you’re interested in. Go online, research the schools you liked and create a preliminary list of schools you’re interested in.


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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s SAT and SAT Subject Tests

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

To minimize your stress tomorrow morning, it’s a great idea to get organized ahead of time. The last thing you need on test morning is a desperate scramble. These are some of the things you can do tonight to get your big day off to a great start:

First, check with your parents to make sure they know when and where you’re scheduled to take the test, and arrange how you’ll get to the test center. Next, gather and pack all the things you’ll need to take with you. Some of the things on this check list are “must-have” items, while others are optional.

REQUIRED: Don’t forget any of the following items or it will be a long ride home!

  • An approved calculator
  • Sharpened #2 pencils
  • An acceptable form of photo ID
  • Your admission or standby ticket

SUGGESTED: These are things you may want to bring along.

  • Water
  • Snack
  • Sweater
  • Back-up calculator
  • Extra batteries for your calculator
  • Watch (to keep track of time)

alarm clockSet your alarm, get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy, satisfying breakfast.

Good luck!

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the November 2nd SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

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The FAFSA is Now Open

FAFSA(Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be completed by all students who want to be considered for need-based and non-need-based federal and state aid programs.  Seniors who plan to begin college in 2020 should fill out the FAFSA starting today, October 1, 2019.

There are three ways to complete the FAFSA:

Online FAFSA requires you create your account on FAFSA on the Web and then login. Students and parents should apply for their own individual PINs to use as their signature. Don’t forget to jot down your PINs now for easy reference later, as you will need your pin number to reapply each year. When you submit your FAFSA online, print out the confirmation page and file it in a safe place.

PDF FAFSA is an application which can be printed and filled out by hand or completed on the screen and then printed. Either way, you will need to mail the form. Save a copy for your records.

Paper FAFSA forms can be requested by calling 800.433.3243 and then mailed. Save a copy for your files.

There are many resources available to help you complete your FAFSA:

  • Call the FAFSA hotline at 800.433.3243 to speak with a customer service representative or chat live online with a customer service rep.
  • Use the FAFSA on the Web Worksheets to help you get organized.
  • Get help filling out your FAFSA from NerdScholar.

Please note deadlines for the FAFSA differ from school to school. The important thing to note is that the earlier you send in your application, the sooner it will be reviewed and the more money there may be available.

CSS/Fincial Aid PROFILE is used to apply online for non-federal financial aid (grants and scholarships) from almost 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs. This application is distributed by College Board, so if you already have a College Board account, you can use your user name and password for the CSS/PROFILE as well.  You may complete the CSS /Profile as early as Oct. 1, 2019 and submit no later than two weeks before the earliest priority filing date specified by your colleges.

  • For the 2020-2021 scholastic year, the fee for the initial application to a single college or university is $25 and $16.00 per each additional college. Based on your responses, College Board will determine if you are eligible for a fee waiver.
  • Once you register, detailed instructions are provided as you complete the PROFILE.  An online Help Desk, including Frequently Asked Questions, is also available to answer questions.
  • You can contact customer support at 844.202.0524 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, with extended hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., January through April) or email
  • Deadlines vary from school to school.  Check your colleges’ financial aid application deadlines to make sure your application is submitted on time.
  • You will need to reapply each year.  If you use the same account, parts of your application will automatically fill.
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