11 Common FAFSA Mistakes

We all know applying for financial aid is more challenging this year, especially if your school is not meeting in person. However, help is still available. Start by asking your counselor for a phone call or Skype/Zoom meeting. They can answer many of your questions and may also know of virtual application completion events to help you with your  financial aid forms. We can’t stress enough how important it is to be on top of filing your FAFSA accurately and on time, if you haven’t already done so. 

The US Department of Education’s blog, HOMEROOM, has an excellent list of the most common FAFSA mistakes to avoid. Read through this guide to make sure you file correctly to maximize your chance of receiving financial aid.

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the late registration deadline for the December 5th SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

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Honors Programs

While you’re researching schools consider adding honors colleges and honors programs to your list. Typically, selective and academically challenging, these programs are worth considering for high achieving students or those looking for an alternative to costly private colleges and universities. Functioning as schools-within-schools, they present the chance to study in a smaller program usually within a large, often public, university. 

Honors colleges and programs offer the following advantages:

  1. Reduced state tuition and/or scholarship opportunities
  2. Special perks such as preferred housing and teaching facilities
  3. Study among high achieving peers
  4. Smaller classes
  5. Internship opportunities
  6. Research opportunities
  7. Socioeconomically diverse population of students as part of a larger university

Talk with your guidance counselor and look on individual school websites to research programs and admissions criteria. When considering these programs keep in mind all the factors important to finding the best fit school for you. If you qualify, honors colleges and programs provide an opportunity to receive an excellent education as well as a springboard to graduate programs. 

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Registration Reminder

Today is the late registration deadline for the December 12th ACT exam.

Look for ACT pop-up sites when you register in MyACT.  Pop-up sites are operated by ACT and won’t cancel at the last minute.

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An Uncertain Admissions Season

The pandemic has turned this college admissions season upside down. While there is so much uncertainty facing high school seniors, please don’t let this stand in the way and stop you from submitting your applications in time for approaching deadlines.

If you are still unsure about where to apply, you can “visit” campuses by taking virtual tours. Reach out to admissions officers to arrange for Zoom or Skype conversations to connect and ask any questions. Try to speak with current students you may know who have attended or are currently enrolled at schools you’re interested in. Once you start applying, you may still be able to sign up for virtual admissions and/or alumni interviews.

Complete your FAFSA, CSS/Profile and other financial aid forms and scholarship applications as soon as possible to improve your chances of receiving the aid you may need.

It’s so true that current applicants are now faced with an applications process different than any before. Remember too, that colleges and universities are also facing uncertainty about future enrollment and yield. So keep your options open by casting a wide net and apply to a variety of schools because this year’s outcomes are more difficult to predict and  you just don’t know where you’ll get in. 

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Get Ready For Tomorrow’s SAT or SAT II’s

A few thoughts if you’re scheduled to take tomorrow’s SAT or an SAT II.

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


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

Finally, given how COVID-19 has disrupted the testing process, we suggest that you confirm the status of your test registration and stay current on any changes by visiting Coronavirus Updates for Students Taking the SAT.

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

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the registration deadline for the December 5th SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

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It’s Election Day

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College Talks & More

College Talks & More is a podcast, a series that brings together students, parents and professionals sharing their voices on a variety of college topics. It’s all about students finding the information they need for a successful college experience.

The podcast’s sponsor, Mybookcart, is offering a book giveaway. You can win a copy of The College Bound Organizer Just Like/Follow Mybookcart on Facebook and comment on the giveaway to be eligible to win.

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Registration Reminder

Remember, today is the late registration deadline for the November 7th SAT and SAT Subject Tests.

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