The senior year of high school brings all sorts of challenges for the homeschooler who plans to attend college. Applications are due, it’s time to apply for financial aid, and the frantic search for scholarships starts. It’s enough to scare any parent! Stay on top of the details this year, and you will be amazed at how quickly the time flies! Here are a few things to cover during that all-important year.
Although January 1st is the date that everyone begins applying for federal financial aid through the FAFSA, many schools will offer greater aid if you get your college application to them earlier in the year. One college even told me, “If you apply by October 12th, we’ll award you an additional $3,000 in financial aid.” Imagine, just by applying early, you could earn additional money towards college! Even for students who applied later than October 12th but earlier than January 1st, this school offered increased financial aid! It really does pay to stay on top of details like this, and to submit applications early.
Another reason to stay on top of deadline details is because some schools have some rather strange application requirements. Be sure to research ahead of time and understand everything a school wants from its applicants, especially homeschooling applicants. One school asked us for a lab write up from our high school biology class, and fortunately I had kept those in my records, so we were able to meet that requirement with no problems. Another school asked me to put my son’s high school transcripts in an envelope and sign the flap, and so we did that. As long as what they want doesn’t go against your ethics, give the school what they want, but it’s important to stay on top of those details. It would be a shame to ruin a perfectly good application because you didn’t follow all the directions.
If your student experiences a change in their situation or status that might be important to their prospective schools, make sure to notify the schools about it. For instance, if your child becomes a National Merit Semi Finalists, or they win a private scholarship, make sure to let the school know. This will make your student appear even more desirable to the school, and they may decide to offer you even more financial aid!
One of the reasons senior year can be so stressful (especially on parents) is because students receive acceptance to colleges early in the year, but full financial aid is not offered for several more months, so families are left wondering how they will afford to send their child to the college of their dreams! Scholarships come in three waves, so don’t give up after the first! The first financial aid wave comes based on your child’s SAT/ACT scores and their overall scholarship in high school. This is usually offered along with the acceptance letter from a college. The second wave comes as a result of the information you filled out on the FAFSA, and is based on the student’s financial need. The third wave comes later in the year, and is based on merit or from private scholarships.
Stay on top of the details during senior year, and work hard! The big payoff at the end, college acceptance and great scholarships, will be worth it!