FAFSA & ACT Prep Season

Get your parents do their taxes early & register for the ACT


You've all applied to college and have gotten your acceptance letters back. Now comes the process of making it all real.

  1. Have your parents file their taxes as early as possible. DO NOT wait until April 15th (the deadline for submitting taxes)! Most financial aid deadlines fall before then--check your intended school's website for details on their deadlines.
  2. Attend a College Goal Sunday event in your state. I mailed home information on all the options, but you can visit the event's website to get more details. In Wisconsin, it's http://collegegoalwi.org/; in Michigan, it's http://www.micollegegoal.org/; and in Minnesota it's http://minnesotacollegegoal.org/. This event is a FREE workshop that will help you and your parents fill out, complete, and submit your FAFSA. There are chances to win scholarships as well.
  3. Start educating yourself on the financial aid process by visiting https://studentaid.ed.gov/. There are sections for students and parents, and the site is also available in Spanish.
  4. Remember to do your D2L assignments, as they will help keep you on track with the entire process of applying for aid and scholarships.
  5. Speaking of scholarships, make sure you know your school's deadlines--many fall in early February!
  6. Make sure you're checking your e-mail frequently for important messages from the schools you've applied to. You don't want to have to delay your college education because you missed an e-mail about an incomplete form.

If you haven't already, you'll soon need to make a final decision about where you'll be attending college. Financial aid will play a large part in that, but it's good to know your ranking before you get your FAFSA results. Use a pros and cons list, ask for advice, and make sure you feel good about the decision you make. I'm here to help if you need to chat about which school you should pick. :)

And let's not forget that you are still in high school, and your last semester's grades will count in the long run. Most colleges request a copy of your final transcript, and if it's abysmal they may re-think their admission decision. Keep your grades up and work hard--end your high school years on a high note.


You've probably already done some ACT test prep, which is excellent! But now is the time to really focus on preparing yourself for test day. The content is important, but so is registering before the deadlines to avoid late fees, the amount of sleep you get the day before, the documents/materials you need on test day, and knowing what to expect before you walk in.

  1. Request an ACT fee waiver from me, your high school guidance counselor, or your TRIO advisor. You can use TWO fee waivers, but after that you have to pay for the test on your own ($54.50 with the Writing portion).
  2. Register on http://www.actstudent.org/ if you haven't already. You should plan on registering for the tests in April and/or June. You can register now, but make sure you don't miss the deadline--the fee waiver doesn't cover late fees! (register by March 13th for the April date and by May 8th for the June date).
  3. Do your D2L assignments in math and college readiness. Both will help you prepare for the content of the test and give you test-taking strategies.
  4. Free practice questions and tests can be easily found online. The ACT website itself is a great place to start. Your counselor will probably have paper copies that they can share with you.
  5. Make sure you review what you should bring with you on test day (the right kind of calculator, pencils, a small snack, your ID, your admission ticket, etc.), and what you're not allowed to bring in.
  6. You can take the test as many times as you'd like, but your score may not improve much. Most people take the ACT twice. Schools will only accept your highest score, so don't worry if you completely botch your first attempt.

Finally, remember that summer will be here sooner than you realize. You'll be getting some information on forms to fill out (we're hoping to do it all online this year), so watch out for that in the near future. In the meantime, make sure to tell your sophomore friends that attend our target schools to check us out! I may even be visiting your school to give a recruitment presentation! :)