. . .Doesn’t Mean There’s Not More To Be Done!

Access Your College Web Portals -- Colleges give you web portals for a reason: So you may log on and get additional information, complete forms, check your status, find and accept (or decline) your financial aid award, and so much more. Check the web portal for every college you’ve been accepted to, and do so often!

Update FAFSA -- Submitting your initial FAFSA early is good. Submitting your “Corrected” FAFSA, after you file your tax returns, is better. Utilizing FAFSA’s Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your IRS data is not only beneficial in securing all of the financial aid you may be entitled to, a final, “corrected” FAFSA is required by many colleges as a condition for awarding financial aid. [If the DRT is unavailable, IRS data may be entered manually, with the “corrected” FAFSA to be submitted thereafter.]

Complete College-Specific Forms -- Many schools have their own forms for financial aid, housing preferences, meal plans, etc. Be sure to fill them out and submit accordingly. [Another reason to visit your web portals regularly.]

Review and Compare Financial Aid Awards from All Colleges -- Who is offering what? Most schools offer a combo of scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. See what offers work best for your situation. And never be afraid to negotiate a financial aid award. The worst they can do is say, “no!”

You Have Until May 1 To Say “I’m Coming” -- You don’t have to wait until the last minute, but... Wait at least until you have all acceptances and financial aid awards in hand before you accept an offer of admission. The best financial aid offers, and the only viable means to negotiate, come while you still hold all the cards! [Remember: Acceptance and housing deposits are usually non-refundable. And, no, it is not wise (or ethical) to accept an offer of admission to more than one college!]

Once You Decide On A College... Congrats! Let them know you are all in. Formally accept the offer of admission (again, see that web portal). Pay the acceptance fee (web portal). Complete and submit all necessary documentation (web portal). Accept (or decline) your financial aid award (umm, web portal). Read all emails as well as any online instructions as may be received through your web portal (are you detecting a pattern here?). CELEBRATE!

If You Accept Student Loans... You MUST complete online counseling at www.studentloans.gov AND complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Keep on Searching And Applying For Those Scholarships -- Until there are no tuition bills on the horizon, apply, apply, apply. There is money out there just waiting for you to get your hands on it!

Follow Us On Twitter @GetCollege -- For the latest on everything college (including scholarship opportunities), we’ve got campus covered.

And speaking of everything college... Check us out at COLLEGE CONNECTION, Long Island’s premier college planning and counseling service.

Let those who are following in your college-bound footsteps know that we will be holding a FREE College Planning Workshop on Tuesday, April 28 in Garden City, NY. Space is limited. Registration is strongly suggested.

Above all, keep in mind that you never have to go it alone. Ever! We are always here to help! Call. Email. Text. Tweet. Open your windows and shout (that won’t get our attention, but you will feel better :-).

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