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

If there's one thing that's true about the college application/admissions/financial aid process, it’s that IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL IT'S OVER! Soooooooooooo...

Keep Guidance in the Loop 
-- Let your Guidance Counselor know where you've applied. Ask that transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, the all-important Guidance Report be transmitted to all schools (make sure Naviance is updated, and any forms required by Guidance are completed and returned).

Read Your Emails 
-- This is the primary mode of communication used by colleges. They may be asking you for additional information, supplemental material, or any number of things that could impact upon your admission and/or financial aid.

Access Your College Web Portals
 -- Colleges ask you to create 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 awards, and so much more. Check the web portal for every college you've applied and/or have been accepted to and do so often!

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.]

Submit The FAFSA
 (and NYS* TAP Application, if applying to a college, public or private, in New York). If not already done, prepare and submit before year end to maximize financial aid awards. [Some schools require the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA. Check college websites for requirements, deadlines, etc.]

NYS also offers the Excelsior Scholarship, for students attending a SUNY or CUNY college, and an Enhanced Tuition Award, for those attending participating private colleges in NY. If you meet the eligibility requirements, APPLY when applications for 2023-24 become available.

Review and Compare Financial Aid Awards from All Colleges
 -- Financial aid is typically awarded in the spring for the following academic year. 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 (sometimes later) 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). Complete and submit all necessary documentation (web portal). Accept (or decline) your financial aid awards (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...
 Student MUST complete online counseling at www.studentloans.gov (using STUDENT FSA ID) AND complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). ParentPLUS Loan? Must be applied for at www.studentloans.gov (using PARENT FSA ID), with an MPN submitted by parent. 

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! Fastweb. Niche. Unigo. Scholarships.com. To name but a few of the legit college scholarship websites.

Above all, keep in mind that you never have
 to go it alone. Ever! At COLLEGE CONNECTION we are, as always, here to help! Call (516-345-8766). Email (info@collegeconnect.info). Tweet (twitter.com/GetCollege). Send a smoke signal (smoke signal rates may apply). Open your windows and shout (that won't get my attention, but you will feel better :-).