High School Seniors: Take 5 Steps This Fall for College Planning
For some, fall is all about foliage drives and pumpkin spice lattes. But for high school seniors, fall marks the kick-off of the TRUE college planning process. Up until now, you’ve probably started thinking about and researching colleges, and you may have even taken the ACT or SAT at the end of your junior year. That’s great! But even if you haven’t started the process at all, there’s still plenty of time to figure out the college path that’s right for you. And now’s the perfect time to start! Raritan Valley Community College is here to help with our five-step guide to college planning this fall.
Register for Standardized Tests (if Required)
Some schools—like Raritan Velley Community College—don’t require standardized tests for admission. That’s a major plus for some students! However, if you’d like to take the SAT or ACT—or if you’ve already taken the exams but want to improve your scores—fall is a great time to sign up.
Apply for Financial Aid and College Scholarships
By now you’ve probably heard of the FAFSA, which stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is your ticket to federal aid, and is also used by some states and colleges to determine your eligibility for state and school aid. If you’re looking to start college in the fall of 2018, you can fill out your FAFSA starting October 1, 2017. You should also consider finding and apply for scholarships, some of which have deadlines as early as a year before college starts.
Finalize your College List
Maybe you’ve started visiting college websites, getting brochures in the mail or following schools on Facebook or Instagram. These are all great first steps! Now is the time to narrow your college list down to five to eight schools. Some experts say this list should represent a mix of “reach schools,” middle-of-the-road choices and “safety schools” that are easy to get into. But we think this outdated way of thinking does a disservice to community colleges, which can be a smart place to start your education. Ranked the best community college in New Jersey by bestcolleges.com, RVCC offers the perfect mix of affordability, small class sizes and an easy college transfer process for those who want to continue beyond their 2 year degrees. Read our post on Six Reasons Why Community College is Awesome!
Once you have your list of schools, start getting those online applications in! At RVCC, there are no deadlines for admission, which means you don’t have to apply early in the process. But if you choose to cross it off the list, you can apply in about 20 minutes by clicking here!
Attend Open Houses and Campus Tours
This is the fun part. Make plans to start visiting colleges in person to get a feel for the campus, instructors and social life. For those who want to stay local to NJ, this could mean visits to NJ state colleges as well as top-ranked community colleges like RVCC. Please join us for next Open House! You’ll be able to tour our campus, explore our programs, attend financial aid workshops and so much more!