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Financial Aid Help Checklist

Our financial aid help checklist is meant to remind you of those important tasks that you want to complete to help make your scholarship and financial aid strategy less stressful and more productive.

If you’re like me, reminders of things that I need to do and when to do them helps keep me on the right path.

This checklist will keep you on track and way ahead of the game when it comes time to start finding free money for school and making those important decisions that’ll affect your future.

This financial aid help checklist would’ve been nice to have when I was financial_aid_helpgoing through this with my own kids.

So print it, post it or bookmark it, whatever you find more useful.

I know what you’re going through, that’s why I created this list for both parents and students.

Freshman Year Financial Aid Help Calendar

  1. Start a scholarship and grant folder. This will be the place you put all your newspaper clippings, notes and scholarship and grant applications that you happen to search and find or stumble across throughout your high school years.
  2. Start a “Brag Book” folder. This will hold all your awards, accomplishments and volunteer work and hours throughout your high school career. This will be your brag material for college and scholarship applications.
  3. Learn how a scholarship application can be used as a planning tool to set yourself up to be successful in applying for college scholarships and college admission.

Sophomore Year Financial Aid Help Calendar

  1. Continue searching for and filling your folder with new scholarship and grant opportunities.
  2. Continue planning your high school accomplishments strategy and keep filling that “Brag Book” with great stuff about yourself.

Junior Year Financial Aid Help Calendar


  1. Take the PSAT. It’s important you take it your junior financial_aid_for_collegeyear so you can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities.
  2. Review information about understanding college scholarships, federal grants 101 and private and public student loans. Get all the facts before you start making important decisions.
  3. Remember the freshmen year checklist to review scholarship applications to plan your high school strategy. Time to review that application again to make sure you’re on track to meet all requirements and experience. Focus on those things you may be missing.


  1. Start increasing your efforts to find scholarships and grants, especially if you haven’t started yet. Start by using our best search methods.
  2. Start lining up summer work. You’ll really want to start saving money for college living expenses.
  3. Start filtering through your list of scholarships and grants you’ve collected and keep those that you would qualify for that apply to your specific college plans. Start listing them in order of nearest deadline.


  1. Plan your and start your college campus tour to visit colleges that you’re interested in attending.
  2. Start considering the cost of your college choices by understanding, using and reviewing the Net Price Calculator.
  3. Start putting together a checklist of financial aid deadlines and college admission deadlines.
  4. Continue searching and qualifying for scholarships and grants and start applying for those whose due dates are nearing.

Senior Year Financial Aid Help Calendar


  1. Time to start writing those college scholarship and admission essays and ask teachers and friends to proof read to get them polished for presentation.
  2. Start lining up teachers and guidance counselors for those important letters of recommendation. I hope you made some good alliances with school staff through the years.


  1. If you’re applying early action or early decision, it’s time to start preparing those college applications.
  2. If you haven’t already, start reviewing information about understanding college scholarships, federal grants 101 and private and public student loans. Get all the facts before you start making important decisions.
  3. Time to ratchet up your efforts in applying for scholarships and grants, If you don’t have enough to meet your gap, keep researching for more.


  1. Submit your CSS Profile.
  2. Prepare your scholarship and grant packages for submission.


  1. Submit the FAFSA form early. Learn why…
  2. Continue with your scholarship and grant efforts and continue to research and apply.


  1. Follow up with your FAFSA and the school financial aid offices that you submitted to.
  2. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) generated by the FAFSA and update with information from your tax filing using the IRS Retrieval Tool.
  3. Check the financial aid section of the websites to colleges and universities you’re applying to for info on additional materials that need to be submitted for financial aid help.


  1. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information.
  2. Start watching for your financial aid help letters to begin arriving and start comparing awards between schools.


  1. Apply to more scholarships and grants and keep working on finding any additional financial aid help you can find, especially if your financial gap calculated by the Net Cost Calculator is large.
  2. Line up summer work so you can continue to save for those soon to arrive…college expenses.
  3. Confirm with every financial aid help office that your package is complete and there are no additional forms to submit. This is important since it can delay your award and even cause to lose some financial aid help.


  1. Respond to all awards for scholarships and grants by submitting notifications of acceptance if it applies.

This checklist will provide you with a good guide to keeping you on track.

Read it…

Post it…

Bookmark it…

Use it to make your life less stressful so…

Parents can focus more on life and students can focus more on school work and getting into the college of their choice.

Do you qualify for any of these federal grants for college?
What is a financial aid grant and scholarship and how does it work?

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