Q&A: College applications
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Q: When is the best time for students to start their applications?
A: By Nov. 1 seniors should have already started their applications because they are coming up on deadlines soon. Juniors not so much. Unless they are going to be early grads, but typically by spring their junior year they should start doing their college research and visiting campuses. For upcoming seniors, you should start your applications in the summer entering your senior year.
Q: What should students look for when they are researching colleges?
A: There are different things. It’s always about finding the perfect fit – what is going to work for you and your family’s situation. You should look at the size of the university, look at the majors. You should also look at the scholarship opportunities. It just depends on what your interests are, how much it costs, where it’s located, there’s all kinds of thing like that to be considered when you’re trying to choose.
Q: What is the difference between early action and early decision?
A: Some colleges offer both, some don’t. They’re both similar, but early decision is kind of like your top choice. But it’s binding meaning that if you get accepted you have to go to this school, but early action isn’t.
Q: How binding is early decision?
A: If you applied to a college with early decision and you got accepted then you can’t apply to other schools. You can only apply to one school with early decision.
Q: When is the deadline for FAFSA?
A: The application opens on Oct. 1. It doesn’t have a set deadline, however the money does run out so the sooner the better.
Q: What is FAFSA?
A: It provides money for students to go to college. It’s federal money, like a grant. It’s based off the family’s financial situation and they put it through an algorithm. Currently the federal government pays 59,000 every year. The application has to be done every year, meaning that each new school year you have to reapply.
Q: When should students send in their transcripts?
A: Send them after you apply, although it depends on the university. Sometimes they want them right away sometimes they don’t like them. For FSU and UF, you have to complete a self-reported academic profile (SSAR) and then they want to confirm that everything is correct later.
Q: Where can a student get their transcripts?
A: From Ms. Pagan in guidance. There’s a form called transcript request; you fill it out and return it to her. If she can send them electronically, then it’s free. Otherwise, it’s two dollars.
Q: Should a student apply for a student loan?
A: What I recommend is that you exhaust everything before you do a student loan. There’s all kinds of private scholarships and if in the end, you still have a gap with the money that you own, you should. But it should be a last resort. You should consider getting a small loan – just get what you need.
Q: How much do college apps cost?
A: College applications usually start at $30 and can go up to $200.
Q: How do you know whether or not you are eligible for free applications?
A: If you are eligible to receive free lunch, then you are eligible not only for free college applications but also waivers for free SAT and ACT. You receive two SAT waivers and two ACT waivers and then four college app waivers.