For students who will become the first in the family to attend college, the planning process can be particularly emotional and challenging.
The key to being prepared is learning about the college planning calendar. Most two- and four-year schools follow approximately the same admissions schedule every year. ACT offers online checklists for keeping all students on track to a college education.
Visit actstudent.org/college/checklist.html to see the steps students should take in each year of high school.
Many potential first-generation students and their families believe that funding isn’t available. However, several websites help explain financial aid and other resources for paying for college. Learn more by visiting:
www.fafsa.ed.gov – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. This is where you start when you are ready to apply for financial aid.
www.finaid.org – Features a free scholarship search as well as information on loans, savings programs, and military aid.
www.act.org/fane – A financial aid need estimator.
www.hsf.net – A Hispanic Scholarship Fund website that features scholarships for Hispanic students and research reports on the education of Hispanic students.
www.studentaidalliance.org – Student success stories and descriptions of need-based financial aid programs.
Students should also talk to their teachers and school counselors for advice. The rewards are worth the effort.