Meet Those Financial Deadlines
If you want to get your hands on the monies that are out there for college, then you better be sure to meet those deadlines. When it comes to giving out money for college, there are no excuses or exceptions for missing the deadline dates. There are plenty of applicants that have met those deadlines and those are the ones being considered. So, do yourself a favor, buy a day planner, get a datebook app on your phone, whatever tool you want to use, but use it to record every deadline for every grant, scholarship and federal aid to which you will be applying.
Many of you already have your preliminary EFC, or Estimated Family Contribution number. This will give you a good idea of what your potential financial outlay is for your higher education. It is imperative to know each school’s requirements and deadlines regarding financial assistance. Some schools require the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aide, while other schools may require you to submit the PROFILE application instead. And, in addition, even others schools may require an IDOC, Institutional Documentation Service document. The lesson here is this: don’t assume all the schools to which you are applying are asking for the same documentation. You need to make a list of each individual school’s requirements and what methods they have chosen, then abide by those requests. Treat each school’s requirements individually to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities.
When considering federal funds, imagine, if you will, a pile of money sitting there waiting to be distributed to students. Everyone is grabbing for that money and when it’s gone, it’s gone! To be sure you have the best opportunity possible to get some of it is to make sure you get “first dibs”. Be sure you submit your applications early, having the application arrive the very day they are being accepted, typically January 1. This is a situation where, if you submit your application on the deadline, there probably won’t be any money left for you. This system really operates on a “first come-first served” concept. Also understand that state deadlines may differ from federal deadlines. Finally, for every application you fill-out whether federal aid, scholarships, etc., be sure you understand each opportunity’s definition of “deadline”. Does the term mean the application has to be postmarked on the deadline date or does it mean on their desk by the deadline date? You have to be on top of deadlines and be sure to submit early for best outcomes. Good luck!