Ahhhh, November: the aroma of sizzling turkey and tart taste of cranberries; the crunching of fall leaves underfoot on a crisp sunny morning; the cozy sweaters and down blankets.
Yes, it is fall in its epitome, but if you are a high school senior (or the parent of one!), your November might be feeling a little different this year. College application season is in full swing. And while you definitely should set aside some time to enjoy football games, frolic in pumpkin patches, and devour family dinners, there are some major things you'll want to accomplish this month in the college planning arena.
We've rounded them up for you below to help you stay on track.
November Tips for High School Seniors
- Search for scholarships: Your scholarship search should be heating up this month. Many recommendations come from guidance so check in often. Also, register at RIScholarships to get matched up with hard-to-find local opportunities. A mobile is app is available (for iOS and Android) to help you search on the go!
- Continue submitting applications: Your goal is to have all of your college applications submitted prior to winter break. Aim to do just one a week instead of procrastinating and rushing to get them all in last minute.
- File for financial aid. Once you know where you are applying, its time to apply for aid. Get free help completing the FAFSA through the RISLA College Planning Center and attend a financial aid night at a nearby school.
- Applying to URI or RIC? If you want to be considered for a merit aid scholarship, you'll need to get your application in by Dec 1 for URI and Dec 15 for RIC. These local institutions have some great programs and may require you to borrow a lot less, so don't rule them out!
November Tips for High School Juniors
You are going to need to do a lot of soul searching this month. Take personality tests and career inventories online to get an idea of what career you want to pursue. Use the results to start compiling a list of colleges that offer a program related to your desired career. Next, think about other factors that might influence where you want to spend your next 4-5 years to narrow the list:
- Academics: What is the reputation at the school for the program you are looking to pursue? What support is available to the students? Remember, academics first when narrowing your college list!
- Size of the college: Big, medium, small? Do you like knowing everyone or do you prefer to be lost in the crowd?
- Location of the college: Want to go for weekend hikes or do you prefer late night dancing or theater? The location of your college will determine what social options you have available to you.
- Closeness to home: Do you get homesick? What is your family's financial situation? Evaluate these questions and determine how far from home you'll be willing to go (or can afford to go).
- Financial aid: What kind of packages does the school offer? Use the Net Price Calculator (found on each school's financial aid site) to estimate the aid a family like yours might receive. Do your research so you can make an educated choice.
- Check out this full list of factors to consider if you want more food for thought when narrowing your college list!
Come back next month for December College Planning Tips and follow the blog to stay up to date on all things college planning, financial aid, internships and education financing.
Need help with college planning? Free in person assistance is available.