Dec 22, 2021 Jodi Anderson

Winter Break To Do List for High School Seniors

FINALLY,  winter break is here!  Just a reminder that in between exchanging holiday gifts, trying out a new video game, or binge-watching the program everyone is talking about, schedule some time during your winter break to get the following important college planning tasks completed.  The new year is coming fast. Before you know it, it will be time to make your final decision about where to attend college.  

Winter Break Reminders

Submitted Early Action Applications

Early action notifications will be arriving soon.  This is a good time to take a moment to check your admissions portal to be sure there is nothing outstanding on your application that could hold things up.

Regular Admissions Deadlines

If you have a list of schools you had on hold so you could complete early action applications first, it's time to get back to the regular admission schools.  Double-check the school websites and be mindful of the next set of application deadlines.

SAT/ACT Scores

If you are submitting additional applications for regular admissions deadlines, be sure to go back to or and forward your scores for these newly submitted college applications.

Submit Your FAFSA

If you haven't yet filed your FAFSA, there is still time.  Everyone should complete a FAFSA.  Check on the financial aid webpage for the schools you have applied to verify when your FAFSA needs to be submitted by.  And remember if you need any help, schedule a free appointment with the college planning center for FAFSA completion assistance.  Money for college starts with FAFSA, so don't delay any longer.

Register at

Registration is free and takes just minutes.  This free online tool has over 400 scholarships listed.  Scholarships do not have to be repaid, so don't let any of these opportunities pass you by. is a free tool managed by the RISLA College Planning Center. We recommend spending a small amount of time a few days a week to search.  

Enter RISLA's Knowledge for College $2,000 Scholarship Monthly

In order to help local students reduce the need for college borrowing and increase their knowledge of financial topics related to student lending, RISLA’s Knowledge for College Scholarship provides a chance for entrants to win scholarship funds while in their senior year of high school or any year of college. RISLA randomly selects four $2,000 winners each month, year-round.  No essay is required, just takes minutes.  Enter now

Begin Comparing Your Accepted School Awards

A side-by-side comparison is a good way to start.  What you want to examine is the ratio of gift aid – that’s free money – to the total aid you’ll receive. Are schools able to meet your full financial need? If so, how are they doing that – what percentage of that money will require repayment? The more gift aid you can use, the better, so make sure to consider whether certain awards are renewable – do they expire after one year, or will you have the option to renew? Will you need to reapply? Make sure that you aren’t at risk of a significantly more expensive sophomore year than freshman year, and if you are, know whether you’ll be able to cover those costs through other avenues, like loans or savings.    If you have any questions or want additional assistance comparing your school award letters, schedule a free appointment with the College Planning Center.   

If you have completed this checklist, you are in great shape.  Enjoy your winter break.😀

Best wishes for a happy new year!



Published by Jodi Anderson December 22, 2021