The college search is an exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking time—for parents as well as students. There are so many things to do to prepare to send your child off to college. One “to-do list” item many parents dread is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. We’re here to help alleviate some of that FAFSA anxiety. Keep these tips in mind.
It’s not as bad as you think and we’re here to help.
Both you and your student will need a PIN.
This allows you to electronically sign the FAFSA and gain access to federal student aid websites. You can get a pin at www.pin.ed.gov.
The FAFSA is free.
Don’t pay to submit the form or have anyone complete the form for you. If you need assistance, contact our office. File your FAFSA at: www.fafsa.gov.
It’s OK to use estimated information.
You don’t need to wait to complete your tax return before submitting your FAFSA. Use the best information you have available. You’ll be able to update your FAFSA once you’ve filed your taxes.
Submit your FAFSA by February 15.
We recommend this deadline to ensure you’re eligible for all available funds. You can submit your FAFSA at any time, but we recommend you do it early to help you plan.
Have the information you need before you start.
This includes your PIN, social security numbers, 2013 federal tax returns –or estimates, bank and brokerage statements.
Make sure both the parent and student sign the FAFSA.
The FAFSA won’t be processed until both the parent and student provide a PIN or signature.
Review your Student Aid Report.
This is your confirmation that your FAFSA was processed and provides important follow up information. It also provides instructions on how to update your FAFSA, if needed.
Make sure your student reads any email sent by the FAFSA processor or the financial aid office. Requests for additional information will be sent to the email address he or she submitted on the admission application.
Need more help?
Check out the 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA video or contact our office at
Greetings From Albion
Congratulations on your high school graduation! As you look forward to the next stage in your life, there are lots of reasons to pick Albion College.
Above, Albion students reflect on why their education was so valuable. Make your deposit by May 1, and you’ll look back and see Albion was worth it too.
10 Things to Do When Starting Your College Search.
Some people make their college choice early, some wait until the mailbox starts filling up, and others follow the aid dollars. But everyone can benefit from a few sage bits of advice. Ten sage bits, to be exact.
Watch the mailbox.
You've probably been thinking about college since freshman year. By junior year you'll start getting a lot of materials from schools. There could be good reasons you're on their list. Find out why.
Do your research.
It's more exciting than any project you've been assigned so far, but exploring your college options can be more intense, too. Reading up in print and online is a must, but asking around is useful, too. Go to college fairs in your area and talk to admission representatives when they visit your school.
Talk to your counselor.
He will help steer you in the right direction (and occasionally steer you away from a dream college). It's his job to help you succeed. Put him to work for you.
Meet with a graduate.
When you find a school that interests you, it becomes easy to talk with someone who went there (alumni love to relive their college days). They can give you valuable insights—and cool stories.
Talk to your favorite teacher.
The things she learned in college made her the teacher you like today. Who knows? Your teacher might have even attended one of the schools you're leaning toward.
Go on campus visits.
There's a right way to do this (and we have a "Ten Things" card for it), and you can learn a lot of things that aren't in print. Get a feel for campus life, the facilities, the professors, and all the things that make a college the right fit.
Do the math.
College is a big investment in your future. But with the proper strategy, it can be done. Remember to look at more than just the price tag—see what scholarships and other sources of funding are available.
Make a list.
Write down your top college choices in order, with your dream college as number one. Now look at the last college on your list and come up with five reasons why it might work out better than number one. Why? Read on.
Prepare for disappointment.
Your first choice might not happen—not right away, at least. Being flexible and dealing with setbacks are great skills to have in college and in the future.
Prepare for excitement.
No matter which college accepts you, it's an amazing feeling. Planning your next steps will be more challenging than the last nine. (And we look at those steps in the box above.)