10 Tips for Filling Out The FAFSA
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
Albion College is known for its programs of distinction, not to mention the doors these programs open for Albion students.
Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program
The Brown Honors Institute challenges students beyond traditional lecture and laboratory courses with intimate discussion, field trips, retreats, guest lecturers, independent research, and individualized faculty mentoring.
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
The Environmental Institute encourages students to understand the environment and humans' place in it through participatory learning, leadership, seminars, and travel experiences.
Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service
The Ford Institute takes public service to new heights with semester-long internships, including placements in locations such as the the U.S. Congress, the Michigan state legislature, and the European Parliament.
Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management
The Gerstacker Institute blends the liberal arts with "real world" business education through comprehensive course work and internships with leading public accounting firms and corporations, as well as nonprofit agencies.
Institute for Premedical Professions and Health Sciences
The Premedical and Health Care Studies Institute is an intellectual community for students pursuing careers within the rapidly changing health care field.
Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development
The Shurmur Institute advances teacher preparation with an interdisciplinary focus, an awareness of current educational issues, and a broad sense of civic responsibility.
Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA)
FURSCA promotes student research, original scholarship, and creative efforts in all disciplines.
Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development
Does part of your love of learning come from joy in the prospect of sharing your knowledge with others? Do you long to influence the learning and personal development of children? The Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development will prepare you with the tools for effective teaching: depth in your major, breadth in the liberal arts, practical classroom skills, understanding of the issues affecting education, and the ethics of civic responsibility and affirming diversity.
Through internships, research, and travel, you'll study the most successful teaching practices as well as learn to develop and test new ideas yourself, including the thoughtful use of educational technology. In tandem with the College's Education Department, the Institute administers the elementary, secondary, and K-12 teacher certification programs, and has developed highly innovative field experiences for prospective teachers in the local schools. Roundtable discussions, visiting lecturers, alumni teachers-in-residence, and summer programs will round out your preparation to serve as a role model of outstanding classroom teaching and an intentional agent of change.
Learn more about the Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development.
Chelsea Denault, '12: Reimagining a city and finding inspiration
Chelsea Denault, '12
Clinton Township, Michigan
Reimagining a city and finding inspiration
Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, Brown Honors Program, Delta Gamma sorority, Kappa Kappa Psi band fraternity, British Eighth marching band, Admission tour guide, library archivist, Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha Lambda Delta, Order of Omega, Gamma Sigma Alpha
To me, Detroit has always been a city of hope. Through the Ford Institute, I was able to share that sense of hope and inspire other students by helping to plan the Sleight Fellows Leadership Program on "Revitalizing Detroit." Over the weeklong program we worked at Earthworks Urban Farm, ate and talked with city residents at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, wandered the streets of the Heidelberg Project, and explored the city's many vibrant neighborhoods. Through this firsthand experience, all sixteen students developed a better understanding and appreciation for the city and were inspired to contribute to Detroit's renewal in their own unique ways.
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.)
Scholarships and Financial Aid
A liberal arts education is the ultimate renewable resource.
Your mind. There’s no limit to what it can create or accomplish. It’s self-sustaining. Renewable. Energy efficient. And it never stops learning.
With a liberal arts education, your mind will keep going forever – but only if you can figure out how to pay for college. Getting the facts on scholarships and financial aid is a smart first step toward the education of a lifetime.
Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program
Are you someone who takes your academic studies further and deeper, who pursues broader interests and higher achievement? In the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program at Albion, you'll have opportunities equal to your abilities and enthusiasm—interdisciplinary seminars, field trips, guest lectures, visiting honors professors, honors retreats—all designed especially for honors students.
As early as your sophomore year, you will be able to conduct original research, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, through Albion's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA). Your work will culminate in a senior thesis. Many students in the Program are inducted into Albion's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa—the first established at a private college in Michigan. Your hands-on research and written and verbal communication skills developed in honors seminars will give you a special edge when you apply to graduate schools or for employment.
Learn more about the Brown Honors Program.
Katherine DeVoursney, '11: Documenting people's "stuff" through a lens
Katherine DeVoursney, '11
Documenting people's "stuff" through a lens
Major: Art History
WLBN radio station; Bitone Project; Nwagni Project; Art Department tour guide; Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service; Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA)
My FURSCA 2010 project was a commentary on American consumerism—we all have a lot of stuff, and I thought this "stuff" would be interesting to photograph, document, and exhibit. To create my Michigan Garage Project, pictures of the inside of garages, I taught myself how to use digital SLR cameras and editing software. I entered some of my photographs into exhibition and attended the Michigan Society for Photographic Educators' Midwest Regional Conference. Upon graduation I plan on moving to Detroit to become a part of the blossoming art scene there—I one day hope to open my own printmaking studio.
Applying to Albion
Why You Should Apply
If you’ve come this far, you know the Albion experience involves using your brain in compellingly complex ways. Why? Because the most incredible accomplishments begin with a single thought.
You’ll find Albion alumni at Harvard Law and University of Michigan Medical School. In graduate school at Duke and Stanford. And working at places like Google and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. All proof positive that if you can think it, you can do it.
Ready to take action and apply? All the information you need is right here.
Institute for Healthcare Professions
What demands will an aging population put on our healthcare system? How can we guarantee access to healthcare for all Americans? Albion's Institute for Healthcare Professions will provide you with the pre-professional education you'll need to become a caring professional, well versed in the scientific and ethical issues facing the medical field in this complex age.
The Institute offers all Albion College students the ability to participate in public lectures, informational sessions, social events, and academic advising. Students who are eligible to become associate members of the Institute have access to after-hours study space, Institute-sponsored internships and job-shadowing opportunities, health-related community service projects, as well as an additional course offering: Issues in Health Care. First-year students can take advantage of our Introduction to Health Care course. The College's Office of Pre-health Advising is affiliated with the Institute. Albion graduates have a long tradition of success in gaining admission to the nation's top professional schools, thanks to the rigorous preparation and careful advising they receive.
Learn more about the Institute for Healthcare Professions.