Financial Aid Timeline
Organizing your tasks will help you take advantage of more opportunities to prepare for college!
Starting with your junior year, you need to stay on track researching colleges that you like, studying for and taking admissions tests, and filing admissions and financial aid applications. It's quite a task, and your to-do list doesn't stop here. There are also scholarship applications to complete, campuses to visit and letters of recommendation to request. These calendars can help.
September - February
- Meet your guidance counselor
- Register for the PSAT (Pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test)
- Encourage your family to begin Financial Aid Planning - they can also visit pnconcampus.com for ideas on how to get started!
- Purchase or borrow college reference books
- Get motivated and think about extra-curricular and community service activities
- Memorize your Social Security Number
- Take the PSAT
- Study hard and keep your grades up
- Volunteer your services in a career field that interests you--internships are often helpful and build strong resumes
- Research career paths and opportunities
- Visit a science, art or history museum to expand your education.
- Eat turkey or Tofurkey!
- Use PSAT results to begin to review or determine your range of college choices
- Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss college options. Find out which College Admissions tests are required (SAT, ACT, ACH) for the schools that you're considering
- Consider and research College Board review courses or videos
- Call the PNC Education Loan Center for helpful information on how to pay for your college education (1-800-762-1001)
- Register and study for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
- Register and study for the American College Test (ACT) and Achievement Test exams (ACH), if necessary
- Talk to your guidance counselor and family to further research your career field
- Look for and attend local college fairs around your area
March - Summer
- Look into interesting and challenging summer courses, jobs or internships
- Meet with your guidance counselor and narrow your list of college choices to five or six schools
- Continue to study for college boards (SAT, ACT, ACH)
- Take the SAT, take the ACT and ACH if required by your school(s)
- Visit the website of the colleges you are selecting. View or request college catalogs from them and when you are ready to apply, check each to find out whether a paper or online application is preferred
- Plan your senior school year course and activity schedule
- Get a summer job and create a budget for spending and saving
- Plan a vacation!
- Arrange for initial college interviews and visits
- Do something inspiring!
- Keep up the extra-curricular activities and community service work
- Continue college and scholarship research
- Visit potential college campuses
September - February
- Keep up with your course work
- Make an appointment to meet with your guidance counselor if necessary
- Create an information file for each college on your list
- Complete any Early Decision applications (if you wish to use the Early Decision process, check with your guidance office for any scholarship opportunities you may be eligible for)
- Plan final college visits and interviews (remember to send thank you letters to each college you visit)
- Start drafting college essays
- Attend local College Fairs and/or Financial Aid Nights
- Check with your church, local paper, community organizations or parents' employer for additional scholarship opportunities
- Complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as early as Oct. 1, online at fafsa.gov using the FSA ID you create for yourself on the website
- Submit secondary school/counselor evaluation forms
- Try to send at least one college application by Thanksgiving
- Keep college files up to date with current information
- Eat more turkey or Tofurkey!
- Finalize all applications and essays--review these with your guidance counselor, teacher or a parent for content accuracy
- Mail completed applications to colleges
- Ask teachers for recommendation letters (and provide them with addressed/stamped envelopes)
- Attend a Financial Aid Night at your High School (if any)
- Send colleges special talent documentation or information to better your chances of acceptance
- Ensure that colleges you have applied to received the results of your FAFSA and College Board tests
March - Summer
- Watch for responses and award notifications through the mail or email from colleges you've applied to
- Send any new materials to colleges which may help their admissions decision
- Make a list of student loan questions and call the PNC Education Loan Center (1-800-762-1001) for smart education financing solutions
- The responses from colleges you applied to should have arrived. Compare the financial aid award notifications you have received
- Make a commitment and choose your school
- Write "Thanks, but no thanks" letters to colleges you will not be attending
- If you are on a waiting list, write a "pleading" letter and send any supporting materials you can--ask teachers, coaches, and counselors for assistance
- Take the Advance Placement (AP) Exam
- Complete the dormitory forms (if any)
- Make sure you apply for a private student loan to fill the financial aid gap--call the PNC Education Loan Center (1-800-762-1001)
- If you accept a Federal Work-Study option, it may be your responsibility to find a position
- Work to save for college incidentals
- Participate in extra-curricular or volunteer activities
- Prepare yourself for college
- Good luck in your future endeavors!
Important Legal Disclosures and Information
You are encouraged to explore all scholarship, grant and federal borrowing options before applying for a private loan.
PNC does not provide accounting, tax or legal advice. Any calculators provided are intended for educational and estimation purposes only, and their accuracy is not guaranteed. The calculators, and any results displayed, do not constitute the advice of, or reflect actual products, services, rates and/or terms available from PNC Bank or its affiliates, and nothing contained in the calculators shall constitute an offer or solicitation of a product or service by PNC Bank or its affiliates.