Created by CSUMB GEAR UP
Parents who are invested and interested in their students preparing for, applying to, and attending college are most likely to see their students succeed.
Ways to help your student succeed
- Help your student with homework and meet with teachers and counselors to discuss coursework to prepare them for college.
- Contact campuses to schedule a tour and get information about programs, admission requirements and financial aid.
- Consider opening a college savings account.
- Familiarize yourself with the services offered at your student's high school such as tutoring and support programs.
- Schedule a parent and teacher conference if you have concerns about your student's academics.
- Research financial aid and Cal Grants.
- Talk to your student about careers that interest them and what college they would like to attend.
Key actions for your student
11th Grade student
|11th Grade Student:|
|Start completing scholarships to maximize the chances of not having to pay out of pocket. Track scholarships applied to by keeping a log.||Register for the SAT and ACT at least one month before the exams. Check the institution's website to see if this is a requirement for admission.|
|Review the “a-g” classes still needed to complete for CSU/UC admission with a counselor or GEAR UP Advisor.||If your student is taking AP classes, register for the AP exams. Students can earn college credit if they score a three or higher on the exams.|
Financial Aid for College
Learn all about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA- usually the first step in seeking financial assistance for higher education. This will determine how much money your student will get in a variety of forms, including grants and federal loans.
What is FAFSA?
Types of financial aid available through FAFSA
CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT
The California DREAM ACT (CADAA) is a financial aid application meant for students who are not US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents to be able to attend college in the state of California. This CADAA overview provides guidance on how to apply and the steps that follow once the application is submitted. This process is to be completed senior year, but it's always helpful to have more information on the front end that can make senior year a bit less stressful.
Looking for scholarships?
Paying for college can be stressful, especially the closer your student gets to their last year of high school. Thankfully, students can apply for scholarships their junior year! Every scholarship has requirements- make sure the student is eligible before completing the application. There is no limit to the amount of scholarships a student can apply to. They are encouraged to complete as many applications possible to increase their chance to attend college, get a degree and make a career without having to spend a cent out of pocket. California Colleges and local organizations like the Community Foundation for Monterey County are a good place to begin your search.
Here is a list of scholarships that do not require the student to be a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident.
Important tests to prepare for college
At this moment, many college campuses have waived the ACT and SAT due to COVID-19. Refer to individual campuses that your student is applying to for further information.
Students can speak with their high school counselor to see if they are eligible to receive a fee waiver for either test.
The ACT is a national college admission test that covers English, Math and Science. On the site, students can register and find study materials for the test. It also provides information on planning for college, careers and financial aid.
The SAT is an admission test accepted by all U.S. colleges. Students can register for the SAT and get themselves ready by taking an official, free practice test. All students can opt in to Student Search Service® to receive free information about admission and financial aid from colleges, universities, and scholarship programs.
Where should my student attend college?
There are many factors that play into deciding what college is the ideal one. College search engines allow students and families to navigate through hundreds of colleges based on areas of interest and preference.
California Colleges helps in exploring the different college systems in the state. Students can search by major, location, price, size and narrow down a school of choice.
College Board provides questionnaires that allow students to answer what is important to them in a college campus. Students can search by major, location, price and size as well.
12th Grade student
|12th Grade Student:|
|Register for the October SAT or ACT. Check the institution's website to see if this is a requirement for admission.||Oct. – March: Apply for FAFSA or Dream Act starting October 1. The priority deadline is March 2.|
|Oct. 1 – Nov. 30: Apply to CSU's early—the deadline is December 4th! Also, begin to apply for scholarships.||If your student is taking AP classes, register for the AP exams. Students can earn college credit if they score a three or higher on the exams.|
Congratulations! Your senior has made it to their last year of high school and let me tell you, it can be a wild ride. While students try to find balance with classes, homework, finals, friends, athletics, clubs, work etc, they are also finding a way to juggle college applications, scholarships, financial aid, sending transcripts and more! Think of it as having an entire class added to their schedule. The intention here is not to scare you, but to let you know of ways to prepare that can help both your student and your family for what is expected senior year. Below is a timeline that briefly notes what will happen each month. CollegeBoard has a more detailed checklist that can also be downloaded.
Senior year is when students can finally complete the financial aid application for college. Students can contact their counselor if they are unsure about completing the FAFSA or the CA DREAM ACT (CADAA). Take a look at the following videos for more details. (Scroll down for more information about CADAA)
FAFSA: Form and FSA ID
Once your student has completed the financial aid form that corresponds to them, check out the next steps in the process.
FAFSA: What's Next?
How to Create a WebGrant Account
CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT (CADAA)
If a student wants to attend college in California, they are eligible to apply for financial assistance to pay for tuition regardless of immigration status. Immigrants Rising has up to date information and details about this application. Start with the CA DREAM ACT Overview to see if this application is a good option for you.
There are so many opportunities for your senior to win scholarships for college. While it takes time, dedication and effort to complete scholarship applications, the reward can lead to your student's college fees completely paid for! It might take a push or two from their loving parents but encouraging them to get a few applications completed each month can really pay off. California Colleges and local organizations like the Community Foundation for Monterey County can help with the process if they haven't started the scholarship search already.
There are also opportunities for students who are not US Citizens or Residents. Immigrants Rising has an updated list of scholarships available. Since CADAA only covers tuition costs, it is important to find other means to help pay for the rest of your student's college expenses. Scholarships is a great way to cover those extra fees.
Comparing Financial Aid Offers
Comparing the amount of money offered to your student from the colleges to which they applied can be used as one of the steps to determine the institution that will be best suited for them. Take a look at the Financial Aid Offer Comparison Tool that allows up to four comparisons at a time. This tool can be used for both FAFSA and CADAA.
Deciding Where To Go
This important decision will be made once your student has received notice from all the institutions they applied to. Use the tools below to make the final comparison amongst those choices. Refer to the Senior Timeline above to make sure your student does not miss any of the deadlines. Remember: They must make their decision by May 1st.
Visit the CollegeBoard guide to Finding Your College Fit for tips and information to consider when choosing a college.
Your student will typically be notified by Spring if they have been admitted to an institution or not. To help your student better understand the admissions process, visit Admissions Decisions from California Colleges.
First-year college freshman
|First-year college freshman|
|Register for classes as soon as possible since there is limited space in each class. Check the student portal for specific dates.||Oct. – March: Renew FAFSA or Dream Act. The priority deadline is March 2.|
|Meet with advisors at least once a year to make sure the academic plan is on schedule to graduate.||Attend orientations and events that explain services and support services available on campus.|
|More details on First Year of College.|