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College Applications Part II: Go Get The Money

If you’ve applied to a college early and are committed to attend, chances are you and your parents took a calculated risk, especially if you already know you’ll be needing financial aid. By committing early, you are foreclosing the option of comparing the financial aid packages of the schools that have admitted you. You, in essence, are stuck with the financial aid package that your early admit school offers.

Some schools allow you to opt out of your commitment if the financial aid is not enough to allow you to attend, but in order to keep your options open in such cases, you still have to apply to other schools as part of the regular admission process.

If you are set on going to your early admit school, then get on the financial aid and scholarship tip RIGHT NOW.

In some ways, you have an advantage. Since you are already admitted, you can get considered for funds that are doled out on a first come, first served basis. As AnnaMaria Andriotis at SmartMoney.com points out in her article, Do Early Decision Students Get More Aid?, quoting Kalman Chany, “‘The early decision kids have the first crack at the money,’ says Kalman Chany, the president of New York-based Campus Consultants, which advises college students and their families on financial aid, ‘those students are often courted by colleges into applying early because of their extraordinary grades or athletic skills, and they can end up with sizable financial aid packages.'”

On the other hand, since students are tied to the school early, colleges can get away with giving the bare minimum financial aid package because they don’t have to compete with other institutions. So the best approach for an early admittee is to get their financial aid information submitted as soon as they can, and to pursue scholarships ASAP. With scholarships, early admittees may have an advantage with regard to those awards that have early due dates. So seize that advantage, hop in FastWeb.com and other scholarship websites and get to work. Early and thorough research and submissions always pay off in the college money game!

Here’s What You Can Do Right Now:

1. Get your financial aid CSS profile submitted as soon as you are able. Click HERE for information on how to file

2. Get your documents ready for your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) filing. Click HERE to find out deadlines and what information you will need.

3. Utilize scholarship sites, like fastweb.com, Scholarships.com and the College Board’s Scholarship Search site,  to round up opportunitis for private scholarships and grants. Don’t just scan those scholarship offerings—submit , apply and following through, just like you did for your college applications.

Financial times are hard for many, including colleges.  Costs are up and many more students are in need of aid and assistance. So it’s important tho remember that the financial awards go to the students who do their research, apply to as many relevant scholarships as they can and follow through. Relevant scholarships are those that address and/or reward the student’s situation. Apply to scholarships that you think you can get, but also, stretch yourself and apply even if your think the award is competitive.

So celebrate your early admission— take a deep breath— and then, go get the money!

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