With the start of the New Year and a new semester, January is a great month to take inventory of the college checklist for current high school seniors. The month of May will arrive fast! So, it doesn’t hurt to use the slower month of January to assess goals for college preparation over the next few months. Encourage your student to maintain an attitude of crossing the finish line prepared and well advised for their next phase of life.

(Information from the following sources: www.thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/counselors-calendar-january-seniors and www.fastweb.com/college-search/articles/january-college-checklist-for-high-school-seniors )

  1. FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a required form for anyone applying for financial aid. Applications are opened in January, with many colleges placing final deadlines in February. So don’t wait! Students can find applications online, but make note that there are additional forms required with the application. So, read up first before starting the online application.
  2. Your guidance counselor may send your first trimester transcripts to colleges you’ve applied to. Students should call the college to verify receipt of transcripts.
  3. Continue to apply for scholarships. Remember to submit your scholarship applications. See fastweb.com/college-scholarships/articles/college-scholarships-2020-edition for a list of scholarships for 2020.
  4. Don’t let a lack of motivation or senioritis cause you to lose focus. Avoid easing up as it may risk your chances of getting into the college of your choice.
  5. Choose a summer job. College is expensive. College social life costs money. Getting a source of income over the summer will help students be well-prepared in the fall for social events at college, eating out or spur-of-the-moment fun activities.

Understand grit, or the trait of personal tenacity and not giving up, may matter even more than grades. Dreams are good, but they can be stifling when they hinge on a narrowing entrance to a particular university or college. Remember that personal fortitude– remaining focused and following through– is deeply important to employees in real-world living.

Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash




Aimee Serafin, editor of the Augusta Family Magazine.