I’m A Senior! Now What Do I Do?

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I’m A Senior! Now What Do I Do?





Bailey Gasparovic, Staff Writer

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Even though college weighs on the mind of every student, it seems to affect the seniors more than anyone. Fears for many include deadlines, essays, recommendation letters, scholarships. Thankfully, there are ways to work with these fears and watch them disappear one by one.

1. File the FAFSA 

This was my first step on my journey to applying for college. The FAFSA seems intimidating, it certainly did for me, but once you start filing it you will find that it is a lot easier than everyone makes it out to be.

There are several sections to the FAFSA: legal things about you, legal things about your parents, your parents income and tax info for 2017, your income and tax info for 2017. After filling out this information just electronically sign it and submit!

However, if you don’t know where or how to look at this info, it can get confusing. For me, to find this information my parents and I went to the IRS website and used secure log in information to access all of my families tax info for 2017.

Knowing where to look on the form for the info you need though is another thing entirely. Many of the line numbers included on the FAFSA, at least for the 1040EZ form, were wrong so it is important to know what the question is talking about while searching for the info on the tax form. It is also essential that if you have questions to ask while filling out the FAFSA to ask them before you sign and submit the form.

2. Check out scholarships

Luckily for QHS students, we have an amazing college and career center as well as amazing counselors who notify all seniors and graduating juniors of scholarships at the beginning of each month. If you want more options you can also go to scholarship websites like scholarship.com and fastweb.com.

I haven’t tried scholarship.com yet but I do know that for fastweb every scholarship on there is connected to a website other than fastweb. If you’re not cool with making multiple accounts on several different websites to apply then I would try to stay away from there.

Even though online scholarships are a faster way to do them, make sure that all of them are valid at all, or at least some, of the schools you apply to. You don’t want to win money and then not have the school you go to accept it.

3. Apply for college

The most daunting task of all. Actually applying for the schools you want to attend and meeting their deadlines for either early decision or the regular time for acceptance is stressful.

For me, I decided to apply to four different schools by the November 1 early decision deadline that most schools adhere too.

I am in the process of applying to Illinois College, John Wood Community College, Western Illinois University, and Quincy University. All of these schools are in Illinois and two of them being in town offers me the opportunity to live at home. Due to all of these variables I’m able to save money by not paying out of state tuition and I will be saving money on room and board if I stay here in town.

I strongly encourage students who have the ability to leave the state and go to school in another to do so; however, Illinois has many great schools for many different fields of study and there is no shame in staying in state until the broke college student days are over. Just because you go to school here doesn’t mean you have to stay.

4. Waiting

While waiting to be accepted into the schools you have applied for doesn’t sound hard it is the anticipation that will get to you. Having not gone through this one myself I can’t say anything from personal experience, but watching my older friends apply and go through the waiting process has shown me that a ton of anxiety can come when you get a packet or letter in the mail from a college.

Some ways to calm these nerves can be through meditation, exercise, and sometimes just relaxing and letting your mind wander until those applications are no longer on your mind.

Often times when students are looking at life after high school it can seem intimidating looking at it from an adult’s perspective when in reality it isn’t that difficult to deal with. As long as things are done and submitted on time, making the transition should be easy!