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Higher Education in Maryland
Further Information and Month-by-Month Tips on Preparing for College
April May June July
August September October November
December January February March
April May June   

April

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • If I'm considering career training I should check out community college options.
  • If I want to transfer from one college to another, then I should read the MHEC Student Guide to Transfer -- click on www.MDgo4it.org to find out what courses are required to transfer (depends on the college and major).
  • Compare my offers of admission & financial aid; discuss them with family & counselors.
  • Attend spring college events for admitted students.
  • If I wasn't admitted to my top-choice colleges, then consider my options...go to one college but apply to transfer to my first choice after a year?  Go to my local community college and transfer after 1-2 years?
  • Monthly payment plans for college may be possible--forms are due soon.
  • If I do not plan to attend a college that accepted me, let the college know as soon as possible.
  • If I am accepted for spring admission rather than fall admission, discuss my options with the college & my counselor.
  • Research housing choices and meal plans at colleges.
  • Scholarship applications are available!  Go to www.MDgo4it.org for applications
  • The Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program incorporates many pre-existing grant programs.  Applications are due June 1.
  • The Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship application is due July 15.

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May

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • If I want career training check out community college options.
  • If I want to transfer from one college to another, then I should read the MHEC Student Guide to Transfer. Find out what courses I need to transfer (depends on the college and major).
  • Compare my offers of admission & financial aid; discuss them with family & counselors.
  • Attend spring college events for admitted students.
  • If I wasn't admitted to my top-choice colleges, then consider my options...go to one college but apply to transfer to my first choice after a year?  Go to my local community college and transfer after 1-2 years?
  • Monthly payment plans for college may be possible--forms are due soon.
  • If I do not plan to attend a college that accepted me, let the college know as soon as possible.
  • If I am accepted for spring admission rather than fall admission, discuss my options with the college & my counselor.
  • Research housing choices and meal plans at colleges.
  • Scholarship applications are available!  Go to www.MDgo4it.org for applications
  • The Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program incorporates many pre-existing grant programs.  Applications are due June 1.
  • The Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship application is due July 15.

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June

Check them out.
 
Check them off.

  • Graduate--Celebrate this milestone safely.
  • Workforce Shortage Grant applications are due July 1;
    Conroy Scholarship applications are due July 15. 
    Check www.MDgo4it.org for forms.
  • Thank my teachers and counselors for their help.
  • Think about how to stay organized, manage my priorities, and budget my time and money.
  • My final transcript must be sent to my college.
  • Plan to attend summer orientation at my college.  Take advantage of transition programs.
  • Take college course placement tests as necessary.  Colleges often administer these at orientation.  Community colleges offer them more frequently.
  • Look for sales & tax-free shopping days--school & dorm supplies can be expensive
  • Save money for college textbooks.  Tip:  Sometimes used books are cheaper--but buy the same book edition as the class will use so all the information and page numbers match.
  • Finalize plans for college!  Contact my roommate(s).
  • If I have questions about State student financial assistance, contact
    MHEC: 1-800-974-1024 (TTY 800-735-2258) or (410) 260-4565.
  • Dream--and then make a plan to make it happen.

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July

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Can I afford to live on my own?  Go to http://BeWhatIWantToBe.com to see how much it costs to live on my own.  Review jobs listed, pay rates, and education required for these jobs.
  • Ask to shadow someone whose job interests me.
  • Community colleges offer both programs for transfer & for technical careers.
  • Check out the websites of colleges that interest me--read the admissions section, take a virtual tour, & look at the courses offered.
  • Find the best fit! Make a list of things I want in college.
  • Work on special submissions for college applications:  portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples.
  • www.CommonApp.org provides the Common application, which many colleges use for admission; they may also require forms of their own.
  • Many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) share an application; see www.EDUincOnline.com
  • www.NACACnet.org lists regional college fairs & explains how to make the most of them.
  • What to do on a college visit--schedule visits preferably when classes are in session, attend 1 or 2 classes, talk to students & professors, read the student newspaper, visit the library & financial aid office, go into dorms, & eat in the cafeteria.  Before visiting find out from the admissions office about interview options.

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August

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • It's better to act late than not at all.  If I ignored the monthly checklists, go back and read them.
  • Type a personal profile so my counselor can have a guide when writing my recommendations.  I'll list my goals, academic interests, achievements, volunteer and extracurricular activities, work experience, and problems I've overcome.
  • Update my resume to include summer employment & volunteer activities.
  • Study my college wish-list.  What are my goals?  What's the best fit for me?  What colleges have the right majors, size, and balance of challenge & support?
  • Early decision & early action--talk to my counselor & check college information to see if these application options make sense for me.  They might help me get in--but my limit my college choices.
  • Read college comparison guides--these can be obtained from counselors and in libraries.
  • Get serious about my financial aid search!  Check out http://StudentAid.ed.gov and Student Financial Assistance at MHEC's www.MDgo4it.org, plus other FREE sites.
  • Continue planning college visits--research dates, costs, etc.  Be sure to inform the college of dates I plan to visit.
  • Get organized.  Make separate files for each college and scholarship program.
  • Practice writing online applications:  fill out rough drafts don't submit them.
  • Accreditation matters!  Colleges and technical schools approved by the U.S. Department of Education can by found at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/

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September

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Mark the calendar with admission & financial aid deadlines.
  • Visit colleges--and don't just take the tour.  Schedule an admissions interview if possible (Prepare for it!)
  • Send thank-you notes to interviewers.
  • Take on leadership roles in my school or community.
  • SAT Language Tests with Listening are only offered in November--register at www.CollegeBoard.com .
  • Fee and application waivers are available to some students for tests and college applications.  Ask a guidance counselor for information.
  • Begin drafting college application essays. (Yes, really.)
  • Work on my financial plan for college.  Start with Student Financial Assistance at www.MDgo4it.org .
  • Review my transcript--check for errors & make sure it shows any high school credits I earned in middle school.
  • Submit transcript requests to counselors by mid-month for service academy admissions and early decision and early action applications.
  • For application easy advice, go to the "For Students and Parents section of www.NACACnet.org and click on "Steps to College Online Newsletter."
  • Pace myself--don't be a slacker but don't exhaust myself till I can't function.
  • Mark scholarship and Grant deadlines
  • Register for SAT and ACT tests

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October

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Applications often consist of multiple parts/forms--and the first part is due soon!
  • The earlier I apply to some colleges, the better my chances might be for admission.
  • Should I use the Common Application?  See www.CommonApp.org and individual colleges for details.  For HBCU, see www.EDUincOnline.com.
  • Keep a copy of every form I submit.
  • Talk with teachers & counselors about recommendations--to ask for recommendations, discuss my interests and college choices.  Give each teacher/counselor my resume along with stamped, addressed envelopes.  
  • Give my counselor all forms that I need guidance officers to submit to colleges.
  • Submit any early decision applications--if that's a good choice for me.
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT.  Have results sent to colleges where I'll apply.
  • Finalize portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other required special submissions.
  • After drafting my applications, let them sit for a few days & then proofread.  Proofread from a paper copy.  PROOFREAD AGAIN!
  • Applying online sometimes saves $$--proofread before hitting "send"!
  • Financial aid information is available from colleges; get it & check the due dates.
  • Rank my college choices. Think about what best fits me.
  • Apply for scholarships
  • If I'm not interested, or I've decided not to attend a traditional college/university--there are many career & technical schools in Maryland to fit my goals.

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November

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Stay organized--create a file for each college to which I have applied.
  • Begin submitting college applications if I haven't already.  PROOFREAD!
  • Keep copies of everything I submit to colleges and scholarship programs.
  • Accreditation protects students.  Apply to schools I can find in the U.S. Department of Education database at www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation .
  • Take the ACT or SAT tests I need.  Send scores to colleges on my applications list.
  • Transcript requests take time--check with my counselor about the procedures my school uses.
  • Check on health insurance--how am I covered next year?
  • Schedule admission or alumni interviews if I haven't already.
  • Contact college financial offices to find out how to apply for aid and what the deadlines are.
  • Did I check out all those FREE financial websites?  Are there any scholarships or grants I can apply for now?  When are the deadlines?
  • The CSS/Financial Aid Profile is required by some private colleges & scholarship funds; this service is administered by the nonprofit College Board (https://ProfileOnline.CollegeBoard.com/).
  • Write thank-you notes to my recommenders and interviewers.
  • Keep pacing myself.  Don't get discouraged.
  • Make sure my guidance counselor is aware of my final college choices.
  • Keep my family in the decision-making process as my decision will affect my entire family.

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December

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Continue to study and stay focused on grades.
  • Visit the FAFSA website, apply for my Federal Student Aid PIN (personal identification number) at www.pin.ed.gov, which will allow me to electronically apply for my federal student aid and access my U.S. Department of Education record each year.
  • Review my list of goals and websites that help with career and college planning.
  • Polish, proofread, and complete college applicants.
  • Double-check that all parts of all applications are complete (forms, test scores, essays, recommendations, transcripts, etc.)
  • Early decisions arrive ... if I applied early decision or early action, follow instructions from college.
  • Are there financial aid forms that I need to fill out for colleges?
  • Keep copies of test scores and applications for admissions and financial aid.  Hold these 2-3 years.
  • My fall transcript should be sent to colleges to which I applied, along with any spring course changes.
  • "Rolling admissions" (meaning no application deadlines) is the rule at some four-year colleges and community colleges.  But classes fill up--so it's best to apply early.
  • Go to www.go2goal.org for information on College Goal Sunday, a mid-winter event that provides assistance on how to complete the FAFSA
  • Stay focused on grades and consider taking on leadership roles/responsibilities especially if I haven't already done so.
  • Start researching summer internships and jobs related to my career interests.
  • Don't give in to senior slump--senior grades do matter.
  • Enjoy the early winter school break before heading into the final phase of high school!

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January

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Complete any applications not already due.
  • Attend College Goal Sunday for free FAFSA assistance, visit www.go2goal.org for dates and locations.
  • The FAFSA is required to receive Federal & State Aid.
  • Encouarge my parents to gather their tax documents early--tax information is required to complete the FAFSA.
  • The FAFSA is FREE!  But some websites charge to file it.  Use www.FAFSA.ed.gov for the FREE FAFSA, or call 1-800-4-FED-AID.
  • Check college deadlines for the FAFSA & CSS/Financial Aid Profile--one or both may be required in February or even earlier.
  • The FAFSA on the Web worksheet can help us prepare the FAFSA online.
  • If I think I'm eligible for independent status on the FAFSA, or have a problem related to who can complete the FAFSA for me, I need to contact the financial aid office at schools
  • Information & applications for State scholarships are found at www.MDgo4it.org (www.MHEC.state.md.us).
  • Educational Assistance Grants help fund college for moderate-income families.  To be considered for one, apply to a Maryland college and file a FAFSA between January 1 and March 1.
  • Guaranteed Access Grants help fund college for families with more financial need.  Applications are available now.
  • Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship  applications & FAFSA are due March 1.
  • Remember to look for my SAR (Student Aid Report) -- which will arrive in 7-10 days when submitted electronically.
  • Complete financial forms and keep in appropriate folders.
  • Apply for scholarships--paying attention to deadlines.  Deadlines for scholarship applications generally begin in January (some in March).

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February

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Attend College Goal Sunday for free FAFSA assistance, visit www.go2goal.org for dates and locations.
  • File the free FAFSA now--some colleges have a February deadline!  www.FAFSA.ed.gov   1-800-4-FED-AID
  • Taxes--If my parents are unable to complete their taxes early, I can use last year's taxes to estimate the information required.  Corrections can be made later.
  • Stay focused?
  • Review my goals, best-fit college list, & post high school plan.
  • Summer plans?
  • March 1 is the State (MHEC) FAFSA deadline.  List at least one Maryland college on the FAFSA.
  • Check my SAR--after my FAFSA is processed I will check the SAR that summarizes the information that I provied to see if corrections are needed or if information provided is complete.  Make necessary changes.
  • Information & applications for State scholarships can be found at www.MDgo4it.org
  • State Delegate Scholarship applications are ready--check the MHEC website and contact my State Delegate for more information.
  • State Senatorial Scholarship applications are ready--check the MHEC website and contact my State Senator for more information.
  • Submit the Guaranteed Access Grant application to MHEC if there's any chance I'm eligible for the grant.
  • Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship applications & FAFSA are due March 1.
  • Continue to monitor applications to be certain deadlines for each part are met.

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March

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Submit the FAFSA by March 1!  List at least one Maryland college on it to receive State aid:  www.FAFSA.ed.gov
  • Submit tax forms to college financial aid offices, if they are requested.
  • Submit the Guaranteed Access Grant application if there's any chance I'm eligible.  MHEC recommends applying by March 1, but later applications are considered as long as funds remain.  Find the form at www.MDgo4it.org (www.MHEC.state.md.us)
  • If considering a community college, prepare for fall registration.
  • To transfer from a community college to a Maryland four-year college, I can use ARTSYS to help plan my coursework--http://artweb.USMD.edu/
  • Fight off spring fever--senior grades do not count.
  • Visit colleges again if I'm still wondering where I'd like to go--make sure to schedule visits before or after college spring break.
  • Check for errors on the FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR).  They must corrected.
  • Decisions letters from colleges begin to arrive.  Stay calm and be positive--these are responses to opportunities I have explored, but there are always more opportunities available.
  • Talk to my guidance counselor if I don't have a plan for next year.  Should I work for one year and then go to college, or begin career training at a community college while I work?

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April

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • If I'm considering career training I should check out community college options.
  • If I want to transfer from one college to another, then I should read the MHEC "Student Guide to Transfer"--click on www.MDgo4it.org to find out what courses are required to transfer (depends on the college and major).
  • Compare my offers of admission & financial aid; discuss them with family & counselors.
  • Attend spring college events for admitted students.
  • If I wasn't admitted to my top-choice colleges, then consider my options ... go to one college but apply to transfer to my first choice after a year?  Go to my local community college and transfer after 1-2 years?
  • Monthly payment plans for college may be possible--forms are due soon.
  • If I do not plan to attend a college that accepted me, let the college know as soon as possible.
  • If I am accepted for spring admission rather than fall admission, discuss my options with the college & my counselor.
  • Research housing choices and meal plans at colleges.
  • Scholarship applications are available!  Go to www.MDgo4it.org for applications.
  • The Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program is for students who wish to work in specific fields.  Applications are due July 1.
  • The Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship application is due July 15.

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May

Check them out.
Check them off.

  • Many colleges have a May 1 deadline for entrance decisions--and housing and tuition deposits.
  • Follow up with the financial aid office at my college to ensure that all my paperwork is complete.
  • Mark my calendar for summer orientation if my college holds one.
  • Take the AP Tests; have the scores sent to my college.
  • Get ready for final exams and projects.
  • Update my resume.
  • Finalize summer plans for work or internships.
  • Visit the National Association for College Admission Counseling website www.NACACnet.org for colleges still looking for students ("Space Availability Survey: Openings for Qualified Students").
  • Fill in my address book--plan to keep up with friends & mentors.
  • If I plan to attend a private career school instead of college:
    Contact the school financial aid office about the Tolbert Grant.
    For the Conroy Scholarship visit www.MDgo4it.org Applications are due July 15.
  • By July 1 turn in an application for the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant if my major qualities; see the MHEC site www.MDgo4it.org

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June

Check them out.
 
Check them off.

  • Graduation!--Celebrate this milestone safely.
  • Workforce Shortage Grant applications are due by July 1; Conroy Scholarship applications are due July 15.  Check www.MDgo4it.org for forms.
  • Thank my teachers and guidance counselors for their help.
  • Think about how to stay organized, manage my priorities, and budget my time and money.
  • My final transcript must be sent to my college.
  • Plan to attend summer orientation at my college.  Take advantage of transition problems.
  • Take college course placement tests as necessary.  Colleges often administer these at orientation.  Community colleges offer them more frequently.
  • Look for sales & tax-free shopping days--school & dorm supplies can be expensive.
  • Save money for college textbooks.  Tip:  Sometimes used books are cheaper--but buy the same book edition as the class will use so all the information and page numbers match.
  • Finalize plans for college!  Contact my roommate(s).
  • If I have questions about State student financial assistance, contact MHEC:  1-800-974-1024 (TTY 800-735-2258) or (410) 260-4565.
  • Dream--and then make a plan to make it happen.

 

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