College Prep & Financial Aid
Applying for College
Applying to college is relatively easy, getting accepted by the college of your choice – not so easy, especially if you are trying to get into a highly competitive school or major!
Dates to Keep in Mind
Colleges and universities all have specific deadlines for application packets. Generally speaking, most are due almost before January 1 of the year you want to attend the college. Some schools allow early applications for early decisions on the part of the schools – this deadline is generally November 1.
Most colleges will need a copy of your college test scores from the SAT test or ACT test . When taking the test, you can request that they be sent to up to four different colleges. Otherwise, maybe if you're a junior, you can request that the scores be sent closer to when you actually apply to a college.
Any student who wants to participate in Athletics at the College Level must visit the Official Eligibility website of the NCAA. NCAA Divisions I and II initial-eligibility requirements and required registration criteria is available.
All colleges will want an official copy of your academic transcripts as part of the application package. Most colleges will require that your school send your transcripts directly to their admissions office. The process is a bit easier these days since Vicksburg participates in a program called Parchment, which is a secure transcript service that stores and delivers transcripts at your request. Instructions for using this program can be found at the end of this page.
Once you complete your college search and have your list of colleges in hand, you'll need to determine how the application is submitted. Many schools now work with what's called the 'The Common Application', a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admission application (online and in print). This list of colleges and universities using this system is a 400+ and growing. If the college you want to apply to does not use the Common Application, then visit the school's Web site for application information and application materials. Even if using the Common Application, it is best to study a school's Web site for application specifics (the requirements vary and you'll want to know about test scores, minimum GPA, transcripts, specific course work, interviews, etc.).
All Federal financial aid for college starts with establishing a student's eligibility. That is done a program called Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. All students interested in financial aid for college need to complete this online application process. The information provided is used to determine your eligibility for Federal Aid, including grants, work-study and loans. The program determines a student's expected family contribution (EFC) or the amount of money a family can be expected to contribute to college costs. The prospective college then applies a simple equation to decide how much financial aid a student will receive.
The process of completing the FAFSA can be a bit overwhelming. Parents of Juniors and Seniors watch for a letter in the mail inviting them to our annual Financial Aid Workshop. It is highly recommended that those who are unfamiliar with the FAFSA attend this work shop. Here are some tips to make the FAFSA process easier to navigate.
- The FAFSA can be submitted after October 1. You will need to fill the FAFSA out online
- Submit the FAFSA whether or not you think you qualify for aid. Sometimes being rejected for federal aid is a prerequisite for receiving private awards.
- Review all your data on the FAFSA every year. Your eligibility can change from year to year, depending on your family’s circumstances.
- Apply for aid as soon as possible after January 1. Early completion maximizes your chances of receiving financial aid.
- Contact your prospective college’s aid office for additional information. Your school may require forms besides the FAFSA or may have earlier submission deadlines.
- Read your Student Aid Report (SAR) carefully. You and your prospective college will each receive copies. Report any errors to financial aid officer.
- Call the federal processor at 1-319-337-5665, if you do not receive your SAR in 4-6 weeks. Be ready to provide your Social Security Number and date of birth for verification.
- Note your Data Release Number (DRN). It is the four-digit number on the upper right-hand corner of your SAR. You will need this to apply to additional colleges or universities.
- Check to see if your SAR has been selected for verification. Look under the date for the letters EFC followed by a series of numbers. If there is an asterisk (*) after your EFC, your SAR has been selected.
- If asked for SAR verification, submit the information requested to your prospective college’s financial aid office as soon as possible. Your aid may be delayed or decreased if the materials are not provided promptly.