COLLEGE PLANNING: How Your MEF Advisor Can Help You and Your Family
Your MEF Advisor can help you with:
- College Planning Presentations
- Financial Aid Presentations
- FAFSA Workshops
- Scholarship Applications
- SAT and ACT
- Essay Writing
- Individual Appointments
Applying to College
Congratulations on taking the first step to your future! MEF Advisors on each MISD high school campus can assist you with applying to college as well as finding money for college. This website provides most links you might need along the way. Be sure to sign up for an appointment with your MEF Advisor. He/she can offer even more suggestions in person than we can on our website. At the beginning of senior year, you should have already done a few things. Don’t worry if you don’t check off 100% of the following items; it’s not too late yet. Get in touch with your Advisor and get started right away!
Prior to Starting Senior Year:
1. Take the SAT, ACT or both. Most students take these tests during the junior year of high school. See a comparison between the two tests, test dates and registration deadlines here. If you are in the free/reduced lunch program or in AVID, see your MEF Advisor about a possible test fee waiver.
2. Research and Visit colleges and universities where you’re interested in applying. College Navigator, College Board and College Data websites all provide excellent tools for research:
3. Become familiar with where to find college applications. You may have heard about “common” applications. If you use the Apply Texas or Common App to apply, you can apply to more than one school with the same account. On Apply Texas you can even copy your application to another school; just make sure everything is correct! All Texas public schools, as well as some private schools, use the Apply Texas App: www.applytexas.org
More than 400 private and public schools across the nation use the Common App:www.commonapp.org.
If you’re not sure, go directly to the school’s website to learn which application to use.
4. Apply for scholarships now! You do NOT have to wait to be accepted at a school. MEF creates a monthly Scholarship Bulletin which you can find on this website or in your email. See our “Financial Aid Planning” page to learn more about applying for scholarships. There are lots of resources out there!
Senior Year: Fall
– Retake the SAT or ACT if necessary.
– Write your admission essay(s) for the schools where you plan to apply. Have someone you trust edit your college essay(s). You should have at least two people edit your essay(s). *Not all schools require an essay.
– Ask for letters of recommendation if you need any. Make sure the college’s application does not require a form for your teacher or counselor.
– Complete college applications for each school where you are interested in attending. Have someone you trust edit your application. For Texas public colleges/universities, use www.applytexas.org For more than 400 public and private colleges/universities across the nation use: www.commonapp.org If you are not sure where to go to apply, go to the college or university’s website.
– Send your official high school transcript to each college where you plan to apply. If you are taking Dual Credit courses, send your official college transcript to each college where you plan to apply.
– Continue visiting colleges. If you are unable to visit a college, try this virtual tour website: www.campustours.com.
– Apply for as many scholarships as possible. The big money scholarships are usually offered in the fall.
Paying for College
Did you know you do NOT have to wait for a college
acceptance letter to start applying for scholarships?
Actually, the majority of scholarship money is offered in the fall. Below are a few places to get started looking for money!
Scholarship Bulletins – During the school year, the Advisors email and post to this website a Scholarship Bulletin. Everyone is usually eligible for at least a few scholarship opportunities on each Bulletin – even if it’s “just” an essay contest. Remember – money is money. Money is most likely not going to find you so you have to be willing to work hard to find it.
The Scholarship Bulletin lists all of the scholarships that come across anyone’s desk in MISD – national and local opportunities. We even list the institutional (college) scholarship deadlines when we know about them. This is truly one of your best tools to find scholarship opportunities. Don’t wait until the end of your senior year to realize the value of this tool.
Other websites to search for scholarships are listed below. Each of these websites will ask detailed questions about you. The more time you put into the questionnaire at the beginning, the more likely you are to find good scholarship opportunities.
www.fastweb.com – TIP: Click on “Deadline” at the top to sort.
www.scholarships.com – TIP: Click on “Deadline” at the top to sort.
This particular scholarship is one of the ways MEF gives back to the community. The scholarship opportunity is available during the second semester of your senior year. The deadline is usually in mid-February. Make sure you read your emails from your Advisor or check this website for full details.
Each family is encouraged to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in January/February of your senior year of high school. MEF Advisors are available to assist families with the application. Be sure to follow the steps below so you don’t miss anything. This can be a challenging and overwhelming process, but it’s worth it!
5 Steps to Apply For FAFSA
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Since this is a government form, you should be sure to only apply for this on the government website listed below. The FAFSA is what you’ll use to apply for federal and state grants, loans, scholarships and work-study. Apply for FAFSA in January and February of your senior year.
See the 5 easy FAFSA application steps below:
Step 1: Gather all of your family’s tax forms (including the student’s if eligible). Your most current taxes should be filed in order for the FAFSA process to go smoothly. FAFSA requires the student’s form be linked to the IRS website or your family will need to submit a tax transcript later.
Step 2: Apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The student and one parent both need a PIN in order to electronically sign your FAFSA.
Step 4: Check your email for your Student Aid Report from the Department of Education. Verify that all of your information is correct. If anything is incorrect, immediately go back to the FAFSA website and make corrections.
Step 5: Check your personal and new college email accounts for your financial aid award letters from each school you listed on your FAFSA. You will need to accept or decline each award package you receive.