Calling all educators! Essential college app resources to share with students

The first round of college applications is due just around the corner on November 1st, and educators around the country are working hard to support the class of 2022 as they write their college essays, fill out financial aid forms, and identify scholarship opportunities. As always, PeerForward is here to provide essential tips and information to help these students and their mentors unlock higher education opportunities. Check out these must-read resources on this year’s college application season.

FAFSA Walk-Throughs

  • “FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students (And the Adults Who Help Them)”: The Center for New York City Affairs FAFSA guidebook covers everything applicants need to know about the FAFSA for every step of the process, from questions of eligibility to filling it out to comparing aid offers. This October 2020 version features additional information on navigating the financial aid process during the pandemic. Be sure to share this guidebook with any students currently struggling with their financial aid forms!
  • Filling Out the 2021-22 FAFSA as a Dependent Student: For an even more up-to-date tutorial on completing the FAFSA form, watch this helpful step-by-step video from Get2College.
  • Completing the FAFSA via Mobile App: Students who find it easier to access application materials by phone can consult this NASFAA video walk-through of the Department of Education’s myStudentAid mobile app.

Financial Aid Options and other Support for Undocumented Students

  • Financial Aid for Undocumented Students: This guide, available in English and Spanish, breaks down the financial aid options for students of various immigration statuses, including DACA and undocumented students. It also features a handy state-by-state guide to in-state tuition rates and state financial aid. Share this resource with students to make sure no one is discouraged from applying for aid where they can!
  • Tuition & Financial Aid Equity for Undocumented Students: For even more detailed information on each state’s policies impacting undocumented students, check out this interactive webpage from the Higher Ed Immigration Portal.
  • Tangible Support for Undocumented Communities During COVID-19: This document from Immigrants Rising links to various legal, financial, and health/wellness resources for undocumented communities as they navigate the ongoing pandemic.

Scholarships

  • College Board Opportunity Scholarships: “Launched in fall 2018, the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program outlines six important steps in the college planning process and offers students a chance to earn a scholarship for each action they complete. Students and advisers can leverage the scholarship opportunities through each phase of the college planning process. Additionally, educators can access implementation guides to seamlessly integrate College Board Opportunity Scholarships into their existing programming.”
  • The 10 Best Sites to Search for Scholarships: USA Today lists other helpful websites for finding the scholarships best suited to each student’s needs.

Financial Aid Appeals

  • SwiftStudent: “Students can learn about the financial aid appeal process, review eligibility requirements, and customize free template appeal letters to submit to their college financial aid office. This virtual resource guides students through the appeal process relating to numerous special circumstances that may make them eligible for an adjustment to their financial aid, such as recent job loss of a parent, a medical crisis, and loss of childcare or housing.”

Test Prep Help

  • Official SAT Practice – Khan Academy: “Khan Academy offers free, personalized SAT practice available anytime, anywhere to students seeking to improve their SAT scores. The College Board and Khan Academy have found 20 hours of practice using the site’s resources ‘is associated with an average 115-point increase from the PSAT/NMSQT to the SAT, nearly double the average gain without Khan.’ Features include eight full-length official practice tests, study and test-taking tips, a tailored practice plan, instant feedback, and thousands of interactive practice questions, video lessons, and hints.”
  • Get2College ACT Information: Among the many useful resources for students and educators offered on the Get2College website is free ACT information and test prep. (Be sure to check out the website’s section for Educators as well!)

College Admission Policies

  • Test-Optional Means Test-Optional: For those students who decide to forego standardized testing, college options are still wide open, as many institutions went test-optional as a result of the pandemic. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) shares a list of colleges that “will not penalize students for the absence of a standardized test score. Together, we strongly endorse a student-centered, holistic approach to admission that will not disadvantage any student without a test score.”

Thanks to the National College Attainment Network for sharing many of these resources. We hope you find them helpful!

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