In addition to whatever forms needed for college-based aid or for private scholarships and grants, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and possibly the PROFILE to qualify for financial aid.  The FAFSA is used by all states and some colleges and universities (especially state ones) to determine recipients of need- and merit-based awards.  Complete the form even if you think you are ineligible for federal aid. 


Know the deadlines for all the financial aid forms you have to submit.  FAFSA needs to be filed as soon as possible after January 1st of the year you plan to attend college.  Other deadlines are mostly before March 15th.


What is FAFSA?

FAFSA is the form required by the federal government from students seeking federal aid.  Students must meet certain eligibility criteria, such as:

  • Have a demonstrated financial need
  • Have a high school or GED diploma or pass an independently administered test approved by the U.S. Dept of Education
  • Be enrolled in an eligible post-secondary program
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
  • Register with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25
  • Make satisfactory academic progress




Some Warning Signs of Scholarships Scams:

  • You have to pay a fee
  • Money back guarantee
  • Credit card/bank account information required
  • Offers exclusive information


Sites to check out: then click on “scholarships”





  1. Start Early
  2. Create an information sheet about yourself. List your grade point average (GPA), advanced placement or college prep course, school and community activities, awards, hobbies, and work or volunteer experience.
  3. Complete a rough draft of your scholarship application first!
  4. When completing your scholarship applications, be neat, error-free and proof your work. Type whenever possible.
  5. BRAG! BRAG! BRAG! List all your accomplishments. Include additional pages listing your accomplishments if necessary and appropriate.
  6. Many scholarship applications require letters of recommendation. Select people from diversified backgrounds who can provide accurate information about YOU. Talk with your references four weeks in advance of scholarship deadline and review the kind of information that you would like them to share in their recommendations.
  7. Make an appointment with your counselor to review your applications, and sign if necessary.
  8. Submit your scholarship application one week PRIOR to the deadline!!!
  9. Don’t limit your options. Identify the local, state, regional, national and institutional scholarships and apply for the awards for which you are qualified.
  10. Make copies of everything! You may be able to re-use information for more than one scholarship. For example, references, essay answers, accomplishments, etc.