It’s hard to imagine a worse college admissions regret than wishing you’d taken the time to apply for financial aid, especially if that regret comes in the face of not being able to afford your chosen college.
Don’t make excuses. Don’t assume you won’t qualify or worry that asking for aid will negatively impact your chances of admission (it won’t). Unless you are absolutely sure you can painlessly pay the full cost of any of your chosen colleges for four years, take the time to fill out the FAFSA this month (and any other forms your particular colleges require).
Most colleges require you to submit a FAFSA no later than March 1, so this is the time to get on it.
A few other FAFSA reminders:
1. This is the only place you should go to fill out the FAFSA. Never pay to fill it out (the first “F” in FAFSA stands for “Free").
2. Unless otherwise stated in the directions, “You” or “Your” refers to the student, not the parent.
3. You’ll need completed taxes to finalize your FAFSA. If your taxes won’t be done in time, you can submit estimated data now and edit it later.
4. The FAFSA only allows you to choose 10 schools to have it sent to. If you’re applying to more than 10, wait until the FAFSA folks send you your Student Aid Report (SAR). Then log back into your FAFSA and specify the additional colleges you’d like it sent to.