Fact: It’s never too early to plan for college. In fact, you can start as early as ninth grade. Make sure you are taking the necessary classes and exams that will get you to graduation on time.

Fact: There is a place for any student who wants to go to college, all you need is a high school diploma. Many colleges have programs designed to support students who need some extra help. You may want to enroll in a two-year college to strengthen your skills before transferring to a four-year college. Your high school guidance counselor can help figure out what would be best for you.

Fact: There are many grants, scholarships and low-interest student loans available to help you pay for college. Most students get some form of financial aid, making college affordable for many more families.

  • The first step is to fill out the U.S. Government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a form used to determine students’ financial aid needs. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student financial aid and should not fill out FAFSA, undocumented students should complete the NYS DREAM application then apply for TAP and Excelsior.
  • Consult your high school guidance counselor about grants and scholarship programs for which you might be eligible.
  • Also, ask the financial aid offices at the colleges you are applying what scholarships and student work programs they offer.

Fact: A college degree is now required for more jobs than ever. College graduates earn more — an average of 57.1% more — than high school graduates. A certificate or degree may be a requirement for the job or career you want.

Fact: Colleges review the classes you take and the grades you earn in your senior year. The colleges you apply to will look at your entire transcript to determine if you take your education seriously and whether or not to admit you.

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“I wish I had started asking about financial aid much earlier. When I finally applied, I learned that I could get a lot of support for college.”