Here are some helpful hints and things to keep in mind when planning for college. The key is to be
organized and work on your time management. Do not procrastinate!
Students should have already taken the SAT or ACT in the spring of the junior year but if you did
not, please register online as soon as possible. Keep in mind it takes 4-6 weeks for those test
scores to be received at colleges after testing. Time management is the key to effective planning.
Sit down with your parents and make a list of colleges and universities that you are interested
in applying to. Consider the median SAT/ACT scores and GPA’s for the last freshmen class to
determine how you stack up to who was admitted last year. Try to also consider total cost,
location, majors offered, and the transfer policy for (Dual Enrollment) when looking at potential
colleges. Schedule visits with each one and look at their schedule of Open Houses.
Visit each of the websites for the colleges that you are considering, to view their admissions
requirements, college catalogs, and most importantly their regular application deadlines in
addition to their early decision or priority scholarship deadlines. In many colleges, if you are
not accepted under early decision, you are usually rolled over to the regular decision pool.
Most colleges have online applications which are preferred and speeds up the admissions process
at many large colleges and universities. Sometimes these online applications are free online. The
online Common Application is another effective time saver in that you can apply to numerous
colleges through this one online service application at once.
Students must request that their official transcripts are sent to these colleges and universities
along with SAT/ACT scores. If we have them on file here, we can send them to colleges at no
charge to the student. You can not complete the admissions process without submitting these
documents. Be sure to submit all applications well before each deadline. Note to Athletes: When
applying to the NCAA and NAIA eligibility clearinghouses, you must request these SAT/ACT scores
be sent directly from these testing service centers. They will not accept my copy whereas colleges
and universities do accept our copy.
Remember to also request an MECC official transcript to be sent to the colleges that you plan to
attend at the end of each semester of coursework, if you have taken any dual enrollment
coursework. If you do not do this, they can withhold acceptance and/or withhold transferring any
DE course credits. It is very important to request this official copy again after all DE coursework is
complete in June after graduation. It is very common for students to forget to do this.
Make a list of the college’s scholarship application deadlines and view the lists of scholarships
posted on each individual college’s financial aid webpage. See if any applications can be printed
directly from their website. Most colleges may not accept or consider any scholarships
applications until you have been accepted or admitted. As the guidance department receives
scholarships to advertise, they will be posted on the senior bulletin board, posted on our high
school website at www.wise.k12.va.us/central and then click the College link then the Scholarship
Deadlines link. You will see a PDF of what has been received to advertise along with the specific
criteria for each scholarship, where to get applications, and their deadlines. PA announcements
are also made daily to advertise any scholarships.
Make a note of the college’s financial aid deadline (FAFSA). Typically, the FAFSA is completed in
the spring of the senior year after parents receive their prior year’s W2’s and file their taxes (1040
or 1040EZ for example). This information is used to complete the FAFSA for the fall of their first
year of college. If the college has a very early deadline, you may have to use the prior year’s
income tax forms to file the FAFSA. Speak to the Financial Aid department at the college you plan
to go to before doing so. We will have special senior class meetings in December to explain the
FAFSA application, obtaining PIN numbers, and the filing process. There will be workshops here at
school in February and March to assist parents and students in completing the FAFSA online.
Once all the required information has been received, you should begin to receive acceptance
letters or rejection letters from the admissions department at each college that you have applied
to. In the spring, you will also receive award letters from each college that you have been
accepted to explaining what financial aid (free money) that you qualify for along with any
scholarships that they are offering to you as well as any student loans that you may qualify for.
Just because you qualify for loans, does not mean that you must use them. There is a separate
application process for the student loans that will depend on what type of loan you qualify for
(parent versus student) and which college that you will attend. The Financial Aid Office will assist
you with this process. You must consider and compare the cost of attendance to the aid and/or
scholarships that you may be offered to determine your out of pocket cost to attend the college,
which is usually paid through student loans or family savings.
If you plan to live on campus, you should also make note of the housing deadlines and deposits.
Many colleges have numerous additional forms and requirements for on-campus students such as
meal plans, parking passes, etc.
Find out when your colleges required Orientation is and be sure to register early. The sooner the
better in order to get a better schedule of classes made before prime classes fill and close.
Check the updated college requirements for immunizations. Many students have not had any
immunizations since middle school and may be due for boosters or additional immunizations
before they can begin college. You will be asked to submit the immunization record to the college
you choose. Your pediatrician’s office should have the most up to date records for you but if they
do not, you can get a copy of the school entrance immunization record (from when you started
Kindergarten).
You also need to be sure that you are aware of the transfer policy and the deadline of the college
you plan to attend, if you have any dual enrollment college credits that you wish to transfer. These
credits are on your MECC transcript (if you took any on-site DE classes here or online) or on the
UVA-Wise transcript (if you took any classes there). It is your responsibility to check the transfer
policy of the college you plan to attend and follow their policies and procedures to transfer those
credits. There may be rules pertaining to the grade you received, the number of total credits, or
your intended major. You must request official transcripts from MECC or UVA-Wise and have
them sent to the college you plan to attend. The forms are on their websites to do this or you can
utilize Blackboard at MECC to request this.