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Senior year not a time for senioritis

Friday, February 25, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:31 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

With thoughts of college life and independence on their minds, many high school seniors may be suffering from senioritis. But with its classic symptoms of laziness and procrastination, senioritis can be a blow to students’ post high-school dreams.

Students need to stay on top of deadlines, including ones for college admission, financial aid, scholarships and tests, as well as continue to work hard in their high school classes.

Many college acceptance letters and scholarship offers include the line, “your admission is contingent on your continued successful performance.” Therefore, if a senior’s grades drop, so could his or her scholarship or spot in a college’s incoming class.

May 1 is the enrollment deadline for most colleges and universities, according to College Board, an online site dedicated to helping high school students’ transition into college. Applications can take days or weeks to complete, so students are encouraged to start early.

Many types of financial aid are awarded on a first come, first serve basis. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is one of the most important forms one should consider filing.

“(Students) have to file for financial aid in order to be eligible for need based school scholarships and loans,” said Ann Landes, director of guidance at Hickman High School.

FAFSA calculates a family’s expected contribution toward its child’s education, which then determines a student’s eligibility for need-based student financial assistance programs, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education’s Web site, www.dhe.mo.gov. FAFSA needs to be filed by the state Department of Education by April 1 in order for a student to be given priority consideration for financial assistance from the state.

However, this date can vary among educational institutions. After the April 1 filing date, students may still be considered for federal or institutional financial assistance, but not state aid.

In order to accurately fill out a FAFSA form, parents are encouraged to have their tax returns completed, but return estimates are also acceptable.

The government will look over the FAFSA form, calculate the expected family contribution and send a Student Aid Report to the schools the student listed. The student will then go over the Aid Report with the school he or she committed to in order to determine how much money they are eligible for from the state and federal government.

Recipients of scholarships and other financial aid are usually notified sometime in March or April. In 2004, the state of Missouri awarded $41,230,108 in student financial assistance to 25,507 students

ACT and SAT scores are an important factor when determining acceptance status and scholarships given to students. Both standardized tests have upcoming test dates in March and April, but students need to register about a month before the test date.

Registration usually needs to occur about a month before the test. Dates and locations can be found at www.collegeboard.com and www.studentact.org.

After sending in applications to their desired institutions, students should follow up to ensure all necessary paperwork, including transcripts, was received.


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