Skip to main content
I Can Succeed
Main Content

Senior Tips

August Tips

  • Finalize your list of colleges. Decide which colleges best suit you and your career interests. Review your campus visit notes and compare schools on academic, cultural, and financial fit. 
  • Find information on admission, scholarships, and financial aid for the top schools you’re considering. 
  • Register now to take the  September ACT® if you have not already taken them. You may also retake the test if you are unhappy with your previous score. Check with your high school counselor or college admissions office before you retake the test.
  • Stay on top of your senior year to-do’s with ICAN Senior Alerts. Visit ICANsucceed.org/signup to register for e-alerts and the ICAN Tip of the Week.
  • Visit ICANsucceed.org/fsaid to learn about the FSA ID username and password. You and a parent each need an FSA ID for your financial aid form.  Print a list of items you need to fill out the FAFSA at ICANsucceed.org/fafsachecklist
  • Your senior grades really do matter. Colleges look at your overall grade point average (GPA) through all four years of high school. It's not too late to improve your GPA.
  • Finalize your list of colleges. Decide which colleges best suit you and your career interests. Review your campus visit notes and compare schools on academic, cultural, and financial fit.
  • Let ICAN assist you through the college planning and financial aid process at no cost. Visit ICANsucceed.org/apt to schedule an appointment online.

September Tips

  • Visit an ICAN Center and work on your college and career plan. Call (877) 272-4692 to schedule.
  • Register now to take the SAT® and/or ACT®. Pick up a study guide at a local bookstore or library, or review online resources. 
  • Begin writing essays for admission applications.
  • Ask adults to write letters of recommendation.
  • Be aware of deadlines. Research college scholarship days and deadlines at the schools you’ve applied to.  Fill out any additional scholarship forms before the deadlines.
  • Visit ICANsucceed.org/FAFSAreadyia to find a FAFSA Ready  Iowa event near you.  Volunteers will help you complete and file your FAFSA for free. 
  • Schedule your FAFSA appointment with ICAN for after Oct. 1 at ICANsucceed.org/apt

October Tips

  • Know the priority dates for filing the FAFSA at the colleges you’re applying to.  Submit your completed FAFSA after Oct. 1 but before the priority date. ICAN can help - (877) 272-4692.
  • Talk to admission counselors at the colleges you’re applying to and find out whether retaking the ACT® or SAT® would be advantageous.
  • Begin submitting your admission applications to the colleges you’re most interested in.  Be aware of deadlines! Try to have your applications submitted by Nov. 1.
  • Obtain financial aid forms from colleges that require forms other than the FAFSA.
  • Update your www.Raise.Me profile and earn scholarships for college planning activities and class grades throughout your senior year.

November Tips

  • Avoid scholarship search and financial aid companies that charge a fee.  Begin your free search at ICANsucceed.org/scholarships
  • Remember to keep copies of all forms you submit to colleges and agencies. 
  • Need help filing a FAFSA?  ICAN can help.  Visit ICANsucceed.org/apt to schedule an appointment. 
  • Considering taking the ACT® one more time? Register now to take the  December test.  
    If interested, research military education benefits.
  • Send in college housing applications.

December Tips

  • Visit with your school counselor about application deadlines, local or state scholarships, and grants. 
  • Continue to apply for grants and scholarships.
  • Stay focused!  Grades in your senior year can affect college admittance.
  • Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR) if you’ve filed your FAFSA.  Check that it lists all the colleges requiring receipt of your FAFSA. 
  • Work with ICAN to create a plan to finance college with tools like Student Loan Game Plan - iowastudentloan.org/gameplan.

January Tips

February Tips

  • Confirm that the colleges you’ve applied to have received your first-semester transcripts. 
  • Find out whether you need to submit a transcript of your federal tax forms or additional financial aid verification forms to the college(s) of your choice. 
  • Keep your grades up — second semester grades are important and can affect scholarship eligibility and college admittance.
  • Review your budget and financial plan for college. Talk with your parents about cost responsibility.

March Tips

  • Visit an ICAN Center to review and compare financial aid packages from colleges. An advisor will analyze your packages using the College Funding Forecaster and help you determine the best financial option. You can also download the Compare College Costs worksheet from the ICAN Resource Zone. 
  • Finalize your www.Raise.Me activities to maximize your scholarship potential.
  • Ask your school counselor about local scholarships.

April Tips

  • Decision Day is May 1. Decide which college you’ll attend.  Send the required deposit, and sign and return the financial aid award letter, if required.  Note other important deadlines. 
  • Tell other colleges you won’t be attending. 
  • If you’re securing a student loan, complete the required promissory note and entrance counseling.
  • Begin making plans for a summer job. 
  • Analyze your award letters using College Funding Forecaster - iowastudentloan.org/forecaster. Walk through the process with an ICAN advisor -  visit icansucceed.org/apt to schedule an appointment.

May Tips

  • Take any AP®/CLEP® exams you can.
  • Finalize your summer job or volunteer plans. Jobs related to your future career and volunteer work will be great experiences you can add to your resume.
  • Ask your school counselor to send your final transcript to the college you’ll be attending.  
  • Return all necessary documents, including financial aid forms, to your college.     
  • Congratulations on your high school graduation!

June Tips

  • Notify the college about scholarships you received.
  • Save money to help with college expenses. 
  • Attend orientation sessions to meet people, get familiar with campus and register for classes.
  • Prepare a personal budget for college and review it with your parents.

July Tips

  • Check out our “College Packing List” to help make packing less of a chore. Contact your roommate and decide who’s bringing what so you don’t double up.
  • Thank your family and friends for their support.
  • Continue your success in college; follow ICAN on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for continued tips and support.
  • Attend any orientation sessions that your college offers. They're a great opportunity to meet people and get to know the campus.
  • Turn in any loan applications and promissory notes if you haven't already done so.
© 2019I Can Succeed. All rights reserved.