College Planning

FAFSA

The new 2021–22 FAFSA form is here! Some states and schools have limited funds, so don’t delay! To begin your application, select the “START HERE” button on the FAFSA homepage.


Visit http://fafsa.ed.gov.


Register for a PIN # at www.pin.ed.gov.

High School Planning Checklist

HIGH SCHOOL PLANNING CHECKLIST


FRESHMAN & SOPHOMORE CHECKLIST

Meet with your school counselor.

Plan a family college discussion.

Develop good study skills.

Get a social security number (visit www.ssa.gov)

Take challenging courses.

Participate in extracurricular activities.

Explore career information on MCIS.

Evaluate your personality, interests and skills.

Sophomores take the PSAT test.

Review your PSAT test scores

Participate in college visits.

Visit https://www.reachhighermontana.org/ to learn more about college.

Regional representative: Steve Coop-scoop@reachhighermontana.org

Meet with your school counselor.

JUNIOR CHECKLIST

September

Plan a family college discussion.

Review your courses with your school counselor.

Prepare a list of questions to ask college reps.

Make a list of schools you might want to attend.

Collect college catalogs and research college websites.

Register for the PSAT.

Create files to keep copies of applications and correspondence.

Set up a calendar to track important dates and deadlines.


October-November

Attend college fairs and financial aid nights.

Take the PSAT.

Search for scholarships and student financial aid.

Learn the basics about federal and private loans.

Schedule and make college visits.

Take the ASVAB Career Exploration Test.

Review your ASVAB results with you the test interpreter.


December

Talk with friends who are home from college.

Plan to take both the SAT and ACT at least once.


January-February

Identify characteristics you want in a college.

Attend college fairs and financial aid nights.

Register and study for the SAT and/or ACT


March

Schedule and make campus visits.

Narrow your college list to a reasonable number.

Discuss ways to pay for each college on your list.

Estimate how much each college will cost.

ACT Testing for all juniors in Montana schools


April

Compare college requirements to your course load.

Select senior year courses.

Visit colleges.


May

Register and take the ACT and/or SAT tests. (Strongly encouraged for all juniors)

Ask about college prep programs and workshops offered during the summer.

Search for scholarships and ways to pay for college.

Get a summer job to save money for college.


June-July

Talk with friends who are home from college.

Create a list of schools you would like to attend.

Schedule college visits and interviews.

Talk to people in career fields you find interesting.

Search for scholarships.


August

Request college applications.

Give thought to essay topics.

Consider whom to ask for letters of recommendation.

Schedule a family meeting to discuss your college plans.


Time to Register-Selective Service

All male U.S. citizens residing in the United States must register within the period starting 30 days before, and ending 30 days after, their 18th birthday. Log on to www.sss.gov and you can register. It takes about 5 minutes.


SENIOR CHECKLIST

September

Discuss your course load, college plans and test scores with your high school counselor.

Request college applications.

Arrange campus visits.

Register to take the SAT/ACT, if necessary.

Search for scholarships and ways to pay for college.

Stay organized! File copies. Update your calendar.

Print the “FAFSA on the Web Worksheet.” This form can help you gather the necessary information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit http://fafsa.ed.gov.

Register for a PIN # at www.pin.ed.gov.


October

Verify that your transcripts are accurate.

Find out which financial aid applications are required at your choice colleges.

Ask for letters of recommendation to include with your admissions and/or scholarship applications.

Work on admission applications essays.

Attend college fairs and college prep nights with your parents.

Submit your FAFSA online as soon after October 1 as possible. Some student aid programs award funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fill out and submit required financial aid forms requested by the college. Follow instructions carefully and make copies.

“Early decision” candidates should complete college applications (deadline is often November 1)

Take the SAT and/or ACT.

If you are an athlete, send transcripts to the NCAA for eligibility purposes.


November

Continue completing your college applications.

Determine which financial aid forms your choice colleges require. When in doubt contact the financial aid office.

Search for additional sources of student financial aid.

Take the SAT and/or ACT


December

Complete school applications ideally by December 1.

Take the ACT/SAT

Stay organized and watch deadlines.


January

Continue to work on scholarship applications

Stay organized and watch deadlines

Make copies or a checklist for all scholarships submitted


February-March

College acceptance and financial award letters begin to arrive.

Watch your mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR). Carefully examine the results.

Don’t panic if you’re selected for verification. Just provide the college with the documents they need.

Stay on top of important financial aid deadlines.

Respond quickly to college

Register for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if necessary


April

Make a decision, most colleges request your reply by May 1, and send your tuition deposit.

Mark your calendar with important deadlines (housing, meals, transportation, financial aid, etc.)


May

Verify that your final transcripts have been mailed.

Notify other colleges of your decisions not to attend.

Continue to search for scholarships.

Look for a summer job and save money for school.

Evaluate student loan lenders


June

Save some of your graduation money for school.

Respond to requests from the college you will be attending. Keep copies of everything you send.

Read and be familiar with your college catalog and semester class schedule.

Talk with friends who are home from college.

Make travel arrangement, if necessary.

Send thank-you notes to those who helped you get into college (teachers, scholarship donors).


July-August

If you still need money to pay for college, consider a student loan.

Register and attend a college orientation session.

Confirm housing arrangements and meal plans.

Finalize your college budget.

Notify the financial aid office of the loans you will receive.

Open a bank account near campus

Review your cell phone plan to limit roaming charges.

Contact your roommate and coordinate what to pack.

Pack for college.


The Perils of “Senioritis”

A successful senior year sets the stage for campus life.


Tips for warding off “senioritis:”


  1. Make the grades. There is no stronger message to send colleges than good grades during senior year. Students should aim to maintain or improve their performance compared to junior year. Strong grades in a challenging senior schedule can often compensate for weaker marks earned previously.


  1. Remain involved without getting overwhelmed. As we all know, students are dedicated to much more than classes. Senior year provides a whole new level of learning how to prioritize academic demands with the commitments that clubs require. Trying new activities and further developing current interests not only prepares students for a college schedule, but gives them an important stress-relieving outlet. However, involvement at the expense of one’s grades is never a worthwhile trade-off.


  1. Stay focused. Even after being admitted to college, seniors need to maintain their grades. Students who commit to Early Action or Early Decision programs are expected to continue their academic progress. Colleges wish to see solid final transcripts. It gives no college pleasure to send a warning letter, or the worst-case scenario, to rescind admission to students who let their grades slide at the end of senior year.


  1. Enjoy the experience. Students who can resist “senioritis” will be able to balance the academic, extra-curricular, and social aspects of senior year. Universities will look forward to welcoming that kind of well-rounded energy into the freshman class each fall.

College Application Week

COLLEGE APPLICATION WEEK


OCTOBER 4 – 15, 2021

During College Application Week all graduating Montana high school seniors have the opportunity to apply for admission to Montana colleges and universities free of charge!

New this year:

  1. One common application for MT public schools at applymontana.org. Applications to Montana private schools require an application through their web site. Those applications to Carroll College, University of Providence, and Rocky Mountain College are still FREE!

  2. Application can be submitted to more than one public college!

  3. The application is free! (No deferred cost like in years past.)

  4. Montana’s tribal colleges and private universities will also offer free applications during CAW.

College Application Week, CAW, provides high school seniors the opportunity to learn about Montana colleges and universities and complete a college application during the school day, thereby opening the door for many students who might not otherwise take this important step toward college. Last year, more than 7,900 students filled out an application during College Application Week and we anticipate even higher numbers this year! Participating high school seniors not only have an opportunity to apply to a college, but also have the opportunity to utilize the new central application at ApplyMontana.org to apply to any school in the Montana University System for FREE.



Montana Post Secondary Information

Montana Post Secondary

Education & Training

Four Year Public Web Address Phone Number

University of Montana www.umt.edu 1-800-462-8636

University of Montana-Western www.umwestern.edu 1-866-UMW-MONT

Montana Tech of UMT www.mtech.edu 1-800-445-TECH

Montana State University www.montana.edu 1-888-MSU-CATS

Montana State University-Billings www.msubillings.edu 1-800-565-6782

Montana State University-Northern www.msun.edu 1-800-662-6132

Four Year Private Web Address Phone Number

Carroll College www.carroll.edu 1-800-992-3648

Rocky Mountain College www.rocky.edu 1-800877-6259

University of Providence www.ugf.edu 1-800-856-9544

Community Colleges Web Address Phone Number

Dawson Community College www.dawson.edu 1-800-821-8320

Flathead Valley Community College www.fvcc.edu 1-800-313-3822

Miles Community College www.milescc.edu 1-800-541-9281

Colleges of Technology Web Address Phone Number

Missoula College https://mc.umt.edu/ 1-800-542-6882

Helena College http://helenacollege.edu/ 1-800-241-4882

Highlands College https://www.mtech.edu/highlands/ 1-800-445-TECH

Great Falls College www.gfcmsu.edu/ 1-800-446-2698

City College http://www.msubillings.edu/citycollege/ 1-800-565-6782

Bible Colleges Web Adress Phone Number

Montana Bible College www.montanabiblecollege.edu/ 1-888-462-2463

Mountain States Baptist College www.fairview4u.org 1-406-761-0308

Yellowstone Baptist College https://www.yellowstonechristian.edu/ 1-800-487-9950

Cosmetology Schools Web Address Phone Number

Academy of Cosmetology, Inc. www.academycosmetology.com/ 1-888-587-1265

Academy of Nail, Skin & Hair, Inc. www.academyofnailskinandhair.com/1-406-252-3232

Bitterroot School of Cosmetology http://bitterrootschoolofcosmetology.com/ 1-406-363-3355

Crevier’s School of Cosmetology https://www.crevierschool.com/ 1-406-257-2525

Vocational Schools/Programs Web Address Phone Number

Anaconda Job Corps https://anaconda.jobcorps.gov/ 1-406-563-8700

Trapper Creek Job Corps http://www.trappercreek.jobcorps.gov/ 1-406-821-3286


DAVRON Telco Training, LLC www.davrontelco.com 1-406-227-1194

Montana Law Enforcement www.doj.mt.gov/enforcement/training 1-406-458-2070

Academy

Rocky Mountain School www.rmsp.com 1-406-543-0171

of Photography

Sage Truck Driving School www.sageschools.com 1-406-543-0541



ACT/SAT Testing Information

Seniors sign up for College Entrance Tests if you have not already taken the test or if you would like to improve your score. Juniors are strongly encouraged to take either the ACT or SAT during the fall or winter of their junior year prior to the spring state testing date.

The Alberton High school code (CEEB) is 270-005. The CEEB code is needed for test registration. Fee waivers are available for students who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program. Be sure to compare extra-curricular schedules with test dates to avoid conflicts. The ACT & SAT are offered in Missoula. Please see your school counselor for further information.

ACT

www.actstudent.org

ACT Test Prep: https://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html



Test Date Regular Deadline Late Fee Required

September 13, 2020 August 31, 2020 No late fees

September 19, 2020 August 31, 2020 No late fees

*October 6, 2020 State Testing for AHS Seniors

October 10, 2020 September 25, 2020 No late fees

October 17, 2020 September 25, 2020 No late fees

October 24, 2020 September 23, 2020 No late fees

December 12, 2020 November 6, 2020 November 7-20, 2020

*March 23, 2021 State Testing for AHS Juniors

April 17, 2021 March 12, 2021 March 13-26, 2021

July 17, 2021 June 18, 2021 June 19-25, 2021

National Registration Fees:

ACT (No Writing)............................$55.00

ACT Plus Writing.............................$70.00

SAT

https://www.collegeboard.org/

SAT Test Prep:https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice

Test Date Regular Deadline Late Fee Required

August 29, 2020 July 31, 2020 August 1-18, 2020

September 26, 2020 August 26, 2020 August 27-September 15, 2020

October 3, 2020 September 4, 2020 September 5-22, 2020

December 5, 2020 November 5, 2020 November 6-24, 2020

March 13, 2021 February 12, 2021 February 13-March 2, 2021

May 8, 2021 April 8, 2021 April 9-27, 2021

June 5, 2021 May 6, 2021 May 18, 2021


National Registration Fees:

SAT............................................................$52.00

SAT with Essay..........................................$68.00

SAT Subject Tests

Basic registration fee..............................$26.00

Language Test with Listening.................add $26.00

All other Subject Tests............................add $22.00 each


Matched Education Savings Account (MESA)

Montana’s Credit Unions are helping Montana students get one step closer to achieving their dreams of higher education and financial stability.

In 2005, Montana’s Credit Unions started the Matched Education Savings Account (MESA) to help students save for college. Through a collaborative effort between Montana’s Credit Unions and local schools, participants agree to save up to $500 and, in return, they receive between three and eight times that amount in match funds from their credit union, depending on the school where they are enrolled.

This means when eligible students save $500 and complete a financial education course, they can earn from $1,500 to $4,000 in match funds to apply to their ongoing education costs.

Participating in the MESA program is more than just saving and earning money for school. Each participant receives valuable financial education enabling them to make well‐informed choices and continue to build their assets long after the program ends.

Find out if you are eligible and apply

MESA is currently available for low- and moderate-income students who are residents of Montana, Oregon, or Washington, and are attending a college or university in their state. If you are interested in the program, follow the three-step process below. Please complete the steps in the order listed.

Step 1: Read the MESA FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Step 2: Complete the short MESA Pre-Application

If the MESA Pre-Application shows you are eligible, then go to Step 3.

Step 3: Complete the MESA Application

After completing step 2, the MESA Pre-Application, you will receive an email with a link to the MESA Application.