For students who are first in the family to attend college, the planning process can be particularly emotional and challenging. Several resources exist to help first families throughout the decision-making process. Family Firsts, from ACT, was created for first-generation college students and their families to assist with college planning.
A key to the process is learning about the college planning calendar. Most two-year and four-year schools follow approximately the same admissions schedule. ACT offers online checklists for keeping all students on track to a college education. Visit actstudent to see the steps you should be taking in each year of high school.
Many potential first generation students and their families believe that funding is unattainable. However, several websites are available to help explain financial aid and other resources for paying for college. Learn more by visiting:
www.studentjobs.gov/e-scholar.asp – A list of federally funded scholarships, fellowships, grants and internships geared to high school, undergraduate and graduate students.
www.fafsa.ed.gov – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. This is where you start when you are ready to apply for financial aid.
www.eCampusTours.com/payingforcollege/default.htm – Features a free scholarship search as well as information on grants, scholarships, savings programs, and loans.
www.act.org/fane – A financial aid need estimator.
www.hsf.net – A Hispanic Scholarship Fund website that features scholarships for Hispanic students and research reports on the education of Hispanic students.
www.studentaidalliance.org – Student success stories and descriptions of need-based financial aid programs.
For more information regarding first generation students, read Tips for First Generation College Students. Seek out the help of teachers and school counselors for more advice and resources.
Source: ACT's News You Can Use