So here I am, the oldest child of 7 in a homeschooling family with parents that didn’t go to college and therefore don’t really know how the whole college application process goes. With all that being said, that made everything pretty much my responsibility while I could still shout out questions while working online to get into school. There are SO many things involved in this, but for right now we’re going to talk about the FAFSA.

“FAFSA” stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. With this form, you can apply for Stafford and Perkins loans, grants through your school, and scholarships. Without this form, you’re going to be paying everything for your college education- everything. So it’s pretty much not an option….FILL OUT THIS FORM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With that, I would like to take you through a step by step procedure so as to help alleviate the huff that often ensues after an unprepared for 3 hours spent at the computer trying to fill the stupid thing out.1. Gather everything you need. You’re going to need SS numbers for you and your parents. You’ll need information on your parents schooling, and ALL of their tax information for that year. After they file their taxes they will receive a report- YOU NEED THAT REPORT. But ask them for it, don’t just go and find it and start typing in numbers. They’ll need to help you along the way. You will also need all of YOUR tax information and a report if you filed taxes that year. For me, I didn’t need to because despite my desperate and constant efforts I couldn’t find a job to save my life, therefore I didn’t have taxes. Yippee! The FAFSA website will have a list with everything you will need to have all in order before you begin the tedious filling out of the FAFSA form.

2. You’ll need patience. As I ended the form, I did not apply for a PIN from my parents because they weren’t sure that they wanted to sign it (For note, your parents have to sign it…bend their arm into doing it because you cant complete the form without their PIN number).  So I thought the form was complete, but then I got a notification saying it wouldn’t work. So after a few days of going back and forth with my parents and playing permission tag, I finally got the go ahead to create a PIN for them, and then sign the document. However, after I applied for one and seemingly successfully finished my application to hell, it gave me an error saying that I had the wrong PIN to sign it. All along it was because the last number was wrong- but I didn’t know that. So I kept trying to send it in, OVER and OVER again. Then finally the website told me that I had used up my tries, thinking I was some hacker, and that I could try again in 24 hours. WHAT!?!??! By now, it would be over a week of going back and forth with this stupid form. Eventually though I reapplied for a PIN for my parents, typed it in CORRECTLY and all was well…for the moment.

3. ACCURACY IS KEY! I then was given a notice that my father’s SS number did not match with his SS number in a different section. It is very very important that you are accurate and take things slowly when you are typing them in, because one mistake and its endless going around and around with the website, and perhaps even the law if people believe you are trying to get money while NOT attending school. So, please please make sure to take it slowly and not rush through it. It’s a big form…it’s hard to go back and find errors.

4. Lastly, there is a form called the “Verification Worksheet”. This is a form sent to you by your college or university that will verify what is on your FAFSA. I know I know, why do we have to go through this again? Honestly, I have no idea…but you gotta go what you gotta do. This form will be sent to you through the mail, and you’ll need to get out that tax report and fill out the stupid thing with some of the same info as the FAFSA. But be patient, it’s all worth it. Once that form is sent in you will receive your award letters from your school and then once you get those you can start applying for the appropriate loans based on the scholarship money you’ve received- but that’s a whole other can of worms!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me through the contact form above! Be sure you get your FAFSA form in EARLY so you can receive more college scholarships!!!!!!!