1. Get everything turned in on time. And preferably all at once. Check websites for any extra forms (if the schools have their own forms to fill out) and be sure to send everything to the correct address. Sending everything in at once just makes it easier for the college to know what you have and have not turned in.
2. Fill out the forms correctly. Double-check all the forms once you have filled them out. You want to be sure everything is accurate so you can get the correct amount of aid and not miss out on any opportunity to receive financial assistance.
3. Have all necessary documentation. This might include copies of your driver’s license, W-2s and previous tax returns.
4. Make any corrections in a timely manner. If you are contacted by your college in order to make corrections on any forms, be sure to do this quickly. Some schools may need corrections and will send a preliminary amount of aid, but will not be able to verify this amount until all the forms are correct. This also applies to FAFSA. Any schools that require the FAFSA before your parents’ taxes are done, you can turn it in using your 2007 tax returns but will need to go back and fill it out again using the 2008 tax returns.
5. Follow-up. Be sure to contact your school’s financial aid office by either calling or emailing, making sure you have all of your forms turned in and they are all correct. The sooner you do this the better so you can find out your financial aid package status.