NORMAN — Q: I am a senior, and no one in my family has ever gone to college. I didn’t think I’d be going either, but I hear my friends talking about it, and now I really want to go. How do I start?
Good for you! We are so glad to hear you say you’d like to further your education.
There are several things that need to be done fairly quickly.
First, if you haven’t taken the ACT exam, you need to sign up for it at act.org. The higher the score, the more academic money you could receive.
Have an idea of schools you’d like to attend, because ACT will send your scores to the schools you’ve selected. If you opt for a community college, they are not concerned with a particular score but, instead, just that you have taken it. Still, the higher the score, the more academic financial aid you can receive.
Second, once you have your score, you need to apply at whatever school you choose. The deadline is usually Feb. 1. Most colleges have access to their applications on their websites.
Third, if you don’t have an idea what career path you’d like to study, take an interest inventory to see where your strengths and interests lie.
One such website is okhighered.org/gearup, and another really good one is okcareertech.org. This may help you determine the best school for you, because some colleges have strong programs in some areas or they might be the only one offering a particular program.
Last, apply for FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) when your parents get their tax information around the beginning of the year. Try to do this as early as possible because some money is first come, first served. This is another way to get grants and scholarships based on financial need.