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Parents’ College Planning Timelines

Twelfth-Grade Timeline


  • Once you and your student have pared down the list of schools, visit them to see if which is the best fit for your child.
  • If your student is applying to schools that require an admissions essay, familiarize yourselves with what is expected and encourage your student to begin working on the essay.
  • Remind your student to ask teachers, counselors or others to write recommendations so they’re finished on time.
  • If your student is applying to schools that offer early decision and early action options, see if that is something your child is interested in.
  • Help your student keep track of the applications process. Many students apply to more than one school, so it can be expensive. If you can’t afford to pay an application fee, see if the school is willing to waive it.
  • Make copies of all applications and other documents and save them.
  • If your student will graduate in December and will begin college before July 1, submit this school year's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now. The best way is to do it online at studentaid.gov/fafsa-app/ROLES.
  • If your student will not enter college until the fall, complete the FAFSA for the upcoming school year as soon as possible after October 1. Kentucky's state grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so don't put off submitting the FAFSA.
  • Review the Student Aid Report you received after the FAFSA is processed to make sure it is accurate.


  • Colleges are required to verify the information on a percentage of the FAFSAs they receive. If you are required to provide verification, make sure you send all of the requested information as soon as possible. The school cannot award financial aid until the verification process is complete.
  • Find out if any of the colleges to which your student is applying require a financial aid application in addition to the FAFSA.
  • Be ready to provide support and praise when the acceptance or rejection letters start arriving.
  • Compare the financial aid award letters your student receives from colleges to make sure both of you understand how much is free aid (scholarships, grants, etc.), how much is loans and how much you will be expected to pay. Contact the financial aid office if you have any questions.
  • Understand your loan options as a parent.
  • If your student is still not sure which school to attend, take another visit to the ones still in contention.
  • Once your student has made a decision, make sure you send in any required deposits.
  • If your student will live in school-provided housing, make sure the application and deposit are sent on time. Find out what your student needs to bring or is not allowed to bring.
  • Find out when freshman orientation is scheduled, and make plans to attend.
  • Remind your student to write thank-you notes to anyone who helped in the admissions and financial aid process.
  • Make sure your student has the high school send a final transcript to the college.


  • Remind your student to set up a file to keep track of correspondence from the school.
  • Work with your child to set up a budget that shows what financial aid will cover, how much you’ll pay and how much your student will contribute through work and student loans.