Applying to College:

It's not as scary as it looks

Victoria Myers, News Editor

Any upperclassman can attest to the stress and tribulations of applying for college and FAFSA at this point in the year, but it is not as difficult as it seems.

The college application process is relatively painless for the most part. I personally applied directly through Central Michigan University, not using the Common Application. CMU asks for basic information, such as an address and a Social Security Number. The application also requests details of parents’ education which is just a couple of questions. The next section asked when I would be enrolling and when I would be graduating from high school. The final step is what the admissions department will be looking at most; this section being the education and experience section. I filled out my GPA, as well as involvement in other activities, but I also had to provide a transcript which was sent in by the school via Parchment. At this point, I just had to finalize all of the information and had to pay the application fee.

When it came to sending transcripts, I used Parchment which is a website that can aid in college searching and where the school can send in the transcripts. Using parchment was simple and only minimal information was necessary to acquire my transcripts. LCN pays for the fees required by Parchment while still enrolled, so there was no cost to me while sending in my transcripts. The turn-around process for parchment is around two weeks, and the progress can be tracked on the website, so I always knew where my transcript was.

The waiting period for me was around eight weeks, but I received my packet with my letter of acceptance about a week later. Once accepted to CMU, I was ready to commit, but there were a couple of steps left. The first was to pay the enrollment deposit, which would hold my spot at the University. At this point, scholarships and grants will be accepted. This part of the college process was the most fun because I knew I had a spot at my dream school.

My final step was filling out my application for FAFSA; this application provides the estimated out-of-pocket cost and determines qualifications for any federal grants. I began to apply for FAFSA on October 1-the day it opened- and it would never load, so I waited. Once I was able to begin my application, it would freeze and end my session due to personal error. Carefully reading the prompts and requirements is crucial to successfully filling out the application. FAFSA requires financial information such as tax documents from the previous year; this is where parents were necessary to complete this information. The information asked for is a bit difficult to locate on tax forms; however, it is there and listed as it should be put into the system. The application required bank information as well, making it necessary for parental guidance once again. The process of getting the information back from FAFSA happened quickly, and when I received the information it was also sent to CMU, so they could determine the financial aid package I would receive upon attendance.