Checklists for Academic and Financial Preparation | Federal Student Aid

Are you a student? A parent? An adult thinking about going back to school? Want to know how to prepare for college or career school?

We’ve provided checklists with the steps you can take to help your (or your child’s) chances of getting into—and being able to afford—the school of your choice.

Checklists for Academic and Financial Preparation

Students, “college prep” is about more than the classes that you take. It’s also about developing the skills that will help you succeed in college and life. For instance, as you balance studying and having fun, you’ll be practicing time management; and as you save for college, you’ll be learning money management. Our checklists suggest these and many other steps you can take, as well as websites you can explore, as you prepare academically and financially for college.

Parents, each checklist—from elementary school through high school—includes items for you, such as how to support your child in his or her studies, where to set up a college savings account, and what to do when it’s time to apply for financial aid.

Adult students, we’ve got a checklist just for you so that you can skip all the information about what classes to take in high school and get straight to exactly what you need. 

Download a PDF of the full publication called the College Preparation Checklist.


Preview the Financial Aid Process

If you’d like an overview of the financial aid process before or while reviewing the checklists, take a look at the following graphic.

Financial Aid Process Infographic

View text-only version


Checklists

Whether you’re a student or parent, years away from college or just about to start, the following checklists will help you get ready.

  • Elementary School Checklist: Student and parent checklists that start the student on the road to enjoying learning and point the parent to resources for college savings accounts.
  • Middle School Checklist: Student and parent checklists that get the student thinking about high school and possible careers and encourage the parent to keep an eye on the student’s progress.
  • Adult Student Checklist: Checklist for adults applying to college, including those who left high school before graduating, graduated high school, completed some college courses, or may be in the workforce.