High school graduates have a lot of decisions to make. They have to decide where they’ll go to college, what they will major in, and what career they will spend a good portion of their lives in. These are tough decisions. But it can be even harder when it is unsure what kind of financial options are available.

One of the goals of this blog is to provide the best information. Part of that is providing financial aid information for graduates that will help make planning your college career easier.

If you’re graduating from high school soon, now is the time to think about your path. Sometimes the best tip is one that includes simple steps that you can follow when planning your college journey.

Below, we have provided a simple “to do” list for the financial aid process:

  1. Make an assessment of your current resources. If you have a savings account that you’ve been planning to use for a young person’s college expenses, access this fund now. If it is a tax-deferred savings account, you may incur some taxes by withdrawing the funds. However, you will need to do this if you plan to use the funds for college.
  2. Look into college grants and scholarships first. Both of these options do not require any repayment. They are not loans. They are gifts that are allowed to go to school to further your education. While you research financial aid options, look into the various grants and college scholarships, then compare to find the best plan.
  3. Fill out the FAFSA.gov form on the FAFSA website. This will determine your eligibility for federal financial aid, so it’s important to file!
  4. Explore career options and narrow down your choices based on the level of income, opportunities for advancement, and required coursework that you will need to prepare yourself for the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great site to check out to compare current salaries of jobs in everything from Nursing to FinTech and beyond.
  5. Apply for the best financial aid options that offer the best situation and wait to hear back. Look into colleges in the meantime and find out what their tuition and housing requirements are.

There’s a lot of financial aid information out there – you just have to know where to start. With this list, you’ll be able to create the best financial aid roadmap for you, and be on your way to a successful college career!