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Weighing Your Post-High School Plans? It’s Not Too Late to Apply to College!

Last updated May 30, 2024

Factors like significant changes to the 2024-2025 FAFSA and delays in receiving financial aid award letters from colleges may have disrupted or set your post-high school plans off track. If you are still weighing your options or waiting to make a decision, know that you are not alone and you still have time to decide! 

In this article, we'll break down different options to explore if you're still weighing your post-high school plans. It's not too late to apply to and enroll in college!

Navigating FAFSA-related challenges

Complete the FAFSA

First and foremost, if you haven't yet completed the 2024-2025 FAFSA, there's still time, but it's important to do it very soon. Despite challenges and delays with the new FAFSA application, completing it is still the #1 most important thing you can do to receive most forms of federal and private financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Completing the FAFSA is free, safe, and can open you up to even more financial aid and college options. If you need help completing FAFSA, text us! We’re here for you.

FAFSA delays

If you submitted your FAFSA but are still waiting to hear back about its status, know that you are not alone. Changes to this year's FAFSA have pushed federal and institutional aid timelines back, meaning that many students are still waiting to learn if their FAFSA has been processed, make necessary corrections, and receive financial aid award letters from colleges to make a final decision about where they'll be attending. 

While you wait, it's a great time to find and apply for scholarships! Check out our Scholarship Finder for access to 16,000+ scholarships for college!

Check your FAFSA status

If you're unsure about whether your FAFSA has been processed, log into your account and check its status under the "My Activity" tab. The status of your FAFSA will fall under one of the following categories: 

  • In Progress: Application has been started but not submitted.
  • In Review: Application has been submitted but has not been processed.
  • Action Required: There is an error with the application that needs to be fixed. Errors can include missing a signature on the application or not consenting for tax information to be transferred from the IRS.
  • Processed: Application was successfully processed and information is being sent to the colleges listed on it. Colleges will now create financial aid award letters for admitted/enrolled students. Financial aid award letters may be delayed due to FAFSA delays. 

Delays in receiving financial aid award letters

If your FAFSA has been successfully processed, but you haven't received one or all of your financial aid award letters from the colleges you've been admitted to, get in touch with their admissions and financial aid offices. To accommodate this year’s FAFSA delays, some colleges extended their commitment deadlines. To learn more about your colleges’ deadlines, contact their admissions and financial aid offices.

Colleges with late application deadlines 

Wondering how you can apply to college later in the school year? Here are a few options to explore to determine your best path forward.

Colleges with rolling admissions

Some colleges have rolling admissions, meaning that they accept and review applications as they are received until all spots in a given year are filled. This means that you can apply to college later in the school year and still have a chance of getting accepted! Different colleges will have different time frames of when you can submit your application and how long it will take to hear back from them. Check in with each school you're interested in applying to for specific dates and deadlines. Colleges with rolling admissions may also be a great option for students to make decisions about enrollment based on aid. 

Community colleges

Generally, community colleges have much more fluid application cycles and timelines for new students compared to four-year colleges. This means that you can potentially apply and be admitted to a community college later in the school year. Community college is a great option to consider if you want to save money on tuition fees, are unsure about what you want to study, or weren’t originally planning on applying to college.

Additionally, community college may be a good option for students who experienced FAFSA-related challenges. If you were admitted to a college but haven't received your financial aid award letter, leaving you feeling unsure about whether it's financially realistic to attend with aid, you may be able to defer your admission for up to one year. Your ability to defer will depend on your college’s policies, so check in with them to learn more before making a decision. 

If you are able to defer your admission, and you still want to make progress toward your degree, you may be able to take gen-ed, or introductory, classes at a local community college. Once you have a better idea of whether the school you deferred your admission at will be realistic to attend, you can transfer to it the following year with some credits under your belt!

Trade schools

If you’re looking for practical, hands-on training that can prepare you for the workforce in one-two years, consider enrolling in a trade school. Trade schools offer programs that prepare students for careers in fields such as healthcare, cosmetology, technology, and more. Also, with careful planning and preparation, students can continue their education toward a college degree after completing a trade school program. For example, you can attend trade school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), then move on to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at a four-year college. No matter what your career interests are, it's important to research trade schools thoroughly and consider whether the programs they offer align with your career goals.

Colleges with late application options

Some colleges offer late application deadlines! Check out this list of colleges with late application deadlines and be sure to check in with the admissions office of each school you're interested in to learn more about specific deadlines, application requirements, and more. 

Have any questions about applying to college or navigating FAFSA challenges? Text #College to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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