Steps to Complete the FAFSA

On last week’s episode of Getting In: A College Conversation, host Ian Fisher and his guests zeroed in on how to stand out in your extracurricular activities, knowing when to push the “submit” button on your applications, and all the details you need to know about completing the FAFSA.

Standing Out with Extracurriculars

In the second installment of our “Standing Out” series, former MIT and CalTech admissions officer Zaragoza Guerra tackled extracurricular activities and how they can help students stand out in a competitive admissions process. But maybe you consider yourself an “average” student with “normal” activities on your list, or you have plenty of interests but no passions—are you out of luck? Zaragoza first provides guidance on where these students should start and explains the timeframe one should expect as she/he develops experience in their activities. Wondering how many activities you need to pursue in order to stand out and what level of accomplishment is needed to catch the eye of selective colleges? Tune in to the full segment to hear Zaragoza’s advice, particularly on how to translate that experience effectively to the admissions office.

Deciding When You Are Done

With November Early Action and Early Decision deadlines looming, many students may find themselves in “submit” button paralysis! In the Office Hours segment, Ian and College Coach colleague Karen Spencer discussed how to know when you’re ready to press “send” on your college applications. If you have double- (and triple!) checked your essays, is there such a thing as over-editing? Karen highlights the pros and cons of a perfectionist mentality in the final days before a looming deadline. If you didn’t know that there is a “print preview” button on the application and thought about how it can help, you need to listen to this segment to find out! Or if you are scrambling to finish an Early Action application versus waiting until Regular Decision, it might be helpful to listen to what Karen and Ian have to say about your odds.

Completing the FAFSA

In the final segment of the show, finance expert Tara Piantanida-Kelly walked through the steps to complete the FAFSA. If you are dreading filling this financial aid application out, Tara explains why the anticipation is probably worse than the actual process. Knowing what to expect on the forms is half the work. Tara provides a list of all the documents you need so that you can sit down prepared, rather than scrambling for information as you proceed through the form. One of the most common questions we receive is what happens if you are applying to more than 10 colleges, but the FAFSA only has room to list 10 colleges? Tune in to the full episode to get the definitive answer to this and much more!

On the next episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, the “Standing Out” series looks at how the choice of where to apply to college can be a big factor in helping students stand out in the applicant pool. And we’re relying on you for the Office Hours segment—it’s all about listeners’ college finance and admissions questions. We will go over what you are wondering! Don’t miss it!


Written by Lauren Randle
Lauren Randle is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Lauren worked as a senior admissions officer at Georgetown University and previously held positions in college counseling at Malvern Preparatory School and the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. Visit our website to learn more about Lauren Randle.