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Advice to College Recruits and their Parents

We would like to communicate our philosophy about college lacrosse and the recruiting process. This is important information to every player and parent in this club. This information is "real world" ideas about planning to play lacrosse in college. Playing college lacrosse is probably not what you think. We want to be instrumental in helping every boy who wants to play lacrosse at the college level, but we also want to get good information out early so everyone knows what they might expect. 

Athletic scholarships for undergraduate student-athletes at Division I and Division II schools are partially funded through the NCAA membership revenue distribution. About $1 billion in athletic scholarships are awarded each year. Over 126,000 student-athletes receive either a partial or full athletic scholarship. These scholarships are awarded and administered directly by each academic institution, not the NCAA. Division III schools offer only academic scholarships. They do not offer athletic scholarships. They offer financial aid through tuition grants (school or alumni), Federal or State aid, or federally subsidized loans. A DIII coach may want you to play for his school and may help you get in academically, but he cannot give you money.

Not all DI sports can give full ride athletic scholarships to every athlete like football and basketball; most are classed as "equivalency sports", like college lacrosse. This simply means that coaches can share their financial aid allocation between a larger numbers of players. The NCAA allows a fully funded DI men’s lacrosse program to only give out 12.69 tuition scholarships. (Note: No book money, No room and board and No transportation.) In DII, there is even less. The NCAA only allows DII schools 10.8 tuition scholarships. Few DI and DII programs are fully funded. Penn State for instance is not, they offer only (6) full scholarships. A player who selects a DI program like Towson University (and starts for the team) may only get $1000 his Freshman and Sophomore year. He might get $3000 Junior year and maybe $6000 Senior year. For a full time, year round commitment, this is very little money. Many DI lacrosse players get no money at all. If you are good enough; of course a full ride scholarship could be in the cards. However, there are very few of these instances, and if so, those opportunities are typically reserved for the premier blue chip recruits. 

Student-Athletes will get tired of hearing this, but if you don’t take care of your academics (grades and core course requirements) it won’t matter how talented you are on the lacrosse field, number of awards won or impressive stats you’ve accumulated. If your dream is to play lacrosse at the college level, academics are a part of the package. Lacrosse can enhance your academic package. If you are a good student, and want to play lacrosse in college, a coach can "endorse" your admittance package and help you get in a school you might not otherwise get in. We’re talking about a student with a 1200 or so SAT who wants to go to a school like Bucknell University. A 1200 SAT would never get you in otherwise, but a good lacrosse game will help out. You still will need good academics to pull this off. This is the best deal in the game, so be sure to focus on schools with your major, not the best lacrosse team. Academic scrutiny doesn’t end when you’re in college either; most college teams strive for a team GPA of 3.0. Due to the demands of being a college athlete, you MAY need to go an extra semester or two to meet your graduation requirements. (dependent on time management skills) 

Fun and love of the game are the only reasons to play the game at any level. Frankly, nothing else makes sense. The demands of college lacrosse are extensive. You must train year round. You must play and practice 3 seasons a year. You will sacrifice academics, social life and free time. You play only at the pleasure of the coach. You can be benched at any time, replaced by a new recruit, switched to a new position and an injury could end it all. (along with any financial help you are receiving) All your friends will have more time, more fun and get more studying done. You will get to play college lacrosse. You have to love it. While looking at schools, it would be wise to consider whether you can play right away, within a reasonable period of time, or ride the bench. There is nothing worse than sitting for four years. What happens if you get injured or just lose interest in playing? Will you be at the right school to complete your degree? Don’t pick a school simply for lacrosse. The school should fit for other reasons; location, type of degree you are seeking, amenities, cost, etc. Remember, this will be the place you spend your next 4 years! 

Being an active participant in the recruiting process: 
Get started early, be aware of NCAA guidelines and most of all be realistic. It doesn't matter how good you are, to get recruited and be in line for NCAA lacrosse scholarships you need to tell the college coaches who you are and why you deserve to be recruited. COACHES CANNOT EVALUATE YOUR POTENTIAL IF THEY DON’T KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE. Many fine young athletes are overlooked each year because they didn't submit their athletic profile to the "right"colleges or left out important information. It’s also a fact that many colleges simply don't allocate all of their lacrosse recruiting funds because "suitable" athletes did not approach them. Never wait to be "seen" by a coach. It does not happen that way. There are just too many players in the game right now. You must write the coach and tell him honestly you are interested in attending his college with or without playing lacrosse. Most lacrosse players will have to market themselves and should not make the mistake of ONLY concentrating on the top DI college. The competition is very intense; unless you are an absolute top player you won’t receive an offer. There is nothing wrong with a smaller DI school. What would you rather have a partial or full financial aid package at a DII school or the offer of a walk on at one of the top schools? At the end of the day it’s your education that's important. 

The numbers: 
Within the NCAA there are 59 DI schools, 34 DII schools, and 156 DIII schools currently participating in men’s lacrosse. NJCAA offers 27 men’s teams. At many schools, lacrosse is also a club sport organized by students independently of the athletic department. Club teams even coexist with varsity teams at numerous colleges.

Fame and Glory: 
Do not go to the NCAA championship game and think 'WOW' I want to play in front of 49,000 people too. The fact is you probably never will. Most lacrosse games at the college level are attended by 100 or so folks who are mostly parents and/or girl friends of the team. Nice weather and an inter-division rival may swell the stands to nearly 500 at a big school. That is roughly the equivalent of a High School basketball game. Most lacrosse players will never see a crowd of 1,000. One other note, nobody makes a living playing the game after the college level. 

Be Realistic: 
As a high school lacrosse player you should be aware that the standard of NCAA college lacrosse is very high. We recommend that you attend a few games to gauge the actual intensity of lacrosse at this level. Do not pin all your hopes on an upper DI school unless you are an outstanding lacrosse player. You will most likely have to be the best player in your high school and maybe in the county at your position. You might have to be an All-American. You will have to possess exceptional speed and skills. Most players you see at any school are DII or DIII prospects. Every player’s career ends at some point, either before or after college. Be realistic and make decisions that are good for you. Don’t play the game for your mom, dad, brother, sister or for your girlfriend. Play it for you. Play it because you love to play the game. When it is time to quit the game, quit the game because it is best for you and your future.

You might have heard of a lot of money in girl’s sports recently. Understand what has happened in the last 20 years. Universities fearing lawsuits under the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 -Title 9, have funneled a lot of money into girl’s sports (taken from boy’s revenue sports) and created many play opportunities for girls. This has limited play opportunities for boys. Universities must have roughly the same number of male and female athletes. (The exact formula is not important) Towson University for instance, currently has 7 male varsity sports and 13 female varsity sports. The NCAA however permits the same maximum number of scholarships for girls as for boys. 
Recruiting Timeline

Below is a general lay-out schedule or timeline that a high school lacrosse player who wishes to play at the college level might follow.  This timeline is broken down by high school grade and was developed through input from former college players, parents, coaches, web research, and NCAA guidelines. Getting Started:  It’s never too early to start.  The biggest mistake a student-athlete can make is to wait until the last minute.  The key to success in the college athletic recruiting process is rigorous preparation over a number of years.

Freshmen/Rising Sophomores: 
  • Settle into the high school environment
  • Get to work developing good classroom and home study habits.
  • Learn to manage your time!
  • Stay focused academically. NCAA eligibility standards keep getting tougher.  The grades you earn now will determine admission to college, initial NCAA eligibility and your future success.
  • Play lacrosse for your school.  Remember, the point is to play, not just make the team.  Never be satisfied until you are some part of each game.
  • Off-season -- get involved in a work-out program and speed/condition training.  Summer - Play as much as possible and try to attend a position camp for specialized training.  Fall - Sign-up for one of the multiple outdoor leagues in the area. (requires about an 1 hour a week)  Winter – Sign-up for one of the multiple indoor leagues in the area. (requires about an 1 hour a week)
  • Get involved in school clubs and activities. (SGA, Varsity Club, plays, Foreign Language Clubs, etc.) Help in the community…suggest being a lax mentor at your local rec. council.  Coaches and admissions counselors look for well-rounded student-athletes.
  • Start researching colleges via the internet.  Consider what each level of college lacrosse entails (Division I, II, and III). Begin thinking about academics — what are your career goals, and what types of things might you study to achieve them?  Talk to your parents, guidance counselors, teachers, coaches, siblings, and older teammates to get information.
  • Sophomores should take the PSAT. (practice for college entrance tests) Your school guidance office will supply these dates.  Try to avoid a spring sports conflict.
Rising Juniors:
  • Follow the same off-season recommendations as last year, minus the position camp.  Consider attending a camp of a school of interest.  This could provide some exposure plus give you an opportunity to experience the school in an overnight setting.
  • Register for the SAT or ACT or both standardized tests.  Most students take the test at least twice.  Try to avoid the spring dates, as they may conflict with your high school season.  Request that your SAT scores be sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse. (there is a box on the application form that you must check)
  • Begin researching colleges that have lacrosse programs.  Make a list of all the schools that meet your criteria (for example: Division III schools in Maryland that offer physical education teacher certification as a major).  The list should include 10 - 25 schools.
  • Work on the profile sheet that you will be sending to the colleges on your list. (see pg 13 & 14 for sample) Make sure your parents proofread your profile before you send it.
  • Write a letter of interest you can send to the schools on your list. (see pg 15 for sample)  Ask a coach, parent, or teacher to help you write the letter.  This letter can be sent via US Mail or e-mail, along with your profile and summer lacrosse schedule.  Make sure you verify the coach’s name and mailing address on-line before you send the letter.  Proof-read, proof-read, and proof-read again.  Spell-check everything before you send.
  • Return all questionnaires and requested info to the schools you might consider.  If you know you are definitely not considering a particular school, let that coach know.  Honesty is very important.
  • Schedule letter – This is a simple letter or email to send along with your season schedule.  You may use this format for your club team schedule too.  College seasons run the same time as your school lax season, so coaches may not have much time to devote to attending high school games.  However, some local coaches may be able to attend from time to time.  Summer/Fall schedule will most likely provide the best opportunity to be seen.
  • Remember that college coaches are restricted by NCAA rules regarding phone calls and contacts off their institution’s campus.  E-mail is the most efficient way to correspond until you have finished your junior year.
  • Start visiting local colleges to get a general idea of what is available.  Visits to multiple colleges will help form opinions and prove to be valuable research for later comparisons.
  • NCAA Initial–Eligibility Clearinghouse – Students who plan to participate in college sports at the DI or DII level should register with the clearinghouse.  Clearinghouse guidelines suggest waiting to register until after completion of your junior year.  Your high school guidance counselor can provide you with the registration form; however the quicker online option is suggested.  We have a link to the Clearinghouse on our website under the “College Info” link.
  • Once registered with the clearinghouse, student should send transcript to the clearinghouse.
Rising Seniors:
  • July 1st – Phone contact from college coaches is permissible. (Division 1)
  • Follow the same off-season recommendations as last year.  Your Renegades team will be focusing strictly recruiting tourneys and camps.  Separate from Renegades, hopefully you’ve secured a slot at one of more of the following: Blue Chip Camp, Top 205 camp, or Top Star camp.
  • If you are entering fall of your senior year and haven’t done any of the previous advice bullet items yet, don’t just give up.  Submit your resume to as many college coaches as you possibly can and if you’re good enough, you should still be recruited.
  • DO NOT LET UP ON ACADEMICS!  Don’t lighten up on the course load.  College admissions pay particular attention to senior year schedules…especially when comparing similar candidates.
  • Review core academic requirements with you guidance counselor.  Make sure you’re on track.  You might be the best lacrosse player in the area, but if you don’t meet NCAA requirements, you won’t get accepted to school.  It’s that simple!
  • Put the final touches on your profile sheet that you can send to colleges you are considering. (see pg 13 & 14 for sample)  Make sure your parent or a coach proofreads your profile before you send it.  Make sure it is neatly done.
  • Begin narrowing your list of potential colleges.  Some factors to consider:  Academic profile, level of lacrosse, type of school, distance from home, and cost of attendance.  Be realistic when focusing your list; include “sure things”, “reaches” and a “long shot” on your list.
  • Contact the coach at the top five to ten schools you are considering; let them know they are one of your top choices.  Include your summer lacrosse schedule so they can see you play.
  • Prepare videotapes to have available for coaches that request them.  Videos should include at least 30 minutes of unedited game footage.  Coaches prefer to see the good and the bad…not just highlights.
  • Have copies of your transcript, SAT/ACT scores, and senior class schedule available to send to coaches…particularly those you intend to visit.  Your schools guidance department can help with obtaining transcripts.
  • Tentatively plan “unofficial visits” to your top schools during the late spring and summer.  Every school has scheduled open houses.  Weekend tours are typically available.  Current students usually give the tours.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  Students will typically give very honest answers. (good or bad)
  • Be proactive!  If you are very interested in a particular school, make sure they know it.
Seniors in the middle of their spring season
  • Hopefully by now you’ve either signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) at a D1 or D2 school or given a D3 coach a strong indication that you are attending their school.  You may also have secured a fairly strong walk-on opportunity.  Most acceptances will go out between March and May so you should have an idea of what school you are attending.
  • For those of you who never received offers or didn’t get accepted to certain schools, it’s time to swallow your pride and either find a school to play at for a year that may not be your first choice or a school to attend for a year with hopes of transferring into another program.  The most important thing to do is put yourself in a position to have a productive school year somewhere.  Be sure to plan to take classes that have transfer value.  Continue your recruiting process by keeping relationships with coaches you may have previously spoken to and attempt to build new relationships with coaches at other programs.  A simple phone call saying, “Hi coach my recruiting process got started a little late, so I will be attending (______) for a year, I would like to explore the possibility of transferring and I am interested in your school”.
  • It's also not too late to contact other schools and coaches about acceptance.  While schools have application and acceptance deadlines, they will typically take qualified students up to the start of school if they have the room.  Coaches will also take additional players on their team that have the abilities to play in their program.  Do not to burn any bridges in your recruiting process along the way and treat all coaches with respect and honesty as it's possible you might have to call a coach that you previously didn't express interest in last year.  A simple "coach, I was wondering if there is still an opportunity to attend your school and play for you", might go a long way at this point.  D3 coaches especially hear this all the time, because they know there are many players who were hoping for offers from bigger institutions that never arrived.
  • If you find yourself without a school to attend or a place to play, try and backtrack through your recruiting process and contact coaches that may have contacted you. You never know what opportunity might arise, and you may also get some recommendations from them as your best course of action.
Recruiting Terms

Dead Period – The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents at any time during the dead period. The coach may write and telephone you and your parents during this time.
Evaluation – An evaluation is an activity by a coach to evaluate your academic or athletic ability. This would include visiting your high school or watching you practice or compete.
Evaluation period – The college coach may watch you play or visit your high school, but cannot have any in-person conversations with you or your parents off the college’s campus. You and your parents can visit a college campus during this period. A coach may write and telephone you or your parents during this time.
Official visit – Any visit to a college campus by you and your parents paid for by the college. The college may pay the following expenses:
  1. Your transportation to and from the college
  2. Room and meals (three per day) while you are visiting the college
  3. Reasonable entertainment expenses, including three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest.
  4. Before a college may invite you on an official visit, you will have to provide the college with a copy of your high school transcript and necessary standardized test scores.
Prospective student-athlete – You become a “prospective student-athlete” when:
  1. You start ninth-grade classes; or
  2. Before your ninth-grade year, a college gives you, your relatives or your friends any financial aid or other benefits that the college does not provide to students generally.
Quiet Period – The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or your parents off the college’s campus. The coach may not watch you play or visit your high school during this period. You and your parents may visit a college campus during this time. A coach may write or telephone you or your parents during this time.
Unofficial visit – Any visit by you and your parents to a college campus paid for by you or your parents. The only expense you may receive from the college is three complimentary admissions to a home athletics contest. You may make as many unofficial visits as you like and may take those visits at any time. The only time you cannot talk with a coach during an unofficial visit is during a dead period.
Recruiting Calendars - To look at recruiting calendars for all sports, go to org General recruiting calendar provided below.
National Letter of Intent (NLI) - The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution in which the institution agrees to provide a prospective student-athlete who is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospect's agreement to attend the institution for one academic year. All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI program agree to not recruit a prospective student-athlete once he/she signs an NLI with another college or university. Therefore, a prospective student-athlete who signs an NLI should no longer receive recruiting contacts and calls and is ensured an athletics scholarship for one academic year. The NLI must be accompanied by an institutional financial aid agreement. If the student-athlete does not enroll at that institution for a full academic year, he/she may be subject to specific penalties, including loss of a season of eligibility and a mandatory residence requirement.


NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Recruiting Calendar
August 1, 2010 through August 2, 2011
(See NCAA Division I Bylaw 13.17.5 for men's lacrosse calendar formula)

The dates in this calendar reflect the application of NCAA Division I Bylaw 13.17.5 at the time of publication of this manual but are subject to change per Constitution or if certain dates (e.g., National Letter of Intent signing dates) are altered.

Contact Period
August 1, 2011:
Quiet Period
August 2-8, 2011:
Dead Period
August 9-31, 2011:
Contact Period
(No Evaluations)
September 1 through October 31, 2011:
Contact Period
November 1-22, 2010, [except for (1) below]:
Dead Period
November 7-10, 2011:
Dead Period
November 23-27, 2011:
Quiet Period
November 28 through December 23, 2011:
Dead Period
December 24, 2010 through January 1, 2012:
Contact Period
(No Evaluations)
January 2-16, 2012:
Quiet Period
January 17 through February 28, 2012:
Contact Period
March 1 through May 24, 2012, [except for (1) below]:
Dead Period
April 9-12, 2012:
Dead Period
May 25 to May 29, 2012, (noon):
Contact Period
May 29 (12:01 p.m.) through August 6, 2012:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association
March 30, 2011:jhw

Summary of Recruiting Rules

Division 1 - Sophmore Year
Recruiting Method
NCAA Allows Lacrosse
Recruiting Materials
You may receive brochures for camps and questionaries
Telephone Calls
You may make calls to a coach at your expense only; a college coach cannot call you.
Off-Campus Contact
None Allowed
Official Visit
None Allowed
Unofficial Visit 
You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits
Division 1 - Junior Year
Recruiting Method
 NCAA Allows Lacrosse
Recruiting Materials
 You may begin receiving September 1st of your junior year.
Telephone Calls 
 You may make calls to a coach at your expense.
College coaches may call you 
 Once per week starting July after your Junior year.
Off-Campus Contact 
 Allowed starting July 1st after your Junior year.
Official Visit
 None allowed.
Unofficial Visit 
 You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits.
Division 1 - Senior Year
Recruiting Method
NCAA allows Lacrosse
Recruiting Materials
Telephone Calls
You may make calls to a coach at your expense.
College Coaches may call you
Once per week
Off-Campus Contact
Official Visit
Allowed opening day of classes your senior year;  You are limited to one official visit per college up to a maximum of five official visits to Divisions 1 and 2 colleges.
Unofficial Visit
You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits
Evaluation and contacts
Up to seven times during your senior year.
How often can a coach see me or talk to me off the college campus?
A college coach may contact you or your parents/legal guardians not more than three times during your senior year.
Recruiting Method
 Division II
Division III 
Recruiting Materials 
A coach may begin sending you printed recruiting materials Sept 1st of your Junior year in high school. 
You may receive printed materials anytime.
Telephone Calls
A college coach may call you once per week beginning June 15th between your Junior and Senior year; You may make calls to the coach at your expense.
No limit on the number of calls or when they can be made by the college coach; You may make calls to the coach at your expense.
Off-Campus Contact
A college coach can have contact with you or your parents/legal guardians off the college's campus beginning June 15th after your junior year; A college coach is limited to three in-person contacts off campus.
A college coach may begin to have contact with you and your parents/legal guardians off the college's campus after your junior year.
Unofficial Visit
You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits at any time.
You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits at any time.
Official Visit
You may make official visits starting the opening day of classes your Senior year; You may make only one official visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Division I and II colleges.
You may make official visits starting the opening day of classes your Senior year; You may make only one official visit per college.
Questions to Ask as YOU Consider Colleges

You may want to ask your prospective college coaches the following questions as you consider colleges.
  1. What positions will I play on your team? It is not always obvious. Most coaches want to be flexible, so you might not receive a definite answer.
  2. What other players may be competing at the same position? The response could give you an idea of when you can expect to be a starter.
  3. Will I be redshirted my first year? The school’s policy on redshirting may impact you both athletically and academically.
  4. What is the cut/no cut policy for freshmen.
  5. What expectations do you have for training and conditioning? This will reveal the institution’s commitment to a training and conditioning program.
  6. How would you best describe your coaching style? Every coach has a particular style that involves different motivational techniques and discipline. You need to know if a coach’s teaching style matches your learning style.
  7. When does the head coach’s contract end? How long does the coach intend to stay? The answer could be helpful. Do not make any assumptions about how long a coach will be at a school. If the coach leaves, does this change your mind about the school/program?
  8. What are preferred, invited and uninvited walk-on situations? How many do you expect to compete? How many earn a scholarship? Situations vary from school to school.
  9. Who else are you recruiting for my position? Coaches may consider other student-athletes for every position.
  10. Is medical insurance required for my participation? Is it provided by the college? You may be required to provide proof of insurance.
  11. If I am seriously injured while competing, who is responsible for my medical expenses? Different colleges have different policies in place.
  12. What happens if I want to transfer to another school? You may not transfer without the permission of your current school’s athletics administration. Ask how often coaches grant this privilege and ask for an example of a situation in which permission was not granted.
  13. What other factors should I consider when choosing a college? Be realistic about your athletics ability and the type of athletics experience you would enjoy. Some student-athletes want to be part of a particular athletics program, even if that means little or no playing time. Other considerations include coaching staff and style. Of course, the ideal situation is to choose a college or university that will provide you with both the educational and athletics opportunities you want.
  1. How good is the department in my major? How many students are in the department? What credentials do faculty members hold? What are graduates of the program doing after school?
  2. What percentage of players on scholarship graduate? The response will suggest the school’s commitment to academics. You might want to ask two follow-up questions:
    • What percentage of incoming students eventually graduate?
    • What is the current team’s grade-point average?
  3. What academic support programs are available to student-athletes? Study hall, etc. Look for a college that will help you become a better student.
  4. If I have a diagnosed and documented disability, what kind of academic services are available? Special academic services may help you achieve your academic goals.
  5. How many credit hours should I take in season and out of season? It is important to determine how many credit hours are required for your degree and what pace you will follow to obtain that degree.
  6. Are there restrictions in scheduling classes around practice? NCAA rules prevent you from missing class for practice.
  7. Is summer school available? If I need to take summer school, will it be paid for by the college? You may need to take summer school to meet academic and/or graduation requirements.
College Life
  1. What is a typical day for a student-athlete? The answer will give you a good idea of how much time is spent in class, practice, study and travel. It also will give you a good indication of what coaches expect.
  2. What are the residence halls like? The response should give you a hint of how comfortable you would be in your room, in study areas, in community bathrooms and at the laundry facilities. Also ask about the number of students in a room, co-ed dorms and the rules governing life in the residence halls.
  3. Must student-athletes live on campus? If “yes,” ask about exceptions.
Financial Aid Information

Your financial need is calculated based on information you and your parents report on a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) about your family’s income and assets. All colleges require the FAFSA to determine your level of need and eligibility for several major state and federal aid programs.
Applying online at is the best way to file a FAFSA. You are less likely to make errors because your answers are edited automatically. Another bonus is you will receive your financial aid report up to two weeks faster than if you file a paper FAFSA. You can get a paper FAFSA from high school counselor offices or college financial aid offices. A paper FAFSA is also available by calling the U.S. Department of Education toll free 1-800-433-3243.
The BEST source of information about student financial aid you may qualify for is the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. Check with a financial aid officer to make sure you’ve completed all required applications and be sure to meet the school’s deadlines.

Don’t rule out a school because you think you can’t afford it. Depending on financial aid packages offered to you, it’s possible for you to pay the same amount to attend a more expensive college as you’d pay to go to a less expensive school. Get up-to-date cost information directly from the school you plan to attend.

Finanical Aid Checklist (Print and check things off as you complete them)
___  Urge your parents to complete federal tax forms as early as possible. Financial information from your parents’ return and your own income tax return will be used to file the FAFSA. Make sure to keep a copy of each completed tax return. Filing early helps you get in line for any free financial aid grants, typically awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.
___  File the FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan. 1st. Students who file a FAFSA by March 15th to have the best chance to get all the aid they may qualify for. However, some schools have priority deadlines before March 15th, so be sure to check with your school’s financial aid office. Your information will be forwarded to the schools you list on the FAFSA.
___  If you file a paper FAFSA, make sure it is filled out completely and legibly. You would hate to miss out on financial aid because someone couldn't read your form!
___  Don’t limit your options on financial aid. Check that you are interested in student loans and work study options. You can always reject them later, but checking them will ensure you are considered for every type of financial help. If you apply for a Stafford Loan (by checking yes to item 27 on the FAFSA), you will get additional forms and instructions after your FAFSA has been processed.
___  Keep a copy of every financial aid form you complete. Put it in a file along with your college applications and catalogs.
___  Contact the financial aid offices of schools you are considering for additional financial aid application forms and deadlines.
___  Each school you list on the FAFSA will consider you for financial aid and will notify you of its decision in late spring or early summer.
___  Financial aid awarded by companies and organizations often requires a special application. Contact them to get the form(s) and any other requirements.