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January kicks off the last semester of high school for seniors. During this exciting and busy time, there’s quite a bit to keep track of. Luckily, Arizona GEAR UP and GEAR UP Coaches are here to help. We’ve provided checklists below families can follow based on their student’s plans after high school. Print this article and post on your fridge so everyone in the family can help.
Beginning in January, students who receive SNAP benefits, may get free tuition from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or University of Arizona. So, college is more affordable than ever.
To download a PDF File of this checklist, click here.
- Stay focused. Don’t let senioritis get the best of you. Focus on schoolwork and finish the school year strong. Graduation will arrive before you know it.
- Check with your GEAR UP Coach and/or the Arizona Board of Regents website to see if you are on track to meet Arizona graduation requirements.
- Think about what you’d like to do after high school. This could range from entering the workforce, college, technical/trade School, or military.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Regardless of your plans, the FAFSA opens up opportunities for financial assistance. For help on the FAFSA, check out our article on completing the FAFSA.
- Apply to several colleges. We recommend applying to at least one you’re confident you’ll get accepted, one you’re pretty sure will accept you, and one that’s a reach. Not sure what that means? Check out the Senior Launch Guide for more tips, and don’t forget, many colleges waive application fees based on financial need. Pro tip: you’ll also want to request transcripts from your high school.
- Submit the FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA is a must when applying to college. This opens you up to billions, yes, with a “b” of dollars to help you pay for school.
- Check your Financial Awards. After you complete the FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which will show you your financial aid eligibility. Make sure to accept/decline any awards.
- Apply for scholarships. Check out scholarship resources and apply to as many as you qualify for. Scholarships can help you pay for all kinds of college-related expenses, like housing.
- Keep an eye out for an acceptance email or letter. Typically, it takes a few weeks to receive an answer from colleges.
- Accept admission and follow the instructions provided in the acceptance letter.
- Share your decision with your GEAR UP Coach.
- Find a program and school that interests you and look up acceptance requirements.
- Apply and follow up with any requested documents (transcript, test scores).
- Complete the FAFSA. Financial Aid is also available for some technical schools.
- Apply for scholarships.
- Accept admissions and share with your GEAR UP Coach.
- Work with a recruiter to discuss your future with the military.
- Gather ASVAB scores or re-take test.
- Complete paperwork and physicals required by your branch.
- Meet with a counselor and recruiter to discuss careers in the service and what route you would like to take.
- Take Oath of Enlistment.
- Prepare for Bootcamp.
- Research requirements and training needed for your field of interest.
- Create or update your resume to fit the jobs you’ll apply for.
- Gather references. Ask an adult you trust if they will serve as a reference and vouch for your work.
- Find job openings and begin applying. Gather any documents that the application may ask for (ID, social security).
- Accept the job and share with your GEAR UP Coach.
If you are undecided, that is okay. You don’t need to plan your entire future today. There’s still plenty of time to figure out what you want to do. Keep motivated, think about your interests, and look for something that suits you. For more help on checklists and postsecondary pathways, check out our Senior Launch Guide.