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November is Georgia Apply to College Month

November 3, 2016

By going to college, you expand not only your mind but your range of opportunities. Studies show that along with a college degree, students gain advantages in terms of income, health and community involvement.

With that in mind, an official proclamation signed by Governor Nathan Deal, with large support from government agencies and independent non-profits, declares November to be Georgia Apply to College Month.

How Do I Start?

Start your college research with GAfutures.org! This new online college planning and preparation resource, provided by the Georgia Student Finance Commission, replaced GAcollege411. For help finding, applying to and paying for college, visit GAfutures.org.

Often, students choose a college based on how it will directly impact their career. In fact, let’s take it back to the age-old question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Whether you’ve known that answer since you could talk or you’re still figuring it out, you can learn more about yourself and what type of careers might suit you best with online career assessments. Next, research potential careers with information like the required level of education, average annual salary and expected annual job openings.

How Can I Afford It?

GAfutures is your one-stop-shop for state and federal financial aid and scholarships. If you’re looking at the numbers and you’re not sure how you’ll afford a college education, a great way to start is by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It takes only 30 minutes to fill out online and provides you with access to federal and state grants, loans and work-study funds no matter if you’re going to a 2-year, 4-year or technical college. Learn how to complete your FAFSA with GAfutures.

Never pay for help to complete your FAFSA. The College Goal Georgia FAFSA Completion initiative offers free assistance to students and families in filling out their FAFSA. Find event dates and locations at  College Goal Georgia.

When Do I Start?

Find out how you can prepare for college during each stage of education with GAfutures’ College Planning Timeline. Read advice for what you can do in middle school all the way through the summer after you graduate high school.

High school seniors should keep the following checklist items in mind:

  • Complete your FASFA and search for scholarships.
  • Take the SAT or ACT tests.
  • Finalize your list of top schools and find their application deadlines.
  • Write any essays you’ll need to include in your applications and get feedback from teachers, parents and friends.
  • Start sending in the applications!

Even if you or your children aren’t in high school, you still have ways to prepare for college. One way to get started early is with a Path2College 529 Plan. Open a tax deferred account for as little as $25 and watch your savings grow along with your child.

Where Should I Go?

Find your perfect school with GAfutures’ national college search. Filter schools with categories like location, admissions requirements, academic opportunities and tuition. Then select a college or university for more information, a link to their website and even a button to apply directly through your My GAfutures account!

Applying through GAfutures

With a My GAfutures account, you can quickly apply to participating HOPE-eligible institutions, as well as some schools that use the Common Application. Applying to school couldn’t be easier! Information on your account will pre-populate the applications, your completed applications are saved to your account and you can save unfinished applications to resume later. Just sign up with your name and email address, and you’ll have easy access to college applications!

What If I’m a Non-Traditional Student?

Non-traditional students — typically meaning students who enroll in postsecondary education later in life or enroll part time in classes — face unique challenges. Often, non-traditional students are balancing their education with other responsibilities like work and raising a family.

Go Back. Move Ahead., a special initiative resulting from the collaboration of several state agencies, is dedicated to helping non-traditional students obtain their college degrees. Go Back. Move Ahead. will connect you with a personal advisor, help you make the most of your existing experience and smooth over your transition back to school with flexible class schedules and options. Get in touch with an advisor to start building a personalized plan.

Online Education

There are several reasons why you may want to take classes online. You can often work from anywhere at anytime, which can be great for people with families, jobs or other time commitments. Online learning also gives students the chance to practice independence and personal accountability. Of course, new opportunities always come with challenges of their own and different people will respond to online learning in different ways.

Check out Georgia ONmyLINE for an introduction to online learning in Georgia. Take their self-assessment to see if you’re ready to jump from the classroom to your home office, then find what schools in Georgia can provide the online degree or courses that you need.

Students Age 62 and Older

If you’re at least 62-years-old and you’re planning to go back to school, you might be able to attend a Georgia college or university for free! Find one of the University System of Georgia’s 29 schools near you and contact its Office of Admissions for more information.

Apply to College, Georgia

The time is now. Do some research, make some lists and apply!

Check out the links below to learn more about the state agencies involved with Georgia Apply to College Month.

Related State Agencies

Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On Georgia.gov, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.