Steps Toward a Higher Education

Based on personal experience, guest blogger Ingrid Reyes-Arias has some good advice for college-bound students.

It’s unbelievable the amount of influence money has on an individual’s pursuit of success.  Before college I had many stressful days of thinking how I would pay for my education, and there were very tough moments when the problem was not the admissions step but the finance step.  I remember when I began applying to colleges, I had a wonderful counselor that gave me all the resources I needed and, most important, helped me organize my finances.  For those that do not have the privilege of a counselor available every moment of every day. this great checklist can help.

The College Preparation Checklist (revised 2009) is a free publication provided by ED Pubs (U.S. Department of Education Publications) that prepares students for the journey of pursuing higher education.  This checklist has been created to reach students of all ages who are contemplating further education, as well as parents of children in elementary and secondary school.  This “to do” list begins by addressing elementary age students regarding how to prepare academically for higher education and how to support this opportunity financially.  The checklist has been divided into portions for students and parents, each tailored to meet their respective needs.  In addition, it suggests different resources for more information.  The checklist is broken down into “to do lists” for elementary and junior high, as well as the different high school grades.

As you may know, the Federal government contributes to higher education through Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This program within the U.S. Department of Education assists eligible students in getting funds to pay off the cost of attending school.  Every year a student should fill out the FAFSA application to seek financial aid, such as work-study, student loans, scholarships, or grants.  The aid goes towards expenses such as tuition, room and board, books, and supplies. The application can be found at

Most important decisions require time to think about, which may lead to you starting the process later than others.  Even if you get a late start, the checklist includes a “must do” list.  The first thing listed is completing the FAFSA application, followed by contacting the school you plan to attend to find out about other payment plans or scholarships.  It is always good to keep in mind that this is a process, so at times you must rely on subject matter experts, like teachers and guidance counselors, for help.

If you are at the beginning stages of planning, this publication includes a FAFSA4caster, which estimates your expected family contribution.  It will then estimate the award amount and give you an idea of the loans or grants for which you may qualify.  This estimator can be found at  Additionally, the checklist encourages you to research and apply for scholarships.  It provides many resources on scholarships, including a Department of Education database:

Keep in mind that knowing which steps to take will make the process go smoothly and eliminate unnecessary stress.  The college application is already stressful enough, so don’t add more! The College Preparation Checklist offers a lot more help, so take a good long look.  You can find it at the Ed Pubs website and order a copy or two at no cost.

17 Responses to Steps Toward a Higher Education

  1. lyda.b says:

    Very good blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about
    here? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!


  2. blair toronto says:

    Who is the person who authored this post? What is the easiest way of getting
    in contact? I prefer on the phone, but e-mail is fine too.


  3. comptables expert comptable comptable définition métier comptable says:

    If possible, it’s also good to find a job which will look great on your resume. The sophistication of cleverly schemed white-collar crimes was executed with such skill and professional expertise that it eroded the security of vital business sectors, particularly the banking systems and financial institutions. Financial analysis helps determine budgeting and cost management strategies.


  4. Emerson Matson says:

    Great post, having a guest blogger always brings a new meat onto the table which is always amazing.


  5. Babi Biro says:

    A very intruging post indeed. Kindly try to ensure that the blog is long enough to add to visitor experience.


  6. Sheet Music Utah says:

    Thank goodness I stumbled upon your blog. This is great information I can really use.


  7. jon jones video blog says:

    Hi Govbooktalk,
    This might be off topic, however, The government in the United States is getting a lot of and way more involved in the marketplace, shelling out trillions of bucks on education and learning, wellness treatment, welfare, and the like. Does that make the United States a socialist country? What evidence have persons looked at that the entire world is shifting toward obtaining blended economies?
    Keep up the good work


  8. Edgardo Berraz says:

    It’s more of interesting for me,as an Argentinien fully ignorant about the educatinal system in the USA.In my propper country superios educatinal programs are,apparently,open and dispensables for all people,and where it bring?First,one impresive number of aspirants do their stating in the choice career,and the outcome of this is another impresive number who has to abandon in the very early stages,making a bottle-neck where has been lost a very large number of potentialy good profesionals.


  9. zannias vasilis says:



  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Juan Vasquez, sislibrarian. sislibrarian said: The College Preparation Checklist #Free publication about how to prepare for college for all age groups. #collegeprep […]


  11. Debbie Cumbie says:

    My daughter has received financial aid but with the economy at this point re-paying her loans is a struggle. She has been able to secure a part time job and is taking classes (pays as she goes at this time). The classes are business classes and hopefully will make it more possible for her to find work that will be full time. What other suggestions do you have for her dealing with the repayment of loans?


    • govbooktalk says:

      Ingrid says:
      In this case, if a student is at least part-time he or she can defer the loans until they graduate college. They can also make sure to apply/accept student loans, because those can be paid after college in not while the person is in school. They should contact the loan provider and talk to them and see if they can lessen the debt, defer it, and such. They usually have lots of experience, so they know which means to take.

      This student should apply for FAFSA, as it is the best way to start to minimize those loans and start researching for scholarships. The key is to look and apply! It’s tough and time consuming, but it’s all worth it if it means no debt and a degree.
      I hope this helps!


  12. luiz felipe albuquerque da silveira says: Amigos eu estou seguindo vocês e gostaria que vocês me seguissem também o meu blog pois eu tenho a certeza que vocês vão gostar ai está o link e o nome dele é fogo sobre a terra há eu publiquei o vosso blog dentro do meu blog eu espero que vocês gostem muito obrigado pela atenção de todos vocês e um grande abraço do amigo Luiz Felipe Albuquerque da Silveira.


  13. Alina M Sordo says:

    I like to more about financial aid, or grant, which I could apply for. We are 3 in the house going to school and I have never qualified for financial aid, because of my husband and my income. But my two kids and I have decided to go to college, so it hard for three people to be studing at the same time. How can I get help for my family to go to college without having to get into dept,


    • govbooktalk says:

      Ingrid says:

      Let’s see. From experience, I think its best to start off with applying for FAFSA. The earlier you submit your application, the greater possibility of getting financial aid. FAFSA gathers as much money as possible that it can provide, whether it be loans or grants. In your new application, you should make sure to say that you and your children will be attending at the same time. I hope this helps!


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