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Frequently Asked Questions

What is accreditation all about?


Most colleges open their application period on August 1st of each year. Your research and planning should be done throughout your high school years. Standardized test taking should be completed between the spring semester of your junior year and the fall semester of your senior year.


When should I start the application process?


You might get different answers depending on who you speak with. Here at Next Step, we suggest you apply to 3-5 colleges. (1) Your “Dream” college/university, (2) a state or regional college/university, (3) a local college/university, and (4) two backup colleges/universities. Remember, the more you narrow it down, the less you have to pay in application fees.

How many colleges should I apply to?

What if I'm going to be a collegiate athlete?


The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) establishes rules on eligibility, recruiting and financial aid for athletes. The NCAA Clearinghouse processes the eligibility forms that can be obtained online. Student athletes should take the SAT/ACT in the junior year and start the certification process early in the senior year. Only students thinking of playing at the Division I and Division II level are required to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Can I go to two colleges at the same time?


FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s a questionnaire that involves your and your parent's income to help the government determine how much student aid to give you. Federal financial aid is comprised of loans, grants, scholarships, and federal work-study. Around 95% of incoming freshman will need their parent’s tax information to complete the FAFSA.

What is the FAFSA?

How important is the college visit?

How do I start the process to college acceptance?

Who should I know on the college campus?

Community Colleges vs. Four Year Colleges

The college visit is very important. Let's be honest... You are purchasing a college education. There is a monetary transaction just like any other purchase. You wouldn't buy a pair of jeans without trying them on in the store. You wouldn't buy a car without taking it on a test drive first. Why would you treat purchasing an education differently?

The answer is Yes and No! Yes you can be enrolled and take classes at two seperate institutions of higher learning. However, you cannot use Federal Financial Aid at two seperate institutions of higher learning at the same time. You can use your financial aid at one school and pay out of pocket at another. We do not recommend students to attend two seperate schools at one time.

Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. There are three major accrediting types: Regional, National, and Programmatic. 

The process of college acceptance starts with the mindset and maturity to know that you can and will go to college. You should be working on your grades and prepping for your standardized test already. Strategically, the first step will be to get a copy of your unoffical high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores to see if your GPA and scores meet the requirements at each of your top college choices.

One of your major tasks of going to college is developing new relationships, and using your new relationships to your advantage. You should network with your professors, the President of the University (if possible), the Dean of your program/department, the dean of student activities, presidents of campus organizations, and housing leadership.

Generally, Community or 2-Year Colleges have lower acceptance requirements and offer students up to an Associates Degree. A 4-Year College or University generally offers up to a Bachelors Degree. Often these institutions also offer graduate and doctoral programs.  

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