Have a Successful Fall Semester

Articles | August 14, 2018

Need tips for kicking off a successful fall semester? No problem.

Gear Up for Back to School

Whether students are in kindergarten, starting college, or finishing grad school, there are common themes to kicking off a successful fall semester that apply to the financial aid office. Use these tips to jump-start your fall semester.

  1. Update Your Technology. Since many of your students won’t want paper copies of most things anyway, refresh your memory by checking out FSA’s Financial Aid Toolkit for electronic and online resources that will resonate with your students.
  2. Tailor Your Back-to-School Spiel to Your Audience. Don’t forget to keep in mind special concerns of older students. More than 40 percent of college students are age 25 and older—the age that’s considered independent on the FAFSA. These students may qualify for more financial aid and additional tax breaks and credits than if they were younger.
  3. Parent’s Nights Can Be Confusing. Dependent students can find it tough to figure out which parent’s information should be included in the FAFSA. Share this infographic to help clarify it for them.
  4. Don’t Forget Safety Reminders. Remind students and families of tips for finding financial aid while still avoiding scams, identity theft, and fraud. And, while you’re at it, work with other campus departments to promote resources for keeping students physically safe, too.
  5. Be Where Your Students Are. If you want to reach students with important information this fall, make sure you’ve got the right contact information (mobile device) and permission to reach students the way(s) they prefer to be reached.
  6. Never Stop Learning. It may not feel like you have time for training this fall, but make sure you identify areas for professional development (such as our ScholarNet webinars) and carve out the time. In the end, training can pay off for you, your students, and your colleagues.
  7. What’s Being Said in the [Virtual] Halls? What you don’t hear is often more important than the feedback you do. Analyzing online conversations can help you better understand the needs of your students and increase your engagement with them in effective ways.

Have other ideas for how you get ready for the fall semester? Share them with our team!

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