Raleigh, NC – The fall semester is about to begin, and college may seem far away for high school seniors. But college application deadlines are just around the corner! College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is hard at work getting ready for NC Countdown to College in October where there will be opportunities to apply to college for free! Help us spread the word about College Application Week from October 21–25.

In the meantime, there are multiple steps parents and kids can take to be prepared for applying to college. All of these are important for students to go ahead and accomplish before the mad rush of college application season!

Complete your FSA ID to get ready for the FAFSA! Every student and one parent/guardian must have an FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA which opens October 1. To be prepared, go ahead and acquire your FSA ID! Apply at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.

Begin applying for NC Residency using RDS (https://ncresidency.cfnc.org/residencyInfo/). In order to qualify for instate tuition in North Carolina, students must complete the RDS online interview.

Start gathering recommendation letters if there are any teachers or school officials who you already know you want to ask. This will give them plenty of time to prepare your letter and will show you are ready for this new challenge!

Start working on essays. It’s never too early to start working on scholarship or admission essays. CFNC provides examples of topics students can use for essays.

Then, mark your calendars for College Application Week! CAW is October 21-25, and many colleges in North Carolina will be waiving fees during this time.

During that important week, volunteers from College Foundation of North Carolina (www.cfnc.org) and other organizations will be at high schools across the state to help students submit online applications. Many North Carolina colleges also waive application fees during the third week in October, so it pays to plan ahead!

However, before College Application Week arrives, there are a few items seniors can check off their college to-do list. CFNC’s annual college-access event, NC Countdown to College (nccountdowntocollege.org), helps students and families with three key steps to college enrollment:

Complete the Residency Determination Service (RDS) form to be eligible for in-state tuition and state grants at https://ncresidency.cfnc.org/residencyInfo.

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa to qualify for federal financial aid, state grants, federal work-study, and student loans.

Use the Application Hub at https://www1.cfnc.org/Apply/To_College/_default.aspx to apply to North Carolina colleges and universities.

Find college essay tips, test prep, and more at CFNC (https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_College/_default.aspx).

During the October Countdown to College event, students can get extra support to complete financial aid and residency forms at statewide and local events. Seniors will receive more information about College Application Week from their high school counselors or college advisors this fall, detailing which schools are waiving college application fees. Qualifying students can use the College Board or ACT fee waivers for institutions that are not participating. Parents can also find helpful information at https://nccountdowntocollege.org/parents/ on how they need to be involved in FAFSA Completion, RDS, and how they can support their student.

“Countdown to College is such an important initiative to give students and their families the best tools to complete three important steps to reach their college dreams and ultimately their career goals,” says Laura Morgan, Vice President of Communications, Savings, and Legal Affairs. “CFNC is proud to link arms with colleges, high schools, and volunteers to help students to take control of their futures by completing the FAFSA, RDS, and free college applications this fall.”

Students interested in participating in College Application Week and NC Countdown to College can make a profile with CFNC.org. CFNC assists students and families as they plan, apply, and pay for college.

CFNC promotes access to North Carolina higher education and assists students with education planning, career planning, and applying and paying for college. CFNC offers resources toll-free at 1-866-866-CFNC and at CFNC.org.