Hey guys, just a few words of advice for all Non-US citizens, LPRs, and others…

1. Please renew your green card if it is about to expire. It is of utmost importance. If you are a legal permanent resident, make sure your green card is up to date. If your green card is expired please apply for the I-90 form and renew it ASAP! Without it, you do not qualify for aid at colleges within America.

2. Do NOT focus only on Ivy League and Tippity Top schools, especially if you are an international student. Those schools are already ridiculously selective and there are many amazing schools out there that provide financial aid for undocumented and international students. I’m not saying you can’t apply to these schools, just keep in mind that these colleges typically have requirements for financial aid that you may or may not meet.

3. Do your research on their financial aid policies. Some Colleges have better financial aid policies than others. My mentees who weren’t US citizens or legal permanent residents had to do their research on financial aid in their prospective schools because although you may get some aid, it may not be enough.

4. Look at every scholarship requirements. Some may require you be a legal permanent resident or us citizen while others may not. Please do your research early and find out what you do and don’t qualify for so you can zone in on the ones that will give you the best outputs if you do win them. IF you win them. DO NOT count on scholarships to guarantee you your college education. You apply to safety schools who are generous and affordable, target schools that give you money, and the good ol reach schools that is a reach for any applicant.

5. Speak to people!!! Don’t be shy! It pays to get info that you did not know before. Please speak to people!!!

6. Find out your parents legal status to see if you qualify for US citizenship. If you do, check out the N-600 form and go from there. If you want to apply for citizenship, check out the N-400 forms. Please find out ASAP so you can take the appropriate steps. The process is long, so if you’re a rising senior, you most likely won’t be done with the process until you are finished with high school. It does not hurt to check.

7. Understand the FAFSA, IDOC, CSS, and go hard as hell for that. Get your parents financial information early. They’ll be slightly apprehensive at you but better have it than stress later. It’ll help you out alot when you know your financial and where you stand.

8. Make sure your forms of verification of residency are valid and up to date. Once you hit 18 your high school ID will not suffice anymore. With valid forms of residency, you can go to the DMV and get a non drivers ID or permit. If you are under 18, you are given leniency if you are traveling, or etc. All that’ll be asked for is your high school ID. Once you turn 18 though, high school ID may not cut it. If you’re a US citizen, then no worries, just show your passport if it is valid. But if you are a permanent resident or other student in the US, MAKE SURE you have your Green Card, State ID, Working Papers, or other verification of identity on you.

9. Take a breather and get ready to go into the abyss known as senior year.