What You Need to Know for the 2016-2017 School Year

on August 23, 2016

There's a lot happening this year with regard to college admissions, and these changes will affect all high school students.

Here's what you need to know for the 2016-2017 school year.

FAFSA Changes
This year, FAFSA will open October 1, which marks a big change from the traditional January 1 opening date. If you're headed to college next year, remember to fill this out as soon as it opens in October - applying too late could mean you miss out on available funds.

Filling out the FAFSA as early as possible will be easier than before. Families can use their prior-prior year tax returns, rather than prior year returns. A student applying for aid for the 2017-2018 school year will use his or her family's tax returns from 2015.

This change means students and their parents won't need to rush to file their taxes to be filed before they fill out the FAFSA, simplifying the process.

New College Applications
College applications have always been a source of stress for high school seniors, but they're about to get easier with the launch of the Cappex Application.

With the Cappex Application, students can easily apply to multiple colleges without writing dozens of repetitive supplemental essays. The Cappex Application has one required essay and one optional essay, and these essays are the same for all schools. It's also free, so students can apply to as many colleges as they'd like without incurring costly fees. To make the process as streamlined as possible, we've made it easy for counselors and teachers to submit transcripts and letters of recommendation directly through the application.

More than 60 schools across the nation will accept the Cappex Application for students applying for admission for the 2017-2018 academic year. 

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success has also launched a new application. Fifty-three schools will accept this application during this year's application cycle.

Updates to the SAT
Many high school students get nervous about the SAT. After all, it's one of the most important tests you'll ever take! But there are a lot of changes to the SAT you should be aware of if you're taking or retaking the test this year.

  • The new test will be graded on a 1,600-point scale. This means 1,600, rather than 2,400, is now the top score.

  • Students will no longer be penalized for incorrect answers.

  • The writing section is now optional.

  • The writing section will be scored separately, not factored into a student's composite score.

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