If you haven’t already, it’s nearly time to start completing your college applications for next year. While you may have not considered it, consistency is important in all of your paperwork. Here’s why:
You’re Going To Have a Lot of Forms
College applications and the process of going to college comes with a lot of forms and paperwork. This includes your FAFSA, private loan applications, the college application itself, college essay, SAT or ACT scores, and more. That may only be to one school too. You’re going to have quite a bit going on and everything should be consistent across the board.
For example, some colleges will be looking at your FAFSA to determine grants, scholarships, and loans within their own program. It is essential that your information match on your application and FAFSA.
Decide on a Name
One situation where lack of consistency can cause serious problems is with names. While some of us have a single name we go by, others have a different set of circumstances. William, for example, can go by William, Bill, Billy, or Will. If you go with Will on your FAFSA, make sure you’re going with Will on the rest of your college applications. If you’re worried about making this mistake, you may want to write your full legal name on all documents.
Another case where you will want to be careful of what name you write down is if you go by your middle name and not your first. In the south, for example, it’s very common for people to go by their middle name. Julian Cory Smith may go by simply “Cory” among friends and family. If this is your situation, it may also benefit you to go with your full legal name to ensure consistency and no errors.
You’ll always be able to tell your friends and professors your desired name or nickname if you fit into one of these categories.
Making Errors Can Lead to Lost Applications
Inconsistent information, such as names as the example listed above, can actually lead to files getting lost. All your forms need to stay together and be filed together. But, if you’re using a different name, you could end up with paperwork sitting in limbo. You may even be rejected from a school if your SAT scores can’t be found, for example, because you decided to go with “William” on those papers, but “Bill” on your actual application.
Another example of this is addresses. If you use one address on a form, use it on all forms. Be sure to know where your acceptance or rejection letters will be delivered so you won’t miss them. Making a mistake like this could lead you to miss important paperwork such as FAFSA results, private loan offers, and school orientation dates.
While it can be stressful ensuring all paperwork has identical information, consistency can make your application process a lot easier. You’ll get used to filling out the info exactly the same each time and by the end of college application season, you’ll be an expert at completing forms!
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