Flickr user Markus Tacker

Senior year with taking the ACT or SAT, possibly working a part time job, and applying for colleges can be a very stressful time. On top of all this, it’s time to start applying for financial aid. Thankfully, there are at least a few ways to de-stress this student loan process.

Start Early

The best thing you can do to lower your stress levels when it comes to applying for student loans is to start as soon as possible. Putting it off can easily become overwhelming. Beginning right away gives you plenty of time to see what’s available to you, search for loans, look for scholarships, and start planning accordingly. Waiting to complete the form could actually mean you miss out on available financial aid.

Also, pay attention to deadlines when it comes to loans. You don’t want to miss the cutoff!

Complete FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA should be at the top of your list when it comes to student loans. Also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you can apply for federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Many schools will also look at your completed FAFSA when they review your application to see if you qualify for school specific scholarship and grants.

Finishing it early will also take the weight off your shoulders and give you one less thing to do this year!

Consider Private Loans

Depending on your financial situation and the FAFSA reply, you may want to consider looking for private loans next. However, some private loans can have high interest rates than federal loans, and may not be the best option for you. It’s important to make sure you absolutely need them before you start down this road.

College Raptor can help you here! With our new Student Loan Finder you can discover a personalized loan option that works best for you by comparing lenders and interest rates! And it’s completely free.

Keep All Your Documents Together

Once you’ve received replies about FAFSA, loan offers, or other documentation, it’s time to keep the paperwork all in one place. The stress of applying is behind you; you have your answers when it comes to student loans. Now you can help reduce the stress of the future by collecting all the pieces in an easy to find place.

If you keep the documents together, you can refer to them when needed and know where they are when it comes time to repay after you leave school or graduate.

Senior year is a stressful year! With college on the horizon, it can be pretty tough. However, making sure you start early on financial aid applications and getting all your ducks in a row at the beginning can help ensure a smooth financial start to your college career.