College Planning Process


Many of our students choose to continue their education at a two or four-year institution.  The choice to attend one of these schools can make a huge difference in the life of the student and his or her family.  It can greatly increase a young person’s opportunities, both financially and personally.  We know that selecting, registering for and paying for a student’s college education can be daunting.  We hope the following information will assist you in this process.  Of course, we are always available in the Guidance Office to answer any questions you may have and offer other assistance.


1. During your senior year, finalize the college search and begin to narrow down your college list. At this point, try to ignore the Cost of Attendance (COA) and be open to the possibilities of financial aid. You may be surprised at a financial aid package a private school may offer you. Retake the ACT or SAT to improve your scores.

2. Finalize the application packets by Thanksgiving Break or SOONER. If you are applying for Early Decision, you must meet the college deadline established. All admissions paper work should be submitted to the Guidance Office and you must complete a transcript request form. Should Letters of Recommendation be needed, give at least two weeks notice to the teacher or counselor by whom you need this completed.  REMINDER – IF YOU APPLY ON-LINE, YOU WILL STILL NEED THE TRANSCRIPT SENT AND ANY OTHER NEEDED FORMS THE SCHOOL REQUIRES. Don’t forget to enclose your application fee.

3.  Common Application
Feel free to use the Common Application when applying to colleges.  Once completed online or in print, copies of the Application for Undergraduate Admission can be sent to any number of participating colleges. The same is true of the School Report, Midyear Report, and Teacher Evaluation forms. This allows you to spend less time on the busywork of applying for admission, and more time on what’s really important: college research, visits, essay writing, and senior year coursework. Make sure your designated college accepts this application.  The Common Application is the recommended form of 277 selected colleges and universities for admission to their undergraduate programs.

4. Begin the Financial Aid Process after October 1st. Complete the FAFSA Application and any school-specific forms. Seniors should be applying for local scholarships and meeting the required deadlines. Look for scholarships that you feel you can meet the set criteria.  Current lists of available scholarships are in the Guidance Office.  We cannot possibly include all of the scholarship opportunities available on this list, so make use of the websites that we recommend.

5. During the Spring of 2018 you will hear from the colleges concerning their proposed financial aid. Evaluate the package and possibly negotiate for more through the financial aid office at your designated college.

6. Students need to finalize the college decision and commit by MAY 1. 

The Guidance Office will request information from the seniors through our “Senior Survey” during the spring meeting and submit final transcripts to the college of their choice.


10) Your personal recognition programs
9) Your work/extracurricular activities and leadership positions
8) Your interview (if required)
7) Your teacher recommendations
6) Your counselor recommendation
5) Your essay/writing sample
4) Your class rank
3) Your grades in all subjects
2) Your admission test scores
1) Your grades in college prep courses (the depth of your transcript)

**PLEASE NOTE:  Colleges are closely examining students’ character for admission purposes.  Please make sure your online social profiles (instagram, facebook, twitter,etc.) display good moral character.  Here are suggestions for cleaning up your profile:

*Safety first:  Never post personal information such as your address, daily schedule, phone number, etc.

*Make your profile private so strangers can’t look at your information, and be cautious about adding new friends who you do not personally know.

*Pictures and references of you on your friends’ pages can be damaging too.  Ask them to take down photos on their profiles in which they’ve “tagged” you, along with comments.

SOURCE:  National Association of College Admissions Counseling



FAFSA Completion Night are available to senior parents who would like assistance in filing their online FAFSA application. Any parent of a student attending college the 2019-2020 school year needs to complete the application AFTER October 1st and by February 15th if you are looking for financial assistance.  (Note:  Please contact the financial aid office at the college of your choice to inquire about any deadlines they may enforce.)  Multiple FAFSA Completion Nights will be held starting in the fall of 2018.

Ohio State Marion will be holding FAFSA Completion Nights at the Ohio State Marion campus for your convenience.  A very brief information session on filling out the FAFSA will be given prior to the start of each appointment time.


OSUM/MTC FAFSA Night Sessions

  • Wednesday, October 17, 2018 , 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Room 231, Library/Classroom Building
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2018 , 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Room 231, Library/Classroom Building
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018 , 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Room 231, Library/Classroom Building
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 , 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Room 227, Library/Classroom Building


Cardington-Lincoln High School FAFSA Night
November 27, 2018 @ 6:00.  Meeting will be held in the HS computer lab, room 106.

Bring all of the following documents which pertain to you, your spouse and/or your parents for the FAFSA Completion session:

  • Income amounts: 2017 federal tax returns, W-2 forms and any applicable income tax documents (Please note, 2017 federal tax returns do not need to be completed and filed in order to attend.)
  • A listing of any other types of untaxed income or benefits received in 2017 — may include:
  • Documentation from you and/or your parent’s case worker with the total amount of TANF received for 2017
  • Supplemental Social Security Disability received in 2017
  • The total amount of child support paid and/or received in 2017
  • The total amount of Federal Work Study received in 2017
  • Bank statements
  • Investment records
  • Social Security number
  • FSA ID – replaced PINs in May 2017. FAFSA users will need to create a FSA ID at before completing the FAFSA.