It’s that time of year again when we all start making those New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, get more exercise, set aside some “me” time, read more, have more family time.

What about those of you who are headed toward college? What should you resolve in 2011?

Here are 10 resolutions for 2011:

1. I will pay attention to deadlines.

There are so many tasks and deadlines related to the college admissions process. Get yourself a large wall calendar and a red marker. Post the calendar in a place that you see every day (i.e. kitchen, bedroom, office) and stay on top of those deadlines.

2. I will file the FAFSA early.

Make it a point to file the FAFSA early. Don’t wait until you file your taxes on April 15th. File the FAFSA as soon as you have all the information necessary, preferably by February 15th. This will assure that your application is in the hands of the financial aid office when they disperse their aid (grants, loans and scholarships).

3. I will visit colleges BEFORE applying to them.

Take the time to visit those colleges that you’re interested in attending. There is no replacement for setting foot on the actual campus to get a feel for the setting, the students and the faculty.

4. I will do the research and look at a college’s statistics.

Use College Navigator and do your research. Look at the enrollment statistics, retention rates, amount of financial aid dispersed, and the estimated tuition and fees. Compare colleges to determine the best bang for your buck!

5. I will spend time preparing for the SAT and/or ACT .

Use the free SAT prep available online and complete the free practice tests. There are multiple SAT vocabulary sites that help you boost your vocabulary knowledge. If you feel paying for test prep is necessary, do the research and locate a company with a good record for success, not one that gives veiled promises of perfect scores.

6. I will not procrastinate.

Procrastination will land you in the reject pile. Send your applications in early. Complete all your forms on time. Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essay.

7.  I will make wise decisions regarding student loans.

Borrow as little money as possible and don’t choose a college that requires you to go into debt for the entire amount of the tuition. Be a wise consumer and investigate the types of loans available, the interest rates, and use a repayment calculator to determine your monthly payments after graduation.

8. I will make connections with the colleges I’m interested in attending.

Make connections with admissions counselors at the colleges you are interested in attending by scheduling interviews. Get their business card and email address and stay in touch. Let them know you are serious about their college and when application time roles around, they will remember you.

9. I will attend college fairs (in person and online).

College fairs are good places to network and make those personal connections. If you don’t have a college fair in your area, CollegeWeekLive has two fairs each year where you can connect with college representatives and students.

10. I will find that “perfect fit” college.

Don’t settle for the college down the road or your parents’ alma mater if that’s not where you want to attend. Find the college that fits your academic interests, your social interests and the setting you prefer. Look for a college that wants you as much as you want them—this will be your perfect fit!

I wish you a blessed and productive 2011! It is my hope that you not only survive the college admissions process, but find it a fulfilling time in your life.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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