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Colleges & Scholarships

College ACT/SAT Practice

The Library provides access to online SAT & ACT practice exams for students in grades 9-12. The exams are free, full-length, and proctored, and are beneficial both as a study tool and to measure your performance. Exams begin at 10am and are available for the next few days, and take approximately 3 hours to complete (it is recommended you take them in one seating, just like the real test). Find the next available practice exam on the Events page to register (seats are limited). The link to the test portal is emailed out the night before. Offered in partnership with Summit Library & C2 Education.

College Exam Practice Guides

The Library has dozens of practice books for the ACT, SAT, AP exams and more— just climb the spiral staircase to the second-floor Nonfiction area, and find the 378 Dewey shelf, or search the online catalog.

Online Resources

Both Brainfuse’s HelpNow and Peterson’s Test Prep, available on the Digital Resources page, have dozens of study guides and full sample tests, spanning every subject and grade level, including resources for those going into college. Not only are the ACT/SAT both covered, but learn more about financial aid literacy, college & scholarship search, and career/vocational exams.

College & Scholarship Search

Applying for college is a big enough decision that you don’t need something like a missed deadline, or missed opportunity of necessary financial aid, to make that decision for you. Get all the facts first, make a schedule of tasks, and ease your way through applying to colleges and/or scholarships. Below you’ll find a handful of websites that have both a college search & a scholarship search— just enter your information in the search to start whittling down colleges to those that fit you best.

  • BigFutureCollege Search from the College Board. Find the right school for you based on location, available majors, test scores, sports, & more.
  • CappexA great tool for researching colleges & scholarships for prospective students. Cappex also has a handy list of majors, what they require, and schools that provide that program. Don't forget to check out its bank of advice articles, from asking for letters of recommendation to finding jobs & internships as a freshman.
  • FastWebScholarships, internships, FAFSA & student loan information... even a list of discounts students get while in school.
  • ScholarshipOwlScholarship matching is free, though some other services may require payment.


The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that more than half of college students will fill out and submit to the federal government to see if they qualify for any type of financial aid. Assistance can come in the form of scholarships/grants, work-study programs, or loans.

What do I need to fill it out?

The FAFSA requires information about you and your family. In addition to your personal information, have a parent help you fill it out, as the application will also ask about family finances— parental tax returns will be needed.

The FAFSA can be filled out on their website (the mobile app has since been retired in favor of the website).

Who should fill out the FAFSA?

Any student attending college the upcoming year, whether they are an incoming college freshman or a college senior. Even if you have previously qualified, the FAFSA must be filled out again for each academic year (e.g. 4 times for a 4-year college program).

You don’t have to belong to a low-income family to qualify for aid. All students can apply and see how much they qualify for.

When should I apply?

The FAFSA must be submitted before the academic year you want to request financial aid for. The FAFSA can be submitted almost a year early (the fall before your academic year), and usually is due before the end of June.

However, depending on the college (and its state) you’ll be attending, the deadline can be earlier. Always find the deadline for your specific school well in advance to be sure.

Do I have to pay back FAFSA loans?

Yes and no. If you receive money in the form of a scholarship or grant, you won’t need to pay it back. Think of this money as ‘gift aid’. Likewise for money supplied through a work-study program, where you receive aid in exchange for, usually, on-campus work.

However, any financial aid that is aloan’ must be paid back. Loan repayment usually starts after you leave school, and often has a ‘grace period’ cushion before you start making payments— time enough to start a job and becoming financially stable after graduating.

Are all loans the same?

Not all loans are the same, and be sure to understand the differences, as come loan repayment time, things change. You’ll need to investigate each loan you are offered carefully, but here are some keywords to look out for:

Direct Subsidized Loans — the government pays for the interest on your loans while you are attending school, and possibly for a ‘grace period’ just after graduating. This type is available to undergraduate students.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans — you, as the borrower, must pay off all the accrued interest on your loan, at all times (including while attending school). These loans are available to both undergraduate & graduate students.

Direct/Parent PLUS Loans — loans for graduate/professional students, or their parents of dependents in such programs.

Private Loans — Loans through private organizations, such as banks, that set their own terms. Note that private loans are not forgivable, like federal loans may be.

For a complete walkthrough of school loans, check out the Federal Student Aid website.