Student FAQs

Student FAQs

Student FAQs are divided into two sections – one dedicated to the ACF Visionary Scholarship and the other focused on common college admission and financial aid (funding) related questions.

Please keep in mind that all answers to these Frequently Asked Questions are from the student’s and parents’ perspective and may not be exactly what you have read, heard, or seen from other sources.  The mission of the American College Foundation (ACF) is to help make higher education possible by delivering valuable insight and vital college planning procedures to high school students and parents without bias or a hidden agenda.

ACF Visionary Scholarship FAQs

Are all high school students eligible to apply for the ACF Visionary Scholarship?

Yes – Applicant must be currently enrolled as a High School Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior (2024, 2023, 2022, or 2021) and must be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.

Is the ACF Visionary Scholarship a need or strictly merit-based award?

The ACF Visionary Scholarship is a merit-based award.  Financial need does not need to be demonstrated as it is NOT considered in selecting the winners.  Students from all income levels are encouraged to apply.

Is the ACF Visionary Scholarship renewable?

Each award is a non-renewable, one-time award and is to be used exclusively to offset costs and fees related directly to the student’s first year of higher post-secondary education at an accredited institution of the student’s choosing within the US.

Are test scores required when applying for the ACF Visionary Scholarship?

No – SAT and/or ACT scores are not considered in selecting the winners.  All applications for the American College Foundation’s Visionary Scholarship Program will consist of:

  • Completed ACF Visionary Scholarship Application
  • Student’s most recent unofficial high school transcript
  • 500-word essay on “Why College is Important to Me”

All components of the application must be received completely at the time of submission. Applicant will NOT be notified of a partial and/or incomplete application. Applications are judged on the ability to follow guidelines (25%), grammar and punctuation (25%), and both the originality and overall merit of the written essay (50%).

Is it free or is there a cost involved to apply for the ACF Visionary Scholarship?

There is absolutely NO cost to apply for our Visionary Scholarship.

Visit our Registration Page to begin the application process now.

Visit our Scholarship Details Page for additional information.

When will scholarship winners be announced and how will they be notified?

2021 – 2022 winners will be chosen on June 30, 2021.  Each winner will be contacted directly by our scholarship selection committee via phone and email.

How do winners receive their award payment?

The awarded amount is paid directly to the institution.  In the event an underclassman is an award recipient, the monies will be held by the American College Foundation until the student completes high school and begins their higher education.

2021 – 2022 awards will be distributed on or before July 31, 2021.

If I don’t win one year, may I reapply for the ACF Visionary Scholarship the following year?

Yes – non-winners who are still attending high school the next award year may re-apply.

Student Admission and Funding FAQs

Should I take AP courses in high school?

Colleges typically look first at the courses an applicant has taken in high school and then look to see what grades the student received.  Colleges like students who challenge themselves.  If AP classes are available at your school, check with your school counselor to see if AP courses are right for you.

Should I take the SAT, ACT, or both?

It’s usually best to take both tests.  This gives you another opportunity to improve your scores.  Higher scores can often-times result not only in being admitted to a school, but be awarded additional funding by the institution.

More on pre-admission testing.

How important is volunteer work?

Colleges look very favorably on students who give back to their community.  Being an active participant by volunteering in your community is an excellent way to enhance your admission applications and funding opportunities.

How many clubs / organizations should I join?

Colleges like quality much better than quantity.  Find two or three clubs that interest you and become an active participant.

How many times should I take the SAT / ACT?

You may test multiple times; at least once each during your high school junior year and then again in your senior year.  Students will often times score better on subsequent tests.  In addition, colleges often look favorably on students who have tested multiple times as it shows they have a strong desire to succeed.

How do I know if I should take SAT II test?

SAT II tests may be used by colleges to determine a student’s strength in a particular subject to help further determine their admission eligibility.  Colleges will typically notify the prospective applicant if a subject test is required.  Please note that SAT II subject tests may also be used by colleges for course placement.

Should I apply for admission or funding first?

Ideally, applying for admission first before the deadline (and ahead of the crowd), in September or October is a good idea.  The FAFSA completion window opens October 1st.  The CSS/Profile, if required, completion window also opens October 1st.

Schools that require the CSS/Profile.

Should I first attend Community College?

Start and complete your bachelor’s degree in a four-year institution if at all possible.  Don’t let college costs detour you.  Funding is available and often-times a seemingly more expensive school may actually be less when funding is considered.

How many schools should I apply to?

Keeping your admission options open is a very important part of the overall college planning process.  Apply to at least six colleges.  This may help prevent you from becoming a “captive audience” when funding is offered.

Can admission app fees be waived?

Admission application fees may be waived by the college or university if the student demonstrates a financial need when applying.  If applicable, you may wish to check with your high school counselor’s office and ask for a letter outlining your financial need and asking the institution(s) to waive their admission app fee(s).

How important are recommendation letters?

Recommendation letters are the most commonly overlooked and underrated portion of the admission application packet.  Use your recommendation letters to “round out” your application.

Don’t report redundant information; but rather make sure your recommendation letters tell more about you as a person, including your values, goals, and ideals.

Are campus visits important?

Yes!  Campus visits are a very important part of the overall college planning process.  They not only give you a chance to get a feel for the college community firsthand, they also give you an opportunity to meet with the admissions officer and financial aid officer.  Putting a face with a name and making a good first impression is vital.

More about campus visits.

Is early decision a good idea?

Generally not!  With early decision the student essentially enters into a contractual agreement with the college or university agreeing to attend, not applying to any other schools, and even withdrawing any other admission applications they may currently have in place.  This may often limit the amount and type of funding the student is ultimately awarded.

Do I file the FAFSA every year I am in college?

Applying for college funding is an annual event and must be completed from start to finish each and every year.  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is filed annually beginning in October of the student’s high school senior year.

What is the CSS/Profile and do I need to file it?

The CSS Financial Aid Profile is required (in addition to the FAFSA) by approximately ten percent (10%) of the nation’s most selective institutions.  The CSS/Profile is essentially a more detailed version of the FAFSA asking more in-depth income and asset-related questions.  You may check here to see if the CSS/Profile is required by a college or university that you are considering.

Learn more about the CSS/Profile.

How do the schools obtain my FAFSA info?

Colleges and universities that you list on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may access your personal and financial information that is reported on your FAFSA electronically via an Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR).  Any time that there are changes and/or updates to your FAFSA, colleges listed will have electronic access to the newly revised data.

How do colleges determine my funding?

Colleges will usually take their Cost of Attendance and subtract your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to determine your eligibility for need-based funding.  Keep in mind that this formula is used for need-based funding, or need-based aid.  For all intents and purposes, merit-based funding has no EFC.

Colleges may, and commonly do, use their own endowment funds to award merit money to those students they would most like to enroll.  Colleges use internal need formulas, along with their individual structural dynamics and requirements to ultimately determine allocated funding to each individual student annually.

More about how colleges award funding.

When should I submit my housing deposits?

Most colleges will request housing deposits before their actual decision deadline.  If you have not made your choice as to which school you will be attending, you may contact your final colleges and ask that they grant you a housing deposit extension.

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