FAFSA is approaching, and it brings with it the kind of dread that every student knows too well. Almost every school requires that you file it, no matter what your financial situation is. To apply for aid for the 2019-2020 school year, FAFSA opens on October 1, 2018. If you're already getting jitters, just know that you're not alone. Without further ado, here are the eight emotional stages of submitting your FAFSA:


1. Preparation

This is the first step in the FAFSA process, but emotionally and physically. You want to make sure you have all the right documents ready at once, either on your computer or in a folder at your desk. Use this checklist to make sure you have everything, and do whatever you can to get in the mental mindset of numbers, taxes, and staring at a screen for a long amount of time (so basically, your econ class).


2. Anticipation

Whether you're waiting for the FAFSA to officially open or you just need a free block of time in your busy schedule, this stage is felt by all FAFSA filers. Don't get too nervous about the impending joy-sucker, and go work on your self-care routine instead.


3. Confidence

So you just opened up the FAFSA, and you're thinking, "Hey, it's not that bad." It may seem easy now, just filling in the basic stuff like your general household information. But don't get too cocky, or you'll be completely blindsided later on.


4. Confusion

Though FAFSA is taking a lot of steps to make the filing process easier (like redesigning the website to be compatible with mobile devices and creating a new app this year), it's still difficult. Weeding through all your paperwork to find one specific number on one specific line is confusing, and often frustrating. Just remember that even though you want to file as early as possible, you should still take as much time as you need to correctly answer each question.


5. Relief

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'VE MADE IT TO THE END! Your FAFSA has been submitted, and you don't have to worry about it for another year (unless you're like me, and get selected for verification in the spring). But it's one less thing to worry about, which leaves more time for the important things in life like doing homework or bingeing Netflix.


6. Denial

Okay, this might seem a little gloomy after the celebration we just had, but it always is. By now you've seen your EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) and the total value of your Pell Grant (if you qualify). Even though all grants are good, chances are you were definitely hoping for something higher. Time to look at applying to scholarships, I guess.


7. Memes

As with all the great stressors in school, the best thing to come out of it is always the memes. Students of every background and financial situation can come together for a common good. If you're feeling a bit more like #3 on this list, you can try your hand at making some of your own! Otherwise, check out these brilliant tweets.


8. Acceptance

This one happens a bit further down the line than the rest, but at this point, any financial aid you've been rewarded has been confirmed and you have another year of school ahead of you. There's not much you can do about it, so it's time to accept it. And if you feel it's necessary, try getting a job or work-study to offset some of your student loans.

Everyone's FAFSA situation is different, but the emotions surrounding FAFSA tend to stay pretty much the same no matter who you are. Just keep your chin up and try not to get too overwhelmed; the end of filing season (and hopefully enough of that sweet grant money) is closer than you think.

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