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College Application Toolkit

Research indicates that while 70 percent of youth aging out of foster care desire to go to college (Courtney, Terao, & Bost, 2004), only about 20 percent of college-qualified foster youth enroll, compared to 60 percent of non-foster youth (Wolanin, 2005). Applying to college can feel overwhelming, and like there are so many details you'll never be able to do it all. This toolkit is meant to provide you with a road map and timeline of things that you can do to make it easier for you to go through the college admissions process! You will find a link to our comprehensive Financial Aid toolkit, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to receive the most financial aid support! Finally, the National Association for College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) has produced a comprehensive Guide to the College Admissions Process, that students and professionals can use throughout the admissions process.

It can be helpful to find a supportive adult to go through this process with you, such as a caseworker, high school counselor or teacher, foster parent, or other supportive adult. A good idea would be for the two of you to sit together and review this toolkit together! Other professionals who can be helpful in applying for college would be Education Planners and MYOI (Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative) Coordinators, who have experience working directly with students in foster care.


Freshman Year

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

Senior Year

**Finanacial Aid**

After Acceptance

  • Once you have been admitted to a school, check to see when the deadline is to accept admission. Keep in mind, if you miss the acceptance deadline, you may not have a spot held for you.
  • Sign up for and attend student orientation activities at your school.
  • Apply for housing on campus if it is offered.
  • Transitioning into college is a big, wonderful step! It may also be happening around the time you turn 18, which means you are planning  to transition out of the child welfare system. Talk to your caseworker about Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care and extended medicaid, to make sure you are getting all of the support and resources you deserve!

Transferring schools

Your donations help make a difference.

Fostering Success Michigan is a statewide initiative that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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