How to Fill Out the FAFSA + Common Mistakes

Two weeks ago, we did an introductory post on the 2019-2020 FAFSA, which you can view here.

Here’s another video, which outlines the steps of filling out the FAFSA:

(Federal Student Aid, 2016)

Below are some common mistakes that are made on the FAFSA:

  • Waiting until close to the deadline to fill out the FAFSA: The sooner you fill it out, the better (Callahan, 2018)!
  • Not using your personal FSA ID: It’s important to remember that you and your parents’ login information/FSA IDs are not the same (Callahan, 2018).
  • Signing the FAFSA electronically: It’s easy to do, but also easy to forget! Make sure to sign your online application when you reach the “Sign and Submit” step (Callahan, 2018).

To read about all 11 Common FAFSA Mistakes, click here.


Callahan, N. (2018, September 18). 11 Common FAFSA Mistakes. Retrieved October 26, 2018, from Homeroom: The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education:

Federal Student Aid. (2016, September 30). How to Fill Out the FAFSA.

Self-Advocacy Video

Check out this video about self-advocacy from the State of the Art Conference/Student Leadership Conference that a few TOPS students and staff recently attended. If you pay close attention, you’ll see some of our students featured in the second half of the video!

Volunteer Spotlight: Robin

This week’s Volunteer Spotlight is dedicated to Robin, who is in her third semester of volunteering with TOPS! Robin, who has served as both an Educational Coach and as an In-Class Mentor, initially learned about TOPS from an enthusiastic volunteer. In the future, she will practice audiology and hopes to work with individuals with disabilities in her field.

Robin serves as the secretary of her sorority, Tri Delta, as a psychology course assistant, and just joined a research lab on campus. Despite being busy with a variety of activities, Robin is energetically leading the TOPS BuckeyeThon team as one of the co-captains.

When asked about why she loves TOPS, Robin explained:

The TOPS students are absolutely incredible. Each has their own unique and special personalities and never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s so rewarding to see each and every one of them grow and become more involved on campus.

The TOPS Program has given her a new perspective because the students have shown her “the value of passion, hard work, and determination.” If she could tell someone thinking about volunteering with TOPS one thing, she would say “do it.” “It is the most rewarding program OSU has to offer,” she continues.

The TOPS Staff wants to acknowledge Robin for her awesome commitment to being one of the TOPS BuckeyeThon team captains and for her fun-loving attitude. Thanks, Robin!

Fill Out the 2019-2020 FAFSA

The 2019-2020 FAFSA was made available on October 1st, 2018. The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, should be filled out each year that a student is in school. TOPS students are eligible to apply for the FAFSA. While it isn’t due for a while, it is highly recommended to fill it out as early as possible (U.S. Department of Education, 2018).

Here is a brief video that explains how the FAFSA works:

Here are some helpful resources for filling out the FAFSA:

7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2019–20 FAFSA® Form

8 Steps to Filling out the FAFSA

Look for more information and tips about filling out the FAFSA in following weeks!


U.S. Department of Education. (2018). Filling Out the FAFSA Form. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from Federal Student Aid:


Resources for Voters

The 2018 midterm elections are just around the corner, and early voting has already opened!

Did you know that “the voter turnout rate of people with disabilities was 6 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities during the 2016 election” (Schur & Kruse)?

Consider exploring the REV UP website before heading to your polling place this November. REV UP “aims to increase the political participation of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues” (REV UP, 2018). The website has countless resources for voters, such as:

  • Information on your rights as a voter
  • A “candidate questionnaire” to help voters explore where their candidates stand on important issues
  • A list of issues that affect the disability community
  • Statistics about individuals with disabilities and voting
  • Resources for voting specifically in the state of Ohio
  • And lots more! (REV UP, 2018)


REV UP: Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power. Retrieved from

Schur, L. & Kruse, D. Fact sheet: Disability and Voter Turnout in the 2016 Elections. Retrieved from

Volunteer Spotlight: Baylee

This week, the TOPS staff wants to recognize one of our awesome volunteers, Baylee! Baylee has volunteered with TOPS for 3 semesters now, serving as both an In-Class Mentor and as a Social Coach. When asked why she decided to get involved with TOPS, Baylee explained:

Growing up, my uncle had Down syndrome, and I always knew that I wanted to volunteer with a program of students who were similar to my uncle. He passed away a few years ago, and around the same time, I stumbled upon the TOPS program. Helping these students meet their educational and career goals is something I really valued!

Baylee’s favorite part of volunteering with TOPS is “watching and helping the students meet their goals.” “My first semester as an In-Class Mentor, I got to meet all the students when they were brand new to OSU and TOPS. Now, as second years, seeing all that they’ve accomplished is so cool,” she explains.

Outside of TOPS, Baylee stays busy studying business with a focus in real estate. She is involved in a wide variety of campus activities, such as serving as a University Ambassador and as a Peer Financial Coach. When she isn’t busy with school, Baylee likes to visit her favorite Columbus spot, German Village. “The cobblestone streets, gorgeous houses, and dogs everywhere make me very happy! I highly recommend hanging out there during sunny afternoons.” Baylee is also traveling to Zambia later this year!

The TOPS staff appreciates that Baylee always goes above and beyond to help the program. She even traveled to New York last week with staff to take part in a presentation for TOPS. Thanks, Baylee!


BuckeyeThon Team Fundraiser: Gift Card Raffle

The TOPS BuckeyeThon team is currently holding a gift card raffle to help fundraise for their 2019 team! The raffle continues until October 31st at 8pm.

Here are the gift cards included in the raffle:

  • $25 to Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (Martini, Marcella’s, Hudson 29, Cap City, The Pearl, etc.)
  • $50 to Park Street Cantina
  • $30 to Lululemon
  • 2 free meals at Bibibop (2 winners)
  • $30 to Amazon

Interested in winning one of these gift cards?

You can use Venmo to submit your entry using the team’s username: @topsbuckeyethon. When making the Venmo payment, be sure to say which gift card you are entering to win. You may split your entries between different gift cards, such as using 2 entries for the Amazon gift card and 1 entry for the Lululemon gift card.

Here is the pricing:

$1 for 1 entry

$2 for 3 entries

$5 for 12 entries

$10 for 30 entries

Want to learn more about BuckeyeThon? Click here.

Are you a TOPS student or volunteer who wants to sign up for the TOPS BuckeyeThon team? Click here to see our recent blog post with information on how to sign up.

Homecoming Parade Recap

TOPS students and volunteers had so much fun walking in the annual homecoming parade last week! This was Ohio State’s 106th homecoming celebration. The homecoming parade dates back to 1965 and is an exciting tradition to take part in (Ohio State University, 2018). Here are some pictures from the event:


Ohio State University. (2018). The History of OSU Homecoming. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from The Ohio State University Homecoming: