When filling in certain forms, you might be asked to include a first initial. This always refers to the first letter of a name (which is usually specified). This article will explain all there is to know about it and how to use it correctly.
What Does “First Initial” Mean?
“First initial” means the first letter of your first name. If a form asks you for it, you should include the first letter of your name. It usually helps with data entry on the back end. Rather than using your full name, they can categorize names by letters.
You don’t often have to include your “first initial” outside of surveys or forms. You won’t need to abbreviate your first or last name in most cases. Middle names are sometimes abbreviated, but that depends on the person.
While many people have one first name, there are plenty of others who have two or more. In those cases, it’s likely that those people will need to include a few extra letters before they’re able to use their “first initial” correctly.
What Is “First Initial” on FAFSA?
A “first initial” on FAFSA asks for your or your chosen parent’s first initial. FAFSA is the Free Application of Federal Student Aid. It’s used to request student aid before applying to college or university. One of the questions in the FAFSA is about a first initial.
You don’t have to overthink it when the question comes up. It is simply asking for a single letter (or two or three letters, depending on the length of the name). You just need to provide the capital letters that start the name of either yourself or your parent (based on the question).
Initial of First Name
If you only have one first name, initialing it should be easy. You simply include the first letter of your first name only when you are writing.
Here are a couple of examples to show you what an initial for a first name might look like:
- George Carlos becomes G Carlos
- Carrie Willis becomes C Willis
- Steve Rogers becomes S Rogers
You may often find that a period comes after the initial to show that it has been abbreviated:
- G. Carlos
- C. Willis
- S. Rogers
However, since it’s most likely that you’re filling in a form with your first initial, you probably don’t need to include a period. It’s up to the form you’ve entered your information into to decide whether an initial is needed.
Initial of First Names
If you have more than one first name, you will want to initial them both. That’s why questions like these are asked. It’s to check to make sure you don’t want more than one initial for your first name.
These examples should help you to make a bit more sense of what we mean:
- Sarah Melissa Parker becomes SM Parker
- Abigail Sarah Wilkins becomes AS Wilkins
- Stephen Thomas Bridges becomes ST Bridges
Again, the period could come into play here. When more than one initial is used, more than one period is also used:
- S.M. Parker
- A.S. Wilkins
- S.T. Bridges
It’s also a personal choice. For example, let’s say that someone has this name:
- Sandra Abigail Hayley Thompson
Here, Sandra Abigal Hayley has three first names. It’s up to her how many of those she wants to include as her first initial. She could write any of the following:
- S. Thompson
- S.A. Thompson
- S.H. Thompson
- A.H. Thompson
- S.A.H. Thompson
What Are my Parents’ First Initial?
Your parent’s first initials are the initials of your parent’s first name. You usually have to pick one parent to represent you in a form. Therefore, you should pick the first name of that parent to make sure you have the initial correct.
If you are including your parent’s first initial, make sure it’s not M (for mom) or D (for dad). While that might be what you call them, that is not their legal or official name.
The rules are the same, so here are some examples to help you out:
- Steven Redbridge becomes S. Redbridge
- Sue Barker becomes S. Barker
- Haley Adams becomes H. Adams
If a form asks for your first initial, simply take the first letter of your first name and write it down. If you have one first name, this is easy to do. If you have multiple, you can choose to include as many first letters for each name that you think applies to your first name.