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College Preparation

College preparation doesn't have to be stressful. It is a very exciting time and here are some tips on how to help you child prepare for the college experience.
 

 


If you have children and donít have a college plan in place, you may want to start thinking about starting one soon. Here are 4 ways to prepare for your kidís college education:

1. Start saving today. One thing is certain - you can never save too much money or plan too far ahead for your childís education. College expenses are soaring around the country at all-time highs. Itís a good idea to create a college saving plan and implement it a soon as possible. Even saving a little each week is better than no savings at all.

2. Plan ahead. Many parents think planning ahead only means saving money. While this is true, there are other things you should take into consideration well before your child is ready for college. Colleges often require an application fee when your child submits their application for approval. If your child applies to several colleges or universities, these fees alone can add up very fast. Start checking into every aspect of the application and college processes. Educate yourself on these extra fees and expenses so that you can plan for them accordingly.

3. Donít rely on school counselors alone. Be proactive in your childís post-graduate education. School counselors can be helpful, but often have a huge workload. Stay in contact with your childís school counselors, teachers and administrators. Ask how you can help, or what extra measures you need to take as a parent. Take an active part in learning what scholarship and financial aid programs your child should apply for. Your child may be able to apply for several types of financial aid regardless of your income.

4. Involve your teens in the college preparation. While you should take a hands-on approach to your kidís college education, donít do all the work for them. Let them fill out forms, pay application fees, and ask questions. Help them create a financial plan for their college years and even save up for some of the costs.

Other College Preparation Tips:

  • It is advisable to begin researching colleges in the beginning of your childís junior year in high school. He or she needs to think about what his interests are and if an out of state college is on the list.
  • Make an appointment with your Guidance Counselor to go over your grades and high school transcript.
  • Engage in as much extracurricular activities as you can, as it does count a great deal when applying for different colleges. Some of the activities can include: Dancing, Singing, Volunteer work, writing for, or editor of, school newspaper, Drama club, Science club; and community involvement.
  • Research colleges on the internet. You can find a wealth of information as to their curriculum and degrees. Talk to friends who attend different colleges to ascertain how good the college and professors are; the curriculum; campus; and area. Network is much and as often as you can. The more you know about the college, the better prepared you will be.
  • Decide early on if you want to go out of state, or attend a local college. This makes the process of choosing a college easier.
  • Take an SAT course to help you do well on the SATs. Colleges look at your SAT scores in Math and English, as well as your grades and extracurricular activities.
  • If you do not do well on the SATs, you can take them again.
  • Start visiting colleges as early as you can. Visit the lecture halls; dorms; Library; and engage in conversation with students on campus. Ask many questions such as: the workload, the professors, and what activities are held on campus.
  • Aim high, but apply to your local schools as well. Write to or visit all of the campuses and bring home brochures to peruse. Attend college fairs in your area where you can talk one on one with students and other members of the college.
  • You can also obtain information on colleges at your local bookstore. There are hundreds of books available on US colleges, including their rank, and selection process.
  • If your child has never been away, set up a trip to a summer camp. Or set aside a few weeks during the summer so they can take some courses for high school students at a college in your area. This will give them a sense of what college life is like; and of course, what type of courses they may be taking.
     

Additional Resources

Financial Aid Information Site: One-stop shop for anything about college financial aid. Lern how you can quickly and easily get more Financial Aid without having to apply for thousands of scholarships!

Instant College Admission Essay Kit: Admission essay/personal statement writing kit with 33 downloadable templates that can save applicants hundreds of dollars.


 

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