With Independence Day last week, it is a great time to reflect on what makes our country and families strong. Like independence and freedom from constraints, freedom to make the best decisions possible regarding your future and freedom from unnecessary debt. Here are some tips from CFAST to consider:
FRESHMAN & SOPHOMORE YEARS
Have a discussion with your student about paying for college.
Getting your student into college and paying for it certainly does not have to rest on your shoulders alone. You may be surprised to discover that your student may have some ideas on what s/he can do to contribute to the costs of college. If you take the time to sit down and discuss different options it can be quite an enlightening experience for all of you. Most importantly, to review some different strategies on paying for college in the most efficient way possible.
Have your student participate in extra-curricular activities.
Find extracurricular activities that fit your student’s interests. Sometimes work involved in participation can be fun.
Be aware of the NCAA requirements.
If your student plays sports and has the desire to continue in college, it’s a good idea to keep on top of what the requirements for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). That way they will not miss out on opportunities later.
Protect your money!
With the onset of the FAFSA filing earlier, you will want to make sure that you protect your money from college formulas by talking to CFAST.
Make sure your transcript is strong
Junior year is the most important academic year that colleges will see on your application. Take challenging courses to show colleges you handle the work load.
Investigate part-time jobs or apprenticeships in your area
Has your student exhibited interests in a particular area already? Maybe an apprenticeship or internship is in order for this summer and possibly into the fall. Research your area for companies that offer such opportunities and find out if your student can job shadow someone or apply for an apprenticeship or internship.
Start scouting out scholarship opportunities
It’s a good time to start researching scholarship opportunities for your student. When you are aware ahead of time what the requirements are for a particular area you can guide your student in that direction to be certain you are fulfilling all of the eligibility requirements.
Start a college comparison worksheet
This is a great way to see all at once the pros and cons for each college your student is applying to and is considering attending. Be sure to list things like: location, size, environment, admission requirements, academics, expenses, financial aid, housing, etc. This way you have an at-a-glance worksheet that will allow you to keep on top of all of the requirements.
Refine the list of potential colleges
This is the application year so start to pare down the list of colleges to ones that your student is seriously considering.
Begin the application process
Your student can already begin the application process by drafting essays, collecting writing samples or assembling a portfolio or audition tapes. If your student is an athlete, contact the coaches at the schools your student is considering and ask about scholarships and the programs.
Plan a campus tour
Make an appointment with a college campus to view and visit a campus. You can make this a part of a family summer vacation. Get input from the whole family about each visit.
Have your student get summer employment
A summer job is an excellent way to save money and hone useful skills like responsibility and discipline. Having your student work through the summer and saving some of the earnings for college is something s/he will appreciate for years to come.
Before we know it, summer will be gone! If you plan wisely, there are a lot of things that you can accomplish without having to sacrifice family fun. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to , we want to make your college-planning process simple and worry-free.