As the number of high school years wane for your student, preparation for the next step should be picking up. Use these checklists to help your child plan for college.
Tip: Incorporate campus visits with other trips to see campuses further from home. Mix a few formal visit days with more informal walks through other campuses.
Tip: Search for the college name and “net price calculator” in your internet browser.
Tip: High school sophomores may take the PSAT10 to get a baseline score for the PSAT given to juniors. Use the results to prepare for the PSAT. Each states highest scorers on the PSAT qualify for significant merit scholarships from some colleges.
Tip: Help your child understand how salary is connected to the cost to earn a degree: Students should plan to take on no more college debt than they can expect to earn their first year after college.
Tip: News podcasts are often appealing to high school students and you can listen together during daily commutes.
Tip: Rather than being involved marginally in a lot of activities, encourage your child to become more deeply involved in a limited number of the activities he or she likes most.
Tip: Many high schools offer opportunities for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or dual enrollment classes that may allow your student to earn college credit during high school.
Tip: Help your student understand what your family may contribute to college costs and how that impacts the schools your student considers.
Tip: Some students perform better on the ACT, while others score higher on the SAT. Colleges accept either test, so use scores from practice tests and first sittings to help your student decide whether to take only one or both tests.
Tip: Some families get more out of scheduled visit days that cater to juniors; others prefer individual visits designed around their students needs. Try a couple of each type early on to help focus later visits to the most desirable colleges.
Tip: Many colleges apply merit aid, or scholarships awarded based on academic merit, to reduce awarded financial aid, allowing your student to take out fewer loans.
Tip: A composition, language or English teacher may be willing to work with your student to perfect writing.
Tip: Show your student how professionals use action words, short phrases and descriptions of results to create their resumes. These strategies will help your student prepare to fill in limited-character online college application forms.
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