College Preparation Advice

Dear Parent,

June is here and we’re about to embark on the beginning of summer.  High school seniors are just coming out of the haze of prom night and are now preparing for graduation.  June is also the busiest wedding month.  Couples all around the country are moving from one chapter in their lives to the next.  June is the season for endings and beginnings. For most folks, this is the best time of year.  This is the time to clean up the grill and get it ready for all the family get-togethers.  If you’re near the water, you may be planning beach trips with the family.  Or, if you’re looking for more adventure, you may want to pack up all of your gear to head out into the wilderness to get in some quality camping time.  If you are excited by the outdoors, summer is the time to be out doing all things outside.   The summer season is a respite from the winter and it’s also a time to energize yourself in preparation for the fall.

Depending on which stage your student is at they could be graduating or heading onto the next year of high school.  Regardless of which stage, there are things to do to assist in the preparation process.  There are many tasks to accomplish and sometimes parents just don’t know how to start the process.  The College Planning Network is the place to start if you have any questions at all regarding how the process works.  We know that getting your child into college is no small task nowadays and parents can use all the help they can in order to reach this goal.  Look below to the category in which your child falls to find the best tips to help get your student on the right track to college this month!

FRESHMAN YEAR

If your child is in their freshman year, they are probably about to wrap up their first year in high school!  This is a big deal.  If your child is an entering freshman, also look at these tips to help your 8th grader prepare for this important step into high school.  If you are one to think that it may be too early to start college preparations for a high school freshman, you’d be wrong.  There are many things you can do to help your child along the way towards this very important goal.  You want to be a guide during the process all the while providing a way for your child to feel confident about each academic milestone.  Every step taken now will only firm the foundation for their future academic aspirations.

  • Enroll in your incoming high school freshman in summer orientation program

If your area has a program that provides an overview of what to expect during freshman year then this would be a great resource for your child.  This will help your child to become familiar with what to expect from being in high school and what is expected from him/her.

  • Become familiar with college entrance requirements

There are many factors that colleges take into consideration when evaluating a student’s eligibility for enrollment in their institution.  Grades are very important, in addition to standardized tests.  The national exams that are assessed are SAT’s and ACT’s.  Make sure your child understands that all grades will now be reflected on his/her high school transcript.

  • Plan to take challenging high school courses

With summer approaching, you’ll want to look forward to the next year in terms of class schedule.  When helping your child to determine his/her class schedule, make sure s/he enrolls in courses that are challenging but not beyond their ability to excel.

  • Think about reasons for attending college

High school is an opportunity for learning and growth in addition to preparing for college.  It is during this time that your child may discover interests or will continue to develop talents and skills s/he already may possess.  What might your student want to study in college?  Start the discussion now because it may be several years before s/he might know!

  • It’s never too early to get your financial plan together

Protect the money you’ve saved.  If you have money saved outside of your company’s retirement plan, talk to your College Funding Advisor about repositioning those assets into accounts that are not exposed to the financial aid formulas.

SOPHOMORE YEAR

If your child will be entering their sophomore year, s/he is in a good position.  S/he already has one year of high school under their belt and only three more to go!  Making it through the first year can be a confidence builder so be sure to congratulate your child on successfully navigating that important transitional year. 

  • Plan now for wise use of the summer

Summer goes by quickly and can be swallowed up by many activities.  Choosing wisely beforehand how your child would like to use this precious time will allow for a fun and productive summer vacation.

  • Have your child consider a summer job

A summer job has many benefits.  Even if a job is only babysitting in your neighborhood it can foster traits of responsibility and discipline.  Whatever the job, your child can use the opportunity to learn and grow in a structured environment.

  • Have your child take the SAT Subject Tests

If your child registered for these tests in April, June is the month to take the tests.  The tests cover five general subject areas including English, History, Mathematics, Science and Languages.  Many colleges use the Subject Tests for admissions and also use it to advise students about which courses to consider.

  • Have your child volunteer

Volunteering is terrific way for your child to contribute to his/her community and all they while s/he is adding to his/her resume and college application data.  Volunteering is always a win-win situation for all involved.  Colleges really like to see community involvement.

  • Protect your money!

You’ve worked hard for your money.  Protect that money by talking to your College Funding Advisor about keeping those dollars out-of-sight from the financial aid formulas.

JUNIOR YEAR

If your child will be entering junior year, the ball is rolling!  S/he is fully accustomed to high school and all the rigors involved.  Things will continue to gain momentum during this year and the next.  See below for some tasks to check off during the process.

  • After school ends, consider taking a road trip to visit colleges

This trip doesn’t have to be too serious.  This might be a nice way to casually visit some college campuses that your child has expressed some interest in.  Things will begin to quiet down on the campuses so this is a good time to go when the activity is low.

  • Have your child get a summer job

If your child has already expressed an interest in a particular discipline or certain area, this could be a good time to see if there are any opportunities within that arena.  Does your child like the arts?  Maybe s/he could get a job ushering at a local theatre?  Whichever the interest, be creative in trying to find a good fit for both your child and the employer.

  • Have your child take the SAT Reasoning Test, the SAT Subject Tests and/or the ACT

Summer is a good time to get these tests out of the way.  There isn’t the pull of homework and your child is just coming out of school so s/he isn’t completely in summer vacation swing just yet!

  • Get your financial game plan in place!

Guard the money you’ve worked so hard to put away.  You want to protect what you’ve saved for your child.  Perhaps you have money either in mutual funds, bonds, stocks, or CDs.  Those funds are typically calculated against you in the financial aid formulas.  However, by working with your College Funding Advisor, there may be ways of moving those funds to accounts that won’t be held against you when you’re applying for aid.

SENIOR YEAR

If your child is about to enter his/her senior year, this is a critical time.  If your child is about to end his/her senior year, congratulations!!  Look below for some ideas that will assist you along the way.

  • Have your child guidance counselor send your final transcript to the college your child is attending

As your child completes his/her final year of high school, it’s important that these last grades get forwarded to the school of his/her choice.

  • Keep track of when tuition, room and board and meal plan payments are due

Find out when payments are due for the above-mentioned college expenses.  Talk to your College Funding Advisor about developing a plan to pay for all of these costs in the most efficient way possible.

  • Keep reading!

Enjoy the summer but balance it with some fun and interesting reading.  Help your child to keep his/her mind sharp and his/her skills honed in preparation for college in the fall.

  • Keep your money safe from Financial Aid Formulas!

A College Funding Advisor is there to help protect the money you’ve worked so hard to put away for this important occasion.

 

Enjoy the summer but don’t forget to keep your eye focused on the goal of getting your child into college.  We know very well the time and energy it takes to accomplish this important task.  Let us help you along the way.  The College Planning Network specializes in helping families toward the goal of college attendance AND determining the best strategies to send your children to college without going broke in the process!  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have and we hope to hear from you soon!  Until next month…

Best wishes,

Michael Budnick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Budnick
College Tuition Advice

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