Parenting

4 Steps You NEED To Do When Preparing A High School Student For College

college preparation, how to prepare your teen for college, preparing for college
It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about college. But with my son preparing for his senior high of high school, my wife and I are once again thinking about college applications, scholarships, and whether it’s better to live on or off campus.

We’re in full college prep mode as my son prepares for his senior year of high school.

Since it’s been, ahem, a few years since I’ve gone through this process I couldn’t remember exactly what the timeline was for all the activities needed to ensure my son was on the right path to start his college career.  But I’m slowly pulling it together.  Here are four major pieces:

ACT Exam

Every high school junior at my son’s high school took the ACT during a normal school day in April. I’m not sure if every high school does this during the school year, but April during the junior year is the right time to take the test. This gives time for the results to come back,  for a student to retake it if they didn’t feel they did their best, and get the results to the colleges of choice.

This is exactly what happened to my son. He was disappointed in his first score, and took it again in June. The retry cost us about $80, but it was worth it as he improved his score by 4 points.

College Visits

The summer between the junior and senior years of high school is a perfect time to visit prospective campuses. My wife and I accompanied my son to his first visit this week. Next week we will be visiting the school my wife and I graduated from.

College Admission Applications

September seems to be about the time most colleges start accepting applications for the following school year. We’ll be having our son apply to his top 2 or 3 choices. Although some schools charge just to apply, it’s usually not an exorbitant amount of cash. We want to make sure he gets an acceptance letter to a school he wants to go to, so that we can immediately accept and put in his housing application. The sooner the housing application is completed, the better chance he’ll get the type of room he wants, or gets the roommate request he might ask for.

Financial Aid

College is expensive, so we’ll be looking for any financial aid we can get. Scholarships and grants will be applied for, as well as loans if needed. I told my son that it’s our goal to have him start his adult life with no student loan debt, even if we as parents will pay his loans off after he graduates. It’s a gift I feel strongly about giving my son.

My son’s senior year is going to be quite a ride, and the train is about to leave the station. I want him to enjoy his last year of high school, but at the same time we need to ensure we give his college future the time and attention it deserves.

How about you, Clever Friends, do you have a soon to be college student? What else do we need to worry about as we prepare to send him off to college next year?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

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About the author

Brock Kernin

1 Comment

  • Hey Brock,

    I’d also like to recommend looking at external scholarships for extra funding. There are tons of companies that offer $1000 or more in scholarship money. Usually, the process is writing an essay, answering a few questions. Because there are sooo many external scholarships out there, I recommend your son and anyone else, write 4-5 versions of an essay that can be broadly applied to many different scholarships. Doesn’t take more than a few hours of time to write them, and if you search on various university websites you’ll find big lists of external scholarships to apply for.

    Not many people know about or pursue this route, so it’s not very competitive and chances are decent that you’ll win.

    Shameless plug, but my company offers one for business/finance-focused undergrads: http://www.themortgagereports.com/scholarship

    He’s welcome to apply!

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