College Planning for Your High Schooler

While taxes are foremost on our minds right now, it is time to also take “action” on preparing for your high school child’s college and educational future. This can certainly be a daunting task, but timely preparation and attention will definitely help reduce the stress levels and ensure your final decisions are the right ones for your child.

Freshman Year
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 retirement plans, talk to your College Funding Advisor about strategies to protect those assets from the financial aid formulas.

Sophomore Year
This is a great time of year for sophomores to research volunteer opportunities and colleges. Talk with your teenager about cause(s) that they are passionate about and encourage them to volunteer, especially during the summer months when are not juggling homework. Also, use the springtime to plan some college visits over the summer. The tours don’t have to interfere with work or planned vacations, but perhaps could be a quick weekend or day trip.

Junior Year
If your child is in the junior year of high school, as hard as it may be to believe, she/he is beginning the home stretch to college!
– Register for the SAT Reasoning Test: If your child has already completed the math courses in the SAT Reasoning Test then go ahead and register for this exam. If not, then definitely plan to take the test in May or June. Prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT.
– Gather college information: Now is a great time to start requesting information from schools of interest.

Senior Year
This is certainly an extremely busy year for your child, so it’s important to stay organized about all of the tasks that need to be attended to.
– Complete the FAFSA and review your child’s SAR: If you have already completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), then you should receive your child’s SAR (Student Aid Report) shortly thereafter.
– Stay positive and take care of yourselves! Kids and parents can get burned out with the overwhelming task of completing the necessary requirements to get into college. Take time to see the forest for the trees, and enjoy this final year of high school together.

College planning tips and information courtesy of www.firstcollegefunding.com.

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