When to Begin Planning for College

It is never too early to discuss college with your child. Talk about the importance, the fun, the independence and the stimulating environment of college life from an early age and throughout adolescence. Chances are it will be something your child will really look forward to the earlier these discussions begin. College planning also begins early. If your child has a desire to attend college, make certain they receive good counseling advice in high school. High school advisers and counselors can be very helpful to both the parent and the student with college planning. Many universities require specific high school courses when applying to them so be sure you know what these are as soon as your teen enters high school. 

There are a number of great web sites that will help you sift through all the informationabout cost, location, size, and admission requirements for hundreds of colleges. Begin looking at the different colleges your child maybe interested in attending to familiarize yourself with them. Encourage your child to do the same. There is an abundance amount of information on the Internet about everything related to college. It is a good idea to begin educating yourself about the different areas of interest with college. Once your teen has decided on a few colleges he or she would like to attend, take a trip and visit the campuses. Speak with a counselor at the financial aid office. Meet with an academic adviser to obtain information. This is also a good time to attend any orientations the colleges offer for prospective students. It is best to do this before spending four or more years on a campus. You can use a summer family vacation to go visit a few campuses. This way you will have the time to also visit the city and surrounding area to get a better feel if it will be a good match or not.  

Having a good grade point average is very important in order to get into various universities. This really starts in high school. Encourage your teen to maintain strong grades during his or her high school years. When your child is in middle school is a good time to look into the classes he or she should take in high school. Many classes can be doubled as college credit and can be very beneficial. Get with the counselor at the high school as early as your teens junior year to discuss the possibilities of scholarships as well as financial aid. Encourage your teen to save a portion of the money they earn with a part-time job for some of their college expense. Parents should begin to save for college expense as early on as possible.