If you’re a parent, you know that eventually, your babies will grow up. While it seems like only yesterday they were toddlers, it’s almost time to send them to college. Helping your children get ready for college can be confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before. The following points will help you figure out how to help your kids apply for colleges.
Form a Financial Plan
Once your children have a college in mind, the first step is to form a financial plan. It’s no secret that college is an expensive investment. Before you start sending in final information, sit down with your child and figure out how you’re going to be paying for school before they start to apply for colleges. If you have a college account that you’ve been saving up, now is the time to start putting it to use. The summer before school starts, it may be wise for your child to get a job to start padding their own savings account.
If you’re going to need financial aid, there’s no need to be ashamed. Because college is so expensive, almost everyone who attends uses some form of financial aid. Some of the common forms of aid are student loans, scholarships, and grants. With a student loan, your student will receive the money to cover tuition costs and will start repaying after graduation. Scholarships and grants are earned by either academic merit or financial eligibility, so it’s essential to apply for those early. Forming a financial plan should be one of the first steps you and your child take toward college.
Send In Necessary Information
Once you know how you’ll be paying for college, it’s time to start sending in the information the university needs. This will mainly be done through the admissions office, but there could be some third parties involved to apply for colleges. In the months leading up to your child’s first day, the college will need information such as high school transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, work history, and so on. Each of these documents has a deadline, so it’s important to get them in quickly and efficiently.
Because of the rush of deadlines this information has, it may help you to have a dedicated calendar specifically for college admissions. Using a shared online calendar like Google Calendar or Apple Calendar will help you and your child stay on the same page for admissions, allowing you to make sure nothing gets forgotten in the busyness of life. The few months before college starts can be incredibly busy, so staying organized is crucial to both success and stress management. By sending in any necessary information to schools quickly and well-organized, you can keep both your and your child’s stress level down as they apply for colleges.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Finally, it’s important to set healthy boundaries for you and your student during this time. While it may be hard for you to send them to college, you mustn’t do everything for them. Your child is learning how to be an adult, and meeting their own deadlines is just one aspect of that. As their parent, you should be encouraging and supportive, but make sure you aren’t taking on their responsibilities. Going to college is one of the rites of passage into adulthood, and your child might mess up. Help them figure things out, but don’t erase the lessons they need to learn.
One way to set these boundaries is by encouraging your teen to make decisions for their own future. If your student isn’t doing something they’re interested in, they’re far less likely to succeed. When you encourage them to follow their interests and then help from the sidelines, you can have healthy boundaries with your teen.
Overall, this is a wonderful time for both you and your child. By staying organized and planning ahead, both of you can minimize stress and nerves as the first day approaches.