Do you have a high school senior in your life who’s getting ready to go off to college? Preparing for college, while exciting, can be an overwhelming prospect.
This comprehensive guide will help you and your student navigate the complicated process of preparing for college and make sure they’re fully prepared when it comes time to leave home.
Research potential colleges and universities
It’s important to research potential colleges and universities early, so your student can get an idea of what their options are. Have them start by making a list of the types of schools they want to consider: public or private; large or small; urban, suburban or rural; in-state or out-of-state; etc.
Then have them research each college or university’s admission requirements, program offerings, tuition and fees, campus life, etc. so they can narrow down their list to the best-fitting schools. If they currently attend a college preparatory high school, they may also offer college tours and college fairs, so be sure to take advantage of those resources.
Decide on a major
Choosing a college major can be difficult – but it doesn’t have to be! Encourage your student to explore different majors and courses of interest, talk to current college students, college professors, and college counselors, and participate in college prep workshops.
These activities will help your student gain a better understanding of college-level courses and what it takes to succeed in each field. It’s also important to research job market trends so they know which majors are most likely to lead to successful careers.
Prepare for the SAT or ACT
Your student will most likely need to take either the SAT or ACT before they apply to college. It’s important to begin studying for these tests early, so your student can familiarize themselves with the content and format of the exams.
Encourage them to look into online resources and tutoring services that can provide them with practice tests, study guides, and test-taking strategies. It’s also a good idea to have them take any available prep courses or classes offered by their high school or local college.
Apply for scholarships and grants
Scholarships and grants are a great way for your student to help pay for college and reduce their financial burden. Encourage your student to research the various scholarships and grants available in your region, as well as national and international organizations that offer financial aid for college.
They should also take advantage of any school-specific scholarships or grants offered by the colleges they’re interested in attending.
Creating a budget is an important step in preparing for college. Explain to your student the importance of budgeting and show them how to track their income, expenses and investments. Have them calculate their expected tuition costs, living expenses, books and supplies, transportation costs, etc., so they can figure out exactly how much money they’ll need each month to pay for college.
It’s also important to make sure they understand the basics of credit and how it can affect their financial future, so they know how to manage their finances responsibly.
Emotionally prepare yourself
The transition from high school to college can be difficult, both emotionally and mentally. Make sure your student is aware of the common challenges they may face, such as homesickness and adjusting to a new environment.
Encourage them to stay in touch with friends and family back home, set aside time for self-care, and find support networks on campus or online. Remind them that while college can be overwhelming at times, it is also an exciting opportunity to make new friends, explore their interests, and gain skills that will help them succeed in their professional life.
Do you have any other questions or concerns about preparing for college? If so, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.