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What Every Parent With a High School Senior Needs to Know About Preparing For College

 

You can hardly believe it. Your “baby” is a high school senior, and will be going to college soon! This is a huge milestone, and you likely have a lot on your mind. Whether you need tips on saving for college, suggestions for how to make your child’s senior year successful, or just need to know more about college prep in general, here are some suggestions that could prove helpful.
10.  Encourage Your Child to Participate in After-School Activities– When your senior takes a leadership role at school, this can reflect well on his/her records and increase the chances of scholarships.
9.  Meet With the School Counselor- Sit down with your child’s school counselor to talk about going to college in detail. Make sure that your child is on track for graduation and will have all graduation requirements completed on time.
8.  Register For Standardized Tests-Make sure your high school senior registers for all standardized tests as early as possible. These scores are needed for college admission and scholarship eligibility.
7.  Ask For Documents to Be Submitted Early– During the fall, meet with the necessary faculty members at your child’s school and request that all transcripts and test scores be sent to the college(s) your child has applied to. Making sure you meet application deadlines is a must!
6.  Submit Your FAFSA– According to Studentaid.ed.gov, your child should submit his/her Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as early as possible after January 1 of senior year. This is also a good time to submit any other financial aid applications you have. This provides enough time for the applications to be processed, so you’ll know what type of aid your child is eligible for well ahead of time.
5.  Enroll Your Senior In College Courses While In High School– A huge part of college prep is becoming familiar with the workload and advanced material that comes with college classes. Expose your senior to this early by enrolling him/her in college courses at your local community college. The courses are more affordable than ones your child would take at a four-year school, and gives them a taste of college life while providing them with credits that will help lighten their course load a bit for freshman year.
4.  Know What to Pack- While you’re preparing your child academically for college, don’t forget that they’re also moving away from home for the first time. Make sure your child has linens, washcloths and towels. It may also be helpful to pack a measuring cup and small pots and pans if the dorm has a kitchen area. Don’t forget that your soon-to-be college student will also need business casual attire for interviews and class presentations.
3.  Search Everywhere For Scholarships– Ask your child’s teacher about available scholarships. If you child plays sports or is in the choir or band, ask about scholarships that are offered for these activities. There are also scholarships specifically for female students and/or students of color. Sit down with your high school senior and search online for scholarships he/she is eligible for. Turn in scholarship applications all throughout the year to increase your chances of getting even more financial aid for school.
2.  Start Visiting Colleges– One of the best ways to help your child narrow down his/her college choice is to visit a few campuses. Set up a tour or two so your senior can get a feel for college life and determine which campus would be the best fit. Urge your child to consider his/her future career goals seriously before making a decision.
1.  Be Sure Your Child Knows “The Basics” -College is a very exciting time for your child–even though you’re probably extremely nervous. Be sure to have a candid conversation with your child about the challenges of college life. You’ll have to talk about excessive drinking, hanging out with the wrong people, safe sex and work/life balance. Be open and honest with your child (who is almost an adult), so that he/she will feel comfortable telling you about the emotional roller coaster that is college.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful. Do you know another parent who is preparing to send a student off to college? Share these helpful tips on social media to help ease another mother or father’s mind.

Happy college planning!