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When Should You Start Planning for College?

MPj038725100001 When Should You Start Planning for College?It doesn't matter how old you or your child is, there's never a better time to start planning for college than today. I'm certainly not suggesting asking your three-year-old to take the SAT, but you could at least beginning planning for the financial aspect of college while your children are still young.

Educational Savings Plans

The government and various companies now offer educational savings plans. You can receive tax benefits for saving for your child's college even right after your child is born. These savings plans offer a lot of benefits and allow your child the guarantee of being able to go to college. Plus, you'll help keep them out of debt as many students leave college with $20,000-$30,000 in debt.

Sophomore Year

In my opinion, tenth grade is the defining moment in a teen's life. Although they can get away with fooling around freshman year, they can't bring up two years of bad grades as easily as they can one year's bad grades. Starting with the sophomore year, students really have to kick it in gear and begin focusing on their studies. I'm certainly not saying they should never have fun with friends, but their grades from now on will have a huge impact on their GPA and can affect which colleges they can consider.

Also in tenth grade, students should begin exploring career opportunities. If there is a shadowing program at their school, they should be involved in it. They should try to visit with professionals who are successful in their careers. A student's potential career choice will have a lot to do with the schools they visit and finally the school they choose, so you want to encourage them to take the time to explore lots of options.

One other thought on career exploration. If your student can drive now, this may be the time to push them to get an after school or summer job. Even if they are just working retail, at least they'll realize a little more about the consequences of not going to college. Spending three afternoons a week filing papers or working retail is a great way to get interested in college and careers.

Junior Year

During junior year, students should begin taking the ACT and/or SAT. Most students will take these more than once, especially if they are trying to get a scholarship, so encourage your teen to start early. They should also begin narrowing down their school choices and visiting colleges.

Senior Year

Senior year is all about applications. Your child will spend lots of time applying to schools, but convince them to apply to no more than five schools. Any more than that will leave open too many stressful decisions and will require a lot of paperwork. By Christmas, all the paperwork should be finished for both college and scholarship applications. Then, your child will be able to spend most of the Spring semester relaxing and choosing between the schools.

Start Today

The best time to start planning is today. Put together an educational savings plan and help your child develop the basic skills needed to succeed in college. Then, in high school, provide them with the support they need when making some of the biggest decisions of their lives.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Finishing H.S.,Paying for School,Strategies for Success and have Comment (1)

10 Tips On Surviving Freshman Year

1. Orientation activities are a must.
Even though they might make you feel awkward, even though there might seem to be 500 of them, you should go to as many orientations as you possibly can. Remember, most of the other people attending them feel just as awkward. Lean over to one of them and ask: "Haven’t we already been to 500 of these things?" You might make a friend for life, or at least for dinner. In addition to the opportunity to begin meeting your classmates, orientation activities also provide useful information about the school, its campus, its activities, and its policies.

2. Meet as many people as you can.
Beginning with your new roommate, take the time to get to know the people around you. Although some students show up to college with friends from their high school, for most people, this is not the case. You’re all in the same boat. Take that boat to dinner together, to campus social events, etc. Making friends with those around you will help ease you into the atmosphere of college.

3. Go to all of your classes.
After 500 plus orientation activities, the start of classes might seem like a brutal slap in the face. Or maybe you’ll realize that nobody is going to give you detention if you skip, so you start skipping. Whatever reasons you have for cutting class, they’re bad. Learning is really what college is for. Don’t deprive yourself of it.

4. Do your homework when it’s assigned.
Again, the freedom of college can be intoxicating, but don’t become so infused with it that you begin blowing your work off. Like skipping classes, procrastinating on your homework has toxic consequences for your grades.

5. Learn time management skills.
You might not believe it at first, but going to all of your classes and doing all of your homework does not equal having no free time. Once you get your course schedule, you should look at where you have blocks of free time. You should dedicate some of those to studying intently, so that you have time for other things. Don’t spend freshman year with something always hanging over your head. It’s a bad precedent to start.

6. Get involved in extracurricular activities.
With your time management skills, you should be able to handle at least one activity outside of classes that excites you.

7. Make sure you eat.
And make sure you eat right. Cap’n Crunch is delicious, agreed, but it is not a breakfast, lunch, and dinner option. Eat a vegetable occasionally, and try not to get too addicted to caffeine.

8. Make sure you sleep.
Which you’ll be able to do, if you don’t become a Starbucks junkie, which you won’t have to, because of your time management skills.

9. Get some exercise.
Even if it’s just going for a walk. The fresh air is good for your mind and body.

10. Make time to have pure, unadulterated fun even after the start of classes.

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posted by EDUwithPassion in Education and have No Comments
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