Standardized Test Prep
If the college bound student has not yet taken a standardized test, this should be done as soon as possible. Completing the ACT and/or SAT will help the family understand the potential colleges they should consider. Perhaps your student hit a ‘homerun’ the first time they took the ACT. This will alleviate much of the stress of trying for higher scores when engaged in the college selection process. If the score is not what a student would have hoped, do not worry, a student can take the exam as many times as they wish. Perhaps purchasing some test prep booklets, using an online test preparation course or even working with a tutor would benefit the student to raise their score.
College Fairs and Reps
The time is here for a student to actively engage in the college selection process. This can be done by talking to college admission representatives. Your high school junior should personally converse with as many colleges as they can in order to gain a proper perspective on the types of schools and their offerings. Students can do this when admission representatives come to their high school to 'recruit' students or by seeking out a local college fair.
If you have not already stepped foot on a college campus, perhaps now is the time to plan a visit. As I have stated in a previous blog post (4/8/13 blog post), this is a great way to see if your student is the proper fit for a campus. Is it a very active campus? Intellectual campus? Athletic campus? Does the culture of the campus fit with the personality of your student? Researching online, reading brochures and talking with college admission representatives cannot replace the unique 'feel' of each campus. Walk the quad, eat lunch in the dining hall and sit in on a freshmen level course to answer these potential questions.Bank Accounts
Begin to examine your financial accounts to determine the amount that can be used to pay for college. Consider how much has been earned in a college saving program and how far that will stretch. Will this be able to pay for four years at a university or will loans have to be considered? Perhaps the time is now to begin searching for scholarships. If nothing else, shift as much money as possible out of the college bound student's name by the end of the calendar year, the first semester of junior year. This is because when filling out financial aid forms, including the government's form (2/4/13 blog post) fall of senior year, you will use the previous year's tax returns. Thus, the student's financial situation will be required and these forms assume that money in the student's name will be used for college. This will then lower the amount of your financial aid package.
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