The beginning of high school is the time to start thinking about what you’ll do when you graduate. Whether you are a parent trying to keep on top of planning or a student who is ready to take the initiative, here are important items for students to consider.
Saving for College
If you’ve already started saving for college, great! Keep contributing and ask family members if they’ll do the same on birthdays and holidays. If you haven’t started, it’s not too late. Start saving now, as even saving a few dollars each week can help you pay for college. Remember, every dollar available from savings is a dollar that doesn’t have to be borrowed and repaid later with interest!
Thinking About Your Interests and Skills
So many great career options exist! Think about your interests and explore different careers, education requirements and salaries.
Take the High School Courses Needed for Your Career Interests
Create a tentative course plan to make sure that you enroll in the courses you need for college or a job after high school.
Start Searching for Colleges
When it comes to searching for colleges, there are lots of great choices. The key is to find the college that is right for YOU! Keep in mind what’s important to you beyond your course of study. For example, location, size, financial aid availability and study options may impact whether or not a school is a good fit for you.
Attend College Fairs
Talking with representatives from the colleges you are interested in attending can help you decide if you want to pursue that college further. You might also learn about some schools that weren’t on your radar.
Take Any Required Tests
Be sure to understand what each of the colleges you are interested in require for standardized tests. Not only may certain tests be required for admissions, some colleges use these tests to determine eligibility for merit scholarships. Check with your school counselor for registration information and testing dates.
Attend a Financial Aid Night
Financial Aid Night presentations are held at most high schools. Ask your school counselor when a presentation will be held at your school. Don’t wait until senior year to attend – the more you learn now, the easier it will be when you are a senior and need to apply for financial aid.
Start Searching for Scholarships
Though you won’t typically apply for scholarships until your senior year, you can start searching for scholarships much earlier. Having a list of potential scholarships (and the related application requirements) ready to go early in your senior year will make the application process easier.
Senior Year – Complete Your Admissions Applications
Most admissions applications are on each college’s web site and can be submitted electronically. Keep track of deadlines. Learn about admissions options, such as Early Decision or Early Action.
Senior Year – File Your Financial Aid Applications
Make sure you are ready to apply for financial aid by knowing what the required forms and deadlines are for the colleges that interest you. Track required forms and deadlines. All students should file a FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of their senior year. Be sure you understand what happens after you file the FAFSA, and follow up as necessary.
No matter where you are in life, it’s never too early or too late to establish sound money management practices. Learn more about setting financial goals, creating a budget, saving and investing, and credit-related topics by visiting Money Management.