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High School Classes
Financial Aid Basics
Writing the Essay for College and Scholarship Applications
The Military as an Option for Your Child

Getting Started on the Path to College
Attending college is an opportunity for your child to increase their skills and abilities to better prepare them for their future career. Any training completed after high school increases the amount of money your child could make. Having a bachelor’s degree (approximately four years of college) can double the amount of money your child can earn in their lifetime.

Girl with books in the librarySometimes, even as a senior in high school, it is hard for your child to decide what they’d like to study in college, but you can help them begin by looking at the things that they are good at. Ask them some self-examination questions: Do you like to analyze things in great detail? Do you like to work with people or by yourself? What subjects do you like in school? What are you passionate about? The high school counselor may have an aptitude and skills test that your child can take to help them figure out what it is they would enjoy doing as well as highlight the skills that are helpful to for specific careers.

Here are some tips to help your child prepare for college while he or she is in high school.

Junior Year-Fall

  • Talk to your child about what they’d like to major in (a major is the topic or primary focus of study in college).
  • Attend college fairs with your child. Meet with college representatives.
  • Make a list of colleges that you and your child are interested in. Request their admissions and financial aid information.
  • Be sure that your child takes the PSAT to prepare for college admissions tests and to establish eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship.
  • Talk to the high school guidance counselor about your child’s PSAT scores and the classes they are taking.

Junior Year – Spring

  • Be sure that your child takes the SAT or ACT test.
  • Talk with your child to narrow the list of college choices and make plans to visit the campuses.
  • Encourage your child to participate in job shadowing with a professional in their selected career field.

Senior Year – Fall

  • Request admissions and financial aid forms from colleges.
  • Begin watching for scholarship opportunities. Be aware of application deadlines.
  • If your child’s high school offers college prep courses, check to be sure that they meet your college’s requirements.
  • Have your child take the SAT or ACT again, if they want to try to improve their score. Remember that most colleges only consider the highest score.
  • Work with your child to ask their teachers to write letters of recommendation, which may be needed for scholarship applications.

Senior Year – Spring

  • Complete the FAFSA ( Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible after January.
  • After receiving letters of acceptance and financial aid awards, help your child decide which college they will attend.
  • Accept in writing the college’s offer by the deadline and decline offers received from other schools.
  • Review the financial aid package with your child. Be sure you understand each type of aid offered.
  • Sign the financial aid award letter and return it by the deadline.



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