How to Start Planning for College
The Modern Parent’s Guide to Planning for College
Higher education is an important investment – one that can pay off in higher earnings and provide opportunities for career advancement. But planning for college has posed new challenges since the pandemic.
According to The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.1 And those are just the sticker prices – the actual cost after financial aid is taken into account can be lower.
Since the pandemic, tuition prices have continued to increase with inflation, while admission rates decrease.
With such a large financial investment at stake, it’s important to start planning early so you can make informed decisions about how to gain admissions and pay for college. This guide will give you an overview of what you need to do to get started on the college planning process.
Why Start Early When Planning for College?
There are many reasons why you should start planning for college as soon as possible. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to research your options, decide what you want to study, and find the right school for you.
There are a few key things that you should keep in mind when you are planning for college:
Consider the Total Cost of College Attendance
The cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, and board) at different colleges can vary widely, so it is important to find a school that is affordable for you.
Research for the Best Match when Planning for College
Your major or area of study can also affect the cost of attendance. If you know what you want to study, research the schools that offer the best program for your major.
Plan As Early As Possible for the College Application Process
The admissions process can be competitive, so it is important to start early and give yourself plenty of time to prepare your applications.
Know Specific College Admissions Requirements
You may need to take additional courses or exams (like the SAT or ACT) to be eligible for admission to some colleges. Check with your academic coach or college admissions offices to see what requirements apply to you.
If you start planning early, you will be on your way to a successful college experience!
When to Start Planning for College?
There is no single answer to the question of when to start planning for college. The important thing is to start early and stay on track.
The earlier you start, the more time you will have to research your options, visit campuses, and take care of other important details. Starting early also means you can take your time and make sure you are making the best decision for yourself.
Some students start planning for college as early as middle school. If you are in high school, you should begin thinking about your plans as soon as possible. You should start by researching colleges and universities that interest you and find out more about their admission requirements.
You can also begin taking steps to improve your chances of getting into the school of your choice. For example, you can take challenging coursework, get involved in extracurricular activities, and volunteer in your community. These activities will not only make you a more competitive candidate for college but will also help you explore your interests and develop new skills.
If you have not started planning for college yet, do not worry – it is never too late to get started. The most important thing is to begin taking steps towards your goal so that you can be one step closer to achieving it.
How to Start Planning for College?
There is no one answer to this question since every student’s situation is different. However, there are some general pieces of advice that can help any student get started on planning for college.
Which Type of College Matches Career Aptitude?
Some of the first things to consider are what type of college you want to attend and how you will pay for it. There are many different types of colleges, from small liberal arts schools to large universities, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
How Much is Location a Factor in College Choice?
You should also look into whether you want to stay close to home or go out of state for school. Commutes can be expensive, and moving from a warm-weather area to a cold-weather area can be shocking.
How Selective is Your College of Choice?
Another important factor to consider is whether you want to attend a public or private college. Private colleges tend to be more expensive and selective, but they also tend to have smaller class sizes and more personal attention from professors.
Once you have a general idea of the type of school you want to attend, you can start looking into specific colleges that fit your criteria. Request information packets from the schools you are interested in and start touring campuses. When you narrow down your list of schools, be sure to fill out and submit your applications on time.
The college planning process can seem daunting, but taking it one step at a time will make it much easier. Be sure to ask for help from your parents, teachers, or guidance counselors if you need it.
Get College Ready with Student Success Program
There’s a lot to do before you head off to college. But don’t worry – if you take it one step at a time, you’ll be ready before you know it.
The most important thing is to start planning early. That way, you can make sure you’re taking the right classes, doing well in school, and staying on track for graduation.
Once you have a plan, it’s important to stick to it. Make sure you stay organized and keep track of your deadlines. And if you ever feel like you’re falling behind, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are plenty of people who want to see you succeed – including your family, friends, teachers, and counselors.
So what are you waiting for? Get started on your college planning today!
Learn about our Momentum for Life Student Success Program.