Helping High Schoolers Plan for College

Planning for college can conjure many emotions for parents and students alike. For some, it’s excitement. For others, uncertainty, and for many, it’s a mixed bag. No matter where your student stands in the college preparation process, we have a few insights to help them feel confident going into this next season of their life. 

Academic Preparation

Above all else, students go to college to learn. So, one of the best places to start is your student’s academics, which begin in high school. 

First, let your student lead the charge. Taking ownership of their academics now will help prepare them for college. Encourage them to meet with their high school guidance counselor to ensure they’re on track to graduate. They’ll also work with their counselor to organize college application documents— transcripts, letters of recommendation, volunteer opportunities, AP credits, etc.

Once in college, your student must take the initiative to reach out for help when needed. They can leverage on-campus resources like college advisors, professor office hours, campus tutoring opportunities, and more. Practicing these skills in high school is a great way to make that transition a little easier.

Plus, knowing when to ask for help is a valuable skill that will help them throughout their lives and future career!

Financial Preparation

You can’t deny that college is only becoming more expensive as time goes on. So, financial preparation is key.

Start by getting a sense of how much money (if any) you will have to give your student for college. From there, you can have an honest conversation about student loans, scholarships, grants, and ultimately finding a financially feasible college for you and them. 

Emotional Preparation

The transition from high school to college can be emotionally challenging. But there are ways to help your student ease into these changes. 

The first step is visiting your student’s campus. Help them shake off first-day jitters by walking through the buildings where they'll attend classes. Even simple things like finding the bathroom or scoping out the best coffee shop will help them feel more comfortable. 

Another great way to ease into college is by trying new things. Encourage your student to look into the clubs, sports, or extracurricular activities they’re interested in joining. 

Besides doing things they’re excited about, embracing these experiences is a great way for them to meet new people. Building a community that fills their cup will go a long way in helping your student find belonging.

If you’re seeking help in the college preparation process, or want to navigate the financial conversations surrouding college applications with your student, please contact us today. We’re here to help support you during this journey!

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education, and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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