Preparing for College

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My son recently turned 16 and got his drivers license. Eek! Another milestone in his life and one step closer to him growing up and going off to college! Eek! Eek! This momma isn’t prepared for that at all! Okay, so I am a little prepared but not like I would prefer to be! Preparing for College is so daunting. But recently on the Today Show there was a segment by the author of College Admission 101: Simple Answers to Tough Questions about College Admissions and Financial Aid.I watched intently and within minutes of it being over I received a text from my parents suggesting I purchase this book! I did. 

Now that he is finishing up his sophomore year I find myself behind the eight-ball in the category of being prepared for him to go off to college. I mean preparing for college also means you are preparing for your baby to leave your nest. Sniff sniff. Fortunately, he goes to a school that has an excellent college counseling team with a customized program to help kids, and their parents, navigate through the admission and college selection process. I am so thankful for this team, but I find myself a little lost because it is so very different from when I was looking at colleges more than 20 years ago! Dang I am old! 

I have been working my way through this book trying not to overwhelm myself and get in a tizzy.  So far what I have read has been pretty helpful. Laid out in small chapters College Admission 101 has answered a lot of questions that I have had, that honestly I have been too embarrassed to ask. I feel like I should know some of this information but applying to and selecting a college was a lot different for me than it is for my son. Yes, you could probably look up most of this information with a Google search as the subject matter comes up in your college admissions journey. But having it in one concise, organized place has been very helpful for me when I need to refer back to something. 

In one of the chapters the author references another title that I have also purchased, Paying for College, 2019 Edition: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford CollegeAlthough I have not started this book yet, I anticipate it being an additional resource guide to help me navigate through those uncharted waters as we are preparing for college.

Not only is the college admission process hard for your kids but it is also hard on parents. One tip recently presented to me at a College Colloquium night I attended at our school was from an admissions officer at the University of Southern California. He suggested that you only talk about college one day a week. Pick the day and stick to it. Your kids are just as nervous as you are about college admissions and they don’t need their parents constantly nagging them about it. I thought this was really great advice because I have been guilty of overly discussing things before. 

Several of my friends have already gone through the admissions and financial aid process with their kids. When I ask them about how I can better prepare myself for saving for college and paying for it I usually get one of two responses, “save as much money as you can, but it will never be enough money to cover what the actual costs are going to be” and “filling out the FASFA is horrible, brace yourself.” Helpful. But not helpful. I anticipate that the Paying for College, 2019 Edition will provide a little more insight. The reviews are pretty positive with one mentioning that the book helps walk you through filling out the FASFA to your best advantage without breaking the law. That pretty much sold me on it. 

So as we countdown the days until my son makes his college decision, under 800 days if you are wondering (yes I have a countdown for this), I hope that you too can use any tips and advice I have found useful.  Preparing for college can be a fun, exciting time but it can also be one that is dauting to people like me who like to have a solid understanding of the entire process! Who am I kidding, I will be crying like a baby for the next 1000 days before he goes off to school. Please send Kleenex and wine! 

1 thought on “Preparing for College

  1. Oh Rachel I surely know how you feel! This will be my 3rd go at this very soon. You are doing amazing bc you are being proactive. The FAFSA isn’t that bad at all. In fact, I have to fill out my girls’ tonight (deadline). Definitely check into as many scholarship’s as possible. There’s some crazy ones out there. Ha If any young mom’s are out there reading this I’d recommend to start saving now. Even with my girls as athletes I couldn’t count on 100% scholarships. My hubby started saving money when I was pregnant for our first. It doesn’t have to be much to start but to do it consistently- it will grow when invested. Thank for this article. I want to read it soon.

    Enjoy the 1000 days with your son! You’re a great mom and those college years will be special for both of you!

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