31 Jan

4 Get-Ready-for-College New Years Resolutions

1. I will not be intimidated by the college planning process.

Students aren’t the only ones who feel overwhelmed by applying to college, obtaining financial aid, and all the steps in between: many parents are intimidated by the lengthy and confusing process as well.

This year, resolve not to be intimidated. Instead, lay out a plan for how you and your child will tackle the process. Make time for research, college visits, applications, financial aid prep (especially applying for the FAFSA), and discussions about the final big decision. Then break it down and take on only one project at a time–remember inch by inch it’s a cinch!

2. I will file the FAFSA–ASAP.

The FAFSA–or Free Application for Federal Student Aid–becomes available on January 1st of each year. Many federal and school funds are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, so the sooner you and your student apply, potentially the greater his or her chances of getting a good aid package.

(Hint: This will be even easier if you’ve already prepared for the FAFSA in advance.)

3. I will teach my child about money.

The time to teach your child about finances is now–no matter how your old child is. Even if your child is young, you can start teaching the basics of budgeting, so he or she will be prepared to take on more and more financial responsibility.

As your child gets the hang of the basics, you can start teaching him or her about more complex issues like choosing and using a credit card, maintaining a good credit score, and how to tackle bills and help contribute to college costs.

4. I will stay positive.

The path to–and through–your student’s college years will be filled with ups and downs. From overwhelming application requirements to disappointing college rejections, better-than-anticipated aid awards to that first “A” (or “D”) grade in a college course, you and your student will go through a lot together.

One of your most important jobs as a parent during these next few years will be to stay positive. Making the transition from high school to college (and onward) will be emotional and at times frightening for your student, but having a confidant (you) with a positive, realistic and reassuring attitude will help make the road to adulthood seem a little less treacherous. Your role as a parent may be shifting, but it is still critically important. Whether or not your child will admit it, you will still play a big role in your child’s life during the college years.

All the best,
Deborah Fox

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