College Planning

Planning for College­

­Attending a good college is every child and parent’s dream. This dream is achievable if parents have planned in advance. Below are some tips for college planning:

Plan Early

Planning early will not only help you secure admission into a college you are interested in but also will put your child into a great habit of planning. You should start planning even before your child starts his/her high school. If your child is already in the high school, don’t worry you can still do all the catching up by planning carefully.

Regardless of the grade you are in now, there are some basic steps you can take:
o Prepare a list of colleges you and your child are interested in.
o Start obtaining information from them. This will help your child set some goals to achieve.
o Learn about admission deadlines and dates of the institutions.
o Plan your child’s education in math, English, foreign language, science and social studies. Even though high schools do not require it for graduation, most colleges require at least 2 years in foreign language, three, and often prefer four, years of studies in math, English, science, and social studies.
o While the grades are important, the difficulty of the coursework is also taken into the consideration. For example if a student has an A in algebra and other student has B+ in calculus and they both are applying for the same college, most likely the student with B+ will get the admission as it is a more difficult and advanced course. College admission officers will pay the closest attention to your GPA, class rank, college credit, AP courses, and scores on standardized tests.
o Your child must participate in extracurricular activities. Activities that require time and effort outside the classroom (such as speech and debate, band, communications, and drama) indicate a willingness to cooperate with others and put forth the effort needed to succeed.
o Technical course such as computer science can also help aid your future college performance.

Make a career list

You should speak to your child and their school counselors to determine what career(s) would be suitable for your child. You should also look at industries and Depart of Labor stats at http://www.dol.gov to see what kind of industries are in demand so that your child can gain employable skills.

Make a List of Colleges

You should make a list of colleges you would like your child to consider depending on their goals. Once you have narrowed your selection, arrange to visit the campuses in person. This is an important step in the decision process, so whenever possible, plan a visit to the schools.

Financial Planning for College

Parents shall look at 529 and other college saving plans to save money for their child's education. When the student becomes a High School Seniors, they should apply for the financial aid by completing the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) on or after January 1st.  Students shall also apply for college scholarships, grants and student loans if needed.

Take the necessary assessment tests

Most colleges in the U.S. require that students submit scores from standardized tests as part of their application packages. The most commonly accepted tests are the ACT Assessment, SAT Reasoning, and SAT Subject Tests. For information about which you should take, talk to your high school counselor or to the admissions office(s) at the college(s) to which you will apply.