When it comes time to apply for college student scholarships, applying for financial aid and making college admissions decisions, the one thing I hear most often from parents is…”Where do I begin?”
As a parent is can be confusing and a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what to do, where to go and how to begin.
First I want to begin by saying that this journey can be a great success for both you and your child if you work as a team. I know in some cases, that might be a stretch but support and encouragement will go a long ways in helping to motivate your child.
One of the biggest challenges your child may face is writing essays, especially if he has an aggressive strategy to go after a lot of scholarships in an effort to avoid loans and afford the college of his choice.
As a parent most of your work in the beginning of this journey will be to help them make important decisions that will affect their next four years and beyond.
Parents, here’s where you start…
This is one of the most important applications that you’ll fill out. This unlocks thousands of dollars in federal financial aid such as grants, loans, work study and specific college student scholarships. Depending upon your circumstances, this is where most of your financial aid could come from.
Your child will need to apply for an account and they’ll be the primary account holder. You will need to apply for separate access to the same account to file your portion of the application.
Your application is only good for one year. You’ll need to update your application for each new school year. The good news…all the information you put in last year gets saved and all you’ll need to do is update any changes to your situation.
Keeping good records financial and tax records will help you make updating this information easy each year you reapply.
Now, it’s time to help, support and encourage your child to jump on board with these next four tools that will get them off in the direction they’ll need to plan, develop a strategy and make good sound decisions…
If they don’t already, help them set up an account with Collegeboard because this will be their entry point into everything that has to do with the SAT/PSAT exams.
Anything and everything they need to know about preparing, practicing for, finding locations and signing up for the SAT/PSAT exams can be found right on Collegeboard.
Performing well in the SAT exam can help to unlock more opportunities for college student scholarships.
Sign up for a MyRoad account that will give you some powerful tools to plan your college career.
This is the college planning section of Collegeboard and you should be able to use the same ID and password to get into both accounts.
Here they’ll be able to research and compare some really great statistics about schools they may be interested in. It’ll give them some insight that’ll help them decide what schools they may want to visit and eventually apply to.
The Common Application is more commonly referred to as the Common App! This is the college application that most colleges and universities will accept as their admission application.
So you can fill out one application and send it to multiple schools. Keep in mind there are a few schools out there that don’t use the common app and have their own application.
The common app can’t be used for applying to college student scholarships.
Every new college journey should have a great scholarship strategy if part of your goal is to keep your student loans to a minimum and to help your child afford the school of their dreams.
A little teamwork between you and your college bound child can go a long way to helping them find success in paying for school
This is where it all begins!!!
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