Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How Can My Family Keep Down College Costs?

Feb. 4, 2015
Dear Cathy:
My husband and I never attended college so it’s a lot to learn when it comes to my two sons in the 6th and 7th grade.  What would be the one piece of solid advice that you can give my sons and us so that we can help them get into a good college one day while we save money?  Excited About the Future, Kansas
Dear Excited About the Future:
Some students are ending up owing up to $100,000 in student loans after undergrad and graduate school. This is because many students never look for grants and scholarships -- so this will be key if they are to keep down college costs.  
Many reasons many students don’t look for grants and scholarships are because they are uninformed on how to go about this or just too plain lazy.  If students don’t get proactive to seek out these grants and scholarships, starting in the 9th and 10th grade, then parents need to take over and do this for them -- so start with high school counselors, read books on scholarships and talk to other parents.
College seems a long way off in the 9th grade, but that’s when students need to start thinking about it seriously.  The reason is simple -- their 9th grade academic and extracurricular record will be part of their college application.  Low grades in the 9th grade can seriously jeopardize a student’s chances of getting into the country’s most selective colleges.  

High school counselors will prepare them for the military instead of college if they don't keep their grades up throughout high school -- so it's important for parents and students to understand their priorities starting in the 9th grade.
Other steps students should take in the 9th grade should include meeting with their high school counselor to find out what type of college admission services the school provides; What high school courses will best help them reach their goals; and what successes their school has had in getting students admitted to selective colleges and universities.  

For other information on how to save money for college read Chapter 12 entitled "How To Get Into College" in the book "Recession Survival Guide: How To Get Back Into the Driver's Seat."

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