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Four Ways to Prepare Your Student for College Success

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Four Ways to Prepare Your Student for College Financial Success

As the spring begins, college seniors are making their final decisions about which school will be their home for the next few years. Paperwork is being submitted, deposits are being paid, and you and your student are celebrating this next step. While celebration is definitely called for, it’s time to prepare your student for college success. There’s still some important conversations to have – and even a few more decisions to make. Here’s four things you and your student should do to prepare for college! These are great tasks to tackle as their senior year comes to a close.    

Decide on the meal plan.

College meal plans can be a big part of the out-of-pocket expenses, so make sure you are doing it right. Many parents find that they overpaid on the meal plan. Yet, they still end up giving their student money for food. Make sure to research what options exist for your student on the meal plan. Don’t forget about what’s available in their dorms or suites for their own cooking. From there, you and your student can determine if it’s more likely they’ll eat in the dining facilities or not. Once you know, you can select the appropriate plan to pay for! Don’t be afraid to set a budget for each month when it comes to food options for your student, too. 

Research textbook options.

Once your student has a class list, begin to research textbooks. Many schools offer book lists through the college store online or in person. Find the list and determine which books can be rented, found online, or need to be purchased (and kept) by your student. Rentals and digital downloads can save your student a lot of money over the next four years. Check options like Amazon and Chegg for the best deals. 

Plan the student loan usage. 

By now, your family should have compared the financial aid award offers with the total needed to fund your student’s education. If you haven’t, now’s the time. Once you have, make sure everyone is on the same page about where this money is coming from – and going. Many families use the money without realizing how far in debt they actually are. Spend time in the next few months reviewing options to earn extra money or helping your student save so that you can cut down on student loans. 

Set a budget. 

For most students, this is the first time they are on their own and managing their own finances. Now is the time to start talking to your child about a budget. Discuss the differences between day-to-day needs and wants, as well as how quickly a credit card can become dangerous. Review some of our top financial lessons with your student and lay out expectations about how money should be used during school. It’s also important to be on the same page about who is responsible for what repayment after graduation.

Now is such an exciting time in your student’s life. There’s big changes ahead on the horizon for them, and going to college with a plan and feeling prepared will help them through their transition. Congratulations on the next chapter of your student’s academic career! 

Want More Help?

Learn about financial aid and find out more about preparing students for college in my book, Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro! You will find information on completing the FAFSA, saving and paying for college, comparing financial aid offers, making decisions on student loans, and searching for scholarships. Order it now, and get all the information you need to be fully prepared for college. 

Who We Are

CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my bi-weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter.

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