For many high school seniors, decision deadlines for their dream schools are just around the corner. May will be here quickly, and it’s likely that the topic of which college to commit to has come up in your home at least once in the last few weeks. As a parent who’s probably going to be responsible for some of the financial components of your child’s education, it’s easy to want to tell your student what to do. However, part of this transition to college is about showing your student has what it takes, and more importantly, that you know it and believe in them. As the decision deadline looms, you and your student will need to consider which school to choose, but also determine that they are indeed ready to commit to college. Wondering how to know if your student is ready for their next step?
Here’s four ways to know your senior is ready to commit to college:
Look at their academics.
Many students take college level courses in high school, causing parents to pay out of pocket while they learn the rigor of a college career. Make sure you know how your student performed in their college level courses (if they had any!). A strong academic foundation is key to college success.
College can be a big adjustment from high school life. When teenagers are on their own for the first time, they often feel lonely, struggle with time management, and lack organization. Your high school graduate should be capable of spending time on his or her own, as well as managing multiple demands. It’s important to feel confident that your student will thrive after they settle into college life away from home!
Understand the financial picture.
College is a huge financial commitment – not just for your student – but for your entire family. It’s critical that your senior understands not only the agreement they’re making for any loans they’re taking but also that they can manage the money they do have. Discuss your expectations as a family, especially the payment process after graduation. Don’t forget to review their ability to budget and prepare financially. (Check out our top money lessons here!).
Choosing a school that’s the best fit.
Beyond the financial components, choosing a college is about finding a good fit for your student. If your senior feels uncomfortable or as though the school isn’t right for them personally, they’re going to struggle. Take the time to visit and learn the vibe of the campus – including size, location, and activities. Both you and your student should feel secure that the school they select is the one for them.
Committing to a college is about more than signing on the dotted line. It’s a promise from you to your student that you believe in them and are excited about their journey. We encourage you to have conversations about each school, financial aid package, and your student’s readiness before committing. Congratulations on this next big step in your student’s college career!
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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.