College Planning Network Guides Parents in College Prep for Kids

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As a comprehensive resource that offers reliable solutions for higher education, College Planning Network is quite familiar with the many steps that are required to properly prepare a young student for university life. While many parents do not look forward to the day they send their children off to college, this noted organization says preparation can help make the process much easier.

When to Start

While it may seem excessive to start thinking about college as soon as a student enters high school, College Planning Network says it is vital to become comfortable with what the application, admissions, acceptance and financial aid process is like. Although younger high school students may not prove to be that interested in college life just yet, parents should encourage their children to begin to explore their options early on. Noting how competitive college admissions are in today’s academic climate, those students who are more aware of what they want to get out of higher education will often have better success rates when applying to selected schools.

Defining Academic Interest

During freshman and sophomore years of high school, prepping for college may involve looking at points of academic interests, to help the student get a better grasp of what he or she wants to build a career in. According to College Planning Network this can be a hard choice to make, but getting a general area can allow teenagers to explore colleges that offer programs specialized toward their academic interests.

Encouraging your child to participate in volunteer services, enroll in community college courses or engage in extracurricular activities can be a great way for a student to not only explore several areas of interest, but also stay active and boost credentials for future college applications.

Tour Colleges

Although the Internet has made it incredibly convenient for students and parents to explore potential universities for future enrollment, College Planning Network strongly encourages in-person tours of these schools. It is often typical for students in their junior year of high school to take college tour trips with their parents to learn more about the institutions they may want to attend. While college websites can provide great insight on available courses and financial information, tours allow students and parents to get a feel for the atmosphere of the school, its resources and the true potential it can offer to a young adult.

Test Prep

Although many high school students dread the SAT and ACT examinations, College Planning Network explains that there are many resources available to help individuals prepare for these vital tests. For example, students preparing for these college entrance tests can self-practice with a wide array of available and updated texts. Others have found greater success by taking practice examinations and courses online or in extracurricular courses that are often offered through a student’s high school.

According to College Planning Network, the earlier students begin to prepare for the SAT or ACT examinations, the more opportunity they have to achieve the scores they need to gain acceptance into a preferred college. Parents are encouraged to motivate children to take these tests near the beginning of junior year. While this may prove early and test results may not come out as planned, the student can schedule a time to take the exam again and go in with a greater understanding of how the process works. Parents should also research what the average SAT and ACT scores are for those accepted students at preferred universities.

Highlight the Benefit of College

Some parents may face obstacles in encouraging their children to attend college—or to attend college for the right reasons. In these instances, College Planning Network suggests that parents should maintain open communication with their children about the important role higher education plays in his or her personal and professional development.

However, while it is important to help your child remain focused on the big picture of university education, it is also vital to recognize that the college selection and enrollment process is a very personal experience for the student. As such, parents should try to give their children freedom to explore their options and make sure to listen to what they want to get out of the experience as well. Sending a child to school knowing that they want to attend will often prove a better investment for parents as opposed to those who force certain schools or areas of study.

Financial Preparation

According to College Planning Network, one of the hardest elements of getting a child ready for college is making sure that he or she will have enough funds to attend an accredited university and gain a resourceful education. As tuition prices continue to rise, many parents are finding that even with comprehensive savings, it is still difficult to cover all costs associated with higher education.

Fortunately, those who opt for early planning can take advantage of scholarship opportunities, financial aid programs and other forms of financial preparation to ensure that all fiscal grounds are covered and secure before a child goes off to school. With proven, distinctive resources for college admissions and financial aid planning, College Planning Network is an invaluable tool for parents looking for more information on how to prepare their child for university life.