Planning for College
This just might be the most important period of your life so far. High school disappears into history and college swings into view.
They face different challenges, not only social ones but, one of the biggest is the amount of work. I remember I had days where I wish someone would write my college paper for me.
With time and considering the list below, you adjust.
This is a time for big decisions that will affect your entire future. What direction is your life going to take?
What do you want to spend your time doing? If you have always had an ambition to follow a certain career, how realistic does it look in the cold light of day?
Maybe you should look for something more lucrative.
Assuming you have a choice and you’re not just going to the only specialist college in the country that caters to your subject, you’re going to want to check out all the options.
It can help narrow it down, think about where you want to be.
This may well be the first time you’ve lived away from the family, so one question is how far away do you want to be?
From a privacy and independence point of view, even a few hundred miles will make you feel free from the restrictions that living at home involves.
Keep in mind, the further away you go, the more traveling you’re going to have to do, there and back.
That’s not travel of the sightseeing, mind-broadening variety. It’s the grind of getting from A to B with a suitcase to heave up and down stairs, into and out of taxis and airports.
If you are a home-loving type, you may want to stay as close to your family as possible.
Either way, in addition to the location, you will need to have a good look at what the college says about itself and what students say about it.
Does the course sound like just what you need?
Does the city sound like your kind of place? You’re going to be there for several years, so you will want to be comfortable with the feel of it.
Big city vibe or one-horse town? Very urban or country/seaside?
How Are You Going to Pay for It?
Thus far in your life, finances have not been your department. But college is expensive and most families need some help.
There are scholarships and various grants available, so check them out and see if you’re eligible for any.
Don’t forget to check both government and private organizations for opportunities and don’t be shy in applying as there’s no limit on the number of applications you can make.
Your Student Loan: Alone or with a Co-Signer?
If you’re getting a loan from a bank, this is where you suddenly enter the real world. Yes, they will lend you the money, but they want to get it back via regular payments over a fixed period.
If you have no real history of banking, and therefore they have no way of assessing your creditworthiness.
They may insist on getting a co-signer. An adult with a good financial track record will be jointly liable for the repayments if they prove to be beyond your means.
This will usually be one of your parents. You may have mixed feelings about this (so will they) but if it must be done, it must be done.
Does your teen know the importance of planning for college?
Let me know, til then—cheers m’deres!
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.