You still have one year left of high school. You can do this! Use this time to prepare for college with these two essential tips.

You’ve still got another year of high school to survive. How are you going to use that time? I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you that you should focus on getting good grades. You know that. But here are two things you definitely should do to prepare for college – as soon as you can.

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Have a detailed conversation with your high school guidance counselor

One of the most important things you can do before you start applying for colleges is having a serious talk with your guidance counselor about what types of schools you are likely to be accepted to – given your grades, test scores, and extra curriculars. Your counselor will advise you to apply to a reasonable number of schools, with an emphasis on schools where your scores and profile are typical of those recently admitted. (Your own family budget will also play a role in how many schools you apply to.)

Remember, you want to focus your energies (and application dollars) on schools to which you have a good chance of getting admitted. Then also apply to an adequate number of so-called “safety schools”—that is, schools where your scores and profile are better than the typically accepted student. Finally, depending on your financial resources, apply to one or more schools often called “dream schools” or “stretch schools”—where you really want to go but your scores and profile fall below the typical student.

Have an honest talk with your parents about affordability

Now is the time to have that talk with your parents. Do you have champagne aspirations but only a beer budget? If mom and dad can only afford to send you to a local state school and have you live at home, but you want to go to a private school far away, talk about how to bridge that gap.

Do you need to start aggressively looking for scholarships and grants now? Do you need to take out loans? Who will co-sign for the loans? What will your family expectation be about repayment?

You’d be surprised. You have a lot more options and a lot less melodrama when you plan ahead. Trust me: mom and dad want you to be successful. Late at night, after the kids have gone to sleep, it’s what they talk about. Paying for college is a stressful topic for your parents. Plan ahead and your dreams will be achievable.

Red Kite can assist you and your family in planning ahead for the cost of college. Search for scholarships, grants and fellowships all in one place. Give us a try!


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