College Planning Tips & Advice
For many reasons, parents and students procrastinate when it comes to their college planning. Family vacations and new technologies are the present concern, so future issues are not really thought about. Ideally though, college planning should begin when your child is born, investing in a college fund and preparing for his or her future. Unfortunately, I usually don’t get called until the child’s senior year in high school, but that’s not the idea of proper college planning. We want you to be able to sit down freshman or sophomore year to lay everything out. We begin finding and developing you’re students talents and athletic abilities, while also engaging them in community service activities and even crafting their résumés. We develop a plan of action that will show them what they should be doing, how they should be doing it, and when each item should be completed.
If you can complete these important milestones early on, then the end of their junior year and their entire senior year becomes an easier and less stressful time. The idea of proper college planning is to not wait until your senior year, when college is just around the corner. Of course it’s still possible to receive educational and financial aid at the last minute, but it is easier on both you and your student to begin working with an advisor early on in the process.
Beating the Competition
We are right in the middle of the boomer generation, meaning that more young adults are going to college than ever before. Unfortunately, this means state schools are receiving 20,000 to 22,000 applications each year for only 4,000 spots. That is a one in five chance that your student will be admitted. The majority of these applicants are qualified and have great test scores, so the competition is fierce. Students should no longer apply to one college, expecting to get in based on good grades alone. When applying for colleges, most parents and students realize that there is a lot to do. Most applications ask for an essay and a personal statement. These must be specifically written to grab the attention of the admissions officer. It becomes a competition based on creativity, writing skills, originality, and confidence.
Planning for the Future
Now, not only do you have to worry about overpaying, but you have to worry about annual tuition and room and board increases. Here in the state of Virginia, we’ve had increases anywhere from 6% to 12% over the last few years, and west coast increases are even higher. Unfortunately, our income levels are not increasing alongside them.