Steps to Effectively Use High School to Prepare for College

Dear Parent,

            It can be a tough job
for both parents and college-bound high school students when it comes to
preparing optimally for future academic endeavors… as college funding
professionals with detailed knowledge into the admissions process, we recognize
that all elements of the subject can be stressful and challenging from
beginning to end!  However, the
challenges related to college preparation can be effectively managed with some
planning and insights in advance – and there is not doubt that it increases if
college details are ignored throughout the high school years.  This is why we are here to help!

We find that one of the best things that parents and high school students
can do to make their eventual transition into the college years as smooth as
possible is to manage their high school experience in a specific way.  Students who try to view the high school
years as an actual “college-prep” period will find that there are a lot of
helpful parts to their high school experience, if they are willing to take
advantage of them.  By the same token,
parents will also find that the high school years are their own absolute best
opportunity to prepare for college financial and asset management.  Working together, the high school experience
can be more than just a chance for the student to get a diploma – it can be a
perfect opportunity for the entire family to be optimally prepared for the
college years.

The good news is that it generally does not require a lot of extra effort
to turn the normal high school experience into a terrific college preparation
period.  It does require some planning,
and students cannot necessarily run on auto-pilot as much… and parents need to
be actively engaged in the process to make the financial end work properly.  But the challenge is definitely doable, and
we are the experts in helping families to make this kind of an invaluable high
school experience a reality.

For this month’s newsletter, we are dedicating these pages to help you
understand why these preparations are important, and how to make them
happen.  Remember, if you have any
questions about these important college preparation subjects, we urge you to
give us a call.  College funding and
application professionals are experienced and knowledgeable in these areas and
can offer tailor-made explanations, planning, and information when it comes to
these important college preparation efforts.

  1. Investigate Early College
    Credit Options

One great way for students to get a
head start on their college experience is to look for opportunities to earn
college credits while still attending high school.  There can be a variety of options, and they
are all worth looking into.  Some schools
will offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses than can actually count for future
credit at many colleges and universities. 
Of course, these courses presuppose that the student has demonstrated
some strong aptitude in the subject matter, and are not available to every
single student who expresses interest – but if the chance is there, and the
student has the interest and the academic chops to handle it, then it can be a
terrific alternative to the rank and file coursework.

Another possibility for some
students, depending on locality and arrangements, is the completion of individual
college courses during high school.  This
is sometimes on a special agreement with a local community college or public
university, but it can be a great way for students to get their feet wet early
on, and even get a jump on completing some of their core curriculum classes at
the next level before they have ever officially matriculated as a college
freshman!

These options can make sense
academically, putting the student ahead of the curve and building confidence
early on… but it can also make a lot of sense financially.  You see, courses that a student completes
before setting foot on campus are courses that will not show up on the college
tuition bill later, and on that front every little bit helps!  If a student can shave off as much as a term
or semester from the eventual course of their undergraduate degree, then the
amount of tuition saved can be pretty darned significant.

     2. Seek Out Academic and
Extracurricular Experiences

            High
school is a great time in a young person’s life, but there are many instances
where students will feel pressure (whether external or internal) to follow the
proverbial “path of least resistance.” 
Advance Placement courses are not the only way for students to excel,
and can sometimes be the wrong choice for a student due to academic interest,
motivation, or other considerations.

            It
is vital for students to seek out opportunities to truly discover what their
interests are, what experiences inspire them the most, and to begin to develop
an understanding of what they want out of life. 
Of course, those answers will often not come completely during the high
school years, while there will be other students who may have known since they
were five years old that they wanted to become a pilot, or an architect, or a
doctor. 

            The
point of high school is not to pigeonhole a student into a specific academic
track prematurely, but rather to offer a chance for learning and growth, as
well as an opportunity to demonstrate abilities, talents, and interests.  This can only really happen if the high
school experience is treated appropriately, and not viewed as sheer drudgery to
be endured only until graduation springs a student onward to the thrills of
university life. 

Yes, we all know that
high school can be rough at times, and we all have memories of certain classes
that were… well, yes, probably sheer drudgery… but we are convinced that it is
important to seek out whatever intriguing and inspiring options can be found in
the high school experience.  Some
semesters this may be more challenging than others, due to different teachers
or social pressures or family challenges, whatever the case my be, but it is
well worth the effort to seek out the best things that a high school has to
offer.  This includes academic offerings,
clubs, sports, theater, community involvement – really, anything that interests
and inspires your child to a higher level.

            Doing
so will help the high school experience to serve as a springboard to bigger and
better things at the college or university level, and hopefully help to convey
and nurture a love of learning and growth that will last a lifetime, as well as
providing a financially viable and fulfilling professional future.

     3. Communicate With Counselors
Regularly

            There
can certainly be a benefit derived from keeping the lines of communication open
with high school and college counselors. 
While the individual value can depend a lot on the counselor himself or
herself, there are basic college preparatory courses and requirements with
which most counselors are quite well-versed. 
It is important for college-bound kids to be familiar with these
tidbits, even if some guidance counselors do not have a lot to offer beyond
that (which is sadly sometimes the case). 
Maintaining a respectful and cordial relationship with these counselors
can only help later when it comes time for letters of recommendation or
paperwork for college application, regardless of how much or how little a
specific counselor has to offer.

            We
also recommend good communication with the colleges and universities that are
of the highest interest to your student, as well as obtaining a firm
understanding of the requirements for specific programs to which they wish to
apply.  Remember, especially for private
schools or institutions in other parts of the nation, local high schools simply
may not have access to the information about the programs that your child
desires!  Even within the same major or
area of academic emphasis, there can be differences between the requirements of
different colleges and universities, so these things need to be carefully
investigated beforehand.

            With
this in mind, as College Funding and Admissions Professionals, we also view
ourselves as counselors in this arena, and we know that we bring the most
up-to-date and actionable information for both college-bound students and their
parents.  We have access to the
information about the schools that interest your child, no matter where in the
country they might be located.  We are
the most reliable experts in managing the college funding challenges.  We really are here to help with all aspects
of the college preparation experience.

            As you know, higher education
financial planning and college application services stand at the very
foundation of our work as college funding professionals.  This leads us to an ultimate goal of
assisting parents in seeking the very best strategies for the management of
their financial circumstances, as well as the proper utilization of assets to
create the best situation possible with regard to the college options for the
academic future.  This entire process
works best, very simply put, if the parents are well-prepared ahead of time,
with a clear set of guidelines to help along the way to preparation for their
student’s future college and university years… as well as the attending college
and university expenses!

            One of our most popular educational
offerings for the parents of college-bound high school kids is attendance at
our live College Funding Workshops, which are presented by some of the best
college funding professionals around.  We
prepare and deliver these workshops as a special, face-to-face forum for
parents who would like to become better informed with regard to the details
surrounding the monetary requirements and regulations pertaining to their
child’s higher education future. 

            Our live workshops are always
completely free of any admission cost – and we make it a point to go out of our
way in organizing the workshops at times and dates that make sense for most
parents.  This will always include a
number of evening and/or weekend options. 
While we have no admission charge for these events, however, we are
required to maintain a group size that falls within space limitations and an
optimized learning environment.  This
invariably means that we much insist on advance reservations for
admission.  We certainly thank you in
advance for understanding this requirement.

           If you would like more information regarding the upcoming College Funding Workshops in your area, please simply call someone from our terrific workshop team at 614-934-1515.  These team members will be pleased to provide all of the necessary details about scheduling, workshop locations, and even some more specifics about the workshops themselves if you have questions.  Naturally, they can also help you out with a reservation for an upcoming workshop to be held around your area, if you know that you are already interested in coming and would like to secure a seat.

            Aside from our workshops, we have also created an informational report that focuses on the important details surrounding the management of higher education costs.  This report was created with the parents of college-bound students in mind, and discusses the most vital topics surrounding current issues in college funding.  Parents frequently contact us with praise regarding the pertinence and usefulness of this report, which we call “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College.” Just like the workshops, we offer this report without any cost or obligation.  To receive your own copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” just place a call to one of our staff members at 614-934-1515 and we will email you a copy.

        


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