Guide to Saving for College
Students intending to enroll in college directly following their high school graduation need to begin making preparations early. There is much to consider, and the sooner you begin laying plans for your college education, the more control you will have over your educational destiny. It is a big decision, and there is a lot to think about, but by asking yourself a few pertinent questions you can place yourself firmly on the right track to college success.
Let's spend some time looking at a few crucial questions high school students need to ask themselves when planning for college.
Knowing why you want to go to college the heart of any decision to pursue a post-secondary education. Many students may feel pressured to go to college because of their parents and teachers expectations, but you need to have a clear vision of your own as to what you want to achieve on your educational path. Only then can you begin to planning your future. Your ultimate career will be the direct result of the decisions you make concerning your education, so it is important to enter college with the proper attitude and with a definite goal.
Now, this does not mean that students need to have their entire collegiate and professional life planned out in the smallest detail. Your time in college will present new ideas and new experiences that will shape and change your opinions and goals. But it is a good idea to begin with some idea of what you want to major in , so you can set off on the right path and begin to establish a career goal. For example, majoring in music will familiarize you with the industry, and with the many career options that may be open to you. Through your music studies you may find yourself led to a career choice that you find both interesting and financially rewarding. You may have had no idea at the outset that you would ultimately choose a career as a sound engineer.
Once you know why you want to go to college, you need to consider how you are going to pay for your education. The high cost of education is the biggest hurdle students face when preparing for college, but by planning ahead you can secure the necessary funds and ensure that you achieve your educational goals.
Saving money for college should begin early, and hopefully your parents have already started a college fund with your name on it. But even if they haven't, you can begin saving while you're in high school by regularly putting away money from a part-time job. Every little bit helps, so don't get discouraged and start believing that a small contribution is no contribution at all.
While you are diligently saving money for college, begin looking into what types of financial aid are available for which you might qualify. Research the federal grant and loan programs, and begin looking into scholarships that you might be eligible to win. Scholarships and grants, both large and small, help millions of students every year achieve their college goals, so concentrate your attention on these programs first. Now,even with grants and scholarships, many students find it necessary to secure private loans for their college education. Research these fully, and only consider a private school loan when you have exhausted all other forms of financial aid.
Choosing the college you want to attend will depend on a number of important factors. You need to consider your major, your finances and whether you want to stay close to home or are happy to be thousands of miles away from your family. These factors will play a large roll in choosing the college that is right for you. Begin looking into different colleges and universities early in your high school career. This will give you ample time to investigate what the different schools have to offer, and to concentrate on courses and extracurricular activities that will help you when you apply for admission to the college you choose. Beginning your college search early will also give you plenty of time to secure the necessary funds needed to cover your tuition and living expenses.
Once you've chosen the universities and colleges you are interested in attending, it's time to research their admissions requirements. Every school has different standards of admission, and you will need to plan accordingly so you are well prepared when you begin submitting applications. Knowing what your chosen schools require in advance will help you plan your high school coursework, as well as your extracurricular activities, so that you will be in a better position to qualify come graduation. Universities will gladly send you application information, so begin requesting admissions packets from the schools that interest you early in your high school career.
By considering these few simple questions, high school students can lay the foundation for their college careers. High school graduation, and the transition to college, is a hectic and exciting time. But the earlier you begin thinking about your college education, and how you will achieve your college goals, the easier that transition will become.