Most parents start saving for college when their children are young. Setting your child up with an education to succeed in the world is a fantastic gift, but there are some significant financial aspects to think of first.
College is expensive, so it makes perfect sense to start advising your child about financially sound decisions. Here are some tips to help you plan and encourage more affordable college options for your child.
High Test Scores
Scholarships can really offset the cost of higher education. A lot of scholarship applications require students to submit test scores. Students who score well on high stakes tests are at a much greater advantage of winning scholarships. By taking the time to help your children with SAT prep or any high stake test preparation for that matter, you’re helping them increase their odds of winning a scholarship; thus, decreasing your tuition bill.
Close to Home
During your college search, look at schools that are close to home, and encourage your children to choose a school based on its proximity to home. Your students may not want to live at home, but staying within a close vicinity can still save money in travel fees, meal fees, and laundry fees. Over an extended period of time, that money can add up.
The Right Major
Entering an institution of higher education and switching majors adds years onto the required coursework to earn a degree. Work with your children to explore career options, and don’t let them just make a hasty decision for the sake of putting something on paper. Job shadowing opportunities and other occasions to explore careers can help students determine their path for the right profession. Make sure you help your children create opportunities to explore vocations before they commit to a major.
There are many community colleges that offer four year degrees. Take advantage of these low cost options. If community college is not something that appeals to you or your child, there are still ways to benefit from the low cost credits offered at community colleges. Starting at a community college and taking general education credits and then transferring those credits to a larger university can save a lot of money and still result in a degree from a more pronounced institution of higher education.
This approach is especially beneficial for those students who cannot decide on the right career path. Earning the general education credits at an affordable community college will save you money, and it’ll help your kids determine what it is they want to do for their rest of their lives.
No matter how much you prepare, college is going to bring with it some unexpected and lofty bills. Taking the time to prepare early can help you offset the unexpected.