In 9 Months You’ll Be Heading Off To College!

In 9 Months You’ll Be Heading Off To College!

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Handy tools to help high school seniors: we provide what you need to take the stress out of college planning.

The Last Hurrah

Today’s high school seniors are busy enjoying their final year of schooling, taking in frosty football games and thinking about what they will do over their Christmas break. SATs, writing projects, and applying to college are some of the other activities consuming time right now with the next few months being especially critical in planning life beyond high school.

Graduation is just seven months away and two months after that today’s high school seniors will become tomorrow’s college freshmen.

Let’s take a look at what you can do now to make going off to college as stress free as possible.

College Planning Is A Family Event

Preparing for college involves much more than the prospective student. Parents need to get involved as they are the ones providing the bulk of the financing while offering guidance on the schools to visit, scholarships offered, and financing options available. Even siblings cannot be forgotten as family decisions will impact them. Hey, you won’t have your little brother or sister pestering you for awhile, so you might as well enjoy their company while you can!

Busting The Stress With Helpful Tracking Tools

As you probably know all to well, the final year of high school isn’t as rosy as you may have thought it would be. Seniors still must finish up course work, take college entrance exams and deal with raging hormones. The thought of planning the next four years of life while handling the crisis of the moment can seem daunting; that is why we have developed free tracking tools to take the edge off of college prep.

Four tracking tools for college planning:

  1. Student aid tracking worksheet — a worksheet to record and track your financial aid information (excel file).
  2. College budgeting worksheet — an automated file to plan and budget college aid and costs (excel file).
  3. College cost comparison worksheet — compare colleges by cost and amount of aid awarded (excel file).
  4. College spending sheets — use these spending sheets to track daily – weekly – monthly spend (PDF).

Please visit this page to find the four tracking sheets and related planning tools.

Starting Your College Search

Of course, at the same time you are taking a look at your financial picture, you’ll want to begin your college search. Chances are you spent the summer between your junior and senior year visiting some campuses, but narrowing that list down to a manageable three or four schools will make college planning a whole lot easier.

Use a financial aid checklist to balance college search with student financial aid options for a clearer picture of your schooling options. Parents need to remember that Stafford loans and private student loans are two forms of student aid that have opened up educational opportunities for millions of students.

Finishing The Race In Style

With the tracking tools at your disposal, college planning becomes less of a stress and much more of an enjoyable experience. You still need to consider your college major and meet with your guidance counselor, so plan wisely now to create fond memories that will last a lifetime!

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".