It’s every parent’s dream to see their child graduate from high school and finally participate in college. Now that day has finally come and you, as well as your child, couldn’t be more excited. Seeing as how you’ve already attended college yourself; you may have a good idea on how to go about things. However, preparing your child for college isn’t the same as you attending. It’s important to keep in mind that this is their experience and their first major milestone. College is where their life truly begins, so you want to ensure they start off on the right foot. In this post, we’ll be going over everything parents need to know before preparing their children for college.
Help Them Get Their FAFSA
FAFSA is a free application for federal student aid. This is the first, and a very important, step to take when preparing your child. You’re already aware of how much of an investment college can be, and depending on what your child chooses to study, they could be financing more than they originally thought. Being disorganized with finances can be one of the biggest detriments to your child’s college education. But this is where the FAFSA form comes in. It’s what gives your child a rough estimate of how much student aid they’re eligible to receive. The way FAFSA works is that they gauge your EFC to the COA. EFC is the expected family contribution and COA is the cost of attendance. The EFC is subtracted from the COA in order to determine the amount your child will get on a student loan.
Consider Taking Out a Private Parent Loan
There are other ways of paying for college than taking out a traditional student loan. If you don’t want your child to be saddled with thousands of dollars’ worth of debt, you can consider private parent loans. A low-rate private parent loan functions pretty similar to the standard student loan except it’s you who will be responsible for the debt payments. Going this route is a great way to keep the stress of paying back debt off your child’s shoulders, so they can solely focus on their education.
Encourage Your Child to Get the Best Grades Possible
Succeeding in college has many different factors, but acquiring good grades is one of the most important. College curriculums are far different than the ones in high school, which means your child has their work cut out for them. In fact, the grades people get in college will be shown to employers in the form of a GPA. The work can be rigorous at times, especially when your child is nearing the end of their terms. But having you by their side and showing your support is how you can motivate them to get the best grades possible. As they explore future proof career ideas they will come to realize the important role that grades will play post-graduation.
Sit Down and Have a Serious Talk About College
This is probably the most essential part of preparing them for their college career. In order for your child to enjoy their college career, they need to be aware of the good and the bad. As you’re probably already aware, college isn’t always going to be the best time of your child’s life. There might be a time where they start to crack under pressure or they’re unsure of what they truly want to study. Remember how you felt during college? How you felt somewhat lost, confused, and felt like giving up? It’s possible your child might feel the same way, so you need to sit down with them and seriously discuss college in its entirety.
Teach the Etiquette of Budgeting
Budgeting is one of the most important life skills everyone needs to have. It’s how we stay on top of our finances and save money each month. For your child, it might be easy for them at first, but when the intensity picks up, they’ll come to understand how difficult it can be to save money each month. And refraining from budgeting can make things 10 times worst. Teach your child the ins and outs of budgeting, so they can learn how to be financially organized and responsible.
Refrain From Hand Holding
As a parent, our first instinct is to protect our children from anything. But there’s a difference between protecting them and holding their hand through everything. Doing the latter does nothing but cause them to be dependent on you. As difficult as it is to think about, your child might have to hit rock bottom to obtain accountability and independence.