Step One

Stay Involved in Outside Activities

Now’s the time for your student to participate in extracurricular activities, such as sports, the arts, hobbies, projects, and more. These can all be added to their brag sheet later.

What You Need to Know

College Planning Checklist for 11th Grade

Junior year of high school is an important time for students in the college admissions process. Use our college planning

Volunteering in High School Means Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards for Your Child

Not every student is an A-team athlete or the star of the school play, nor do they have to be

Certification Classes for Teens, High Schoolers

Whether your child is thinking about taking a few classes before college, in between semesters, or even jumping right in

Summer Programs for High School Students

Summer programs for high school students offer opportunities ranging from local college classes to programs around the world. As college

What Are the Easiest and Hardest College Majors?

No one ever said that college would be easy. For some, choosing a major is far from the most difficult

High School Resumes May Be More Valuable Than Ever for College Admissions

Students who invest time creating a high school resume for college applications may be handsomely rewarded in the admissions process.

Step Two

Use College Search Resources & Tools

Tools and resources like guide books and school websites can be tremendously helpful. Use them often.

What You Need to Know

College Planning Checklist for 11th Grade

Junior year of high school is an important time for students in the college admissions process. Use our college planning

How to Get Into Highly Rejective Colleges

This story was originally published in R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group. It has been edited for

Why You Should Research a College’s Career Service Center Before Enrolling

There’s a lot to consider when helping your child make the best possible decision on where to go to college.

Paying for College 101: College Financing Best Practices

Sending a child to college is never easy—financially, logistically, or emotionally—but going at it alone is even more difficult. To

Should Your Student Consider a Canadian Degree?

More than 4,300 degree-granting institutions exist in the United States (US), but the best choice for your child may lie

Best-Selling College Guides

With thousands of US colleges and universities to choose from, it’s no wonder students and parents alike find the application

Step Three

Prep for & Take Standardized Tests

Your student has studied, taken practice tests, and studied some more. Now it’s time to take the official standardized test(s). Whether they’re AP, ACT, or SAT, test scores are an important part of the college application process.

What You Need to Know

Important Test-Day SAT Tips

The benefits of preparing academically for the SAT are obvious, but many families underestimate the importance of preparing emotionally and

Online AP Courses: Pros and Cons

You’ve weighed the pros and cons of the AP program, and you would like to have your student try out

Preparing for the SAT

As the parent or guardian of a college-bound student, you have probably done at least a little worrying about the

What Is a Good PSAT Score?

For many students, the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is taken at least once in high school to prepare for the SAT.

What Is a Good ACT Score?

The value and fairness of standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT as well as how accurately they measure

What Is a Good SAT Score?

Recently, standardized tests have been under scrutiny, with questions arising on whether or not they fairly and accurately predict college

Step Four

Learn About Financial Aid/Options

When it comes to paying for college, make sure you know the FAFSA process, and all of your options, including need-based aid, merit scholarships, loans, and more.

What You Need to Know

How to Avoid Student Loan Debt

This story was originally published in our Paying for College 101 (PFC101) group. It has been edited for clarity and

How to Make Affordable Colleges Even More Affordable

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You Should Be Asking These Questions About Financial Aid

This article was sponsored by College Ave Student Loans. College Ave takes the stress out of paying for college so

Best Side Gigs for Parents to Pay for College

Paying for college can be daunting. That’s why more and more parents of college-bound students are looking for additional ways

Paying for College 101: College Financing Best Practices

Sending a child to college is never easy—financially, logistically, or emotionally—but going at it alone is even more difficult. To

FAFSA and Divorced Parents

As divorced parents—–or even as married ones—–figuring out an equitable division of labor can be tough, but when it comes

Step Five

Request Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an important component of the process. And again, who to ask and how to ask can make a big difference.

What You Need to Know

Holistic Admissions: Your Child Is More Than Their Grades and Test Scores

What Are Holistic Admissions? Applying to college can be one of the most stressful times of your child’s life, and

What Should You Put in a Brag Sheet for College?

The brag sheet is an integral piece of the college application process yet, it’s not talked about often enough. For

Tips for Getting a Great Letter of Recommendation for College

A letter of recommendation for college is one of the most universal parts of the application process. It’s something every

Funding College When You Have a FAFSA Score of Zero

There’s a whole subset of would-be college attendees who do not qualify for financial aid based on the FAFSA, but

5 Strategies We Used to Prepare Our Kids to Succeed

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… This is insider information that I’ve never publicly shared before.

How to Apply for Scholarships: Tips From a Mom in the Know

Sometimes the best way to learn is to go through the process yourself and then share your learnings with others.

Step Six

Plan College Visits

There’s nothing like seeing a school up close and in person, but it may not always be possible. Know the right questions to ask—whether it’s IRL or virtually.

What You Need to Know

The Pros and Cons of Attending a Community College Before a University

When your child thinks of the typical college freshman experience, they might envision moving into a dorm room or rushing

Look Beyond College Rankings to Find Good Schools

There are many sites that use various criteria to assess colleges and then publish their lists for all prospective college

Virtual College Tours: Are They Worth It?

As a result of COVID-19, the entire college application process, school tours included, has changed. Although on-campus tours are expected

Funding College When You Have a FAFSA Score of Zero

There’s a whole subset of would-be college attendees who do not qualify for financial aid based on the FAFSA, but

How to Visit a Campus Without Leaving Home

You know what they say: Seeing is believing. So how can a prospective student properly evaluate a school and its

5 Strategies We Used to Prepare Our Kids to Succeed

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… This is insider information that I’ve never publicly shared before.

Step Seven

Build a College List

The college list you and your student create will define the amount of time and effort required to complete the application process. From essays to demonstrated interest, financial aid forms to campus visits, make and hone the list until it reflects the right academic and financial balance for your family.

What You Need to Know

How to Get Into College

This story was written by a member of R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group, where it was

How to Make Affordable Colleges Even More Affordable

This story was written by Elizabeth, a member of R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group, where it

How to Get Into Highly Rejective Colleges

This story was originally published in R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group. It has been edited for

Should Your Student Consider a Canadian Degree?

More than 4,300 degree-granting institutions exist in the United States (US), but the best choice for your child may lie

Best-Selling College Guides

With thousands of US colleges and universities to choose from, it’s no wonder students and parents alike find the application

Need-Blind Colleges – Are They Really?

They’re no apple pie or baseball, but since US universities charge some of the highest tuition fees in the world,

Step Eight

Understand the Admissions Process & Deadlines

When it comes to meeting deadlines, keeping records and staying organized will save your student from potential disappointment.

What You Need to Know

How to Get Into Highly Rejective Colleges

This story was originally published in R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group. It has been edited for

College Decision Day: It May Not Be What You Think

In the past, College Decision Day signified the deadline for seniors to choose the college or university they wanted to

Everything You Need to Know About Applying to the California State University System

There are two public university systems within the state of California: the University of California (UC) and the California State

What Is Yield Protection and What Does it Have to Do With College Admissions?

Your student isn’t the only one worried about college acceptances. Schools are as well–they want to know the rate at

Bribery and the Scholarship Application Process

On top of homework, extracurriculars, internships, or jobs, and the stress of deadlines, chores, and fitting in social activities, it’s

This Is How Long it Takes FAFSA to Process

Your child has submitted their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but what’s next?  It would help to have

Step Nine

Start Essay Drafts

A good college essay is key to college admissions. Learn what makes a compelling essay before your student begins writing.

What You Need to Know

Holistic Admissions: Your Child Is More Than Their Grades and Test Scores

What Are Holistic Admissions? Applying to college can be one of the most stressful times of your child’s life, and

College Essay Topics You’ll Want to Avoid

Students preparing to get into college are naturally going to be pitted against each other in a game of stats.

Funding College When You Have a FAFSA Score of Zero

There’s a whole subset of would-be college attendees who do not qualify for financial aid based on the FAFSA, but

Colleges Without Supplemental Essays

You’re ready to apply for colleges, and perhaps you’ve already begun the process of selecting your preferred schools and filling

5 Strategies We Used to Prepare Our Kids to Succeed

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… This is insider information that I’ve never publicly shared before.

How to Apply for Scholarships: Tips From a Mom in the Know

Sometimes the best way to learn is to go through the process yourself and then share your learnings with others.

Step Ten

Begin the Common Application

Make sure your student reviews the application before beginning the process. When your student has an idea of what’s needed to complete it, there won’t be any unexpected surprises.

What You Need to Know

Mistakes to Avoid on the Common App

The Common Application is accepted by more than 1,000 schools. It enables students to apply to multiple colleges and universities at

High School Resumes May Be More Valuable Than Ever for College Admissions

Students who invest time creating a high school resume for college applications may be handsomely rewarded in the admissions process.

Common App Essay Tips That Really Work

Does the prospect of writing your Common App essay fill you with fear? You are not alone.  In the ten

STEP ELEVEN

Search & Apply for Private Scholarships

Merit aid is lovely, but sometimes, it doesn’t come through. There are other options to fill some of the cost gaps, like private scholarships. Although researching these takes perseverance, the effort can pay off.

What You Need to Know

How to Get Into College

This story was written by a member of R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group, where it was

How to Make Affordable Colleges Even More Affordable

This story was written by Elizabeth, a member of R2C’s Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Facebook group, where it

How to Find Scholarships

Everyone wants to know how to find college scholarships. The first step is to understand what type of scholarships you’re

Scholarships With February Deadlines

Here is a list of scholarships, all of which have February deadlines. A Salute to Engineering Essay Contest Amount: up

Paying for College 101: College Financing Best Practices

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Bribery and the Scholarship Application Process

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Tools & Services Recommended for You

There may come a time when you realize you can’t do it all alone. Use any of the many tools in our toolbox to assist you on the road to college.

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