Step One

Wrap up College Research & Application Tasks

It’s senior year—and the time to start checking the last college application tasks off your to-do list. Your student should have a firm grasp on their grades, be finishing any standardized test retakes, getting recommendation letters, and tracking admission deadlines.

What You Need to Know

PROOF POINTS: Why elite colleges won’t give up legacy admissions

This story about legacy admissions was written by Jill Barshay and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused

A Community Member Shares HBCU Scholarship and College Application Tips

This story was first published in our Paying for College 101 Facebook community. It’s been edited for clarity and flow. 

PROOF POINTS: Colleges that ditched test scores for admissions find it’s harder to be fair in choosing students, researcher says

This story about test optional admissions was written by Jill Barshay and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused

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

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

Step Two

Finalize College List

You’ve done your research. Now it’s time to whittle down your college list to the schools your student actually wants to apply to. Make sure there’s a good mix of safety, match, and reach schools

What You Need to Know

PROOF POINTS: Why elite colleges won’t give up legacy admissions

This story about legacy admissions was written by Jill Barshay and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused

A Community Member Shares HBCU Scholarship and College Application Tips

This story was first published in our Paying for College 101 Facebook community. It’s been edited for clarity and flow. 

Engineering Colleges: My Son’s Admissions Journey

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

Choosing a College: Henry’s Story

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

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

Step Three

Write Essays & Submit College Applications

A good college essay is key to college admissions. Your student should have a few essay drafts to work from as they fill out the Common Application, Coalition Application, and/or other admission-related forms.

What You Need to Know

PROOF POINTS: Colleges that ditched test scores for admissions find it’s harder to be fair in choosing students, researcher says

This story about test optional admissions was written by Jill Barshay and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused

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

Need College Admissions Help? Stay Sane With These Tips & Tricks

When you have a teenager, each new year of high school inches them closer and closer to graduation. And if

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

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

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

Step Four

Complete Financial Aid Forms

Familiarize yourself with financial aid forms and gather the paperwork necessary to fill them out before you begin. It will save you time and make the process less stressful.

What You Need to Know

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College With No Money

For many families, saving up enough money to cover the entire cost of their children’s higher education just isn’t possible.

FAFSA Corrections: How to Make Changes to Your FAFSA Form

If you made a mistake when submitting the FAFSA, contact your school’s financial aid office and let them know. They

CSS Profile vs FAFSA: What’s the Difference?

There are two main financial aid forms: the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and the

Need College Admissions Help? Stay Sane With These Tips & Tricks

When you have a teenager, each new year of high school inches them closer and closer to graduation. And if

How to Apply for Financial Aid for College

by Kalman A. Chany, author, The Princeton Review’s Paying for College. The financial aid application process can seem overwhelming. There

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

Review Your Financial Aid or Merit Scholarship Awards

Deciphering financial aid and merit scholarship award letters isn’t always an easy task. Being able to suss out the hard-core information takes a discerning eye.

What You Need to Know

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College With No Money

For many families, saving up enough money to cover the entire cost of their children’s higher education just isn’t possible.

Engineering Colleges: My Son’s Admissions Journey

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

Choosing a College: Henry’s Story

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

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

Essential College Tuition Facts

When it comes to choosing a college, price is one of the top considerations, and tuition the largest part of

Step Six

Appeal Financial Aid or Merit Scholarships

Once you have a financial offer in hand, determine whether you’ll need more aid/scholarships. If so, devise an approach to successfully appeal the offer.

What You Need to Know

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College With No Money

For many families, saving up enough money to cover the entire cost of their children’s higher education just isn’t possible.

Engineering Colleges: My Son’s Admissions Journey

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

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

Sample Financial Aid Appeal Letters

If you’ve determined that you have good cause to appeal your financial aid award, and as a result, have made

The Price You Pay for College: Why It’s so Difficult to Predict Merit Scholarships

This article is adapted from “The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial

Read This Before Your High School Senior Commits to a College

You might be losing sleep worrying about how to afford your child’s higher education. Here’s some timely advice if you

Step Seven

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

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College With No Money

For many families, saving up enough money to cover the entire cost of their children’s higher education just isn’t possible.

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

College Grants for Women

Grants are a type of “gift aid,”or financial assistance. Unlike a student loan, a grant doesn’t need to be repaid.

Scholarships With February Deadlines

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

Avoid Loans With These College Cost-Cutting Tips

This article is primarily for people who have high school seniors headed to college next year. I wish I’d known

Top Strategies for Finding College Scholarships

A scholarship is money awarded to a student to help pay for college. Unlike a loan, it doesn’t have to

Step Eight

Review College Costs & Make the Final Choice

You’re nearing the finish line, but there are still a few things left to do. After reviewing your college offers, do a final run-through of costs, weigh the pros and cons of each school, and make a decision.

What You Need to Know

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College With No Money

For many families, saving up enough money to cover the entire cost of their children’s higher education just isn’t possible.

How to Choose a College: A Grandmother Tells All

This story was first published in our Paying for College 101 Facebook community. It’s been edited for clarity and flow. 

Engineering Colleges: My Son’s Admissions Journey

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

Choosing a College: Henry’s Story

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

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

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

Step Nine

Learn Loan Basics & Alternative Funding Options

There’s more than one path when it comes to funding college. Some families get help from relatives, use their own assets, apply for loans, or do a combination of these. Make sure you educate yourself on the entire process before making a decision.

What You Need to Know

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College With No Money

For many families, saving up enough money to cover the entire cost of their children’s higher education just isn’t possible.

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

Student Loan Advice

Loans can help students cover college funding gaps. If your student has already accepted all scholarship and grant opportunities and

What You Should Know Before Cosigning a Private Student Loan

What Is a Cosigner on a Private Student Loan?  A cosigner is someone who signs the private loan along with

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

Stuck in the Middle: How to Manage Financial Aid “No Man’s Land”

Some folks find themselves in college’s “golden land” – they have plenty of financial assets to send their child to

Step Ten

Build a Dorm Shopping List

You want to create a comfortable home away from home for your student, but you also don’t want to go overboard. The reality is they will likely move often during school, so when it comes to dorm shopping, less is more.

What You Need to Know

What to Know About Your College First Aid Kit

Going to college can be scary for many students. For the first time in their lives, they will be on

Mold in College Dorms: What You Need to Know

Here’s a new item of concern for parents planning college visits with their high school students: Check for mold and

Dorm Room Checklist of College Essentials

It’s never too early to start collecting essentials for your soon-to-be college student’s dorm room. And we agree with so

A Practical Packing List of Things to Bring to College

Well, summer is in full swing, and most high school graduates have been vegging out for weeks. (Notice I didn’t

What NOT to Bring to a College Dorm

Around the last week of August last year, just as the first Hello Kitty notebook hit the shelves at Target

STEP ELEVEN

Discuss Legal Docs & Financial/Adulting Skills

Your student may think they’re ready for college, but just to make sure, there are some important legal documents to fill out and practical financial tips to go over.

What You Need to Know

Academic Burnout: How a Mom Helped Her Son Through a Difficult Time

This anonymous post originally ran in our Paying For College 101 group. It really struck a chord. We’ve edited the

What I Wish I Knew Before College

This story was first published in our Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) Group. It has been edited for clarity and

Self-Care for Teenagers

Today’s teens face increased pressure in all aspects of their lives — from trying to “keep up” with their peers

Money Management for Teenagers

As a mom, I’m learning that “the money talk” with teenagers is about more than money—it’s about family values and

Understanding College Tuition and Fees

 The price of attending a college found in Google searches and on college and university websites can often be deceiving.

Avoid Loans With These College Cost-Cutting Tips

This article is primarily for people who have high school seniors headed to college next year. I wish I’d known

STEP TWELVE

Prepare for the Empty Nest

Your student isn’t the only one who will be adjusting to a new normal. As you transition from active parenting to the role of mentor, be sure to consider your own future as well.

What You Need to Know

Academic Burnout: How a Mom Helped Her Son Through a Difficult Time

This anonymous post originally ran in our Paying For College 101 group. It really struck a chord. We’ve edited the

My Daughter Is Headed off to College Without Me… Or so She Thinks

A version of this story by Alison Lowenstein was originally published on Frazzled, a parenting humor publication on Medium. PARENTING HUMOR ????

A Dose of Reality From the Mom of a College Senior

What does it look like when your kid has reached his last day of regular undergrad classes for the rest

College Decision Wisdom from a Mom Who’s Been There

Parents of high school seniors— I know this can be a crazy, stressful time in the college process for so

Child off to College? Reflection Can Help You Grow, but Don’t Get Stuck in the Past

Introspection at this point in life—when the kids are headed off to college, and we’re transitioning to an empty nest—is

Mother’s Day Wishes Moms Make for Their College-Bound Children

Mothers make lots of wishes for their children. Toss in a pandemic, and a few themes begin to emerge. That’s

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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