Step One

Understand College Costs

You may think you know the cost of college, but do you REALLY know everything you'll have to pay for? Familiarize yourself with the extras, like additional fees, so you won’t be surprised when the bill comes.

What You Need to Know

Start Here for Everything You Need to Know About Admissions and Financial Aid

Deciding where to go to college, and how to pay for it, are two of the most important decisions students

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.

What Is Room and Board?

When looking at the finances of sending your child to college, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the added charges

How to Bring Down a College’s Sticker Price

This is reality and where I encourage people to look pragmatically at the magnitude of two things related to college:

Parent Advice on Starting the College Search

If your child is a high school sophomore or junior, you may be thinking about your college search process. But

9 Tips to Help You Play the Financial Aid Game

Over the last decade, the process of getting into college has become akin to playing a “game.” The “winners” are

Step Two

Assess Your Financial Readiness to Pay For College

Once you know the costs, you can better assess your ability to pay. Research financial options, and be creative.

What You Need to Know

Start Here for Everything You Need to Know About Admissions and Financial Aid

Deciding where to go to college, and how to pay for it, are two of the most important decisions students

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

How Family Finances Sway College Admissions Decisions

Excerpted from WHO GETS IN AND WHY by Jeffrey Selingo. Copyright © 2020 by Jeffrey Selingo. Reprinted with permission of Scribner, a

5 Important Things About a College’s Finances Parents Need to Know

If you were to look at the college admissions process as a puzzle, you would understand just how many pieces

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 Three

Search for 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 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

Penn State University Merit Scholarships

Finding individual college merit scholarship information can take a lot of time. Instead, we’ve gathered the statistics you need to

University of Virginia Merit Scholarships

Finding individual college merit scholarship information can take a lot of time. Instead, we’ve gathered the statistics you need to

Rice University Merit Scholarships

Finding individual college merit scholarship information can take a lot of time. Instead, we’ve gathered the statistics you need to

University of Alabama in Huntsville Merit Scholarships

Finding individual college merit scholarship information can take a lot of time. Instead, we’ve gathered the statistics you need to

Step Four

Create a High School To-Do List & Course Overview

What does your child’s blueprint of high school courses look like? Discuss it together—it will help as they begin to strategize their college plans.

What You Need to Know

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

Junior Year – 11th Grade College Planning Checklist

If it’s your child’s junior year in high school, you’ll want to read this. Last year’s pandemic threw a huge

High School Classes to Teach Teens Life Skills

High school is an important part of any teenager’s development. Outside of school, it’s a time when teens get their

The Importance of the School Profile

Have you ever heard of the school profile? Did you know it should be included in your child’s college admission

What Makes a Good GPA?

A great GPA is a high-school student’s foremost means of showing their value to potential colleges. Unlike test scores, which

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 and is something

Step Five

Make a Test Prep Plan

Creating a test prep plan goes hand in hand with a course overview. Mapping out a schedule and following it can help reduce stress. Will it be AP classes or a hybrid plan? Will standardized tests be part of the bigger picture? Now’s the time to decide.

What You Need to Know

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

The Scoop on SATs, ACTs, and Test-Optional

The SATs and ACTs have been around for longer than you might think, and began for reasons you may not

Opinion: Standardized Tests Will Still Matter

  This post is going to disappoint a fair number of people, but it’s a hard truth that merits being

Step Six

Schedule Extracurriculars & Summer Activities

Once your student has their course overview out of the way, they can fill their extra time with sports, the arts, hobbies, projects, and more. It’s never too early to plan what the summer months will look like as well.

What You Need to Know

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

NHS vs. NSHSS: What Are They and Which One Is Right For Your Child?

National honor societies are very popular within the academic world. In particular, high school students see admission to an honor

A Summer Checklist for Rising High School Juniors and Seniors

I’m a mom of six kids with the four oldest currently in four different colleges with enough scholarships to cover

Extracurricular Activities: What They Are and How to Find Them

Your best friend is lamenting that their high school senior has too many things to list on the Activities section of

Why High School Students Should Look for Internships

Getting work experience is important for whatever you do in life, but starting young is even better.  In 2014, 77%

Step Seven

Set Financial & Academic Expectations

Conversations with your teen will be much easier if you make them aware of the realities of your family’s finances. Set expectations about money and grades, so they know what their part of the bargain will be.

What You Need to Know

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

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

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

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

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

Mom Shares Lessons Learned From Son’s College Search

We recently asked a member of our Paying for College 101 Facebook group to share her approach to finding the

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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