October means closing the trailer for the season, finding your favorite sweater, and taking in a few deep breaths of fresh, crisp air. I love the Fall. October arrival as it signals the butterflies of the new school year have disappeared. Preschool, K-12, college, and courses for upskilling credentials and careers are all underway. Schedules, ridesharing, late night and weekend studying, and mastering time management is all too real.
Parents of high school juniors and seniors are into the countless hours of managing the journey to education and careers after high school. As the father of four, even with experience, the process can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming for first-time families.
TOP OF MIND
PSAT – generally taken by HS sophomore and juniors in the month this month, of October. The PSAT's serve as a benchmark for the national test (SAT or ACT), eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship, and a college resource looking for future students. Organized directly by your high school on a date that should be on the school calendar now. Homeschoolers: Check with your local high school to register for the PSAT's
Determining how to pay for college, all post-high school education programs is critical. Savings, scholarships, need-based aid, and other tuition assistance all play a role in determining how to meet educational costs. Financial aid is available to help supplement a family's ability to meet the cost of attending a four-year, two-year community college, trade and professional school, full-time or part-time.
October marks the start of the application filing period and the completion of the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). This vital process is part of determining a family's eligibility for need-based financial aid, including grants, loans, work-study, and many private scholarships
Read more on why it's essential to completed and file the FAFSA and get your FAFSA Checklist – no pitch!
Parents Weekend – I always enjoyed visiting one of my kids' campuses during this event. It was a chance to meet roommates and friends and their parents and participate in sporting events and other activities. Going to dinner was always a hit. As parents, we need to understand a few dos and don'ts, and #1 is to try not to be a parent. Your kind of guest who pays the bill can give big hugs, ask softball questions but can't look under the bed. But do use the parental eyes and ears to double-check things; acclimation to campus, good eating habits and social interaction; questions on grades – hold that till Thanksgiving. Parent's Weekend is a must-go.
College Planning Tips for the Month
Four Key Activities for HS Seniors
- Finalize Essay – applying early or regular admission, time to button up this critical part of the admission screening process.
- Common Application – continue to add schools to the "My Colleges" section to uncover added writing requirements and individuals school questions.
- Engage campus representatives –the average college admissions department does not know a student is interested until an application hits their mailbox. Spoiler alert – the Application is too late to make a lasting impression. Schedule a 1-1 in-person or zoom meeting now.
- Undecided – still thinking – keep the planning moving forward pick up the pace. The regular admissions deadline at most public and private colleges is January 2022. So there is time, but don't procrastinate if you are planning on attending.
- College is not in the cards – if work, service, skilled trade profession, or a break in the action is part of your current conversation, you too need a plan—just a different one.
What's Ahead for HS Juniors
- Pivotal year – academic and personal development, crafting the college plan, post-HS goals are all part of the junior year conversation.
- Meet with School Counselor – essential time to get the conversation going on to navigate the journey ahead. School Counselors can prepare a broad list of school options, answer GPA and grade questions and outline the months ahead – a roughly fifteen months journey.
- Discovery – campus tours, high school visits, college fairs are all ways to check out possible schools of interest. And while you are there, meet the Admissions Team. There is a crucial time for interested students and parents to shake hands, ask questions and start the recruitment process. Get to know your Admission Team Member!
- Financing college cost – every college plan must include the question, how will we pay? Time for the entire family to learn the answer.
End of Hibernation – the Thaw is Underway
Payments on Federal Student Loans currently paused due to the pandemic will soon be due for repayment. Recent college graduates and those already making payments will be hearing from their loan servicer as repayment returns on January 31, 2022. Concerned about starting again, look into eligibility for an income-driven repayment plan, offered only by the folks at Student Aid.gov
Another Loan Servicers Cancel Contracts with US Depart of Education
Last month two education loan servicing centers called it quits, now Navient, the largest servicer of Federal Education Loans, is bowing out. What does this mean for the approximate sixteen million borrowers? A new loan servicer to pay. As we learn more, we will get the word out!
Education Loan Refinancing
Refinancing can help lower high-interest rates, modify repayment schedules and help balance the budget while bouncing back from the pandemic. This is a great time to investigate the value of refinancing. Contact your current private lender to research refinancing programs or shop around to find a program best for you.
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Our goal with the newsletter is to share our insights on topics affecting families before, during, and after college. We'll share what is pressing, what's ahead and identify action items to tackle now. Never a pitch or a teaser. Follow or connect at https://linktr.ee/getcollegegoing - share questions, what if, or need.
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