High School Game Plan- Ease the College Jitters

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By Doug Walker, CCPS, Principal, Mountain State College Planning Associates
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Welcome to the jitters.

This is the month I start getting phone calls from parents.  The sound of fear across the phone line is palatable.  Their child has started their first day of their high school education and invariably, discussions have started about where the child would like to go to college.

College.  Yes, college.  The education you knew was coming. The education you vowed you’d save for. Now it’s here, like an oncoming train.

You don’t have to be broadsided, as long as you have retained the services of an outstanding college planner.  In this month’s article, we’ll talk about steps that need to be taken now to ensure a college education for your freshman and sophomore.  My advice: 

Freshman:  For both the parents and the child, this is an important time of planning together.  The child must understand there are expectations he/she must fulfill.  This will include participation in extra-curricular activities, keeping up their grades and explaining that sports, such as football, are not always the best road to scholarships.

Parents will need to start work with a college planner now to ensure retirement funds will not have to be used to pay for the child’s education in the future.  By working together as a team to create a prudent and thoughtful college funding plan, parents will find they can create safe retirement income as well as college savings, all without stressing the family or budget.

Sophomores:  It’s best for your 10th grader to start their road to success by getting a summer job.  It also is a time they can start summer programs geared toward a potential future career.  Often, you’ll see local community college courses centering on engineering, journalism, or the arts, which will expand your child’s knowledge of potential future fields, as well as to exposing them to new concepts and mentors who can help them be successful on the road to college. 

As a parent, this is the perfect time to hire your own child.  Money paid to the child can be set aside for college. Skills can be learned in an office, mowing the lawn, or even painting the house.  Talk to a college planner today to investigate the ins and outs of hiring your child.

I cannot emphasize enough that now is the time to start planning for your child’s future.  It can be relatively painless, as long as you work with an accredited college planner who can easily and quickly guide you through the maze of paperwork and opportunities.  For more information on college planners in our area, I encourage you to go to visit the National Institute of Certified College Planners at www.niccp.com