Start thinking ahead with our Parent Timeline. Find your child’s year in school and see what you can be doing today to help them stay on track. Remember it’s never too early to start planning.
Plant a Seed:: It’s never too early to start a conversation with your son or daughter about college.
Join the Club:: Make sure your child stays involved with student organizations, clubs and extracurricular activities at school.
Keep Reading:: Encourage your kids to read for pleasure, not just for school.
Watch the Clock:: Help your son or daughter develop time management skills while doing their homework so they can stay organized and prepared.
Good Example:: Talk to your child about the importance of studying hard and getting good grades as they look ahead to high school and college.
Stay in Touch:: You’ll want to meet with your child’s teachers and counselors to stay updated on their progress in the classroom.
Get Social:: Talk to neighbors, relatives and friends with students in college — you’ll learn a lot by asking questions about their experiences.
Go to School:: Find out if your child’s middle school hosts any college information programs featuring admissions representatives or graduates from your
Plan It Out :: Help your child plan activities outside the classroom like athletics, and encourage them to stay involved.
What’s Required :: Stay current on what’s required of your child to graduate high school — and also what’s required to qualify for college.
Never Too Early :: Start getting informed about financial options for college now so you’ll have time to make necessary adjustments before it’s too soon to make a difference.
Ballpark It :: You can get a rough estimate of your family’s expected financial contribution (EFC) so you’ll know about how much you’ll be expected to pay toward your child’s education apart from financial aid.
Read and Read Some More :: Whether it’s online or at the local bookstore, start educating yourself on all aspects of the college process: financial aid, scholarships and applying to school.
In the Know:: Talk to your child regularly about their favorite subjects in school, and whether they’d like to pursue those subjects after high school. Follow up to make sure they’re taking the right classes that match their goals for the future.
Better Now Than Ever :: If you haven’t already, calculate your approximate EFC and adjust your savings plan and budget to account for your family’s projected contribution to college costs.
Beat the Rush :: Help your child register online for PSAT, SAT and ACT exams in the fall.
Be There :: Attend college information programs with your son or daughter when they’re hosted at school, and start planning time in the near future when you can take them on campus visits.
Holiday Get-Together :: Take advantage of the holiday season to encourage your child to reach out to older students who are home from college — they can be valuable sources of information.
Start a File (or pile) :: Get organized at home with a family file or binder that contains all college brochures, mailings and information.
Hit the Road :: Schedule some campus visits with your child while classes are in session so you can both see what schools are like during the year.
The Big Test :: Keep in mind that most students take the SAT or ACT in the spring of junior year or fall of senior year, so make sure your child is registered for a test date.
Major Talk :: Use the summer as a time to get more specific about college heading into your child’s senior year — discussing possible majors, preparing for tests and narrowing school lists down to less challenging (safety), most challenging (reach) and those that are evenly matched to their skill set.
One Last Time:: Finish making campus visits, or use this time to go back to a particular school that your child liked.
Apply Here :: By December, your child should complete and submit college applications (maybe earlier if they are applying for early admission), so use the fall season wisely.
Ask Around :: Your child should be asking for materials like recommendation letters that will accompany their application — and sure to allow plenty of time for teachers, counselors and coaches to write and mail them given their busy schedules.
Bottom Line:: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1 with your child to lock in your family’s financial aid profile.Click here for more information on FAFSA and applying for financial aid.(Remember to review your child’s Student Aid Report (SAR) when it arrives in case there are any errors.)
No Senioritis :: Remind your child that colleges don’t stop looking at grades after applications are in, so encourage your senior to stay focused in school and keep their grades up.
Watch the Mailbox :: April is the most common time when admission decisions and financial aid award letters arrive, so keep an eye on the mail — and know your child will be, too.
Final Touches:: Make sure your child has a final transcript sent from their high school guidance office to their college’s academic records office.
Getting Ready :: Spend time during your child’s last summer at home helping them pack and prepare for the major changes associated with the move to college in the fall.