April College To Do List

For Juniors:

A few important spring happenings:

College Fairs.  These can be a good place to start when first exploring. See the schedules below or encourage your child to check a college’s website for its travel calendar. Colleges may also send admissions representatives to your child’s high school this spring or may hold events at a local hotel.

Whatever you do, remember: The admissions person may take notes on your child –this interaction counts!

Boston National College Fair.

New England Association for College Admission Counseling

“Beyond High School/Post Secondary Opportunities”
Framingham High School, May 2 from 6:30- 9:00 p.m.
Post high school alternative learning options will be featured – such as certificate programs, gap year programs, vocational/technical programs, prep schools, the military and 2-4 year structured learning comprehensive college programs.

Also, if you’re visiting schools during your April vacation week, you may want to re-read my March 15th newsletter on campus visits.

For both Juniors and Seniors: 

Summer Activities:
Now is a good time to finish planning for your child’s summer. If you do not have a plan already, consider using the April vacation week to explore options of summer employment, internships, job shadowing, taking a class, attending an exploratory or college readiness camp at a college, volunteering in an area of interest, etc.

Summer is a great time for your child to learn more about themselves, discover what they enjoy (or don’t) and gain experience that may help them be accepted into a program later on.

Financial considerations:
The discussion of finances should occur early in the process of creating a list of schools for your child.  You will not know for sure what (if anything) your child may be awarded in terms of merit or need based aid until long after he/she has applied. You can do some homework up front to get a better idea and then create a list of schools that align with your financial situation.

It is certainly fine to apply to schools with the understanding that they’ll only work out if you get the aid you hope to get.  But it also makes sense to have some schools on the list for which you know the finances will work out (“financial safety schools”).

For financial information regarding particular schools, visit the school’s web site.  You’ll find net price calculators (note that these are not always completely accurate) as well as information regarding merit and need-based financial aid.

For information regarding need-based aid, visit the FAFSA web site and complete a work sheet (you can do this at any time) to get an estimate of any federal aid your child may receive.

Book Recommendation:
Debt – Free U: by Zac Bissonnette – 2010 (paperback)
Zac wrote this as a 21 year old U Mass student about putting himself through college and graduating debt free. He writes for numerous financial publications and the information is very readable and eye opening. Even if your child does not plan to go the public college route, it contains a lot of good information that is beneficial regarding finances during the college years.

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