Prepare For College
September 30, 2022

Hunter Hobson Shares 10 Ways Families Can Prepare For College

It's never too early to start preparing for college. In fact, the earlier you start, the better off you'll be. There are many things to consider when it comes to college, and it can be daunting for families who are new to the process. Starting college is a massive milestone in a young person's life.

For many students, it's the first time they'll be living away from home and managing their own finances and schedules. It can be a big adjustment, and it's one that's made even more challenging when students are unprepared. That's why Hunter Hobson shares his top tips for families who want to ensure their kids are as ready as possible for the transition to college.

1. Develop a timeline

Figure out when your child should take the SAT/ACT, when applications are due, etc., and make a plan of action. This will help ensure that everything gets done in a timely manner and will help reduce stress levels for everyone involved.

2. Get organized

Start keeping track of important documents like transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation. Colleges look at all of these things when making admissions decisions, so your child must keep them up throughout high school. The SAT and ACT are important factors in the college admissions process, so it's crucial that your child does well on these exams. Offer to help them study and review material with them. This will make the application process a whole lot smoother.

3. Research colleges

Look into different schools and figure out which ones are the best fit for your child. Consider things like location, size, majors offered, and cost. Not all colleges are created equal. It's essential to do your research and find schools that fit your child's needs academically, socially, and financially.

4. Encourage your child to take challenging classes

Taking more complex courses will not only help prepare your child academically for college, but it will also look great on their applications. Getting involved in extracurricular activities is an excellent way for your child to stand out on their applications. It also allows them to explore different interests and develop new skills.

5. Start saving now

The sooner you start saving for college, the better. There are a lot of costs associated with college, so it's important to start setting money aside as early as possible. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, it will add up over time.

6. Fill out the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is required for all students who want to receive financial aid from the government. It's important to fill this out as soon as possible so that your child can get the money they need to pay for college.

7. Explore scholarships and grants

Many different scholarships and grants are available to help students pay for college. Do some research and see what's available. Many scholarships have deadlines, so it's essential to start looking early.

8. Understand financial aid

There are a lot of confusing terminologies when it comes to financial assistance, so take the time to educate yourself on the topic. This will help you make the best decisions for your family when it comes time to pay for college.

9. Teach your child about credit

Credit can be a helpful tool when used wisely, but it can also be a dangerous trap if misused. Help your child understand how credit works and how to use it responsibly. This will help them avoid financial trouble down the road.

10. Talk about expectations

Before your child heads off to college, sit down and talk about your expectations for them. Discuss things like grades, partying, and finances. This will help set them up for success and avoid any misunderstandings later on.

11. Stay Involved

Once your child goes off to college, don't disappear from their life. Check-in with them regularly and offer your support when needed. College can be a tough adjustment, but having a supportive family can make all the difference.

12. Plan for visits

Once you've narrowed down your list of schools, start planning visits. This is an excellent way for your child to get a feel for the campus and see if it's somewhere they could see themselves spending the next four years of their life.

13. Encourage your student to create a balanced list

It's essential that your child applies to a mix of schools - some that they think they have a good chance of getting into, some that are safety schools, and Reach schools (ones that may be a stretch but that they're interested in). This will help ensure that they get into at least one school and gives them options once they do hear back from colleges.

It's important to be supportive without being overbearing during this process. Your child should feel like they have some control over their future but know that they can always come to you with any questions or concerns they may have along the way.

14. Be prepared for anything

The college admissions process is unpredictable, so it's essential to be prepared for anything and everything, including things like being accepted into your dream school or not getting into any of the schools you applied to (unlikely but possible). Either way, try not to put all your eggs in one basket, and remember there are other options if things don't go exactly as planned. 

Final Thoughts

Hunter Hobson understands that applying to college is a big undertaking, but following these simple tips can make the process a whole lot easier for yourself and your family. Good luck.