Mistakes to Avoid When College Planning

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Paying for a college and having your child accepted is not always a walk in the park. The college planning process can be scary, especially if you don’t want your child to make the same mistakes you made during your college selection. It’s not easy to deal with the two most emotional things for parents: money and kids.  The negative emotions can lead to poor decision-making, which can be costly enough to affect all aspects of your child’s career. If you don’t want to gamble with your child’s future, the best thing you can do for them is to hire professionals who can take them through proper college planning and help them make an informed decision. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when planning for college.

Not doing enough research

Both parents and student should do their homework and go through all the options they have before applying.  As a parent, it’s prudent to know the basics of every school, like their tuition fee and distance from home. Learn about the admission process and financial aid available. Today, finding this information is quite easy as each school has its own website with all information you’d need.

Applying only schools with big names

It’s every parent’s desire to have their child enrolled in one of the best performing universities in America. However, it’s also imperative to be open-minded and focus on school performance and acceptance rate than just “name.” The US Department of Education recognizes more than 7,000 universities and colleges nationwide. If you can’t name at least 20 among these, you need to do a little homework. There are many “Harvard, Princeton, and Yale” around you just waiting to be discovered that can be great fits for your child.

Not filling FAFSA assuming you won’t qualify

The US Department of Education distributes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year to help pay for students’ higher education through loans, work-study, and grants. Many students and parents tend to skip this offer and convince themselves it’s not worth it because they probably won’t qualify. This assumption can be dangerous, especially if the parents cannot afford tuition fees for their children. Before you assume you won’t be eligible, make sure you complete and submit the form on time.

Limiting your options

Some students will choose a school based on one overriding factor, which may not benefit them, like location in their favorite city, great sports team, or party school. The right college needs to satisfy all the needs of a student from Financial, social, academic, and proximity from home. However, no one is limiting you from applying to your dream school.  Who knows, you might just get the best piece of the pie. The idea is to do more research and have several other options if you don’t get accepted. Apply for a few ‘less-selective schools’ and at least one ‘safety school’ you feel it’s going to accept you. This way, you will have more options to choose from when the emails start trickling in.

Not making college visits

College visits are the most important component of making a college decision. Part of determining whether a school fits your needs is walking around the campus, talking to staff and students, and checking the dorms. This visit will help you decide whether you will be comfortable spending your two or four years. Otherwise, you may be discouraged to find out that the school you so much admired doesn’t physically appeal to you as you had imagined.