College planning is now upon us. When high school juniors and their parents begin the journey, they ultimately find the student joining the incoming class 2022 at the college of their choice. This is an exciting time, occasionally a nerve-racking time culminating with a student opening the door to their next educational experience.
When asked how to start, my answer is always, create a college plan, a comprehensive plan. A college plan provides peace of mind to all participating in the student’s journey to find their right match. A plan provides clarity, aids with communication, and keeps everyone moving forward, supporting students in reaching their educational goals after high school.
A Good Plan Should Include?
- Tools to assist a student and their family determine their college financing capabilities and financial needs. College is an expensive investment, so students and their parents must be under costs, financing, and debt tolerance. Information essential to the search and selection process, a process well known for every who has purchased their first home.
- A process to create a broad view of colleges and universities options that, when narrowed, becomes the student’s pool of right-fit schools. A group of schools checks the boxes for goals and needs and challenges students to exceed their high school accomplishments and achievements.
- Structure to help keep students, their parents, and other family members organized and accountable. The college experience can be complicated and overwhelming, and for busy households, the structure offered through a college plan is essential. Important for students with heavy in and out of school commitments, parents who travel, and divorced or separated parents. Surprises typically lead to heightened anxiety and frequently miss opportunities.
- Provide resources and tools to navigate the journey during unprecedented times. Resources and tools are both conventional and new to support a student and their family through the search, selection, and financing processes. Students and parents today need help with alternative methods to accomplish critical tasks in the absence of college high school visits, college fairs, and virtual worlds.
- The guidance and direction need to connect multiple components, and stages into one efficiently managed holistic college enrollment experience.
A college plan is not merely a checklist managed through software. It is an ever-changing process that must be easily adapted based on external forces, unpredicted changes, and the student and their family’s underlining needs. It requires open, two-way communication with participation at all levels. A college plan should spark questions and helps dismay myths.
Consult an Independent College Counselor
An experienced college counselor (can’t fault me for banging my own horn) can help a student and their family develops and manage a customized college plan. A plan that meets individual needs, expectations, and capabilities. A college counselor can cut the stress of the process considerably by layout clear timelines and ensuring the student and parents invest in submitting the strongest application possible. Using a holistic lens, a good counselor will connect all aspects of the college experience, finding, enrolling, and financing the right college to career choice.