These days, a college or university degree is essential for many of the careers your child might be interested in.
But, while they might know they need to go to college, they may not know what’s needed to actually get accepted in their desired program.
If you’re helping your child prepare for post-secondary education, keep these tips on how to get your child into college in mind:
Encourage Applying Early
One of the best things you can do for your child is to help them apply to their school of choice as early as possible.
If they have strong grades, you’ll want to look into early application programs, which allow students to be accepted early based on their Grade 11 performance.
Otherwise, applying as soon as applications open is still highly recommended. Start by applying to some of the easiest universities to get into, and then apply to additional universities as desired.
The reason for this is simple. In most cases, your child can’t look into their financial aid options or apply for school-specific scholarships until they’ve been accepted to the school.
Estimate the Costs
If you previously graduated from college, you’re already aware of how expensive it can be. Still, the overall cost does depend on what degree your child is after.
Medical degrees, for example, tend to be one of the most high-cost degrees to obtain. Ask your child about their career goals so you can come up with an estimate of what their education will cost.
If you don’t want your child to stress about finances, consider becoming a cosigner on their student loan.
The pros of being a cosigner can include tax benefits, acquiring a lower interest rate, and potentially being eligible for student loan forgiveness.
The cons might include the impact on your debt-to-income ratio, and potential damage to your credit score if the loan payments aren’t made promptly.
Sit down and discuss cosigning a student loan pros and cons with your child before making a final decision, to ensure it’s something that’s a good idea for both of you.
Emphasize the Importance of Good Grades
Acceptance to college is much more likely if your child gets good grades and scores well on the SAT. In the USA, the SAT is partially used as a gauge of how prepared your child is for college.
It can happen that students who take the test only once or twice feel discouraged by their low score and worry about its impact on a college application.
Luckily, colleges look deeper than just one test score when considering an applicant. If your child scores low initially, encourage them to retake the test after further preparation.
Similarly, if one or two high school classes are dragging down their GPA, talk with the school about potentially retaking the class.
Don’t Rule Out Community College
While community college may not offer as many programs and degree options as a standard university, it’s a great option for many people.
Community colleges are generally much more affordable, and offer more flexible classes and scheduling.
And, if your child is planning on a higher level of education eventually, keep in mind most community colleges will allow credits to be transferred to another college or university.
If your child chooses a local community college, it will both save money and give you the ability to better emotionally support your child while they attend classes.
Preparing for your child to go to college is a big moment, and one that may have both of you feeling nervous.
But by using these tips on how to get your child into college, you’ll be able to set them up for success in their post-secondary education.
And once they do get that acceptance letter, keep in mind it’s natural to be a little anxious about this next big step in their lives.
Stay positive, offer support when it’s needed, and look forward to that big day when you can be there to watch your child accepting their diploma!