Get an Early Start on Preparing for College

College admissions can be stressful and competitive. Preparing for college early may help alleviate much of that stress. Read on to learn how you can get an early start on preparing for college.

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Starting early to prepare for that rewarding college experience can help to ensure that it actually happens. The following simple steps can help.

Parents should play an active role in their children's education from the very beginning. As soon as a child enters school, parents need to stress the importance of attending college and earning a degree. Although this may seem like putting a lot of pressure on the child, they'll begin to have higher expectations for themselves and form focused goals to work towards.

Get an early start on saving money for college. It's a significant expense and as a growing number of students apply to college, tuition will only increase. Begin by contributing to a college fund. If parents and students make a point to set money aside for college, it strongly reinforces the investment that the entire family is making towards higher education.

Prospective students can start saving early as well. A part time job during high school shows colleges that a student is capable of handling responsibilities and balancing work and school. Additionally, students will probably need as much money as they can save to pay for books, groceries, social events, and entertainment during their years at college.

During high school, it is beneficial for students to take both the ACT and SAT as early as they can. This way, if a student performs poorly due to nervousness or lack of preparation, there is always time to retake the tests. If possible, students can save money and time in the future by taking challenging courses in high school. If students pass Advanced Placement exams in high school, these units will often be applied to their college education. Ask your guidance counselor about the many scholarships available and how these could help pay for part, or even all, of your college tuition.

Research colleges and visit their websites. Visit any campuses that may interest you. Getting a feel for the surrounding area and lifestyle of a school can ease the freshman year transition. Remember to make note of deadlines for applications, essays, or other requirements that the college may have for prospective students.

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