FAQ: When should I start actively planning for college?
When is the best time for your family to begin planning for college?
As colleges become more and more expensive, it has become necessary to begin the college planning process earlier and earlier.
We meet with thousands of families per year during the early years of high school who believe they have this process under control. Years later, during the senior year, we get frantic parents reaching out to us saying they wish they had started earlier. Our full-service staff usually swoops in to do some damage control, but at this point, it is nearly impossible to fully make up for the lost time.
While we have built our course so that a family can come on board with us
at any time throughout high school, that does not mean that all entrance years are equal. When it comes down to saving money throughout this process, the earlier the better.
Freshman & Sophomore years: This is the best time to come on board with us. This gives the student and parents plenty of time to work through all the action items necessary, without an overload of stress.
Another perk of coming on during freshman or sophomore year is that the student has begun to take ownership of this process early on. The earlier the student begins thinking about and working through this process, the better the results will be overall.
Since the freshman and sophomore years are foundational years for the student, it is helpful to have the additional support we provide in order to lay the foundation for the remainder of high school (guidelines on creating the best academic course plan for your student, reflection questions to work through issues that arise, etc.)
Junior year: This is still a great time to come on board with us. There are many positive actions that can be taken to better your college planning outcome. The downside is that there are a lot of action items to complete with limited time which leads to more stress for the student during an already stressful year of high school. However, all action items are able to be completed during the junior and senior years if you come on board as a junior.
Senior year: This is late in the game, but there are still maneuvers that can be made through our program to get better results and save money during senior year. Lessons that are still relevant for a senior year family to save money include: “A How-To Guide for Filling out the FAFSA,” “Tips for Finding & Applying to Third-Party Scholarships,” “Using Your Award Letter Comparison Sheet,” “To Appeal, or Not to Appeal?,” “Financial Aid Overview,” and “Strategies to Pay Less for College.”
In addition to these more concrete money-saving lessons, we still recommend that your student work through the career assessments and dig deep into some research based on those results. Even this late in the game, we can help your student avoid changing his/her major excessively in college and therefore cut out the possible 5th or 6th year of undergrad.
Be sure to visit the FAQ section of the CollegeStrategy page to learn more about frequently asked questions and learn how you can start your college planning journey today!