How to Plan for College

Tuesday, 19 Oct 2010 09:06 AM

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Planning for college can start as early as during your junior year of high school. Naturally, the process begins with determining the kind of courses you would like to take. This might be easy for those who know what they want to do, but there are plenty of us who figure this out later in life.
 
College planning begins with an assessment of your interests and capabilities as these determine your career. Taking career guidance tests and personality assessment tests is sensible. Once you know where your aptitude lies, choose a career in conjunction with it, but also keep in mind its financial viability and employment statistics. At this stage, enlisting the help of a career counselor would be an ideal step.
 
It is always a good idea to prepare for college starting in high school. Once you have a good understanding of what you wish to study, start research on the best college options available. Enlist the help of your parents, friends, teachers, and counselors to guide you. Following accreditation and understanding the rankings of colleges is an ongoing process. A good college plan always includes a list of more than ten colleges, ranked in order of your first to last choice.
 
Once you have drawn up the list, look more into the credits and CGPA requirements of each school. Some may have criteria that do not match your study plans. If that's the case, having alternatives is a safe option. It also helps to compare various aspects of the school when more than one college accepts your application.
 
Financial planning is an extremely important aspect of college planning. You know that saving is imperative to getting into college. Sometimes, it might not be enough, even if you take up a part-time job. But, financial aid in the form of federal grants and government student aid plans is readily available. Review financial aid programs of the colleges you have selected. Compare them with your personal savings and consider external grants. Saving up a year’s pay would be a good idea.
 
Preparing in advance for the SAT and ACT exams is also a must. 
 
The process of college planning is ongoing and needs to be started early. Local and online help is readily available. With some initiative and focused attention, college planning doesn't have to be a daunting task.

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