College planning has become a long and complex process that isn’t anything like the way most parents remember applying to college. Teenagers today are forced to think about preparing for college much earlier in order to be competitive. To help you out, we spoke to the college planning experts at Class 101 Carmel who have helped hundreds of students reach their college goals. Check out the tips they shared on ways to navigate this daunting process and save money on college.
Join Class 101’s for their FREE Virtual Event:
The 3 Trickiest FAFSA Questions Answered
Tuesday, Tuesday Feb. 9 at 7:00PM
Event: this is a FREE, covid-friendly event on Facebook Live
Topic: The 3 Trickiest FAFSA Questions Answered
When: February 9th at 7:00PM
Parents and students who attend will receive a FREE Class 101 service for one high school student valued at $275. Students will sit for a free practice SAT or ACT test with Class 101 to establish a baseline test score as well as receive a 1-hour follow-up consultation with a college advisor to review weaknesses and opportunities for improving their score.
Early engagement is key. When it comes to maximizing college and scholarship opportunities, the earlier the better. Starting early gives students more time to make choices about selecting classes, working on grades and exploring college options. Class 101 owner, Randy Stegemoller, explained that this is the best approach for busy parents and students: “We find it’s less stressful for everyone – parents and their children – when they can spread this out rather than cram everything into a few months at the end of junior year or the start of senior year.” Randy recommends starting in 9th grade but works with students as early as 8th grade.
Although many colleges recently went test-optional due to Covid-19, testing is still an important part of applying to college. Plan ahead and sign-up early for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests to ensure your child gets a spot, which are currently limited. Testing early allows plenty of time to retest and work on improving scores through practice tests and coaching. Class 101 helps students identify specific testing weaknesses and then works to teach those skills and hone them in real-time practice tests. College Planner, Kara, told us, “People are shocked when they see how we help improve test scores with time and coaching. One of our students is going tuition-free to his dream school after a 300-point increase.”
Making College Affordable
College can be one of life’s largest investments but it doesn’t always have to be. Class 101 Carmel helps their students receive scholarships and encourages all parents to look for ways to reduce the cost of tuition. “We love to save parents money. It’s important for families to consider their budget and make a plan to pay for college but we’re also passionate about finding ways to make college the most affordable,” explained Carmel Class 101 Office Manager Alyssa. To maximize scholarships and aid, Alyssa recommends working with an expert to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, researching colleges that offer scholarships that fit with your student’s interests and abilities, and applying to local scholarships with tailored and personalized essays.
College planning tips for high school students:
- Closely examine class selection. Know the specific classes needed for majors of
interest. For example, engineering programs often want to see a higher-level math
- Establish a baseline SAT and ACT test early. Then, work to improve and retest. A higher
test score can save thousands of dollars in tuition.
- Get involved at school or in the community. How will your student make an impact
throughout high school?
- Start visiting colleges early – there’s no rule you have to wait until senior year!
- Covid-19 has changed the admissions landscape this year. Seniors should contact each
college on their list to ask about any changes to the admissions or scholarship process.