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Planning for College: Help for Your Students and Families

The decision to attend college is a pivotal moment in any student’s life. It’s a time of exploration and discovery, hopes and dreams. Your role as a teacher can be vital when it comes to questions about which major, what school, how to get a scholarship, and more.

Choosing a major.

Choosing a major will be easy for some of your students. They’ve always known what their path in life should be. For others, it’s not so clear. Encourage them to consider different paths based on their interests and strengths.

Finding a college.

Selecting the right school is a mix of curriculum, location, school rankings, career services, amenities, lifestyle, and cost. Online portals such as The Princeton Review provide comprehensive overviews of hundreds of schools, with tools that can help your students find the right match. Of course, nothing beats an on-campus visit to seal the deal.

Paying for school.

A quick search of financial publications – such as Kiplinger, Forbes, and Money magazine – can be a smart place to start.

Not only can students find lists of schools ranked by value, job placement rates, and other metrics, they can learn how to fill out applications for favorable consideration. Schools are also now required to provide a Net Price Calculator on their web sites to help estimate first-year undergrad costs.

Both the Federal Student Aid site and the CollegeBoard are important outlets for learning about and applying for financial aid. In addition, there are hundreds of grants and scholarships available by state, career path, gender, ethnicity, military status, athleticism, and more. There are even scholarships for online-only degree programs.

You don’t have to be an expert to help your students reach their higher education goals. Simply pointing the way forward can make a lifetime of difference.

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