Guide for Parents: Preparing Your Child Early for College

This article describes different strategies to help prepare your child early for college. Early preparation may make the admissions process much easier and can increase the chances of your child being accepted into a desirable school.

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Early College Preparation Tips

Ideally, preparing for college should begin before your child is in high school. Planning early may help eliminate some of the stress you and your child may feel as the end of high school nears.

Saving for College

You may want to begin a college fund as soon as possible, because college is expensive and becoming more so each year. The type of college plan you decide on may depend on your income level and expenses. By preparing early, you may be able to save your child from relying on loans, which can put him or her at an economic disadvantage after graduation.

Showing the Importance of Education

Another way you can help your child prepare for college doesn't need to involve money at all. Demonstrating the value of education, learning and curiosity is the necessary first step to helping your child succeed, both in higher education and in life. You might try reading books together, going to the bookstore, playing educational games or surfing through educational websites together. By demonstrating your own enthusiasm for education, you can ignite a lifelong love of learning in your son or daughter.

Cultivating Confidence and Responsibility

A sense of confidence and responsibility not only helps ease the transition from high school to college, but it's also vital for success in later life. Self-confidence can help your teenager approach professors with questions or problems and will make socializing with other students much easier. Helping your child to set difficult goals and encouraging him or her to follow through on them is one method of developing confidence and a sense of responsibility. In general, it's important to set boundaries and show that you expect your son or daughter to make mature decisions -- while also learning from the occasional mistake.

The Nuts and Bolts

Helping your son or daughter study for the SAT or ACT exam is a great way to show your support during the college preparation process. Practice tests for both exams are available, as are extensive preparation guides. Filling out college applications correctly and sending them out on time is also essential for the college preparation process, while visiting different campuses may help your student get a better idea of which college best fits his or her needs.

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