College planning is essential for all high school students and parents. It is especially important for homeschool parents. Although you wear many hats, becoming your child’s guidance counselor is only one of your duties. After a long day of being a teacher, parent, chauffeur, and homemaker, assuming the role of a college planning counselor is usually placed last on your list. Finding the time and making college planning a major part of your highschooler’s curriculum leads to success in high school, college, and career.
Scholarship and Financial Aid, Career Selection, College Selection, and Test Preparation are critical components to assist you in this overwhelming task of being a college planning counselor. Plan your long and short term goals to include the following areas in your daily, monthly, and yearly guidance goals:
Scholarship and Financial Aid
Paying for college should be every family’s long range goal. In addition to having a plan of action in your family’s budget, you need to ready your child’s credentials by creating a balance of academics, community service, and leadership. These are positive factors in having the edge over other candidates for scholarships. Find the right information sources and secure the proper applications for scholarships and financial aid. It is important to complete these applications in the proper manner and meet deadlines. Missing a deadline could cost you thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
Research careers that match your child’s interests and abilities. Include career guidance in assignments, tests, inhome and outside activities, and long-range projects. Investigate all aspects of careers including college requirements and job-outlook. Plan your child’s course of study and college selection to fit career plans. Talk to your child about his or her likes and dislikes and merge these desires with lifetime career goals.
Secure as much information on colleges from colleges and other sources. In selecting colleges, keep college majors and cost as priorities. Then, plan college visits to a variety of colleges. You could even make it a family outing or vacation. Meet with college representatives, tour the colleges and then return home and talk as a family to help your child narrow the selection. Consider the location, size of enrollment, admission requirements, majors, deadlines, cost, and financial aid availability.
Most colleges require SAT or ACT college entrance test scores. Seek information as to the dates, times, and registration requirements of these tests. Encourage your child to take the tests well ahead of graduation. The Fall of the llth grade is a good starting point. If you are not satisfied with the scores, have your child take the tests as many times as needed. Students are able to keep the highest score. Know what scores and deadlines are required for your particular colleges, as admission/scholarship scores and deadlines vary from college to college. Get as much help as necessary from outside tutors or classes on test-taking strategies and preparation. Also, merge test-taking skills into your child’s daily assignments, homework, and tests. One point on a college entrance test could mean getting into a college or receiving scholarship money.
Assuming the role of a high school guidance counselor is not easy since guidance and counseling is a specialized profession. However, you can make this puzzling task easier for yourself and your homeschooler by making a plan and working the plan one step at a time.