Keep Your Summer Golden with These 5 College Planning Tips

College Planning - Field of Golden WheatRising Seniors: As the sun lights up summer evenings, you can bask in the relaxation of BBQs and pool parties.  It’s an enchanting feeling of getting lost in the warmth and timelessness.  As you recharge, it’s also a crucial period of preparation for the final bow of your high school career and the exciting college years ahead.

Planning successfully means making your unique mark in the world and lets you thrive.  Follow these 5 steps to master your senior year:

  1. Be Careful of Social Media – Censorship & Privacy

    We all know what you post on the internet will always leave a digital footprint. Even supposedly temporary Snapchat videos can be automatically saved using another downloadable app.

    While admissions may never venture to social media, no rule exists to limit them from doing so.  Either do your best to censor yourself (particularly during the admissions process) or protect all of your posts and tweets.  Be way though; a classmate vying for a spot at your most-desired college may anonymously submit one of your protected posts as evidence for your rejection to their institution.

  2. Organize Your World

    Whether you’re the type of person to keep a day planner or even use the calendar app on your phone, now’s the time to become that person. Adding a quick note of deadlines and due dates will free your mind to focus.  No sense in fretting over dates when a computer can do it for you.  Check your calendar daily and schedule reminders at least 12 hours in advance to stay on top of your planning game.

  3. Any Job is a Good Job

    A junior lifeguard. A cashier.  A part-time dog walker.  Any job, no matter how small, holds endless possibilities and benefits.  Not only could you stash away some spending money for college, you could make connections otherwise unseen and unknown without a job.

    Volunteering can also easily lead to a paid position, once the company sees your ambition and work ethic. Remember to add any experience, paid or not, to your resume and LinkedIn profile, and while you’re at it, add any co-workers and bosses to your network.  These connections may be valuable in the future.

  4. Trade One Relaxation Hour a Day for Planning

    Maybe you enjoy shooting hoops or racking up achievements in your favorite video games. There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact, you should enjoy your time recharging.  If you want to make the most of your summer, try this: Dedicate one hour a day to college planning.  Your future self will thank you, and your parents will too.  This could mean any sort of planning, but here are some ideas to get you going:

    • Put together a college list
    • Schedule summer visits to your top college picks
    • Research campus activities
    • Find out general costs for your top 5 colleges
    • Look into majors and career paths best suited to you
  5. The College Talk: Finance Edition

    Odds are your parents are offering to help pay for your education any way they can. One of the best ways to cover all of your bases is simple: Keep the line of communication open.Ask your family to sit down together one night and let them know exactly where you’re at with the college planning process, and ask for any help you may need.

    If you already get the scholarship applications going and research how to apply for financial aid, it makes a difference.  You could save yourself needing to pay off thousands of dollars in student loans.  Consider you and your family a team, and do your part.

Half of your summer still lies ahead, and planning can never begin too early.  Start now, save valuable time, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Westface College Planning helps navigate the financial aid process from start to finish.  To learn how we can minimize college cost, call us at 650-587-1559 or sign up for one of our Tackling the Runaway Costs of College Workshops or Webinars.

Photo Credit: Robert Cross

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