When Preparing for College, It’s Never too Early to Start
An Early Start Provides Families with Peace of Mind and Cash in Hand
June 19, 2005: ST. CHARLES, MO – Unfortunately, for some students, college preparation is a six-month process. It begins in the summer with the ACT test, and ends around Christmas when they have chosen schools to apply to. But a growing number of students are beginning to understand all of the benefits of getting an early start.
Students are now encouraged to begin preparing for college as early as their ninth grade year. Greg Rupp, President of Educational Funding and Financial Aid Services, sees this as a positive sign that families are beginning to understand it is never to early to start.
“We encourage families to discuss the importance of college with their children at a very early age,” Rupp said. “Few people realize all of the little things that are involved in preparing for college until it is too late and they are swamped. Families are learning that if they wait too long, they aren’t positioned or prepared to apply for scholarships and financial aid, or pay for the out of pocket costs.”
Rupp suggests a few things that parents of freshman and sophomores should be considering as they begin helping their student prepare. First of all, Rupp recommends that parents identify their Expected Family Contribution, and determine which category they fall into as a family. This will help them understand how much money they will need, and begin formulating a plan to pay for it. Rupp also recommends that parents know the importance of grade point average, class rank, and standardized test scores when it comes to college admission and scholarships. It is easier to excel early than to spend your junior and senior year playing catch-up.
According to Rupp, students should begin preparing by thinking about careers that interest them and asking questions. Many companies are willing to let students job-shadow and are very eager to answer any questions that they might have about the career. Rupp says that’s a good place to start.
Another important component to college preparation is the ACT test. “We recommend that students commit to taking the ACT test early and often throughout their high school years,” Rupp said. “ACT preparation is a cornerstone of our guaranteed, proven successful system to help families afford college without going broke. High ACT scores are can play a very key role in securing more money for college.”
In addition to the basic peace of mind that comes from being prepared, students and families have a lot to gain financially from early action. According to Rupp, researching schools, searching for scholarships, and preparing for the ACT test throughout a student’s high school career can go a long way in reducing the family’s expected financial contribution.