High school graduates have a lot of decisions to make. They have to decide what they will major in, where (and if) they will attend a four-year university or a trade school of some kind, and they need to decide what career they will spend a good portion of their lives in.
These are tough decisions. But it can be even harder when it is unsure what kind of financial options to choose.
One of the goals of this blog is to provide the best information and offer the best links to financial aid information for graduates that will help make the process of planning your college career easier.
If you are graduating from high school within the next year or two, now is the time to plan the path that you will take.
Sometimes the best tip is one that includes simple steps that high school students can follow when planning their college journey.
Below, we have provided a simple “To Do” list that may prove helpful for parents and students who need to simplifying the process to find the best financial aid for college.
1. Make an assessment of your current resources. If you have a savings account that you’ve been planning to use for a young person’s college expenses, access this fund now. If it is a tax-deferred savings account, you may incur some taxes by withdrawing the funds. However, you will need to do this if you plan to use the funds for college.
2. Look into college grants and scholarships first. Both of these options do not require any payback. They are not loans. They are gifts that are allowed to go to school to further your education. Look into the various grants and college scholarships, then compare to find the best plan.
3. Fill out the FAFSA.gov form on the FAFSA website. This will give you several options that are available to you and guide you through the application process.
4. Explore career options and narrow down your choices based on the level of income, opportunities for advancement, and required coursework that you will need to prepare yourself for the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great site to check out to compare current salaries of jobs in everything from Nursing to FinTech and beyond.
5. Apply for the best options that offer the best situation and wait to hear back. Look into colleges in the meantime and find out what their tuition and housing requirements are.
Be practical in terms of the decisions you make so that you won’t be taking out more student loan debt than you can handle once you complete your requirements.